By Ken Wong
It’s hard to compete with the infinite canvas, and while few artists achieve anywhere near Webcomics’ potential as laid out by Scott McCloud in Reinventing Comics, such abstract concepts make the world of print seem downright quaint. Pandora’s Box, a two-page mini-comic (front and back of a single sheet) was born out of a defense of the medium—a conversation that left former MoCCA president Ken Wong to ponder what manner of benefits a physical comic holds over its digital counterpart.
The answer, of course, is space, a concept that can be mimicked—but not duplicated—on a two-dimensional computer screen. Print comics can ultimately manifest itself into a three-dimensional object. More often that not, that object is book, a form which, in the right hands—say a Seth, Chris Ware, or Art Spiegelman—can become a work of art in and of itself. In the hands of Wong, however, the comic itself has become the object, with the help of some simple origami.
True to its name, Pandora’s Box took the shape of a cube. Each exterior edge is devoted to a panel, which together setup the famous Greek myth, beginning on the top of the cube and ending on the bottom with Pandora herself moments away from sealing the fate of mankind—a less than subtle prompt for the reader to open up the box in their hands.
Panels inside the box continue the story, opting more for a more academic deconstruction of the myth, rather the more straight-forward panel-by-panel story-telling found on the box’s exterior. It’s a narrative breakdown of sorts, but in the case of Pandora’s Box, storytelling secondary at best to the comic’s focus on the physical form.
Wong has discovered something a fascinating little avenue in the way of the origami comic, a fun and potentially fascinating reprieve for the world of print cartooning—one that he will no doubt see fit to explore in subsequent minis, which will hopefully place equal focus on the content and the delivery method.