Jottings on science, religion, technology, pop culture and faith from the Antipodes.

Comics, Research

Dylan Horrocks on comics, games and world-building

Excellent little essay here by Dylan Horrocks, comic book artist and writer, who has been appointed the 2006 University of Auckland/Creative New Zealand Literary Fellow. In it he says,

We are used to thinking of Tolkien or Raymond Feist as writers who create imaginary worlds, but the same is also true of Elizabeth Knox, Barbara Anderson or Maurice Gee. The worlds in which their stories take place each have their own history, atmosphere, and sense of time. No matter how much it may resemble the “real world,” it is actually something else. This is neither good nor bad – it is simply an inescapable fact. Every time a writer tells a story, they also create a world.


In comics, even the laws of physics are side effects of the cartoonist’s ‘way of drawing’ – the way clothes drape across a body, the way shadows fall and water flows. In this sense, the cartoonist is a kind of God, creating a whole universe in their own image.

Horrocks goes on to look at this idea of world-building or sub-creating with the genres of comics, role-playing games and electronic gaming (incl. online gaming). Some interesting parallels with some of the stuff I’ve been reading about virtual reality and the metaphysical quests of technologists.

The essay can be found on Horrocks’ web site at THE PERFECT PLANET: Comics, Games and World-Building.

There was also an interview with him last Saturday morning on Radio New Zealand – Saturday, 18 February. (Link active for at least the next week)

I heard about Horrocks’ comic book Hicksville a while back but had never gotten around to reading it. Today I picked it up from the library so I’ll be thumbing through it tonight.

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