Ille quidem obsequitur, sed te decor iste quod optas
esse vetat, votoque tuo tua forma repugnat.
Phoebus amat visaeque cupit conubia Daphnes,
quodque cupit sperat suaque illum oracula fallunt.
utque leves stipulae demptis adolentur aristis,
ut facibus saepes ardent, quas forte viator
vel nimis admovit vel iam sub luce reliquit,
sic deus in flammas abiit, sic pectore toto
uritur et sterilem sperando nutrit amorem.
spectat inornatos collo pendere capillos,
et “quid si comantur?” ait; videt oscula, quae non
est vidisse satis; laudat digitosque manusque
bracchiaque et nudos media plus parte lacertos;
si qua latent, meliora putat. […]
He did indeed agree, but that beauty of yours
won’t allow you what you want, and your shapeliness repels your prayer.
Phoebus loves her and when he sees her he wishes to marry Daphne.
And because he wishes, he hopes and his oracles fail him.
And as light stalks, after their tops are cut, burn
as hedges burn under a torch, which by chance a traveler,
has either brought too close or left behind at daybreak,
thus the god goes up in flames, thus in all his heart
he burns and feeds his fruitless love by hoping.
He looks upon the unadorned locks hanging on her neck,
and says “what if it was styled?”; he sees her mouth, which is not
enough to see; he praises her fingers and hands
and arms and her arms bare to her shoulders;
if any parts lie hidden, he thinks those are the best. […]
Page 50, y’all!! I’m really happy to get so far!! Thank you all so much for reading and keeping me inspired :3
I decided, since it was a milestone page, I could make it a little longer than usual. What do you think? Do you like having a longer page every now and then, or are the normal pages just right? I’ve also been playing with shadowing on the last few pages; for this page, I also tried a new technique for highlights. Let me know in the comments what you think about the results of these experiments.
As I’m posting this, I’m excited for another important milestone: my PhD thesis has been submitted! I will still have a way to go before I am a ‘doctor’, but this moment feels like the culmination of not just three years, but actually all of my education. I will now need to turn my attention to the viva and a job search, but I can bask in this moment for a little while at least…
To be honest, I didn’t initially plan on making this page longer than usual. I initially planned to make it more wordy. However, as I began scripting, it became clear that I needed to show rather than tell this part. You see, from line 490 onwards, the focus is mostly on vision. Seeing Daphne sets Apollo on fire. He looks at her hair, her mouth, her arms, hands and fingers; and, of course, he implicitly undresses her in his mind. Because comics are a visual medium, a detailed visual-oriented style was perfect. I tried to tow a line between literal interpretation of the text and a realistic depiction of the scene. I think I balanced it nicely – what do you think?
The beginning of the page features a little cameo appearance by Ovid. I decided to do this because of the ‘apostrophe’ at lines 488-9. An ‘apostrophe’ is a place in the text where the author addresses a character in the second person. Usually, apostrophes are pithy, containing either praise, censure or warnings, as in this case. In poetry, it is mainly a rhetorical flourish, and not meant to be considered diegetic. However, I thought it would be fun to represent apostrophes as cameos – I think it complements the visual nature of comics (this isn’t the first time I’ve done it, either). I even have Daphne reacting slightly to Ovid’s comment in the second panel, although this reaction does not carry itself further in the plot. Ovid comes off as a bit stalker-ish because of this depiction, but (let’s face it) the comment itself is kind of creepy. Nevertheless, apostrophe itself represents a personal interaction between a poet and his characters. It’s an intimate moment that actually kind of sidelines the reader. Because of all these aspects, I feel that making the apostrophe diegetic was the right decision.
I also illustrated the simile from lines 492-6. Similes present a unique quandry for me as a cartoonist. They are traditionally a means to help the reader visualise a scene that defies explanation; they relate extraordinary moments to comprehensible ideas. You might not know what a god in love is like, but you have probably seen a brush fire. However, similes kind of feel redundant in comics. Nevertheless, they are unique and integral parts of the text, and I would do a disservice to the Metamorphoses if my graphic translation omitted them. My solution has been to create little vignettes out of the similes; that’s what those scenes in the flames next to Apollo are (c0mpare the frieze on page 21). I worry that they lose their direct relevance this way – the similes inform my writing, but don’t speak to the reader as directly as in the text – but I think it is the best solution. What do you think? Leave me a comment and let me know if you have a better idea of how I can handle similes.
I am embarassed to say that there is one line I couldn’t figure out how to include on this page: line 491 mentions that Apollo’s “oracles fail him”. It’s a great piece of irony, which helps to further debase the god. Apollo is the god of prophecy, and if his own oracles can’t help him, then he is really losing it. At once, Ovid reminds the reader of Apollo’s divinity, while also undermining that divinity. Gods have often been depicted in epic as subject to forces beyond their control – think of Aphrodite bribing Eros in Argonautica 3, or Juno laboring in vain against fate in the Aeneid. Still, this line is particularly embarassing for Apollo, who is supposed to be the source of prophecy himself. The problem is that I wanted Apollo and Daphne to meet in the forest, and I didn’t want to interrupt the scene to have Apollo consulting oracles (funny as it would have been). I think I can be forgiven slightly, because Ovid sort of repeats the joke in Apollo’s speech (line 517-18), so I’ll have a chance to put it in the comic. Still, I am disappointed that I didn’t manage to get it in here. What do you think? Could I have included it?
Okay, I’ve gone on long enough about this page. This story is just heating up (fire-pun sort of intended) and we’ll have even more to dicuss in the coming pages. Thanks for reading!