‘The Angel,’ a heartbreak in motion from Dean Haspiel, Moby

Feb. 14, 2011 | 10:04 a.m.

angel2 The Angel, a heartbreak in motion from Dean Haspiel, Moby

Even with all that chocolate, Valentine’s Day can be as bitter as it is sweet. With that in mind, we bring you a special holiday exclusive — a truly evocative motion comic, “The Angel,” which melds the heart-tugging words and images of Dean Haspiel (artist on “The Quitter” and “The Alcoholic“) with a forlorn soundscape created by none other than Moby. The final result shows that motion comics have a wide frontier ahead of them if creators approach them as a distinct medium and not as paper-doll passive or low-energy animation. This motion comic adaptation of Haspiel’s printed-page version of “The Angel” was directed and produced by Daniel J. Kramer who uses text, artwork, composition and a sliding  sense of motion to orchestrate the reading experience and introduce a rhythm to the aching monologue.

Haspiel, one of the more restless talents in the New York comics scene,  admits that he is a skeptical soul when it comes to the hard-sell on motion comics, which some leading figures have presented as a digital-era salvation for the comic book industry. “Even though I’ve collaborated twice with Daniel, I’m still not convinced of a ‘motion comics revolution,’ but I like where Dan is going with these. I believe our ‘cinema graphique’ experiments complements the source material while adding a new dimension to the reading and viewing experience, keeping the work vital by iteration. ‘The Angel’ is an emotional sequel to ‘Bring Me the Heart of Billy Dogma.’ I was excited and honored to have Moby provide an original ambient score to ‘The Angel,’ as I sometimes think music speaks volumes more than text.”

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Kramer explained a bit of the origins of the project: “I’ve known Dean for a few years through a mutual friend and I’m also a fan of his work.  I approached Dean this summer to see if he was interested in adding motion to his comics.  He gave me a physical copy of  his ‘Sex Planet’ comic and let me see what I came up with. We discussed the pros and cons of motion comics and worked closely together on what not to do while exploiting the virtues of the original source material while making something fresh and new and debuted the final version at King Con in Brooklyn, N.Y., and it received rave reviews.”

angel3 The Angel, a heartbreak in motion from Dean Haspiel, Moby

Kramer added: ” ‘The Angel’ is different than ‘Sex Planet’ because there are no voices in the soundtrack and movement was incorporated into the text. Originally, like ‘Sex Planet,’ Dean had recorded the narration, but we felt it was becoming too much of a passive experience.  ‘The Angel’ is about personally grieving over lost loves and finding that perfect partner.  By creating a slower pace to the movement and revealing the typography over time, the viewer reads the comic and it becomes a personal and active experience. ”

Moby, meanwhile, was pleased to step into a new medium, especially with his fondness for sequential storytelling that veers into the quirky, underground or literary end of comics. “I especially like small-batch, homemade comics,” the six-time Grammy nominee said. “I like some of the bigger more established comics, but I genuinely love smaller, more idiosyncratic comics.” Moby said his success in the soundtrack sector is one he values no matter how the particular medium takes final form. “I figure that a filmmaker has a few hundred million pieces of music to choose from, so for them to use my music is a remarkable and humbling compliment. It’s also amazing when the synergistic combination of film and music is so much more than the sum of the composite parts.”

— Geoff Boucher


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4 Responses to ‘The Angel,’ a heartbreak in motion from Dean Haspiel, Moby

  1. Tim Hall says:

    What a beautiful job. I loved the print version of this comic, but Daniel and Moby took it to a whole new level. Thanks so much.

  2. Rachelle Geisheker says:

    Tis pulled at my heart strings ever so strongly. Love, Rachelle @>–>–

  3. Sonia Meltzer says:

    This is a beautiful, heartbreaking, and hopeful piece. Kudos to all.

  4. Annabelle Green says:

    I'm blown away. Perfect combo of moving story, bold graphic artwork, slowly unraveling text and ambient music. Poetry in motion.

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