Back in the 1940s artist Will Eisner was experimenting with the visual forms of sequential art in his The Spirit comic book strip—playing around with convention and venturing outside the static panels, as characters and sounds spilled out onto the page.
Fast forward over 70 years and director Edson Oda has created a comic book stop motion that uses the panel-structure as a springboard for experimentation. Instead of a nine-paneled layout, the story is told by layering cut out panels on top of each other to progress the narrative. It’s an ingenious idea that allows Oda to play around with the format, incorporating ideas like submerging the paper in red liquid to show blood, or even dousing it with lighter fluid and setting it on fire to add a bit of drama.
The short film above, called Malaria, follows a story centered around a hired killer whose task is to take down Death himself. What could’ve been a standard comic book affair is given added dynamism by the combination of various techniques, which include ‘origami, kirigami, nankin illustration, comic books and Western cinema.’
You can check out a previous version of this mashing up of styles and techniques in Oda’s The Writer, below.