Exercises in Style - Matt Maddens page

99 Ways To Tell A Story: Exercises in Style by Matt Madden


Exercises in Style was inspired by a work of the same name by the French writer Raymond Queneau. In that book, Queneau spun 99 variations out of a mundane, two-part text about two chance encounters with a mildly irritating character during the course of a day. He started by telling it in every conceivable tense, then by doing it in free verse and as a sonnet, as a telegram, in pig latin, as a series of exclamations, in an indifferent voice... you name it.

The goal of this project is to apply the same principle to comics by creating as many variations as possible on a simple one-page non-story: different points of view, different genres, different formal games, and so on.

One additional variation on the project is that a group of cartoonists have been given a brief script of the one-page piece and asked to create their own version of the comic.

While the project has been floating around as an idea for years, it was galvanized into being committed to paper by the founding in 1992 of OuBaPo, Ouvroir de la Bande Dessinée Potentielle (Workshop for Potential Comics), a comics-oriented offshoot of OuLiPo (Workshop for Potential Literature), an experimental forum co-founded by Queneau himself in 1960.

About Matt Madden
Matt MaddenMatt Madden (NYC, 1968) started self-publishing minicomics while living in Ann Arbor MI in the early 90s, where he co-edited the anthology title5 O'Clock Shadow with Matt Feazell and Sean Bieri. In 1996 Madden began writing reviews for The Comics Journal and other publications, which he continues to do, albeit infrequently. After having a number of short pieces published in more established publications, Madden published his first graphic novel, Black Candy, with Black Eye Books in 1998. His last graphic novel, Odds Off, was published by Highwater Books in 2001.