Panel Junction combines the graphic novel with forms of shared authorship that have been a mainstay in my earlier work. In principle, it merges spontaneous drawing with scripting and direction from online visitors. Participants from around the world could contribute dialog, graphics, caricatures, fonts, narrative ideas, internal monologues, jokes, backgrounds, puns, story-boards, coloring, anecdotes, and sketches. Modeled after the multi-user content management systems used in massively collaborative software development projects, Panel Junction includes narrative "road maps" and different versions of work in progress that range from sketches to refined, high-resolution graphics. The Adobe PDF format is used for the final version of the twelve page graphic novel, which everyone can download and print.
Interactive tools are integrated into a website to help further the collaboration. However there has been no purist agenda with regard to the graphical user interface. To facilitate the communicative process participants were invited to use digital cameras, color laser printers, scanners, mail, voice over IP (Skype), file uploading, and email. Work-in-progress sketches were added to show the state of the panels in progress.
For Panel Junction #2 the page development process was more prolonged. It seemed this might correspond better to the occasional arrival of interested developers via the Web. Towards the end of the summer of 2007 I began evaluating the proposals, contributions, and discussions with the intention of completing the second edition. But there really wasn't much to work with, unfortunately. So instead of throwing extra energy into marketing, I decided to focus on the print product.
In theory, my title has been the "maintainer" of this project, echoing open source terminology. Like any maintainer of a collaborative software project, I would like to have attempted to sustain a productive relationship with contributors, respecting their suggestions and so forth. Yet in the absense of active participation, I ended up taking charge of virtually every phase of production, including its visual and narrative dimensions.
It's not clear if there will be a Panel Junction #3. In the past I have worked with other artists on comics, passing drawings from artist to artist with each person contributing to the development of the story. I've found this to be a rewarding and spontaneous practice, and I'm trying to reproduce the experience as Net Art. Perhaps something will cause me to want to try again. I invite you to look at Panel Junction #1 and Panel Junction #2 to get a fuller sense of the overall project.
— Andy Deck