The Bear's Tale

an exquisite corpse


Modern Astronaut
and others

start reading... our rules... questions...

The newest page is 14, by Inari.
Page 15 is iunassigned.

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  1. What is an 'Exquisite Corpse'?
  2. Why is it called an 'Exquisite Corpse'?
  3. Are there other 'Exquisite Corpse' comics?
  4. Who's 'Modern Astronaut'?
  5. Why are you doing this?
  6. Why does each page look so wildly different?
  7. How does this project work?
  8. This looks like fun. Can I play?
  9. When will it be done?


  1. What is an 'Exquisite Corpse'?

    'Exquisite Corpse' is a Surrealist parlor game. It goes roughly like this:

    1. Write an opening sentence at the top of a piece of paper.
    2. Hand the paper to the next merry Surrealist.
    3. This player then writes, on the next line, a sentence that follows the first.
    4. Fold the paper over so only the newest line is visible.
    5. Go to step 2 and repeat until the time to stop has arrived.
    6. Unfold the paper and read your magnum opus!

    The rules for this comic are similar, without the folding bit.


  2. Why is it called an 'Exquisite Corpse'?

    Those wacky Surrealists, eh?


  3. Are there other 'Exquisite Corpse' comics?

    In the late eighties, the editors of RAW perpetrated a snailmail-based Corpse, with participants drawn from the world of artsy independent comics, and published the results in a book titled 'The Narrative Corpse'.

    Other webbified 'Exquisite Corpse' comics:

    • Impromanga, a collection of online Corpses (seemingly unaware of the Surrealist connection), with looser rules (two-week deadline, for 'up to 16 pages') and the unwritten rule that your art must be very manga-flavored, which, to be honest, makes me reluctant to investigate further.

    • Scott McCloud's "Choose Your Own Carl" is somewhat Corpse-like. But different.

    If you know of any other web-based Corpses, please let us know.


  4. Who's 'Modern Astronaut'?

    'Modern Astronaut' is a confusing design collective. The members are (alphabetically) Ashtoreth, Inari, Peganthyrus, and Ravenscroft.


  5. Why are you doing this?

    Because it's fun!


  6. Why does each page look so wildly different?

    Because each page is done by a different artist. In addition, half the fun is trying out unusual styles and ways of telling a story, so two pages by the same artist may look quite different.


  7. How does this project work?

    Each artist does one page, and passes control on to the next. We try to make sure each page ends on an interesting narrative challenge. Unlike the traditional rules, everyone gets to see the entire story so far; it remains to be seen how this will affect the coherency of the end result.


  8. This looks like fun. Can I play?

    Maybe. See rule number 1. Basically, it's up to Modern Astronaut's collective opinion of your work. Later on, things may change to be much more chaotic... the original idea was for an artist to pick the next one from amongst any of their friends, and this may happen later on.


  9. When will it be done?

    We have no idea. When it stops being fun, most likely.

back to the beginning


 The Rules


  1. This is by invitation only at the moment. You may volunteer, but it's entirely our choice if we let you do it or not. Feel free to start your own exquisite corpse if our answer is 'no'! At any given moment, someone has one in progress, so please don't just start doing one and send it in.

  2. Please do exactly one page. No more, no less. Stick close to standard comic-book sizes and render the final image at 72dpi. The first page was drawn at about 6.75 x 10.25 on 9x12 paper (with the 'multiverse' panel bleeding out to the edges), as that's what I had handy, and is 640x852 pixels. It might be a good idea to keep an archival copy at printable resolution (300dpi) if possible; there are no plans to publish this at the moment, but one never knows.

  3. Do not worry about being deliberately surreal. The fact that every page is done by an entirely different person will take care of that. Just worry about making a narrative flow from the previous page and end somewhere that'll be a challenge for the next player. Don't invest your heart and soul in what you do to the bear, because the next person will probably turn right around and throw it away in the first few panels if they don't like it. Anything can happen in this story - but anything else can happen the next page.

  4. Your page must be completed within a week of the previous page. If it isn't, sorry; someone else gets to do the next page. Or that was the original idea. In actuality, the weekly schedule has turned into a sad mockery, and I'm too kind-hearted to try and be all pissy about it.

  5. Put the date and your credit on the image.

  6. Put the final page up on the web with forward, backward, and beginning links.

  7. Please keep things PG-13, and resist the temptation to kill off the bear.

  8. Finally, have fun! Experiment, try out things you normally wouldn't!

back to the beginning



Layout, this page's graphics: Peganthyrus

counter is currently broken!

 Deadlines? Huh?
Yes, the schedule of new pages appearing has slipped horribly. It started when I had a HD crash while working on my last page, and Ravens has been having some RL worries keeping him from concentrating on #13. Yes, this is in direct violation of Rule #4 above... I make 'em, I can break 'em; more importantly, I've been having RL worries myself that keep me from jumping up and down on the wolfy's back until he finishes. I hope to be able to get things back on track here soon; further updates as developments warrant. Paf has, to continue schedule slippage, lost page 14 in the chaos of his preparations for Anthrocon before he managed to scan it, so he's redrawing it... I have this vague hope that it'll get back on schedule some year.

Update: Inari got sick of it being on hiatus and did a page 14.I don't know what the future of this is, as work has me too busy iRL to ride herd on people for their pages any more...