Triptych of photos of a man on rocks, reads: 1. In the caves behind my house I found a softer world. 2 They understand what I had to do for love. 3 They don't believe in restraining orders

Triptych: Beginning, Middle, End

“A Softer World” is a photographic webcomic that ran weekly for about twelve years, starting in Feb 2003. Emily and Joey published 1248 comics in that time, each consisting of three panels with photographs and words superimposed on them – often it seems to be a single image cropped into three panels, but sometimes it’s three photos taken as a series – and then the title of the comic appears when you hover your mouse over the comic (creating space for serving a sort of fourth panel or commentary). The comics tend to be quite dark.

Check out A Softer World, skip around in the archive a bit, and get a sense of how the strip works. [EDIT: See first comment on this post below for workaround on their archive linking problem.] Then make your own Softer World-style comic for this week. Take the photos yourself and edit them into a triptych, then compose your own words and add them onto the panels. Don’t forget to also draft a title phrase! You can choose whether to attempt to mimic the tone of the original or whether to satirize it.

As you compose your triptych, I most want you to focus on creating a story with a very clear beginning, middle, and end. Your story can be minimalist, impressionistic, comic, dark, weird or whatever you want it to be — but make sure that each panel of the triptych moves that story forward from beginning to middle to end.

Once you’re done, create a new post on your course website and insert the image into your post via the Media Library. Add the title of the comic into the “title” textbox of the dialog box when you add the image, so that it will popup when you hover over the image.

Somewhere in your own post, include a link back to this specific blog post. Tag your post with “A Softer World” as well as “sk4” and any other tags you want to use.

Then publish your post.


  • Compact storytelling through both images and words.
  • Thinking carefully about the beginning, middle, and end of a story.
  • Playful storytelling.
  • Opportunity to play with tone, irony, humor, wit.

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