Digital Image and Culture Assignment Two The Archive

Initial Submission

The Hero Cycle A2 Initial Submission

A graphic novel explaining the Hero Cycle which draws upon the vast archive of the internet and google images as well as my personal photographic library and the DAZ Studio object library.

The Hero Cycle Defined

Section One  – Ordinary World

In Which we meet our hero

This is the start of the journey where we meet our hero at home in what he perceives to be his ordinary life. It usually depicts our hero as ordinary or mundane. It helps us to identify with him as an average person. This section of the cycle sets the stage and introduces the hero to us.


The start of Harry Potter sees him as a downtrodden orphan living in a small room under the stairs. The beginning of The Hobbit introduces us to a very cautious and unadventurous Hobbit who lives in a hole under a hill. I both cases our hero is nothing special ad eve a little underwhelming.

Section Two – Call To Adventure

In Which an adventure starts

This section usually kicks our hero out of their comfort zoe. The stage is generally characterised by a problem or challenge that they cannot ignore. This event can take all sorts of forms Cambel wrote: The hero can, for instance:

  • Decide to go forth of their own volition, i.e. Theseus upon arriving in Athens,
  • Be sent abroad by a benign or malignant agent, i.e. Odysseus setting off on his ship in The Odyssey,
  • Stumble upon the adventure as a result of a mere blunder, i.e. Dorothy when she’s swept up in a tornado in The Wizard of Oz,
  • Be casually strolling when some passing phenomenon catches the wandering eye and lures one away from the frequented paths of man, i.e. Elliot in E.T. upon discovering a lost alien in the tool shed.

“Hero with a Thousand Faces – Joseph Campbell”

At this point I the story the stakes are beginning to be made clear ad our hero’s goals are laid out now he has to decide if he will rise to the challenge.


In the Philosophers stone, Harry receives a letter from Hogwartz, and his uncle tries to prevent him from reading it. The call to action happens when Hagrid turns up on the island and tells Harry he is a Wizard and is going to Hogwartz.

Section Three – Refusal of the Call

In which the Hero digs in their feet.

Once the Hero is called to action, they typically refuse the call. They may think it too risky, not want to face the peril. There is often some form of resistance to the change that the call to adventure is about to impose on our Hero. This is a pause point where the Hero tries to reverse up from the brink.


Harry Potter tells Hagrid he can’t be a Wizard. Luke Skywalker tells Obi-Wan he cat just leave, and Bilbo tries to ignore Gandalf, as does Frodo in the Lord of the rings.

Section Four – Meeting the Mentor

In which the Hero acquires a personal trainer.

Once the Hero decides he will undertake the adventure, it is usually clear that he is woefully unequipped to do so. In every good story, there is a mentor or trainer or guide to set our Hero o the right course.

Mentors seem to often come in the shape of wise old wizards, Gandalf, Dumbledore, Anallon, Walker Bow, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Yoda to name but a few.

These mentors often equip the Hero with the tools for the job and give them experience and training to enable the Hero to live ad succeed.

The mentor is often taken away at some point to force the Hero to stand on their own, and this often plays as a tragedy. I can’t tell you how sad I was when Gandalf the Grey fell to the Balrog in Kazadum the first time I read the book ad how elated I was when Gandalf the White was reborn.


Mentors come in all shapes and sizes, and while the primary mentor in both Lord of the rings and the Hobbit is Gandalf, Aragorn is also placed In the role of Mentor to Frodo who would ever have made it to Riverdale without him.


Section Five – Crossing the First Threshold

In which the Hero enters the other world in earnest.

At this point, the Hero is committed to the journey. Something happens to make the Hero depart his world and journey into the other world. This is the point that the balloon goes up and the story kicks into high gear.

This is a checkpoint for our story, a place to pause and reassess before plunging on into the unknown. At this point, the story should have:

  • Launched the central conflict
  • Established the theme of the story or book
  • Made some headway into the character development


This is the point I Starwars that Luke fids his Aunt and Uncle killed by stormtroopers ad agrees to go with Obi-Wan and learn the ways of the force.


Section Six – Tests, Allies, Enemies

In which the Hero faces new challenges and gets a squad.

When our story steps into the Special World, there is a definite shift. The Hero is unsettled by this unfamiliar reality and its new rules. This is generally one of the longest stages in the story, as our Hero gets to grips with this new world.

It is at this is the point in the story where we start to introduce a set of challenges or tests that our team have to pass. There are many ways for our protagonists to get into trouble. This stage allows us to add colour to the story.

In this phase, we often add extra characters to the story; some will be enemies and some additional members of the team. We can add plot twists that turn would-be foes into allies and visa versa. Our Hero often learns new rules from them. Popular locations for this stage are Saloons, and seedy bars places with a hint of danger or roughness work well so long as the Hero survives them.


There are so many examples of this stage, but one that fits all of the description given by Campbell and Volger is the canteen at Moss Eisley in Star Wars where Luke and Obi-Wan hire Han Solo and Chewbacca to transport them to Alderaan. The ensuing flight from the imperial storm troopers is also integral to the plot mechanics for this stage.


Section Seven- Approach to the Inmost Cave

In which the Hero gets closer to his goal.

The title of this section is not necessarily referring to an actual cave but rather to the most dangerous place in the story; it is often the heart of our goal or the lair of the big enemy. It could be the villain’s headquarters the lair of a dragon or the death star.

Joseph Campbell wrote, “the cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek.” At this point, our Hero has not entered the cave yet. This stage is all about our approach to that cave; it often covers the preparation required to defeat the villain.


The Millenium Falcon jumps out of hyperspace they think at Alderaan only to find a meteor storm where it should have been. They are attacked by some Tie fighters which head for a large moon, Obi-Wan utters the immortal words “That’s no moon it’s a space station.” And the Millenium Falcon is caught in the tractor beam of the Death Star.


Section Eight – Ordeal

In which the Hero faces his biggest test of all thus far.

This is the point in the story where our Hero faces the most significant challenge, yet our Hero has not hit rock bottom until this point. Vogler describes this phase as a “black moment.” Campbell refers to it as the “belly of the whale.” Both indicate some grim news or a very low point for the Hero. Our Hero will often feel like they have been defeated at this point.

The Hero must now confront their greatest fear. If they survive it, they will emerge transformed. This is a critical moment in the story, as Vogler explains that it will “inform every decision that the Hero makes from this point forward.”

Often this point I the story is not the climax but rather the end of the second act, there is usually more to come. It is often the point where the Hero earns the title of Hero.


In Starwars, the team evade capture o the Death Star Luke and his allies rescue Leia and Obi-Wan disables the tractor beam. Our team escapes the Death Star amid the tragedy of the death of Obi-Wan Kenobi Knowing that Darth Vader and the Death Star are tracking them to the rebel base.


Section Nine – Reward (Seizing the Sword)

In which the Hero sees light at the end of the tunnel.

Our Hero’s been through a lot. However, the fruits of their labour are now at hand, If they can just reach out and grab them. The “reward” is the object or knowledge the Hero has fought throughout the entire journey to hold.

Once the Hero has it in their possession, it generally has more significant ramifications for the story. Vogler offers a few examples of it in action:

  • Luke rescues Princess Leia and captures the plans of the Death Star — keys to defeating Darth Vader.
  • Dorothy escapes from the Wicked Witch’s castle with the broomstick and the ruby slippers — keys to getting back home.


Luke escaping from the Death Star with Leia and the plans contained in R2D2, allows him to contemplate beating Darth Vader and destroying the Death Star.

This sets up the plot removing Obi-Wan forces Luke to step up to the plate the knowledge that Vader is tracking the Falcon sets up the tension for the final act.

Section Ten- The Road Back

In which the light at the end of the tunnel might be a little further than the Hero thought.

The story’s not over just yet, as this phase marks the beginning of Act Three. Now that he’s seized the reward, the Hero tries to return to the Ordinary World, but more dangers (inconveniently) arise on the road back from the Inmost Cave.

More precisely, the Hero must deal with the consequences and aftermath of the previous act: the dragon, enraged by the Hero who’s just stolen a treasure from under his nose, starts the hunt. Or perhaps the opposing army gathers to pursue the Hero across a crowded battlefield. These are all further obstacles for the Hero, who must face them down before they can return home.


Luke and the team arrive on the fourth moon of Yavin to the Rebel Base. Grand Moff Tarkin has tracked them. The Death Star is charging its superweapon to destroy the moon as soon as the Death Star emerges from the shadow of the planet Yavin.

This scene sets up a tense race to defeat the Death Star before it defeats them.

Section Eleven- Resurrection

In which the last test is met.

Here is the true climax of the story. Everything that happened before this stage culminates in a crowning test for the Hero, as the Dark Side gets one last chance to triumph over the Hero.

Vogler refers to this as a “final exam” for the Hero — they must be “tested once more to see if they have learned the lessons of the Ordeal.” It’s in this Final Battle that the protagonist goes through one more “resurrection.” As a result, this is where you’ll get most of your miraculous near-death escapes, à la James Bond’s dashing deliverances. If the Hero survives, they can start looking forward to a sweet ending.


The race to destroy the Death Star is on in one of the most iconic cinematic moments in history. The X-wing fighters race down the gully on the Death Star. All hope seems to be lost until Han Solo rejoins Luke. Obi-Wan Kenobi reaches out from the depths of the Force to convince Luke to use the Force instead of the targeting computer.

Section Twelve – Return with the Elixir

In which our Hero has a triumphant homecoming.

Finally, the Hero gets to return home. However, they go back a different person than when they started out: they’ve grown and matured as a result of the journey they’ve taken.

But we’ve got to see them bring home the bacon, right? That’s why the protagonist must return with the “Elixir,” or the prize won during the journey, whether that’s an object or knowledge and insight gained.

Of course, it’s possible for a story to end on an Elixir-less note — but then the Hero would be doomed to repeat the entire adventure.



With the Death Star destroyed our Heros return to Yavin as victors and there are happy greetings, and the film ends with an award parade where our Heros are decorated for their bravery.

Sources and the Archive

It is easy to get carried away storytelling and creating graphic novels, but I do feel its important to reflect back on the intended subject of this assignment.

  1. Produce a series of related images that use a readily available online archive (or archives) as their starting point or subject.
  2. Make a small book for this project, using proprietary software, to be viewable online. In your book, you may use a selection of images from primary sources (your own images) and/or secondary sources (images found online and/or scanned from other sources).
  3. Think about a theme for your book and use the references provided throughout Part Two as inspiration.
  4.  Your book should contain a minimum of 12 double pages and can contain text if you wish, or simply a collection of images.


  • series of related images
  • Book-style presentation
  • Book to have a theme
  • To be around 12 double pages

So far, the concept of presenting a book digitally is in hand, and my initial test works pleasingly well. The Hero Cycle is most certainly a theme. The 12 double pages are taken care of by the actual execution late. This leaves me with the central theme of the assignment, referencing the archive. In work, I looked at by John Byrne. His archive was the library of episodes from the tv series that he digitally remastered and manipulated. In Hackney Kisses Stephen Gill used a set of negatives he bought from a  market. Erik Kessel used every image uploaded to Flikr in 24 hours ( a surprisingly high number. Evan Roth created an exhibition Since You Were Born by printing all the images stored in his web cache.

As we can see by a bit of research, the archive has an extensive definition, and these contemporary artists have drawn inspiration from myriad different sources. For assignment two, I intend to draw my reference and source materials from several different sources, namely:

  • My archive of images
  • Google Image search
  • Envato elements – An image resource library
  • Daz 3D Studio Asset Library
  • Images I may shoot to fit the need
  • 3D Models created in Daz3D studio

Developing the idea

I spent a lot of time thinking about what story to tell. In the end, my favourite idea was to create a story that explains the Hero cycle.

The hero cycle is a classic storytelling construct developed by Joseph Campbell that describes the typical path through a story that a hero takes.

The hero’s journey is a common narrative archetype, or story template, that involves a hero who goes on an adventure, learns a lesson, wins a victory with that newfound knowledge, and then returns home transformed.

It has three phases divided into twelve steps. Phase one is the departure, Phase two the initiation and Phase three the return. The twelve steps are as follows:

  1. The Ordinary World
  2. The Call of Adventure
  3. Refusal of the Call
  4. Meeting the Mentor
  5. Crossing the First Threshold
  6. Tests, Allies, Enemies
  7. Approach to the Inmost Cave
  8. The Ordeal
  9. Reward (Seizing the Sword)
  10. The Road Back
  11. Resurrection
  12. Return with the Elixir

This universal story construct applies to so many stories dating back thousands of years from Harry Potter through Lord of the Rings To The Greek Myths such as Odysseus and Hercules.

The Hero Cycle is such a powerful storytelling template that it deserves to be the subject of my assignment.


During my Tutor feedback for assignment 1, my tutor remarked at how much she liked my comic book style submission for exercise 1.3.

The piece was reminiscent of the comics of the ’70s and ‘80s such as Jakie and the controversial Star Trek work of John Byrne.

John Byrne has a long-standing reputation as a comic book artist he worked on the Chris Claremont run of the X-Men and has reputedly tackled just about every character in the DC and Marvel universes.

In 2014 he started a four-year project called Star Trek New Visions a photonovel which repurposed images from the original series and manipulated them digitally to fit his new story.

John Byrne uses a bizarre technique that looks like nothing else on the stands today. He takes high-resolution screen captures of the Original Series and uses the actors like puppets, compositing them into new situations to tell new stories. These photo comics are not anything new the Italians call them “fumetti” and have been creating them since the 1940s. Unlike fumetti which stages the scene specifically for the story in his work Byrne was limited to the sets filmed for the original show. So unlike fumetti, where the actors would pose for the scene, Byrne would find images of the characters he needed from other episodes and cut and stick them into the scene to create a new story.

When I read up on this, the comic critiques seem to be angry with him for dropping his pencils and doing this, but I find it rather fascinating and very in-keeping with the work I have been studying. Byrne was very clever as he used the cast the original film gave him and where he needed another person he would either photograph them or find a forgotten extra with enough useful angles to incorporate them in the plot. He often ended up transplanting the head of one actor on the body of another to get the scene he wanted.

So back to my assignment having gone off on a rollercoaster of research trying to be more academic in researching comics, I find a comic master creating photomontage images that are not dissimilar to my own work. I mean I am not creating Fumetti or even comic books at the moment, but the work I have been doing blending photoshop, 3D modelling and photography certainly fall in line with Byrnes work. I spent a stupid amount of time trying to find a story to tell in this style and in the end, the answer to my problem is simple. More about that in the next post.

Test flip book

Finding a way to display a book

Produce either a series of four to six portraits (looking at Stezaker and Stenram) or a series of four to six landscape-based images based on your immediate surroundings (as with Gill’s Hackney Marshes series). Complete Parts 1 and 2 of the assignment and upload the finished images to your learning log together with a short reflection (500–1,000 words) on your motivations, references and methods for both parts of the assignment.

A2 The Archive

Assignment two

The Archive

Produce a series of related images that use a readily available online archive (or archives) as their starting point or subject.

Make a small book for this project, using proprietary software, to be viewable online. In your book, you may use a selection of images from primary sources (your own images) and/or secondary sources (images found online and/or scanned from other sources). Think about a theme for your book and use the references provided throughout Part Two as inspiration. Your book should contain a minimum of 12 double pages and can contain text if you wish, or simply a collection of images. Provide a link to where your tutor can view your book and also provide a few double-page spreads as still images as part of your learning log.

If you have any queries on your subject, then discuss these in advance with your tutor. Use BLURB or other proprietary software that will allow you easily to construct your book and publish it to the web. Remember that it must be accessible to view via your learning log.