As this past Sunday was the official International Day of Words whose motto is “words are the bond of humankind,” let’s take a look back at Broken Saints, the Flash-animatic series that burst onto the web scene at the start of the millennium with the trope “word is bond” as well.
One of the earliest examples of motion comics, Broken Saints is an interesting commentary on a dystopian future and the terrible looming truth that brings 4 people together from different parts of the globe. One of the four, Kamimura, is a Japanese monk and mystic, who says that he had given his word to someone long ago and his word is bond.
What does the trope mean exactly? According to the online slang dictionary, it is an assertion that one is telling the truth, but the trope lends more power and drama to the Word with a capital W, as if a lie would break the bond of truth.
Certainly Broken Saints creator Brooke Burgess believed that the bonds of love and truth could avert even apocalypse, as his four protagonists connect and learn to trust one another, even though their first impressions of each other may not have yielded much fruit. Now with his own transmedia company in Canada, Burgess definitely set a solid bar for web media with this dark yet hopeful take on the coming millennium. See a trailer here.
It is the bond of words that the César Egido Serrano Foundation hopes to promote through establishing November 23 as the International Day of Words and the micro-fiction competition it has held since 2010. With the grand prize topping at $20,000, the 2013 competition drew over 22,500 applicants from 119 countries around the world.
In the spirit of César Egido Serrano’s hope to unite people through words, the competition accepts 100-word short stories in the languages of the three main monotheistic religions: English, Hebrew, and Arabic, in addition to his native Spanish.
The foundation is based in Serrano’s hometown of Quero, located in Spain’s La Mancha region and part of the route Don Quixote took on his fabled adventure, with whom Mr. Serrano admits to sharing a similar idealism. In his website’s brief bio, Serrano expresses his wish “to share the message of tolerance and solidarity with all those who in good faith contribute to the achievement of a beautiful utopia. But beware because sometimes Utopias are met…”
Such a positive and hopeful outlook is rare to find these days, as most people get bogged down with all the wrongs of the world, and certainly there are many wrongs to worry about, which makes Mr. Serrano’s message all the more refreshing, convinced “…that the 21st century is an era of understanding.”
With Broken Saints, Brooke Burgess tried to relay the same message through digital art, likewise believing mutual understanding as the first step towards staving off apocalypse. Perhaps Burgess and Serrano are onto something; perhaps art and literature will indeed give people the safe haven they need to come together and start the process of reconciliation and cooperation.