(Disclaimer: I'm no expert in Mayan writing! Look elsewhere for scholarly data. I widely referenced Ancient Scripts: Maya.) For one of my daily comics in May, I emulated the visual style of Mayan glyphs.
In real Maya glyphs, each square is a word made up of one or more symbols. Each individual symbol within a word can indicate a number, royal title, sound, or meaning, and you put them together to build compound words. So, for instance, this glyph meaning "day"
is part of the glyph meaning "plate".
Presumably, if you didn't put that symbol for "day" on the plate, the image might be ambiguous or could be pronounced wrong thus signifying a different word. Put together enough of these symbols (many of which are Mayan gods with complicated portraits) and a single word can be quite complex. This just means "he/she grabs"...
The directness of the images remind me of some of the cleaner, more symbolic cartooning styles, such as that of John Porcellino or Clutch McBastard.
In my comic at the top of this post, I correlated each square (a Mayan word) to a comics panel (representing, generally, a moment instead of a word). Instead of making a word out of sounds and meanings, I've made a moment out of things and actions.
Here are some further experiments.
(1) Woman drinks too much alcohol, ends up sick with headache for 3 hours (2) Woman drinks too much coffee, stays up all night building future tech (3) Bear eats 3 donuts, dies happy (4) Anxious fish swims upstream in a river, evades fishermen (5) Mike goes out biking despite threat of rain (6) I write this blog post but don't have coffee yet, and the cat's still asleep
I feel like there's a lot more room for fun here - if more ideas can be quantified into small, simple "add on" images, I could pack more into a single glyph. But that's all the time I have now. Anyone else want to jump in?