Monday, January 28, 2013

Graphic Novels and Series

If you miss ya comics, Ctein (on The Online Photographer of all places) has made an article with recommendations. Those of them I know, I agree with.

I find this truly strange: from I was seven til I was... mmm, in my early forties, I was reading comics all the time. For most of that time, the one weekly thing I always did was my trek to the comics book store. But something happened during the noughties, my comics started to stack up, I didn't get around to reading them.
When the iPad came, I hoped it could revive my interest. I still have the General Interest, I still think comics is just about the ultimate story-telling and communications medium, I mean it is simply the combination of text and pictures, with those the sky is the limit. But for some reasons I just don't finish the stories or series I begin.

Maybe the problem is that most comics are "unlimited series", and require Addiction rather than mere Interest to continue following. If a good series is just six issues (and most good stories can be told in that length), I'm more likely to complete it. (And such was the case of the one digital comic I did finish, the Batman story wonderfully drawn by Greg Capullo.)

Writer Andy Ihnatko suggests that comics are made for young people, not guys in their forties (he has also been losing interest, if I recall right). But: I don't *want* to grow out of them! Also, we are not talking about a genre, we are talking about a medium. Comics no more have to be about superheroes than movies have to be action movies. So I don't know. Maybe there currently just aren't the equivalent of the excellent writers who kept my interest alive as an adult, Neal Gaiman, Frank Miller, Alan Moore?


John Page said...

I still think comics is just about the ultimate story-telling and communications medium....the sky is the limit.

Although I enjoy them I wouldn't go this far. Comics are limited in a lot of ways. It's much harder to do action effectively as opposed to animation, and unlike a novel it's very difficult to get into a character's thoughts without a lot of clunky thought balloons and boxes. Add to this the modern reliance on Photoshop and you get a kind of almost Rotoscope look to a lot of them which I find irritating - give me the older four color stuff which had a crude energy and didn't look, as Jules Feiffer said, like they'd been drawn in a bank.

Eolake Stobblehouse said...

"Drawn in a bank"? I'm not quite sure I understand that expression.

But I agree that simpler and flatter are often better than more complex art, and attempts at realism or at dramatic rendering of light and shadow.

I admit that when I think about the fullest potential of comics, I end up just outside of comics, in books combining art and words in other ways. But it is surprisingly rare to see this explored, except in kid's books.

Anonymous said...

I guess you could say "drawn by a computer" but he wrote that in I think 1965 when although computers existed there weren't as far as I know personal computers.

Eolake Stobblehouse said...

Mmm, yeah, I guess he meant like, correct but stiff and lifeless.

John Page said...

Check out The Ultimates if wonder what I mean. Brian Hitch, and his imitators, is a very good artist but too much use of Photoshop gives his work, especially his people, a weird, creepy quality.

Eolake Stobblehouse said...

Yes, I do see what you mean.
Hitch is one of the very best realistic artists, has been for many years.

And the Ultimates is one of the good superhero comics. Fresh and edgy.

The Authority was that some years ago. Though to my surprise it doesn't stand up as well to re-reading as I'd have thought.