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Comic Books (1 Viewer)

lemon

Member
Author Neil Gaiman says that comic books are a perfectly legitemate 20th century art form, and comics, especially the Japanese anime and manga, have been getting more and more popular lately. Comic books appear bookstores and even libraries. Some people veiw comics as taking away from the community of readers and writers, and some novel authors frown upon them as not real literature, but I myself have been inspired as a reader and a writer by comics. I happen to read a lot of manga. I just wanted to see what you as writers think about comic books.
 

kinetickyle

Senior Member
I love comics. I grew up reading Spiderman and Batman. I still read graphic novels from time to time. I don't think comics detract from novels at all. In fact, they can be a gateway of sorts to much more involved reading. And while it may not qualify as literature, there have been a number of novels written about comic book characters. I think comic books are definately an art form, and a great one at that.
 

Spudley

Senior Member
Comic books.....

Well, I never really got into reading comic books myself, but I definitely agree that they are perfectly a valid literature and art form.

There's various different types of comic too. There's the "serious" ones - mostly superhero comics; with loads of detail, impressively drawn backgrounds, and always a dark undertone to the stories. I've always been impressed by the artwork on these, but I never really enjoyed reading them (though I did own a few issues of 2000AD many years back).
Then there's the ones with much simpler drawing styles - minimalist background detail, and characters that are instantly recognisable, but never over-drawn. Sadly, most of these seem to end up being the daily-gag-in-the-newspaper type strips, and never live up to their potential in terms of character building and storylines: Now that type of strip *is* easy to dismiss as not being literature!

But that said, I can immediately think of one very good exception: Freefall. It falls into the latter category, but is most definitely a story-line comic... you'll want to read from the begining to get the full picture (still has plenty of gags, though! ;)). And the characters are so well defined they're almost real.
 
I like comic books such as the Beano and the Dandy, the puns are outrageously silly!

I agree about Spiderman and Batman, they're the mutts' nuts!

I think that some comic books are literature. It really depends on the quality of the gags or storylines. X-Man has become an icon of popular culture.

I think comic books and cartoons can be a legitimate combination of art and literature. Leunig is a particular favourite of the cartoonists. Dilbert is a witty satirical cartoon and Garfield has it's moments. Robot Man was once brilliantly funny, though it has lost much of it's class. For out and out genius, look at The Far Side, weird, but bloody hilarious!
 

Spudley

Senior Member
Joel, Just reading the list of comics you like, I suspect you might enjoy reading Freefall. (ie the one I mentioned earlier)

It has strong characters, and a good mix of humour, ranging from occasional satire to some truly outrageous puns, and everything in between.

It's a comic strip with an on-going story line, which means you'll probably want to start by clicking the "Story Start" link, but don't let that put you off... once you've read a the first few you'll be hooked :)

The forum on the Freefall site is the only other web forum apart from this one that I spend much time on. Pop in and say hi some time. :) (if you like puns, you'll love the crowd there - most of them are even punnier than me! :eek:)
 

Spudley

Senior Member
Sir Joel of Cardwell said:
lol, that's one of the punniest sites I've ever seen!

tex tonic plates!

brilliant!

I might peruse that forum now

hehe. Thought you might like it. :D

Sir Joel of Cardwell said:
Actually the "interactive comic book" Sam and Max Hit the Road is another favourite, anyone familiar with it?

Nope. Can't say I am. Do you have a link to it's website? It sounds interesting.
 
T

The Pope

Comic books are most definitly a legitimate art form, especially so when contrasted with the current state of other arts. The movie industry, for example.

If any of you have not read through "100 Bullets" yet, get to your nearest store, throw down as much money as necessary, buy these books. Moral examinations + conspiracy goodness + decent charactres = win. Simple.

Jhonen Vasquez is my hero. The series "Johnny The Homicidal Maniac" is one of the most interesting reads I've ever encountered, chronicling the dilemmas of Johnny C, a schizophrenia victim that feels compelled to keep a wall in one of his basements coated in fresh blood at all times, lest something terrible escape. While that may sound terribly gory... well, it is. But that's not really the focus of the book. Johnny's descent into madness is the real reason to pick this thing up. It's beautifully written, and is one of the rare books where the monochrome treatment actually adds to the atmoshpere.

Also by Jhonen, a book called Squee! is available. It's not half as serious as Johnny, and tells the tale of a little boy named Todd, who lives next door to everyone's favourite serial killer. He's afriad of basically everything, and is in general hilarious.

If you can track it down, a book called "From Hell" is an absolute must. It's a sixteen part melodrama detailing the crimes of famous murderer Jack The Ripper. More tastefully done than one would expect, and focuses more on the drama inflicted on the police force by this man's rampage than the actual ripping performed. Quite an excellent book.

I've got a number of other books I would like to suggest, but I have a massive blister on my right index finger, so this whole post burns. Laugh at my agony!
 

Karen

Member
"Pope", I gotta ask, did you think that the extremely detailed murder and dismemberment scene in "From Hell" was really necessary? I do know that the artist on that book was specifically chosen because he didn't glorify his subject matter, so that the murder would look appropriately horrific, and not like 'comic-book violence'.

However, "From Hell" left a very bad taste in my mouth, because I thought that the detailed dismemberment scene was a really bad creative decision on Moore's part. I understand that the story is about a grisly murderer, so it's hardly surprising that the book would contain a grisly murder, but I don't think that the gore added anything that couldn't have been achieved perfectly well by SUGGESTING what was happening, rather than showing it. Despite their best efforts, I think it turned "From Hell" into a spectacle.

I agree with you about your other comic picks though, for the most part- haven't read 100 bullets, but JTHM is great. That may seem inconsistent, given what I'd said before, but the context of JTHM is such that the violence is appropriate.

About comics in general, I love them as an art form, but I find it dissapointing that very few comics attempt to do what popular novels do.....just tell interesting stories about interesting characters, and explore various themes. That's what I try to do, but it's too early to tell whether or not I'm getting anywhere :wink:
 

Washer

Senior Member
Certainly comic books are a legitimate art form, and if the artist so desires, a type of serious and involved literature. I haven't had a chance to read as many as I should, but JTHM rocks. GTO (a manga) is also good - really funny. Priest (another manga) is the single best drawn B&W comic I've ever seen. Um, that's pretty much it. Don't read The Crow. It was pretentious and gothy. Way too pretentious. Full of enigmatic dialogue, and poetry quoted all over the place.

There's a revolution afoot! Look for webcomics. These are comics, usually written, laid out, colored, the works, by one starving artist / college student. Popular ones, and personal favorites, are:
Demonology 101 : http://faith.rydia.net
Megatokyo: http://www.megatokyo.com
Mall Monkeys: http://www.mallmonkeys.com
Exploitation Now: http://www.exploitationnow.com

Most webcomics are amateurish, as befits amateur artists, and none that I've seen cut the artistic muster of a professional comic, but a lot have very well-developed plots.
 

Karen

Member
Washer said:
Most webcomics are amateurish, as befits amateur artists, and none that I've seen cut the artistic muster of a professional comic, but a lot have very well-developed plots.

As much as I appreciate your spreading the gospel of Webcomics (GO WEBCOMICS!!!!), I'm not sure if I can agree with that statement. I definitely know what you mean........professional comics usually have a level of polish that most webcomics can't match, thanks to having staffs of multiple artists with years of experience. However, I do'nt know if you can say that the art is BETTER as a result.

Take "Demonology 101" for example, the story is fairly derivative (though interesting), but the way Faith handles facial expressions in the most recent chapters is far more artistic, nuanced, and complicated than how all but a select few of the 'professional' artists handle them. Now, her anatomy occaisionally gets a little strange (especially at the beginning, when she was really learning how to draw in the process of telling the story), but if you're definition of good art is art that expresses EMOTION, the art in D101 is better than 99% of the professional comics out there.

In general, I find the art in webcomics to be far more stylistically varied and interesting than that of most professional comics, because there's so much passion behind it. Often, webcomic artists are struggling to learn how to create their comics as they're doing them, for zero money, while they have to juggle everything else in their life, because their desire to create and tell their story is just too strong to ignore. Compare that to the typical professional comic artist, who gets handed a script he didn't write featuring characters he didn't create, and all too often, seems to focus his energies on drawing perfect breasts on the heroines and clenched fists and "I am constipated!" grimaces for the muscle-bound heroes. Exhibit A, image comics.

Not to downplay the quality of some professional comics (and I would be the first to admit that a LOT of webcomics are poor quality, since a lot of people do them purely for fun), but I think there's a distinction between 'Professional-quality art', and 'Good-art'. There's overlap, but they are not the same thing at all.
 
T

The Pope

I would say that the dismemberments were absolutely necessary. It was supposed to leave a bad taste in your mouth, it's a story about a man that kills people. He's supposed to offend you, as he's an offensive person doing very offensive things. I think it's better the murder be detailed than just cutting to the next scene.
 

Karen

Member
Well, I guess I can understand where you're coming from, but I still feel the same way about it. I think the idea of what was done was offensive, without requiring spectacle. But that could just be me, I'm very anti-spectacle....Aristolean principles and all...
 

Luc

Member
Sir Joel of Cardwell said:
I like comic books such as the Beano and the Dandy, the puns are outrageously silly!

Cool, I read the beano and Dandy as well, true their kids, but their entertaing and amusing.

I'm not a fan of the justice league comics, it all seems to get too werid and absurd for me to follow.

However I do read the Judge Dredd comics, the plots are wonderful and clever and they actually even did a real serious one with no deaths whatsoever (which was so suprising) but the comic does well to me because it dosen't make the absurd seem logical and the reader needs that because most of times the reader knows what is sensible or not.
 

rashadow

Senior Member
Comic books are as valid as literature and art as is Steinbeck and DaVinci.

I challenge any one to read one of the sin city graphic novels by Frank Miller (anything from frank for that matter especially the Dark Knight Returns) or anything that spilled from the pen of Alan Moore or even Neil Gaiman. X-men when it was done by Chris Claremont, or any of the shining examples of literature out there. Read one and tell me that you weren't moved, or that you did not walk away feeling completely satasfied.

And if you want to laugh yourself into tears pick up one of the Bone graphic novels by Jeff Smith.

Just an opinion...

ps I can't stand web comics, some are really good looking but if I can't hold it in my hand, than I can't stomach it.
 

Spudley

Senior Member
rashadow said:
ps I can't stand web comics, some are really good looking but if I can't hold it in my hand, than I can't stomach it.
I think that's unfair to the genre. I tend to agree that it's easier to read a comic on the page than on the screen, but it's a harsh judgement to not read them because of that. For a lot of web comics, the reason they're online rather than printed is because they're too literary or unusual to gain syndication.

You might also want to take a look at Plan 9 Publishing, which specialises in publishing books for web comics. A lot of the best ones have published with them (which, I guess effectively turns them from web comics back into traditional comics... but don't let anyone hear you saying that! ;) )
 

Gordash

Member
Comics are good, manga is where most of characters spawn from (obviously I put my unique twist to them though) mainly Evangelion and Oh! My Goddess.
 
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