Comics

creative work in which pictures and text convey information such as narratives

Comics is a form of visual art consisting of images which are commonly combined with text, often in the form of speech balloons or image captions. Originally used to illustrate caricatures and to entertain through the use of amusing and trivial stories, it has by now evolved into a literary medium with many subgenres.

QuotesEdit

  • It is often said that women are better to talk about emotions, to write dialogues that hit the nail on the head, and men know how to create stories with twists and turns. As for me, I think it’s difficult today to make a distinction between genres. Some men are really able to imagine sensitive and complex characters, while some women are able to create sometimes violent action scenes. Nowadays, each writer has their own specialty. It doesn’t matter if they’re a man or a woman.
  • Hiromu Arakawa [1]
  • ...all our theories about how comics are put together are invariably about time. The duration of a panel's action and the duration between one panel and the next. We haven't added very much to the Eisner-Steranko concept of "sequential art."
  • An illustrator is someone who takes a story and visualizes it. In a comic, the drawing is the story; it doesn’t illustrate it.
  • I don't think that we should seek to define comics on a formal basis. I think that some of the best comics do not involve "sequential images" which is the basis of every formal definition of comics.
  • ...if the form is to say something important, rather than just involve itself in the kinetic thrill of drawn characters chasing each other, then we have to think harder.
  • ...the concept of what comics is gets narrower as we go along. Each writer on the subject who defines comics wants to exclude something. McCloud excludes the single panel so Family Circus and Far Side are out. Blackbeard says there must be word balloons so Prince Valiant is out. Harvey says there has to be a visual-verbal balance. Somebody else says there must be no redundancy of information with words and pictures repeating each other. This is crap. Pictures have illustrated words and words have explained pictures since the beginning of time. Somebody reads a dull comic and extrapolates rules from it. Who do they think they are? There are all these people trying to be the rule-makers and the end result is bad for the art of Comics.
  • The form restricts itself at every turn. For instance, the artist sits before his blank page. If his first picture is a big square one all the way across then he has severely limited his second panel to having to fit in the letterbox space along the bottom. If he divides that in two then that third panel is looking like a sad and defeated cornered animal. That's about all i see when I look at comic books now. Obviously the artist doesn't do it that way; he plans the whole page simultaneously. But it tends to read like he planned it that way, and that's all that counts.
  • [t]he standards of comics include inventiveness, originality, and consistency. The best comics really are great artworks — great by the intrinsic standards of that art form.
    • David Carrier The Aesthetics of Comics p. 95
  • The syllogism that says "Comics are sequential art, Trajan's column is sequential art, therefore Trajan's column is comics" is such a glaring fallacy that I'm surprised it's gotten this far.
  • ...the whole small press movement...[is] the first real upheaval in this country of Comics as a genuine Art - Art being to me a thing which is a lively part of life while commenting on life - as opposed to comics as journalism-cartooning or comics as a collecting-hobby or comics as boys power fantasies.
    • Eddie Campbell Arkensword 17-18, 1986
  • Her husband had been willing to indulge her affection for the comics so long as it was just her, but now their children were growing up and starting to read and he was not convinced that people having adventures in skintight costumes were altogether appropriate. His feeling was that his wife would have to stop reading it, and she was heartbroken because she had an equally strong commitment to the fictional characters she had been enjoying all these years. When you come face to face with that kind of circumstance, it has to be treated with respect. It's like singing on stage and realizing you had an impact on your audience, and using that as an excuse to do your craft better than before.
  • You can go into slow motion or fast motion in a comic book in a way you can't in a movie without drawing attention to it. You can have six panels in a row where the actions are a half second apart, or you can skip years between panels and it just doesn't have the same egregious quality, where, in a movie, Peckinpah slows down the murder and it seems that the body collapse in slow motion; it seems like an entirely different thing when you do that on film and when you do that on the comics page.
    • Samuel R. Delany The Comics Journal 48
  • The viewer is a 'co-producer" of the comics text at a level of involvement and intensity just through the nature of the medium itself.
    • Samuel R. Delany The Comics Journal 48
  • ...in a visual medium, a comics format … the writer works for the artist, in the same that the writer in a movie works for the director.
    • Samuel R. Delany The Comics Journal 48
  • In movies, television, and comics, the operative factor is what some film semiologists have taken to calling 'the gaze.' The gaze is a combination of the gaze of the viewer at the comics page, or television tube, or film screen, modulated and directed by the looks that the characters give to each other and by various objects. I look at character X who looks at situation Y (and character X) in a way that I wouldn't have before. The point, of course, is that the movie gaze, the TV gaze, and the comics gaze are three very different processes. What makes the comic book gaze the priveleged one in my estimation is that the viewer has the greatest control over the comic book gaze, greater than any of the other two. Viewers can control how far way or close to hold the page, whether to go backwards and re-gaze -- and going back in a comic book is a very different process from going back in a novel to re-read a previous paragraph or chapter.
    • Samuel R. Delany The Comics Journal 48
  • You know, I distrust people who 'read' comics … you don't read a comic book. You look at a comic book. While you're looking at a comic, sure, you read the words; as well, you learn to look at the panels in a certain order, in a certain way … if you start out to 'read' a comic book, you're starting out with the wrong mind-set.
    • Samuel R. Delany The Comics Journal 48
  • ...'comic' simply means funny, so the word is inadequate. To tack on the word 'adult' has resulted in a style of magazine suitable for only some adults, glossy comics barely containing their airbrushed breasts, leaving little room for genuine content.
    • Paul Gravett Escape Magazine 1
  • ...the history of comics is mostly just a history of crap.
  • Jack Kirby: I came up with the Black Panther because I realized I had no blacks in my strip. I’d never drawn a black. I needed a black. I suddenly discovered that I had a lot of black readers. My first friend was a black! And here I was ignoring them because I was associating with everybody else. It suddenly dawned on me — believe me, it was for human reasons — I suddenly discovered nobody was doing blacks. And here I am a leading cartoonist and I wasn’t doing a black. I was the first one to do an Asian. Then I began to realize that there was a whole range of human differences. Remember, in my day, drawing an Asian was drawing Fu Manchu — that’s the only Asian they knew. The Asians were wily…
  • Oh, yes. Comics was acquiring a wider audience. Of course, it’s universal today, but you can’t acquire a wider audience without being creative. You can’t find that anywhere today.
  • The artist is the lowest form of life on the rung of the ladder. The publishers are usually businessmen who deal with businessmen. They deal with promotional people. They deal with financial people. They deal with accountants. They deal with people who work on higher levels. They deal with tax people, but have absolutely no interest in artists, in individual artists, especially very young artists. They’re not going to be that interested in very, very young people. They pat you on the head and say, “How are you, Jackie?” Things like that. But the fact is that very young people were the ones who did the work and enabled these guys to continue the kind of lives they liked. But they never recognize that. They’re humans, too. If they don’t think you’re important, they’ll treat you in that particular manner. Their accountants are more important to them than you are, and yet you’re making the sales that they depend on. It’s an odd set-up, but it exists. A very young person can come up with an idea— well, Superman is the classic example, see? All these businessmen are at the top of the pyramid, but the entire pyramid is resting on two little stones, and the pyramid denies the existence of these stones because it’s so big. It’s loaded with officials, but the little stones are the ones that are holding it up because that’s where the support is coming from, and I was in the same position.
  • They’re outraged not because of any personal prejudice. They’re outraged because they hate to see any change made on a series and characters they had gotten familiar with. In Spider-Man, when they got a new actor, that bothered them, even though it was a white actor. I don’t think it had to do with racial prejudice as much as they don’t like things changed.
  • The most important thing in those days was the cover. All these books were on the newsstand, and you had to hope your cover would compel somebody to buy the book. And everything depended on the name. A character like Hurricane was a guy who ran very fast. Later on, when I was looking for new superheroes, it occurred to me that somebody crawling on walls would be interesting. I thought, Mosquito Man? It didn't sound very glamorous. Fly Man? I went down the list and came to Spider-Man. That was it.
  • Boys young and old satisfy their wish thoughts by reading comics. If they go crazy for Wonder Woman it means they're longing for a beautiful exciting girl who's stronger than they are.
    • William Moulton Marston as quoted in Olive Richard Bryne's, "Our Women Are Our Future" Family Circle, August 14th, 1942.
  • Comics speak, without qualm or sophistication, to the innermost ears of the wishful self. The response is like that of a thirsty traveler who suddenly finds water in the desert - he drinks to satiation.
    • William Moulton Marston The American Scholar Winter 1943/4 issue, pp.35-44
  • There are one or two rules of thumb which are useful in distinguishing sadism from exciting adventure in the comics. Threat of torture is harmless, but when the torture it’s self is shown it becomes sadism. When a lovely heroine is show bound to the stake, comics followers are sure that the rescue will arrive just in the nick of time. The readers wish is to see save the girl, not to see her suffer. A bound or chained person does not suffer even embarrassment in the comics, and the reader, therefore is not being taught to enjoy suffering.
    • William Moulton Marston, as quoted in Olive Richard Bryne's, "Don't laugh at the comics" Family Circle, Oct 25, 1940.
  • Oh yes, but not until women control men. Wonder Woman – and the trend toward male acceptance of female love power, which she represents, indicates that the first psychological step has actually been taken. Boys, young and old, satisfy their wish thoughts by reading comics. If they go crazy over Wonder Woman, it means they’re longing for a beautiful, exciting girl who is stronger than they are. These simple, highly imaginative picture stories satisfy longings that ordinary daily life thwarts and denies. Superman and the army of male comics characters who resemble him satisfy the simple desire to be stronger and more powerful than anybody else. Wonder Woman satisfies the subconscious, elaboratedly disguised desire of males to be mastered by a woman who loves them.
  • Comics they say are not literature--adventure strips lack artistic form, mental substance, and emotional appeal to any but the most moronic of minds. Can it be that 100,000,000 Americans are morons?
    • William Moulton Marston, Why 100,000,000 Americans Read Comics p. 35-44
  • ...much cooler than the television show could ever have been.
    • George R. R. Martin describing the comic book adaptation of [w:Doorways|Doorways]], 'What if?. George R.R. Martin's Doorways #1. pp. 24–27.
  • Kids don't look at Superman and Batman and go, "Oh, that's geeky; they've got to be dark and tormented for me to like it." They can have bad guys and good guys and fight crime and have colorful outfits and still be entertaining and cool.
    • Craig McCracken [5]
  • If I write a crappy comic book, it doesn't cost the budget of an emergent Third World nation. When you've got these kinds of sums involved in creating another two hours of entertainment for Western teenagers, I feel it crosses the line from being merely distasteful to being wrong. To paint comic books as childish and illiterate is lazy. A lot of comic books are very literate — unlike most films.
  • To my mind, this embracing of what were unambiguously children's characters at their mid-20th century inception seems to indicate a retreat from the admittedly overwhelming complexities of modern existence. It looks to me very much like a significant section of the public, having given up on attempting to understand the reality they are actually living in, have instead reasoned that they might at least be able to comprehend the sprawling, meaningless, but at-least-still-finite 'universes' presented by DC or Marvel Comics. I would also observe that it is, potentially, culturally catastrophic to have the ephemera of a previous century squatting possessively on the cultural stage and refusing to allow this surely unprecedented era to develop a culture of its own, relevant and sufficient to its times.
  • Why should murder be so over-represented in our popular fiction, and crimes of a sexual nature so under-represented? Surely it cannot be because rape is worse than murder, and is thus deserving of a special unmentionable status. Surely, the last people to suggest that rape was worse than murder were the sensitively reared classes of the Victorian era … And yet, while it is perfectly acceptable (not to say almost mandatory) to depict violent and lethal incidents in lurid and gloating high-definition detail, this is somehow regarded as healthy and perfectly normal, and it is the considered depiction of sexual crimes that will inevitably attract uproars of the current variety.
  • If people did start, say, for example, treating women more accurately and realistically in their comics, and if those comics were well enough crafted to be superior comics then I would hope that through a process of Darwinian natural selection that there would gradually be less and less sexist material appearing in comics because they would be perceived by the readers as being more and more dated, more and more offensive. That form of pressure I have no qualms against bringing upon people because it seems to me to be perfectly fair and equitable. And there’s no guarantee that I’ll succeed in it. Any other sort of pressure, I really don’t go along with.
  • My main point about films is that I don't like the adaptation process, and I particularly don't like the modern way of comic book film adaptations, where, essentially, the central characters are just franchises that can be worked endlessly to no apparent point. In most cases, the original comic books were far superior to the film.
    • Alan Moore [www.theguardian.com/books/2013/nov/22/alan-moore-comic-boks-interview Alan Moore: Why shouldn't you have a bit of fun while dealing with the deepest issues of the mind? The Guardian (Nov/22/2013)]
  • Comics were definitely happier, breezier and more confident in their own strengths before Hollywood and the Internet turned the business of writing superhero stories into the production of low budget storyboards or, worse, into conformist, fruitless attempts to impress or entertain a small group of people who appear to hate comics and their creators.
  • The British novel has become so thin-blooded and out of touch with anything. And television drama's been pretty much emasculated. Comics is one place where no one's looking. And you get this work out, which would once have been some bizarre film by Lindsay Anderson, but now there'd be no possible way of getting that funded. Comics' marginalisation allows you to do a lot that you wouldn't be able to do otherwise.
    • Grant Morrison The Comics Journal 176 p. 82 (1995)
  • As for all this talk I keep hearing about how 'ordinary people' can't handle the weird layouts in comics - well, time for another micro-rant, but that's like your granddad saying he can't handle all the scary, fast-moving information on Top of the Pops and there's really only one answer. Fuck off, granddad. If you're too stupid to read a comic page, you shouldn't be trying to read comic books and probably don't.
  • The comics medium is a very specialized area of the Arts, home to many rare and talented blooms and flowering imaginations and it breaks my heart to see so many of our best and brightest bowing down to the same market pressures which drive lowest-common-denominator blockbuster movies and television cop shows. Let's see if we can call time on this trend by demanding and creating big, wild comics which stretch our imaginations. Let's make living breathing, sprawling adventures filled with mind-blowing images of things unseen on Earth. Let's make artefacts that are not faux-games or movies but something other, something so rare and strange it might as well be a window into another universe because that's what it is.
  • All the comics are sigils. "Sigil" as a word is out of date. All this magic stuff needs new terminology because it's not what people are being told it is at all. It's not all this wearying symbolic misdirection that's being dragged up from the Victorian Age, when no-one was allowed to talk plainly and everything was in coy poetic code. The world's at a crisis point and it's time to stop bullshitting around with Qabalah and Thelema and Chaos and Information and all the rest of the metaphoric smoke and mirrors designed to make the rubes think magicians are "special" people with special powers. It's not like that. Everyone does magic all the time in different ways. "Life" plus "significance" = magic.
  • Barack Obama: I grew up loving comic books. Back in the day, I was pretty into Conan the Barbarian and Spiderman.
Anyone who reads comics can tell you, every main character has an origin story -- the fateful and usually unexpectations sequence of events that made them who they are.
  • Of course, to work alone is both harder and easier. There's nothing fabulous about drawing comic books. When you finish, you're relieved and happy, but it's the middle of the night and there is no one to share your joy with. With filmmaking you have a party with your crew and then the premiere. All that stuff you miss when you just draw manga. But there are drawbacks to filmmaking too: sometimes it's really difficult to get your ideas across to your crew.
  • The thing that made it doubly interesting to me is the whole the thing is a little bit unpredictable. No matter what you do with Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, there's certain lines you can't cross with them. They're always gonna -- at a certain point you go, "They won't do that." But with these guys, you don't know what they're gonna do because they're not the characters that you know. To me that was really exciting, just to be able to explore the unpredictability-ness of it.
  • The thing with the comics is that you have license to go down every alley your brain can think of. Willow's been on a mystical walkabout, you can actually show that. Instead of, "Well, she can talk about it in the magic shop for seven pages, because that's the money we got." You can pursue every thread, emotionally and visually, in a way that you just can't on TV. But on TV, you're on TV. There's actors, the people who created the characters with you, that everybody loves. Oh, and also, the paychecks don't make your family laugh.
The hard part about writing comics is creating juice. Let's say I'm trying to create a love interest for Buffy. People are like, "It's Angel!" "It's Spike!" Some people are saying it's Riley, possibly. Not many. I think that's above Andrew, actually, in the poll. But to create somebody in the comic who has anything like the juice of somebody who was on the show, that's an insane challenge. It's going to be really tough. That goes for the Big Bad, as well. A villain that people care about, who they've only seen as a drawing, is, again, a challenge.
  • A lot of the people who read comics think of comics as a culture—or as a subculture; something with its own private codes that mark its members as belonging, and everybody else as not belonging.

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