Monday, October 02, 2006

Visual Arts.

Yeah, I read comics.

So what?

What I find truly sad is that there are so many great movies out there that have been adapted from comics and received critical praise and yet comics are still treated as nothing more than picture books for kids.

When people think "Comic Book Movie" they only think about Spiderman or X-Men. They never think of Road to Perdition, A History of Violence or The Crow. They don't seem to realize that these excellent stories are most than just pictures in a book. I would put a good comic book writer up against a mainstream writer any day of the week.

I also think that in a fight, Alan Moore would kick Stephen King's ass, but that's beside the point.

Why are comics such a ridiculed art form? Because there are pictures? Tolkien's work is full of pictures and maps, and he is considered a literary genius. Is it because they are escapist fiction? Superheros go right alongside Beowulf, Grendel and Jason and The Argonauts in my opinion.

Don't try and use Archie comics as as excuse either; Harry Potter outsells Archie, and no one is saying J.K. Rowling isn't a "real" author. (Plus, watching Archie trying to get a three-way with Betty and Veronica was a great constant plot line.)

I hope in time that comics will come out from under the "Kiddie" banner and be recognized for the literary works that they are. Don't judge all comics by the few that you see in your local store: there are so many great works out there that don't have a cape or a pair of tights in them. Check out Bone, Strangers in Paradise or Fables - they are all very, very good reads.

I know one guy spouting off won't change the mind of many who may come across this, but I hope it at least plants a seed, a nugget, a kernel of hope to examine a different way to approach literature.


1 comment:

  1. I see your point, but I think that whether or not a story was first written for the graphic scene isn't so relevant unless we allow that, in the was-comic cases, the story has already been developed and critiqued by some very intolerant people before seeing the larger venue.

    But generally, and aside from that kind of case, a story's attribute of first seeing life as a comic is generally orthogonal to whether or not it's a good story. There's the repetitive archive stories both in comics and in other media, just like there's the astounding and provoking Memento or Fargo stories which didn't begin life (or did they?) in the crucible of comicdom.

    I just saw Heroes, the new TV drama. I don't mind that it's serial, since that's the trend this year; I don't mind that it's got wayyyyy too many characters, as that's also the thing. I like that it appears to be as well written as one can hope for - or possibly point holes in - in a drama that jumps away from comfortable continuity and flow so often.