Lately I’ve been very into reading about comics, and reading comics, and I’ve just spent hours reading about comics when I really should be drawing Hereville. Here are my current open tabs, and feel free to add more any comics-related links or discussion in the comments:
- This online comic book short by Rebbecca Sugar, about a couple of Simpsons fans, “Don’t Cry For Me, I’m Already Dead,” will strike some readers as maudlin and cheesy, and if that’s what you think it is, I won’t argue with you. But I found it touching and sad and really well done.
- The collection of “supplemental material for Josiah Leighton’s ‘Storytelling with Art’ class,” and especially the action category. Lots of interesting observations about storytelling here, not all of which I agreed with, but all of which I thought was interesting. (Note that unlike most blogs, this is intended to be read from top to bottom.)
- Study shows McCloud was right: People really do relate more to cartooney images. Although I’m predisposed to agree with the finding, from the example of art shown, I have doubts about the validity of the study; the “realistic” art is ugly and off-putting, which might have been distancing. Better-drawn “realistic” art might have drawn readers in better, and “cartooney” art can be distancing if it’s drawn in unwelcoming ways.
- The Coverly cartoon reproduced here cracked me up.
- The Hooded Utilitarian compares two images clearly intended as “awe-inspiring,” one from an American comic, one from a Korean comic, and discusses why he thinks the Korean image is so much more effective. I’m linking this as much for the discussion in the comments as for the post itself. (One of the comment writers is, alas, a fool, but he’s kind of a useful fool in that he provokes the other folks into writing good comments attempting to explain things to him.)
I think, in the end, what is awe-inspiring comes as much from the writing than from the art. I’ve found some bits of OOTS pretty damn awesome; on the other hand, some of the most impressive renderings in comics can leave me relatively cold. I mean, Alex Ross is impressive at what he does, and I even like some of his stuff (in particular, I like the meaty, 1940s faces he uses to render Superman and Captain Marvel), but can he make me care about the events he’s drawing? He really can’t.
- You can read the first hundred or so pages of Scott McCloud’s 500+ page Zot! paperback for free online. I don’t think there’s ever been a better superhero comic than the black-and-white Zot!.
- This Pogo fan is posting the “Pogo in Pandemonia” sequence — the whole thing. It’ll take him a while to post it all, I imagine, but there’s plenty there to read, plus some interesting commentaries. (Update: link is now fixed!)
I adore Pogo, but I prefer the Sunday comics printed in black and white (as they are in some reprint collections); the color, to my eye, just muddies up Kelly’s matchlessly lush brushwork, especially when combined with lousy newsprint printing. And Kelly (or his assistants?) seems to have been a mediocre colorist at best. That said, it’s still Pogo, and Pogo is great, and lengthy plotlines in Pogo are particularly great.
- Remember a short-lived comic book called Thriller, with art by Trevor Van Eeden? No? Well, I do — I remember being a kid and having my mind absolutely blown by the things Eeden did with layout. His layouts seem less world-shaking to me now (I’ve seen a lot more comics since then), but I still loved reading this appreciation.
- The comic strip Sinfest is extremely sexist nearly all of the time, in an loads-of-t&a-smarm sort of way. But despite the sexism, I enjoyed this little romance plotline, helpfully linked to by Webcomic Rumble.
- Of course, T&A is nearly unavoidable in genre comics. When Maia started reading the Buffy comic, she found the way women’s bodies were drawn to be extreme — which it is, unless you’re used to how mainstream comics usually depicts female bodies, in which case Buffy ‘s art is if anything very mild.
Which brings me, sort of, to the online comic FreakAngels, which I thought was a pretty fun post-end-of-the-world superpower adventure story. I especially envy how good the artist is with architecture (which is pretty important for the story).
I really like sci-fi stories about rebuilding civilization from scratch. But why do we need the superpowers to make it interesting? It’s a way, I think, of removing politics from the equation. In the real world, societies are built by the people who have the best political skills. But Warren Ellis doesn’t want to write a comic about politicians, he wants to write a comic about a bunch of hot gothy 23-year-olds who just happen to be in charge. And with superhero powers added to the mix, he can do that. Thanks to The Other Maria at The Hathor Legacy, whose review led me to this comic.