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Author Topic: Limitations of comics  (Read 957 times)

JamesC

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Re: Limitations of comics
« Reply #15 on: 13 September, 2020, 12:59:09 PM »
Now of course we have a different argument evolving: how to attract a new, younger audience to a product that has appealed so much to a different generation.
In theory, that’s simple: make parents aware of comics, and make publications available, appropriate and affordable. The problem is things fall down on the lat off those things. A Beano was 8p in 1985. Pure inflation alone would suggest a price point around 25p today. But circulations have tumbled and production values have increased. A single issue now costs £2.75 (or £1.50 on subscription), putting it out of reach of many families.

Even so, as someone who lives in a middle class town, it’s interesting that those who can afford comics are largely oblivious to their existence. We’ve been lending out mini-IP’s Phoenix books and Beano annuals to her friends, who are often not keen on reading. Without exception so far, the kids have been devouring those publications. But the language of comics seems to be something that’s fading away, and probably the sheer amount of plastic shit puts parents off. The Beano, of course, does probably two covermounts per year; The Phoenix does none. But the former gets lost on the newsstands and the latter is barely stocked.

Beyond that, there’s the issue of “where next”? Once kids want to take the next step, where do they go? Marvel reprints would be one obvious source, but Panini’s reprint line is in trouble. 2000 AD feels a bit too targeted at older readers and can be intimidating to newcomers.

For the question of 'where next' after the likes of The Beano - I went to Asterix - an option which still seems viable.
I went on holiday to Greece last year and was amazed by the amount of comic albums in the airport newsagent/book shop. There were plenty of Asterix and Tintin books but also loads of Disney stuff like collected editions of Scrooge McDuck in full colour for an affordable price.
If they'd had English language versions (or if I could read Greek) I'd have bought an armful.

Professor Bear

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Re: Limitations of comics
« Reply #16 on: 13 September, 2020, 01:07:44 PM »
The average AAA videogame can be played for hundreds of hours, so does that mean Call Of Duty: Warzone is deeper than War And Peace?

Colin YNWA

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Re: Limitations of comics
« Reply #17 on: 13 September, 2020, 01:48:20 PM »
Yeah we push The Phoenix via collections as birthday presents. We know we've had at least two subscribers comes from this and at least 3 others who have bought other collections - at the kids demands. We've had to reduce it as we've not tracked whose had what alas!

As gifts the feedback you get is universal praise. Not in the normal thank you card way, but in feedback from the kids you give them too. Most of Sid's friends who come around at some point when we exclaim that they can't play Fortnite (or Minecraft ALL the time) admire his collection of Phoenix and Bunny vs Monkey books and go on about how much they love the bits they've read. Both parents who've ended up subscribing have thanked us for getting their children into them.

The trouble is that word of mouth is a pretty slow burn I imagine, but at least its there and effective. As for what's next I'm still working on that. The Dredd Board game I've just bought is proving a hit BUT still he resists when I suggest he read about some of the cool characters he likes in the game!

The girl child has been resistant to any things I've put under her nose always trying them and then reverting to some dystopian YA novel - she should be an easy target I just keep missing!

broodblik

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Re: Limitations of comics
« Reply #18 on: 13 September, 2020, 02:01:40 PM »
The important thing is that we must get kids to read. How we do it in does not matter. I got into reading by first reading only comics. Now I am back into reading comics. A full circle.
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IndigoPrime

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Re: Limitations of comics
« Reply #19 on: 13 September, 2020, 02:44:57 PM »
My kid reads basically anything put her way. She loves picture books and encyclopaedias and comics equally. Well, almost equally. She’ll usually head towards a Beano or Phoenix these days, but she’ll bury herself in her dino or bird books too.

I’d argue libraries are another thing parents need to make more use of if they have the time. The sense of wonder I see in kids as they go into ours (well, pre-COVID—it’s a far less welcoming environment now) is astonishing. It’s a land of wonder. But so many kids never get to experience anything beyond their reductive school library. Worse, many local libraries are being shut by the Tories.

Colin: Great idea about Phoenix collections as gifts. No idea why we’d never thought of that, but we will for the next set of birthday gifts. As for girl child, mine got a pile of FCBD and really liked Lumberjanes. She’s only six though, and so I’m thinking the actual series might be a bit much.

IndigoPrime

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Re: Limitations of comics
« Reply #20 on: 13 September, 2020, 02:46:32 PM »
The average AAA videogame can be played for hundreds of hours, so does that mean Call Of Duty: Warzone is deeper than War And Peace?
The notion of length being to do with depth or quality is quite pervasive these days—and deeply frustrating. I get it all the time when working on game coverage, with people arguing a game’s value is dictated by length, and that short-form never has anything to say. That’s never been the case, whether you’re talking about film, literature, art, music or any other creative pursuit.

Colin YNWA

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Re: Limitations of comics
« Reply #21 on: 13 September, 2020, 03:17:15 PM »
As for girl child, mine got a pile of FCBD and really liked Lumberjanes. She’s only six though, and so I’m thinking the actual series might be a bit much.

I'm thinking Lumberjanes is my next go to with her. I have it digitally buy might try her on a hard copy... though thinking about why I don't just try her on it digitally... when I get my new tablet (see other thread) they can have this one for their own comic reading.

Funt Solo

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Re: Limitations of comics
« Reply #22 on: 13 September, 2020, 04:04:01 PM »
The notion of length being to do with depth or quality is quite pervasive these days—and deeply frustrating. I get it all the time when working on game coverage, with people arguing a game’s value is dictated by length, and that short-form never has anything to say. That’s never been the case, whether you’re talking about film, literature, art, music or any other creative pursuit.

FTL and Into the Breach could serve as two cracking examples of relatively short-form games that are utterly compelling. The Hobbit trilogy did nothing for a long-form argument. And I listed the one-off Evangelyne as one of my favorite Meg stories of the Rebellion era in a recent poll.

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Richard

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Re: Limitations of comics
« Reply #23 on: 13 September, 2020, 04:26:17 PM »
And an enormous box to put it in.

kev67

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Re: Limitations of comics
« Reply #24 on: 13 September, 2020, 06:38:46 PM »
I am pondering Shakespeare. I am not a great fan to be honest, but plenty of stuff happens in the tragedies. Swords are drawn, body parts are lost, but Shakespeare is still reckoned deep, none deeper. Not sure you could get all his words into speech bubbles though. Maybe I'll get onto Amazon and see if they have any Shakespeare in graphic novel form. I suppose another possibility is subtext. For example, the film Jackie Brown is not really about some crime caper. It's a difficult ask though.

pauljholden

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Re: Limitations of comics
« Reply #25 on: 13 September, 2020, 07:01:20 PM »
Alright, how many deep comics/graphical novels are there?

2000AD's current series The Out is a brave attempt. Obviously there have been psychologically deep comic strips like The Watchmen and Persopolis. Actually, I don't know about Persopolis, because I have not read it. To be honest, I don't think comics are up there with novels and plays, maybe not even up there with films. Why is that? Can't the speech bubbles contain enough words? Maybe it's because the artists have to paint dramatic pictures, and cannot paint lots of frames of people sitting around talking.

I defy ANYONE not to read the Time Machine - a 5 page future shock by Alan Moore and not find it incredibly moving and it has a great deal to say in just five pages about obsession, failure and death.


I hate to lean on Alan Moore so much, but also: SKZZ is about an alien landing in england, but it's also about a town with nothing, about a girl and people with nothing and how they will go to any lengths to help SKZZ because he too has nothing.

Zenith (book 1) is about superheroes, but also about fame and what you owe others, does great power mean you have great responsibility or can you say sod it, I just want to be a rockstar and ignore the world?

Dredd: America is about what democracy might mean in a fascisitic system (and how apathy can ultimately make fascisim work)

There is nothing inherently stopping comics "being deep" (whatever that actually means to you) most writers that I know are writing stories that contain themes, sometimes those themes are sitting on the surface and easy to see and sometimes they're buried deep in the space where the text and the art meet. Sometimes those themes are silly, and sometimes they're big questions humans have been asking forever. But they're almost certainly always there.

Maybe you need to dig a bit.
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Funt Solo

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Re: Limitations of comics
« Reply #26 on: 13 September, 2020, 07:21:10 PM »
There is an argument to made for playing to the strengths of a medium, so the proposal that comics are somehow flawed because you can't easily convert other mediums into comic form is, I believe, a flawed proposal.

I'm pretty sure that the bearded wizard (Moore) once waxed lyrical about the flawed reasoning that would suggest you could successfully convert Watchmen (anyway a blend of comic and prose narrative) into movie form, or even that you should attempt to.

How about Mona Lisa, the movie! (I know there's a movie called Mona Lisa.) Although, Stewart Lee does a good job of incorporating Wanderer above the Sea of Fog into a staged comedy routine.

---

As for Willy-Shaker in graphic form, you could always try out The Sandman: A Midsummer Night's Dream.

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I'm not sure if my shedding a tear counts towards a definition of depth, but The Stringbags got me going. Ennis does a great line in poignancy with his war comics, that I'm not sure would be captured as readily in prose.

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And I'm not even allowed out of the house this decade unless I mention Fury Road at least once a day. For a film of very few words, the deep interpretations available on that there Infobahn make interesting viewing.
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Re: Limitations of comics
« Reply #27 on: 13 September, 2020, 09:33:34 PM »

If it moves you, or makes you think, it's deep enough.

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JayzusB.Christ

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Re: Limitations of comics
« Reply #28 on: 13 September, 2020, 09:45:16 PM »

I'm pretty sure that the bearded wizard (Moore) once waxed lyrical about the flawed reasoning that would suggest you could successfully convert Watchmen (anyway a blend of comic and prose narrative) into movie form, or even that you should attempt to.

I was just thinking of that as i was reading through this thread.  Comics have limitations, yes, but so does every medium. And every medium can do something other media can't.

The Great Beard speaks about how Watchmen was a way to show what only comics are capable of - it has multiple timelines all going on at once, and the readers can, and very often must, flick back a few pages and re-examine scenes as events unfold (just like Dr Manhattan can do with reality); with the graphic side of things absolutely intrinsic to the structure of the book - often (or maybe always) even the shape of the panel borders are used to add to the experience. Many panels too have to be pored over at length to find extra bits of world-building (I didn't notice the 6-legged cooked turkey till years later).


A film, or a text novel, couldn't possibly do what Watchmen does. After watching the movie in the cinema I knew there must have been loads of details I missed, so I tried watching the DVD and pausing constantly to find subtle details, and as you can imagine, the whole experience was a bit shit.

Of course, not every comic strip is Watchmen.  But even on a more common scale, there's something a text box in a comic can do that a voiceover in a movie can't - the reader isn't forced to experience both the narrative and the action simultaneously, if that makes sense. 

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Re: Limitations of comics
« Reply #29 on: 13 September, 2020, 10:06:45 PM »

Hi. Some of you may know me as the raving loon from the Politics Thread but I also dabble in amateur script writing.

I have no idea what to say next.

Looks to the setting sun, its waning glory reflected in his eyes.

"It's just a hobby, I guess. Nothing important."

Takes out his battered old notepad. Thinks a moment. Makes a note.

Smiling, he turns his back on the sunset.

STRAP:     THE END.

I hope that helps.

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