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Author Topic: Limitations of comics  (Read 742 times)

M.I.K.

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Re: Limitations of comics
« Reply #30 on: 14 September, 2020, 02:40:51 AM »
A Beano was 8p in 1985.

No it wasn't. I remember buying The Beezer in about 1981/82, which cost 10p and was cheaper than all the other comics available from the corner shop just along from my primary school.

Upon checking it would seem The Beano initially cost 14p in 1985, (double the 7p it had cost just 5 years previously), and later the same year shot up by another 2p to 16p.

Funt Solo

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Re: Limitations of comics
« Reply #31 on: 14 September, 2020, 05:22:25 AM »
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.

That made me think of Goodfellas, in which Martin Scorsese chose to play some of the voice-over on top of frozen frames at key points in Henry Hill's life, in order to accentuate the importance of those moments.

Almost as if he was borrowing the frozen frame of a comic panel.

---

On another note, movies can have music (to great effect), which is something a novel or a comic can't do.
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M.I.K.

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Re: Limitations of comics
« Reply #32 on: 14 September, 2020, 07:18:47 AM »
A Beano was 8p in 1985.

No it wasn't. I remember buying The Beezer in about 1981/82, which cost 10p and was cheaper than all the other comics available from the corner shop just along from my primary school.

Upon checking it would seem The Beano initially cost 14p in 1985, (double the 7p it had cost just 5 years previously), and later the same year shot up by another 2p to 16p.

Having further investigated by looking at old comic covers on t'ebay, it seems I will have to make some slight corrections to my own comment. I was a year out and it was 1980/81 when I was buying The Beezer ('cos it was still in its stapleless broadsheet format), and therefore was 2p more expensive than The Beano and Dandy at the end of 1980 (8p), but the same price as The Nutty, (which I got delivered every week), but was indeed less expensive than the IPC comics at the time (12p).

All of which I'm sure you find utterly fascinating.

(Flippin' heck though... I've been buying my own comics from shops since I was five and also having them delivered to my house. No wonder I've never been able to kick the habit.)

IndigoPrime

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Re: Limitations of comics
« Reply #33 on: 14 September, 2020, 07:36:56 AM »
Yep—got my issues mixed up. Still, that would point to a modern-day price of around 50p rather than a minimum of three times that (on subscription) or over five times that (newsstand).

sheridan

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Re: Limitations of comics
« Reply #34 on: 14 September, 2020, 08:41:11 AM »
Without a proper definition of 'deep' it's difficult to answer the original question...

...but I'd defy anybody* to compare the following works by Alan Moore to their film adaptations and claim the film is any more 'deep' than the originals.
  • V for Vendetta
  • Watchmen
  • From Hell
  • League of Extraordinary Gentlemen
  • Swamp Thing†
* Obviously if you disagree then this thread is the place to do so!
† I'm talking about the recent TV series, which is influenced by Moore's run, as opposed to the films, which appear to have very little in common.

judgeurko

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Re: Limitations of comics
« Reply #35 on: 14 September, 2020, 09:34:26 AM »
Comics can tell deep stories. I don't see them has having the limitations suggested in the OP. I would suggest reading some of Bryan Talbot's work, The Tale of One Bad Rat for example, as well as Alice in Sunderland & (with Mary Talbot) Rain.


AlexF

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Re: Limitations of comics
« Reply #36 on: 14 September, 2020, 10:19:04 AM »
Comics do have limitations, but so do all forms of art, even the art of 'being alive'. But I massively disagree that an inability to be 'deep' is one of them. I like engaging with 'deep' stuff, even pretentious stuff that is playing with the idea of being deep without actually doing it coughMarkMillarcough.

2000AD as a sci-fi action comic where most stories are required to be told in 6 page chunks that have their own mini-story AND a cliffhanger ending do make that harder, but I think plenty have managed. I mean hell, look at those umpteen future shocks based on the idea of 'oh, you thought the disgusting monster was the alien, but what if it's actually YOU HUMANS who are the disgusting monsters!!' It's not an original thought, but if it's the first time you're confronted by it, is kinda IS deep.

Anyway, beyond the Alan Moore examples already given, I'd suggest:

Strontium Dog, most obviously Portrait of a Mutant has depth (also angst and shooty fun times)
Certain parts of Nemesis the Warlock, a strip in which I think a large amount of philosophical/existential depth comes from the art; e.g. The Ego Trip; Candida's story from books 5 and 6; Torquemada's disintegration across Book VII.
Ichabod Azrael
Bad Company, especially Book III: Kano
Mean Team: Survivor
Mazeworld (it certainly strives for depth, especially in the art - whether it gets there is debatable)
Revere is a great test case of being deep if you want to bring your own baggage to it, pretentious if you don't, and just plain incomprehensible if you're not inspired by any of the words or pictures.
(and let's not ignore that a comic can be deep without necessarily being any good!)

Beyond 2000AD, there are FAR too many to list comprehensively, but here are some recommendations:

Rutu Modan: Exit Wounds and The Property
Glynn Dillon: The Nao of Brown
Joff Winterhart: Driving Short Distances
Yoshiharu Tsuge: the man without talent
Seth: it's a good life if you don't weaken
Alison Bechdel: Fun Home
Most Asterix books written by Rene Goscinny have nuggets of depth in them - I'd recommend the Roman Agent or Mansions of the Gods for more overt examples.
Calvin & Hobbes - I mean come on! More depth in just 4 panels than most Booker Prize winning tomes.

Someone earlier was looking into comics adaptiations of Shakespeare - I've read a bunch and a lot of them are pretty terrible, especially the ones that use the original text or go for period settings; the best I've come across by miles is Julius by Anthony Johnson & Brett Weldele.

Or for another VERY literary comic adaptation of a literary novel try David Mazzuchelli's version of Heart of Glass (from the story by Paul Auster).

Vertigo as a comics label was practically founded on the principle of 'like superhero comics, but deep', birthed by Swamp Thing and Sandman but very much continued in Animal Man, Transmet, The Unwritten and all that.
Even actual superhero comics can be deep sometimes, have a look at Kirby's Fourth World or OMAC;
I was always rather partial to JM DeMatteis on Spider-Man, most obviously trying to be deep with 'Kraven's Last Hunt' and its less celebrated but still good sequel 'The Child Within'.

- 'deep' obviously has many meanings, I'm basically taking it to mean 'stuff that makes me think about life, the universe and everything'. If you want it to mean 'tackles serious and important social issues', the list of available comics is even longer, and probably starts with Maus, Persepolis, Stuck Rubber Baby and all the other super famous autobiography-based graphic novels.



Colin YNWA

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Re: Limitations of comics
« Reply #37 on: 14 September, 2020, 10:44:49 AM »
Funnily enough this popped up over at the Megaverse on Faciebooks

https://www.rollingstone.com/movies/movie-lists/drawn-out-the-50-best-non-superhero-graphic-novels-29579/

A year or so old now and these things are always controversial on a personal level as we will all have our own personal favourites from the shameful 16 out of 50 I've read its feels safe to assume that everyone of these will have depth to some definition or other. Also worth mentioning that at least another 50 I'd have had in this list and countless others others will have added.

Professor Bear

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Re: Limitations of comics
« Reply #38 on: 14 September, 2020, 11:15:14 AM »
...but I'd defy anybody* to compare the following works by Alan Moore to their film adaptations and claim the film is any more 'deep' than the originals.
  • V for Vendetta
  • Watchmen
  • From Hell
  • League of Extraordinary Gentlemen
  • Swamp Thing†

Moore was on record in the 1980s as describing V (from V For Vendetta) as "a transsexual terrorist"*, and the Wachowskis have recently gone on record as saying what most people had already figured out many years ago: that The Matrix was about their own experiences as trans women.  I suspect the shallowness of the film version of V's politics** have meant that it's avoided what is now a more obvious evaluation of its depth (if it has any).

* I recall bringing up the possibility that V wasn't the man in room 5 but the woman in room 6 started a girlfight on this very board back in the sands of time.
** Arguably necessitated by the change in global politics since the early 1980s and Moore's own comments on the possibility of Britain ever surviving a nuclear war.

Apestrife

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Re: Limitations of comics
« Reply #39 on: 14 September, 2020, 05:18:07 PM »
Alright, how many deep comics/graphical novels are there?

Lots. Are you looking for anything in particular? Genre or such.

TordelBack

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Re: Limitations of comics
« Reply #40 on: 14 September, 2020, 06:04:16 PM »
Comics can tell deep stories. I don't see them has having the limitations suggested in the OP. I would suggest reading some of Bryan Talbot's work, The Tale of One Bad Rat for example, as well as Alice in Sunderland & (with Mary Talbot) Rain.

I'll agree, and pitch in with Mary & Bryan Talbot's Dotter of Her Father's Eyes,  which as I've said here before had as profound effect on my life as anything I have ever read.

For real depth,  I'd add Al Davison's The Spiral Cage,  Eddie Campbell's Alec, Chadwick's Concrete,  everything by Jason Lutes (Berlin)  or  Eric Shanower (Age of Bronze),  Haggarty & Brockbank's Mezolith, almost anything by any of the Toronto boys (Brown, Ware, Clowes and Seth) and of course the BIG guns, Satrapi and Spiegelman: and biggest of them all,  Posey Simmonds,  possibly the greatest living female cartoonist (Bill Watterson is the greatest living male cartoonist,  but Alex got him first)

You could also try anything by Craig Thomson or Howard Cruse.
« Last Edit: 14 September, 2020, 06:09:19 PM by TordelBack »

AlexF

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Re: Limitations of comics
« Reply #41 on: 15 September, 2020, 07:46:50 AM »
Posey Simmonds, excellent call!

Blue Cactus

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Re: Limitations of comics
« Reply #42 on: 15 September, 2020, 10:29:55 AM »
A few examples of comics with emotional/thematic/psychological depth that hinge on the fact that they are created in the comics medium and use effects and techniques only available in comics with absolute mastery:

Love and Rockets
Jim Woodring's Frank series
Blankets
Lots of books by Seth (someone already mentioned him)
Interiorae
Moonshadow

sheridan

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Re: Limitations of comics
« Reply #43 on: 15 September, 2020, 11:30:50 AM »
2000AD as a sci-fi action comic where most stories are required to be told in 6 page chunks that have their own mini-story AND a cliffhanger ending do make that harder, but I think plenty have managed. I mean hell, look at those umpteen future shocks based on the idea of 'oh, you thought the disgusting monster was the alien, but what if it's actually YOU HUMANS who are the disgusting monsters!!' It's not an original thought, but if it's the first time you're confronted by it, is kinda IS deep.


To compare to the average alien invasion film (from any time in the last seventy years) - this already gives the stories more depth, because let's face it, the plot of the usual film is that the aliens arrive on Earth and turn out to be the bad guys, as everybody expected.

JayzusB.Christ

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Re: Limitations of comics
« Reply #44 on: 15 September, 2020, 10:00:21 PM »
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.

That made me think of Goodfellas, in which Martin Scorsese chose to play some of the voice-over on top of frozen frames at key points in Henry Hill's life, in order to accentuate the importance of those moments.

Almost as if he was borrowing the frozen frame of a comic panel.


Weirdly enough, I'd watched Goodfellas the night before writing that post, and it was in my mind as I was writing.  In comics, of course, the action is frozen for as long as the reader wants it to be.
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