Friday, June 27, 2008

It's not just the pretty pictures!

So, comics are a lot more than just the pictures. Sure, Marvel did something a few years ago where there was no dialog or other words (except for on newspapers or something), but they had actual stories nonetheless. I love comics partly because they are a visual medium that you can read and see all of the good art (and occasionally bad, curse you Steve Dillon!). However, comics are not all about being art. They are actual stories as well. Comics are unique because they are such a great amalgamation of two separate things. They are novels or short stories, where they also have a whole bunch of pictures that tell all the words as opposed to actual words. Now, one can make up for the other. I remember in a Calvin and Hobbes volume where Watterson gave some background on some of his favorite strips, he talked about how more often than the other way around, good writing saves bad art. He can have them all just talking for four panels, but if the dialog is good, he has a great strip. He can have no dialog and just a funny picture of Calvin blowing up a piece of gum and having it explode all over his head, and it is okay. Art is important to the medium, but the storytelling is still the most important thing. It doesn't matter if Alex Ross is painting beautifully, if the story is crap. Now it also doesn't matter, to a lesser extent, if Alan Moore is writing and Steve Dillon or Howard Chaykin is drawing. When I look at a comic, I mainly focus on the story, because honestly, that is why they have the comics. Sometimes, I can just look at the art. For example, there is an issue of Mighty Avengers, where for 6 pages, there is just fighting on 3 two page spreads between the Mighty Avengers and Doom's forces. It was a way to see some more of Bagley's great art before he left and worked at DC. it was pointless, but worked because it looked really good and didn't hurt anything. For the art to be the only thing I look at, ignoring the story, the art has to not hurt anything, or the story has to not hurt anything. Hulk 4 failed. I have been arguing at read/RANT about Hulk 4, so if you want to see that, go ahead.

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