Comics

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Comics is a form of visual art consisting of images which are commonly combined with text, often in the form of speech balloons or image captions. Originally used to illustrate caricatures and to entertain through the use of amusing and trivial stories, it has by now evolved into a literary medium with many subgenres.

Sourced[edit]

  • a lot of the people who read comics think of comics as a culture—or as a subculture; something with its own private codes that mark its members as belonging, and everybody else as not belonging.
  • ...all our theories about how comics are put together are invariably about time. The duration of a panel's action and the duration between one panel and the next. We haven't added very much to the Eisner-Steranko concept of "sequential art."
  • An illustrator is someone who takes a story and visualizes it. In a comic, the drawing is the story; it doesn’t illustrate it.
  • As for all this talk I keep hearing about how 'ordinary people' can't handle the weird layouts in comics - well, time for another micro-rant, but that's like your granddad saying he can't handle all the scary, fast-moving information on Top of the Pops and there's really only one answer. Fuck off, granddad. If you're too stupid to read a comic page, you shouldn't be trying to read comic books and probably don't.
  • ...'comic' simply means funny, so the word is inadequate. To tack on the word 'adult' has resulted in a style of magazine suitable for only some adults, glossy comics barely containing their airbrushed breasts, leaving little room for genuine content.
    • Paul Gravett Escape Magazine 1
  • I don't think that we should seek to define comics on a formal basis. I think that some of the best comics do not involve "sequential images" which is the basis of every formal definition of comics.
  • ...if the form is to say something important, rather than just involve itself in the kinetic thrill of drawn characters chasing each other, then we have to think harder.
  • ...in a visual medium, a comics format ... the writer works for the artist, in the same that the writer in a movie works for the director.
    • Samuel R. Delany The Comics Journal 48
  • In movies, television, and comics, the operative factor is what some film semiologists have taken to calling 'the gaze.' The gaze is a combination of the gaze of the viewer at the comics page, or television tube, or film screen, modulated and directed by the looks that the characters give to each other and by various objects. I look at character X who looks at situation Y (and character X) in a way that I wouldn't have before. The point, of course, is that the movie gaze, the TV gaze, and the comics gaze are three very different processes. What makes the comic book gaze the priveleged one in my estimation is that the viewer has the greatest control over the comic book gaze, greater than any of the other two. Viewers can control how far way or close to hold the page, whether to go backwards and re-gaze -- and going back in a comic book is a very different process from going back in a novel to re-read a previous paragraph or chapter.
    • Samuel R. Delany The Comics Journal 48
  • The British novel has become so thin-blooded and out of touch with anything. And television drama's been pretty much emasculated. Comics is one place where no one's looking. And you get this work out, which would once have been some bizarre film by Lindsay Anderson, but now there'd be no possible way of getting that funded. Comics' marginalisation allows you to do a lot that you wouldn't be able to do otherwise.
    • Grant Morrison The Comics Journal 176 p. 82 (1995)
  • The comics medium is a very specialized area of the Arts, home to many rare and talented blooms and flowering imaginations and it breaks my heart to see so many of our best and brightest bowing down to the same market pressures which drive lowest-common-denominator blockbuster movies and television cop shows. Let's see if we can call time on this trend by demanding and creating big, wild comics which stretch our imaginations. Let's make living breathing, sprawling adventures filled with mind-blowing images of things unseen on Earth. Let's make artefacts that are not faux-games or movies but something other, something so rare and strange it might as well be a window into another universe because that's what it is.
  • ...the concept of what comics is gets narrower as we go along. Each writer on the subject who defines comics wants to exclude something. McCloud excludes the single panel so Family Circus and Far Side are out. Blackbeard says there must be word balloons so Prince Valiant is out. Harvey says there has to be a visual-verbal balance. Somebody else says there must be no redundancy of information with words and pictures repeating each other. This is crap. Pictures have illustrated words and words have explained pictures since the beginning of time. Somebody reads a dull comic and extrapolates rules from it. Who do they think they are? There are all these people trying to be the rule-makers and the end result is bad for the art of Comics.
  • The form restricts itself at every turn. For instance, the artist sits before his blank page. If his first picture is a big square one all the way across then he has severely limited his second panel to having to fit in the letterbox space along the bottom. If he divides that in two then that third panel is looking like a sad and defeated cornered animal. That's about all i see when I look at comic books now. Obviously the artist doesn't do it that way; he plans the whole page simultaneously. But it tends to read like he planned it that way, and that's all that counts.
  • ...the history of comics is mostly just a history of crap.
  • [t]he standards of comics include inventiveness, originality, and consistency. The best comics really are great artworks — great by the intrinsic standards of that art form.
    • David Carrier The Aesthetics of Comics p.95
  • The syllogism that says "Comics are sequential art, Trajan's column is sequential art, therefore Trajan's column is comics" is such a glaring fallacy that I'm surprised it's gotten this far.
  • The viewer is a 'co-producer" of the comics text at a level of involvement and intensity just through the nature of the medium itself.
    • Samuel R. Delany The Comics Journal 48
  • ...the whole small press movement...[is] the first real upheaval in this country of Comics as a genuine Art - Art being to me a thing which is a lively part of life while commenting on life - as opposed to comics as journalism-cartooning or comics as a collecting-hobby or comics as boys power fantasies.
    • Eddie Campbell Arkensword 17-18, 1986
  • You can go into slow motion or fast motion in a comic book in a way you can't in a movie without drawing attention to it. You can have six panels in a row where the actions are a half second apart, or you can skip years between panels and it just doesn't have the same egregious quality, where, in a movie, Peckinpah slows down the murder and it seems that the body collapse in slow motion; it seems like an entirely different thing when you do that on film and when you do that on the comics page.
    • Samuel R. Delany The Comics Journal 48
  • You know, I distrust people who 'read' comics ... you don't read a comic book. You look at a comic book. While you're looking at a comic, sure, you read the words; as well, you learn to look at the panels in a certain order, in a certain way ... if you start out to 'read' a comic book, you're starting out with the wrong mind-set.
    • Samuel R. Delany The Comics Journal 48

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