Blog No. 79
I should start by saying that I didn’t read comic as a kid. As a teen I read some, but mostly at the suggestion of friends or when one was given to me as a gift. As an adult I have been tentatively wading into the comics water (I’m past my ankles now) learning lots and experiencing some. There is so much past and present, that it’s a difficult thing to commit to without going all in – and I just don’t have that kind of time in between my work and writing. I love the concept, I love the end result (in the comics that have blown me away) and I love the community. I know I will always be an outsider, or at best I may get the edge of my swimsuit wet, but writing a comic is among my long term goals as a writer.
If you want to get a perspective from a full blooded comics connoisseur, go check out Christian’s latest blog post on his site. It’s a little melancholy (I found it to be at least), but he knows so much more that I do and I’m basically writing this in response to his blog, and his blog is much more personal than mine – so my may like it better. We are currently working on a small side project that he calls a comic, but it’s the makings of a web comic and much more like a comic strip and I don’t think it counts. Though you should be excited and eagerly anticipating it (the first one is really close to done, but the next one may not be ready for a few months with all the work Christian and I are in the middle of so who really knows when it’s going to be posted. We may need some other artists to commit before we move forward. Yeah).
I think I’ve had a few words on comics somewhere in this blog, but I couldn’t find it in a cursory search, and you may have forgotten or never read it, and I may say something new, so I’m going to move forward unabated. As I said, most of my comic reading comes from my friends. They all have collections ranging from “I used to collect as a kid,” to “I get the ones that look good,” to “every comic book store in a five-hundred kilometer radius holds titles for me.” With that kind of stockpile available, I’ve never had to worry about buying comics myself, or collecting or searching for titles I may like. I have gone to buy comics, and when I worked at Chapters I purchased a few titles, but most of the hard work has been done for me. I’m not sure if it’s just my friends or the majority of comic book readers, but they are very eager to share their passions, knowledge and collections to people who want to get into good comics. I know every type of group has their mix of people, some who are amazing and welcoming and others who hold their knowledge over others and exclude them to make themselves feel special, but most of the people I’ve met who are comics aficionados have been inviting and patient.
That’s not to say that I have no experience with comics or their stories. With the cartoons I grew up with and the popularity of the comics movies over the last decade, it’s hard to not know anything being the media consumer I am. For me the seminal stories were from Batman the animated series and its predecessors. In one form or another that show is still a part of DC cartoons. The writers, artists, producers and actors are often involved in the new DC movies and shows. It led me to my understanding of Batman, Superman, the Justice League (and individual its members), Teen Titans, Green Lantern, all their rogues galleries and more. I know some of my friends are shaking their heads and muttering about cannon and the real stories in the comics, but I know most of them watched/watch them too. Now with the Marvel movies I have two entire universes opened up to me (or at least their TV and movie counterparts).
Beyond that, I even took a university class in comics. Really it was called Multimodal Rhetoric and it was one of the most challenging classes I took, but I loved it. I learned what a literary comic was, and how to properly read a comic (if you never have, it’s more difficult than you think) and I gained a deep appreciation for the medium. In recent years (but maybe reaching back as far as the 80s – you’d have to talk to my friends to be certain) comics have been used as a place to put lost content from TV and movies due to its visual element. It works sometimes, but comics really are their own thing. They have an intertextuality (and other such terminology) that rivals what you can get in literature, among other scholarly features. So I can bring that to the table.
Again I’m at the end of my post and I still haven’t talked about what this whole rant is about. Christian says that making comics is hard and not worth it. I agree that they can be a pain (especially when you can’t draw, like me) but that isn’t going to stop me from trying to make them. I have a couple of stories that I can’t imagine being made in any other medium. They are a pain to write, especially if you don’t already have a working relationship with an artist, and trying to get an artist is an exercise in stupidity. (Ever heard of Sisyphus)? I completely understand that artists get bombarded by offers for work where the pay is exposure (even professionals) and that is absurd, but when the author is no one and the artist is no one, an offer of splitting any profit sounds good to me. The problem is that the people who are willing to work for that don’t often come through on their end. My hope is that the further along I get as an author, the easier it will be for me to find an author that is willing to work with me. If not, hopefully I’ll be making enough money that i can just hire someone to do it.