Comics are there to maximise the visual with the minimum amount of words in the most interesting way possible. It’s like newspaper headlines done by novelists, essentially.
Muscle dudes in ugly leotards shooting laser beams and punching each other in the face are one thing, but what any fan of superhero comics really loves is the fictional Universe itself. The legends and lore, the heroes and villains, the politics and plotlines — the continuity.
Comics have different levels of sophistication for different age groups. This is as good an art form as any other.
There’s simply a style and level of craftsmanship in the best of the Franco-Belgian classics that is nowhere to be found nowadays. If you look at a page of Macherot, for instance, there is literally no one in American comics who has that pure, simple, straightforward ability to tell an exciting and funny story. Franquin draws better than anyone before or since: He’s literally the greatest comics draftsman in the history of comics, and I say this without a shred of exaggeration.
Popular novels don’t have a lot of ideas. Whereas comics tend to have about 20 great ideas in every issue.
I love the old, cheap comic-book format so much because the format itself is a statement. It keeps you from becoming too pretentious. Keep it cheap and low-grade, keep it accessible and then you’re not required to be overly artistic or have a deep, profound meaning. All that stuff that can make you very self-conscious.
Comics fit easily into the category of “literature”, because we read them front to back and left to right. [This sequencing] matches our expectations of narrative, and characters develop.
Bruce Wayne is a rich man. He’s an artistocrat. Superman grew up as Clark Kent on a farm bailing hay, and he’s got a boss that shouts at him if he’s late to work. He’s actually more human. Batman is the fetish fantasy psyche of the aristocrat overlord who can do anything he wants, and that’s fascinating.
I had gone to the movies and seen these 300 Spartans. I was sitting with my brother two rows ahead of my parents, because that was cool. I said to my brother “Steve, are they going to die?”
And he said “I don’t know.”
I went back to my parents and asked “Are the good guys going to die?”
[His late father replied.] “I’m afraid so, son.”
From then on, my entire concept of a hero was someone who does something because it’s right, and not because they were going to get a medal.
I’m so tired of hearing speculation as to why indy titles are published so sporadically – it’s because there’s no fucking money around you dumbasses!
Comics are much harder to write than any form that I’ve ever written. Comics call for a precise control of time. Individual panels that present a certain number of time in a panel, and the gutters inbetween, it could be a billion years or the very next instant, and you have to choose the moment within that period of time. If you see a panel and there’s a couple of people talking, and there’s three balloons, it might cover 30-40 seconds, or a panel could be someone throwing a punch, and that’s less than a second. You always have to make those decisions in comics, and in animation or live-action or feature, you don’t.
I’m just a comic book boy
There’s nothing scary to enjoy
Freak admission, stroll inside
I was born on a roller coaster ride
Ah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
I really need to be thinking more about spreads, not pages. The spread is the “basic unit” of comics.
Comics characters and business are multimedia businesses, licensed property businesses, and frankly far beyond the classic panels-and-prose of the medium that launched all of these characters. The heyday is a heyday of the stories and characters.
I live in fear of becoming a crusty older artist who’s jaded about the new stuff, and can’t abstract themselves from the situation to see that webcomics, to take one example, or the latest generation of indy cartoonists, that aren’t doing what you were twenty years ago, have value to them.