RARA-AVIS: Comics prejudice

From: Mark D. Nevins ( nevins_mark@yahoo.com)
Date: 03 May 2008

Stephen writes:
----------- That said, comics are now more like movies then they ever were, a style novelist/comics writer Peter David calls "decompressed. " Gone are the boxes at the top of panels that explain setting, etc., replaced by dialogue and the art itself. The result is that the comics are much more like movies and less like books. More cinematic in nature and less a narrative.

This makes for a much quicker read, which may or may not be an okay thing, but it also puts even more emphasis on the quality of the art, which can vary widely. To me, Saturday morning cartoonish styles or heaven forbid manga (Japanese for "crap," in my opinion).

Your points about significant changes in narrative structure and pacing in more recent "adult-oriented" American comics, and the likely effect of certain techniques from film, are well-taken, but your final assertion above is competely illogical and incorrect.

The quality or style of the drawings in comics are for the most part completely unrelated to the changes in story-telling your are talking about; this would be like saying a movie's being filmed in black-and-white or color film has an effect on its pacing or narrative flow.

I'm not a huge fan of most Manga, but, ironically, it is probably the narrative conventions of Manga, which tends to move VERY quickly, is highly dialogue-driven, and generally features little exposition, that has been one of the biggest influences on the changes in American comics storytelling in recent years.

None of this has ANYTHING to do, of course, with the particular style of drawing--i.e., what you call "crap."

Sorry to delurk just to pick a nit, but since the question here is whether or not RARA-AVIANS would enjoy certain crime comics (I'd tend to say they all should try a few of the better one, but on the other hand I am well aware that "comfortably" reading and enjoying comics is very much a learned skill, not to mention a taste best acquired when young), I think it's pretty important that we not be muddying the water with incorrect assertions that might simply increase prejudices.

Mark Nevins

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