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T O P I C
The Tragedy of Comics
April 10th 2002, 14:30 CEST by m0nty

Warren Spector of ION Storm was quoted from his Game Developer's Conference address in a recent PC topic as criticising the lack of mass market penetration by computer gaming as a whole, saying: "Games can become a mass medium, or they can be a medium like comics." Comics have a bad rap in the gaming industry, it seems, despite Freedom Force finally breaking the hoodoo which befell previous attempts at games based on the US superhero comic genre. The phrase "mouth-breathing dudes in 'Akira' T-shirts", from the infamous Salon article about E3 2001, encapsulates the disdain held by hardcore gamers for the archetypal male teenage comic consumer.

So is Warren's analogy worthwhile? I think it is, but perhaps not for the obvious reasons. The history of comics as a genre in the US and Japan over the past century bears some scrutiny, for it contains many lessons and potential pitfalls for the computer gaming industry - and the similarities between the two are unmistakeable.

It is perhaps unfair to compare the two genres, since comics have a history stretching back well into to the 19th century. The US comics scene, dominated by the superhero genre in book form, has already had its Golden Age (1938-45) and Silver Age (1950-55), plus a Bronze Age and a Platinum Age if some fanbois are to be believed. The debut of Superman just before WW2 perfected the template. (As an aside, it's easy to plot the similarity of game characters with comic heroes: names like Buck Rogers, Flash Gordon and Dick Tracy sound like they came right out of Scott Miller's marketing formula.)

The major problems in the comic industry have come from censorship. The Hayes production code hit filmed cartoons in the 30s, removing gratuitous nudity and drug references amongst other sins. The first wave of attacks on printed comics came during the McCarthy era in the 40s and 50s, after a long period of agitation by a psychologist named Dr Fredric Wertham. Many of the superhero and horror comics were shut down, despite efforts by publishers to placate the community by setting up editorial boards. A Senate committee on organised crime investigated the link between comic books and juvenile delinquency, culminating in a draconian regulatory environment called the Comics Code which gutted the industry. The superheroes only re-emerged in the mid-50s to fight communism alongside the McCarthyists. Another round of censorship occurred in 1968 with the substitution of the Hayes code with a new MPAA scheme, which had the effect of taking a lot of much-loved Saturday morning superhero cartoons off the air, to be replaced with frippery like HR Pufnstuf and Josie and the Pussycats.

Meanwhile, in Japan, comics are much more widely accepted, having evolved after WW2 as part of the redefinition of Japan's identity. Metropolis is perhaps the defining work of manga, the Japanese comic form which was made popular by titles such as Astro Boy, Kimba the White Lion, Galaxy Express 999, and of course Akira. Osamu Tezuka created the first three mentioned titles in comic book form and guided their translation into film versions, and the director of Metropolis, Rintaro, also directed GE999 amongst other anime (manga is the printed version, anime is the film version). Katsuhiro Otomo, creator of Akira, wrote the screenplay of the Metropolis movie, completing an imposing trio of manga legends, and the resulting film is extraordinary.  The reviews for the film, made last year but only hitting Western territories this year (with DVD released this month), stand testimony to its artistic power and grandeur. Like the original black and white comic written in the late 1940s, it fuses the imagery and themes of the 1929 Fritz Lang silent film masterpiece with the fears and nightmares of post-war Japan to create an eerily prescient dystopian vision. Political references range from German Bauhaus industrialism to Hitlerian fascism, through to Japanese apocalyptic angst, and even resonances of the current war against terrorism. Visual styles are layered against each other, CGI complementing cel animation, and strains of the 1930s era jazz soundtrack are interspersed with Wagnerian climaxes during the frequent dazzling action scenes.

Both US comics and Japanese manga are closely related to social themes, creating modern myths and addressing current political concerns. In comparison, there are few computer game titles which even aspire to approach the level of contemporary relevance, complexity and artistic merit of works such as Metropolis. Those which do, like Deus Ex and Anachronox, are stuck like all of their imitators in the Western mindset of the superhero, in which the ambivalence towards technological progress that is such a feature of manga is abandoned in favour of the myth of the All-American good guy whose powers only increase as he embraces technology. American comic books and graphic novels have become one of the main media to foster this myth, feeding off the pulp science fiction and Edisonades of the early 20th century, but games have not progressed far beyond this convention.

If computer games are to grow to achieve the level of sophistication of manga, they will have to transcend the "game" and become works of art. This does not necessarily preclude gaming from reaching a mass audience: the gaming industry is diverse enough to pursue both goals at the same time. Manga itself has gained broad acceptance in Japan, and has had some export success. Arthouse-quality manga like Metropolis coexist with hentai tentacle rape pr0n. There is no reason why mature games which contain complex plots, contemporary themes and deep characterisations can not sit on the same shelves as cheap licence knock-offs like Barbie and Who Wants To Be A Millionaire.

Are games ever going to grow up, or are the mouth-breathing fanbois going to remain the LCD forevermore? Are otakus just comic snobs? Are comics really mature, given the childish obsession with heroes in tight latex by US artists, and all the elfin doe-eyed schoolgirls who populate even the most serious manga and anime? Does it matter if most games don't cater to women, even though half of the gamer community is female? Is the current Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) scheme put in place by the ISDA enough to placate the radical censorship lobby, or will the next round of school shootings have more serious consequences for game content? Is Warren Spector just jealous of claimed sales numbers for The Sims? Who would win in a fight, Akira or Spiderman?
C O M M E N T S
Home » Topic: The Tragedy of Comics

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#1 by "B0rG"
2002-04-10 14:31:56
first :D
#2 by EvilAsh
2002-04-10 14:40:59
evilash@eviladam.com www.eviladam.com
Well I don't know if you realize ,Censorship at Marvel is really a thing of the past. Marvel Comics dropped the old out of date censoring sticker on their comics. This doesn't mean that you are going to see Mary Jane butt-naked but I do believe alot more serious stories can be told. Also as it has been shown with Videogames majority of comics are bought by Men. in the 25-28 age bracket. Maybe in someways that is why comics lost alot of readership because they stopped catering to kids. As far as games based off of Comics currently that title goes to Freedom Force. And it's taken something ingenious to do well. I still haven't heard how well its selling. To guage if the mainstream appeal is there.



Oh yeah.. First. Woop.
#3 by LPMiller
2002-04-10 14:51:20
lpmiller@gotapex.com http://www.gotapex.com
Comics lost a lot of readership because of multiple special foil embossed one time only collector love handled covers that primarily came from Marvel, while content was pissed away.

I stopped collecting 5 years ago....just one day, up and stopped. I don't really miss it, I still have way too many of the damn things all over the house - Though I will admit recently, hunting out the new Frank Miller Dark Knight 2. But that's it. I mean it. Dammit.

Will warez for food.
#4 by EvilAsh
2002-04-10 14:52:33
evilash@eviladam.com www.eviladam.com
Liar.
#5 by LPMiller
2002-04-10 14:55:23
lpmiller@gotapex.com http://www.gotapex.com
it's just the one drink.  Honest.

Will warez for food.
#6 by m0nty
2002-04-10 14:56:51
http://tinfinger.blogspot.com
Finally!

Now, there are a few key things Amerikans need to remember in trying to figure out what the hell is going on in manga (the print version) and anime (the film version).

1. Japanese men have issues.
This is the primary reason why there is so much tentacle rape of large-breasted schoolgirls in hentai. It is a simple manifestation of repressed sexual urges, which are a natural byproduct of the highly strictured sexual politics in Japan. Functionally, it is no different to Lara Croft or that chick from SiN.

2. Japan lost World War 2.
Manga started just after WW2, when Ozamu Tezuka watched Walt Disney films and started his own comics with huge-eyed waifs like Snow White as wish-fulfilment figures to represent the rebuilding by the youth of Japan after the war - reference the quote Foodbunny uses as her sig. It was much more rewarding to focus on young boys and girls, because there was still a bit of denial about war crimes and such, and youthful characters could still be thought of as free of the taint of wartime horror.

3. America dropped two nuclear bombs on Japan.
Manga and anime use a lot of imagery of huge explosions and city-wide destruction: Akira, Legend of the Overfiend, Patlabor, Neo-Tokyo, and Metropolis all incorporate ruined cities and/or cities being ruined as a plot twist, not to mention all the huge robot manga like Neon Genesis Evangelion where the city is used as easily chewable scenery, Gojira-style.
#7 by LPMiller
2002-04-10 15:00:03
lpmiller@gotapex.com http://www.gotapex.com
Hint: we know.

Will warez for food.
#8 by Bailey
2002-04-10 15:04:19
m0nty

Japanese men have issues.

Yeah, they don't have their shit together, not like the germans.

I am laughing at the horror of being alive.
#9 by m0nty
2002-04-10 15:07:00
http://tinfinger.blogspot.com
German men have different issues.
#10 by Funkdrunk
2002-04-10 15:12:10
jflavius@bellatlantic.net
LPMiller

Comics lost a lot of readership because of multiple special foil embossed one time only collector love handled covers that primarily came from Marvel, while content was pissed away.


Well to be fair, this was only one part of the fall of the speculators market.

<comics geek>
In the late 80's early 90's comic book readership skyrockted, due to the introduction of a new element into the comic buyers market - the speculator.  The speculator was a person who would buy 10 copies of a new book, would (sometimes) read one, and store the rest of the copies on the hopes that they become more valuable.

Once the powers that be understood that this market existed, every company started to produce stunt comics.  Image comics formed (which was another drain on a weak market - I can explain this later if anyone cares), and between Image's variant covers, Marvel's embossed covers, and DC's once a year, every title 2 month tie in rebuild the universe crossover, the market was flooded with stunt comics.  But every issue of all of the stunts had print runs of nearly 1,000,000 copies.  With an abundance of issues, every comic became worthless - because of their availability.  This effectively killed the speculator market, because the whole point of speculation was that there would be a shortage of paticular issues.  When the speculators left, every company was slow to return their print runs back down to pre-speculator quantities, and every company took a bath on returns.  

As to content, during this same time period, due to the early success of the speculators, somehow the artists got the idea that they were the main reasons why books sold, and not the characters or the storylines.  This belief is what spawned (pun intended) Image comics.  And it was true for a time, and as a result every comic company was out to break open new artists.  And every comic company sacrificed story and character development for art.  Admittedly, some more than others.

</comic geek>

Funk.
#11 by Bailey
2002-04-10 15:23:51
m0nty

German men have different issues.

I'd say they share an awful lot of the same end results, only the germans are much more sexually liberated than the japanese. Kind of flies in the face of your original statement, mind you, but that was sort of my point.

I am laughing at the horror of being alive.
#12 by Duality
2002-04-10 15:50:35
Dualipuff@yahoo.com http://stratoscape.ath.cx/
And to explain a little bit more about the whole tentacle thing -- its to get around the censorship.

Its an industry standard that the naughty bits get the mosaic treatment in hentai titles.  Its not so much that they have issues, as it is a way to get around showing a penis.

You're the new nazis.
#13 by Marsh Davies
2002-04-10 16:02:24
www.verbalchilli.com
m0nty:

You over-analyse the situation in #6... manga/anime swelled and thrived in exactly the same way as science-fiction and comics in Western countries. Neither it's success nor it's story-telling tropes are hugely related to the events of WW2, imo - Post-apocalyptic visions have been just as prevalent in Western sci-fi... and using young people as the central characters - war guilt? Come on. We have just as many student super-heroes. Peter Parker, Rogue, Robin... and for every crinkly oldy hero we have manga puts up a frizzy white haired scientist. I think it balances.

Crash really hit the nail on the head in a previous thread: there is in manga/anime an unquestioning acceptance of the plot's events... which can be baffling to Westerners who think tentacle rape is something slightly out of the ordinary. But for the Japanese and manga buffs in general, these kind of storytelling tropes are so ingrained and familiar that they are simply accepted. In order to like manga you have to be familiar with some of the essential genre elements.

There are some exceptions, like Ghost In The Shell, where there are fewer generic elements that need explaining beyond that with which we are familiar in Werstern sci-fi.

-- ex Spatula Man --
#14 by Charles
2002-04-10 16:03:08
www.bluh.org
I think overall people are just too stuck on the fact that games are 'for kids'.  This stigma of society keeps games forced in to an underground, where many people will never even try to play them.  Of course, big breasted half naked female lead characters don't help any.  But I've played many games that I'm sure my parents would love, if they tried them.  However, they will offer a cursory glance make some comment about how neat it looks, and then steadfastly ignore it.

Half the problem is that people believe that there is a holy grail of a game type that will appeal to everyone on the planet, and then the other half is the fact that the people who don't play just refuse to for various outdated reasons.

It's like movies.  No one movie type appeals to everyone, yet everyone has a particular favorite.  I think it would be the same way with games, if everyone gave them the chance.

#15 by Foodbunny
2002-04-10 16:04:27
foodbunny@attbi.com http://www.foodbunny.com
Tentacles started out as a way to get around censorship and as a byproduct created a fetish.

They're cute, they're cuddly and jam shoots out their heads.  I want 'em all!
#16 by Marsh Davies
2002-04-10 16:08:48
www.verbalchilli.com
Duality:
Its not so much that they have issues, as it is a way to get around showing a penis.


Lol... right. It doesn't follow that anyone would be that desperate to show a willy that they would invent tentacle rape instead... which is several scales more explicit. The general equivolent might be gang rape, and even then I'd say manga readers still clearly have some issues if they want to see that for their titillation. Besides, the penis doesn't get mosaiced out when censored, only female genitalia, in my experience.

-- ex Spatula Man --
#17 by Marsh Davies
2002-04-10 16:12:50
www.verbalchilli.com
A question to you anime buffs:

Why is dubbing of anime so fucking terrible? Is it just as bad voice-acting in Japanese?

-- ex Spatula Man --
#18 by Charles
2002-04-10 16:17:42
www.bluh.org
It's terrible because few north american anime distributors feel like paying any kind of money for decent voice actors.  Not to mention the fact that half the time they fuck the script over in the process.

#19 by "Ghost inmy Shell"
2002-04-10 16:24:58
#10 is right on the money

I quit reading comics when every other comic was some gimmick book. I got sick of Wolverine(as cool as he is) in every issue of every Marvel comic, the shiny covers that jacked the price up, that damn Infinity Gauntlet(i loved that bastard, but the sequels...ick) all over the place. Seemed like every 3 months, the universe was set to explode.

I picked up DC comics after Crisis, since the Universe finally made some damn sense.

I think I finally quit when Image came out, all the art guys left DC and Marvel, so my favorite books looked uglier then shit with the new guys they hired, and by then the stories really sucked so I quit reading them. The Image books were all the fucking same, secret goverment agency(eventually betrayed) with all superchicks who had to swing swords and wear bikini's for uniforms, btw Chapel appears too! Spawn was a good read, but it got old quick after McFarland quit drawing it.

A lot of other people swore off comics for good when they started fucking with the tried and true characters. Superman dying, Spiderman and clones, Wolvie losing his Admantium. These stories were obviously quick fixes for cash, no story at all, and when the shit hit the fan the characters were brought back to full glory. The only one of those plots I liked was the Batman Knightfall which told a really good story and had a decent return for the dark knight. Superman just magically being reborn was sillier then shit...
#20 by JMCDaveL
2002-04-10 16:26:32
I liked Battle Royale.

--jmc
ICQ-121684 AIM-jmcdavel U=FAG0T
#21 by JMCDaveL
2002-04-10 16:26:47
SELECT THE WINNER! NEXT RACE IN...

--jmc
ICQ-121684 AIM-jmcdavel U=FAG0T
#22 by Foodbunny
2002-04-10 16:53:10
foodbunny@attbi.com http://www.foodbunny.com
Also, I wanted to say that Warren Spector is not necessarily contradicting himself in the examples you used.  "Reach a wider audience" does NOT have to equal "Make dumber games".  That's just hideously phrased and a very biased question.

They're cute, they're cuddly and jam shoots out their heads.  I want 'em all!
#23 by Foodbunny
2002-04-10 16:54:10
foodbunny@attbi.com http://www.foodbunny.com
Duh, I'm stupid.  I guess I had this topic mixed up with another one because I could have sworn that quote was in there.  Ignore me.

They're cute, they're cuddly and jam shoots out their heads.  I want 'em all!
#24 by _Fury_
2002-04-10 16:57:33
ajhill@wi.rr.com
We try to ...

=)

Witty Quote
#25 by Sgt Hulka
2002-04-10 17:17:53
I picked up a copy of Green Arrow the other day, and it was funnier than hell.  That's due to Kevin Smith writing for it now.

.....If You See Her Glow, It's Too Late!
#26 by LPMiller
2002-04-10 17:19:10
lpmiller@gotapex.com http://www.gotapex.com
Kevin Smith is the new....oh fuckit.

Will warez for food.
#27 by Scott Miller
2002-04-10 17:20:39
scottmi11er@hotmail.com
I recommend people interested in this topic read Scott McCloud's Reinventing Comics.  The comics industry and the games industry have remarkable parallels and problems.  I doubt that either medium will fully overcome their problems, and therefore they'll always be lower on the totem pole than movies, novels, music and TV as mainstream entertainment.

On a separate note, 3D Realms probably looks to comics more than most developers for guidance, in that we strive to make comic book-style characters, we name our games the same as the leading character (just like most major character-based comics, i.e. Superman, Batman, Spider-Man, etc.), and other similarities, like our character naming conventions.  Duke Nukem and Max Payne are perfect comic book-style character names.
#28 by Caryn
2002-04-10 17:24:41
carynlaw@pacbell.net http://www.hellchick.net
Haaaahaha - I just started reading Understanding Comics recently myself and was just now about to pull a Scott Miller and recommend it to you all. ;) A friend recommended it when he and I were drawing parallels between comics and games and some of the themes McCloud covers.

"It's not stupid -- it's advanced!"
#29 by Sgt Hulka
2002-04-10 17:27:16
I've written on this topic previously, and yes, there are many parallels on the game industry and the comic book industry, especially when it comes to censorship and ratings.  In the 1950's, they vilified comics and actually used to burn them in the streets. Blaming all of societys ills on the printed pages of a comic book.  I can see the same thing happening with games.  And when it happens, I bet they burn Duke Nukem boxes up first!  :)

.....If You See Her Glow, It's Too Late!
#30 by Funkdrunk
2002-04-10 17:33:05
jflavius@bellatlantic.net
Scott Miller

I recommend people interested in this topic read Scott McCloud's Reinventing Comics.  


Understanding Comics was a great book.  Reinventing Comics wasn't as good.  The first was about comics as a medium, and how the medium works was very facinating, and useful.  The second, was more pie in the sky, this is the way I think the would should work type of stuff.

I liked Will Eisner's Comics & Sequential Art and Graphic Storytelling more than both of them.  

Funk.
#31 by godZero
2002-04-10 17:33:37
godzero@gmx.de
mOnty: "Who would win in a fight, Akira or Spiderman? "

Spiderman always wins, man...:-)

Chop Suey-cide!!!
#32 by godZero
2002-04-10 17:38:05
godzero@gmx.de
Someone should make a game about Silver Surfer, dammit...

Chop Suey-cide!!!
#33 by Sgt Hulka
2002-04-10 17:40:35
How about a Marvel Superhero MMORPG.  That could be nifty..

No it wouldn't!

.....If You See Her Glow, It's Too Late!
#34 by "Ghost inmy Shell"
2002-04-10 17:43:11
#32 They did for the NES
#35 by Funkdrunk
2002-04-10 17:44:58
jflavius@bellatlantic.net
godZero

Someone should make a game about Silver Surfer, dammit...


I dunno, how much cosmic angst can you fit on a cd?

Funk.
#36 by "Evi|ivE"
2002-04-10 18:05:05
LOL  Warren Spector compares games to comics and now Scott Miller has to say that 3DR thought of that a long time ago. :P  LOL  Let me guess, Scott.  Rise of the Triad was the first game to use elements of Anime and comics in the same game.

And if Duke Nukem seems like a comic book character, that is because he was before 3DR took control of him...

I'm sorry, I jsut can't help it.  The last topic like this, Scott chimed in about how Warren didn't know what he was talking about because his games weren't made for the masses.  All the while, that was exactly Warren's point.  That his games neeeded to move foward or they would never see mass sales.

Now we have this topic and Scott is going to come around and act like he thought of this stuff years ago.   Duke Nukem and Max Payne...  Duke Nukem used to be a Marvel comic character before 3DR decided they owned the rights to him.  Max Payne wasn't really a 3DR game.  And personally I found that the stuff that 3DR contributed to it was the lamest parts of the game.  The "story" and "character development" were just so cliche.  Max Payne..   Thats a bad pun, not a good name for a character.

I'm sorry, may you return to a more intelligent conversation.  I just can't help but see right through this guy's bullshit.  Everytime some game developer has a good idea, or just a good point, you have Scott or George rushing in to claim to all that:  "We thought of that first, we were doing that before anyone else."

It just gets old after a while.  and I'm sure many of you think posts like mine here are old too, I can understand that.  I just don't get why someone like S.M. gets any credit for game development when it seems like the last thing he has done in the past 10 years.
#37 by LPMiller
2002-04-10 18:05:47
lpmiller@gotapex.com http://www.gotapex.com
Ok, does Scott have stock in Amazon.com or something?

But really, I don't think there are too many comic fans that haven't read Understanding Comics, and it's lesser child, Reinventing.

Will warez for food.
#38 by Scott Miller
2002-04-10 18:09:09
scottmi11er@hotmail.com
Funk, without doubt Understanding Comics is the better book, but Reinventing Comics fits this thread's topic better.  And of course Will Eisner is the master, and all of his books are must reading if you're into graphical storytelling and comics, much of which applies to the games industry.
#39 by Scott Miller
2002-04-10 18:18:12
scottmi11er@hotmail.com
[q]And if Duke Nukem seems like a comic book character, that is because he was before 3DR took control of him...[/q]
Umm.  We invented this character in 1991.  WTF are you talking about?!

[q]The last topic like this, Scott chimed in about how Warren didn't know what he was talking about because his games weren't made for the masses.[/q]
Which is absolutely true -- at least, if you use sales as a measurement.  His games are critical hits, but not Duke, Max, Unreal, Quake, H-L, or RTCW-sized hits, not even close.  I'm not knocking his games in the least, just pointing out what everyone in the game industry already knows:  Warren doesn't make mass-market games because he doesn't make break-out hit games.  His games are sometimes passable hits, but not big hits.

This is merely a fact, and is not something you can disagree with.
#40 by deadlock
2002-04-10 18:22:41
http://www.deadlocked.org/
Martin Davies:

Western comics are largely a by-product of the post-war/cold-war era (and most importantly the silent war against Communism) as is much of our science fiction. All-American hero(es) fighting unknown quantity that wants to 'turn' everyone; from X-Men to Star Trek, that motif has been at the heart of almost all of our sci-fi. Hell, Britain's own (and my teenage favourite) 2000ad had countless variations on the theme of cold-war uncertaintly, from Dredd's future-apocalyptic nightmare to Rogue Trooper's seemingly unending war to Torquemada's attempts to annihilate every alien in the galaxy in Nemesis.

Jafd! Warren! Stop bickering or I'll be forced to change your opinions manually!
#41 by "Anonymous"
2002-04-10 18:23:29
Quote:
[And of course Will Eisner is the master, and all of his books are must reading if you're into graphical storytelling and comics, much of which applies to the games industry.]


Indeed.

...and best drama in comics history would go to Jack Kirby*






The Male Battle-D

*bTW,  he's the true creator and not that other guy mentioned in 'Red Crimsom'!  ;)
#42 by "Anonymous"
2002-04-10 18:24:45
*...err,  creator of Silver Surfer, that is.  ;)









TMBD
#43 by deadlock
2002-04-10 18:25:10
http://www.deadlocked.org/
Uncertaintly ? What the fuck ?

Anyway, just thought (sorry if this is painfully obvious to everyone else):

Heroes in Western culture tend to be young for exactly the same reason that they do in Japanese culture, according to m0nty; young people are seen as innocent and 'our last hope'. Likewise, there's an older person as well because the old are regarded as wise.

Jafd! Warren! Stop bickering or I'll be forced to change your opinions manually!
#44 by "Anonymous"
2002-04-10 18:25:58
*...err,  Crimsom Tide.  Oh dear, Oh dear...  :(









TMBD
#45 by Funkdrunk
2002-04-10 18:34:21
jflavius@bellatlantic.net
Scott

Umm.  We invented this character in 1991.  WTF are you talking about?!


Perhaps Evilive means Duke Nukem from Captain Planet and the Planeteers?

Funk.
#46 by chris
2002-04-10 18:35:03
cwb@shaithis.com http://www.cerebraldebris.com
I used to collect all of the x-books (Chris Claremont and Jim Lee's X-Men #275 is still the definitive X-Men comic book for me. Right before Lee's artwork started getting over-produced and sterile)... then moved on to a bunch of the image books. But they all sucked, and never came out on time, so I stopped reading them (even though they had collected some fine new talent... guys like Travis Charest, for example... not art-adams clones like Scott Campbell). By that point I was getting spoiled by Hewlett and Martin, Miller, Gaiman, and so forth... so I stopped collecting superhero books at all.

Also, I'd like to point out that Image was *at least* as guilty as Marvel in the "too many versions" issue... and their books cost more because of the better paper and coloring. Tho that, at least, was worth it.

THEN I stopped collecting comic books at all when I got to college and had to choose between $10.00 for a couple of books, or $10.00 for a subway ride into and out of manhattan, a bottle of diet coke, and pack of cigarettes. =)

I had a brief flirtation with the Generation-X series a few years ago, predominantly because I like Chris Bachalo's art. The writing was, as always, pretty stale.

The point of all of this? Nothing, really, just that comics - even the good ones - seem to be something that people largely grow out of. I've played games far longer than I read comics, and will likely still be playing games for many years into the future, and still not reading comics. Superhero comics, in particular, are largely soap-operas aimed at young boys. They're fun enough, but it's rare to find a book (even a Miller or Gaiman book) with the impact of a good game, let alone something like a novel. I'm not sure why this is. I suspect it's because most comics are illustration, rather than "fine art", and we've been trained to see illustration as a less significant artform.

I know loonyboi had some interesting insights on this topic, because I've discussed it with him before. Wonder if he still reads PC.

-chris
#47 by chris
2002-04-10 18:37:08
cwb@shaithis.com http://www.cerebraldebris.com
I have no idea why I failed to capitalize "Art Adams", nor why I added a hyphen to it.

-chris
#48 by Charles
2002-04-10 18:41:49
www.bluh.org
Scott Miller:

Warren doesn't make mass-market games because he doesn't make break-out hit games.  His games are sometimes passable hits, but not big hits.

This is merely a fact, and is not something you can disagree with.


And another 'fact', is that he doesn't make run of the mill clones like everyone else.  His games are always different, and I think that is a much greater success than just catering to the LCD and making money.  At the end of the day, I'd rather claim I did something different, and stayed in business doing it, rather than making something that is just another graphics pack for an FPS and making a bajillion dollars.

Doesn't take skill to make a clone.

#49 by "Anonymous"
2002-04-10 18:54:49
Quote:
[(Chris Claremont and Jim Lee's X-Men #275 is still the definitive X-Men comic book for me. Right before Lee's artwork started getting over-produced and sterile)...]


That's not true.

It's   Chris Claremont & John Byrne...



No, wait!  It's ---Stan Lee & Jack Kirby...


Hrmph.  Will the REAL creator please stand up?  ...please stand up?  ...please stand up...




The Male Battle-Dwarf
#50 by Xero
2002-04-10 18:57:35
http://novakometa.blogspot.com/
#30 by Funkdrunk

 
Scott Miller
I recommend people interested in this topic read Scott McCloud's Reinventing Comics.  
Understanding Comics was a great book.  Reinventing Comics wasn't as good.  The first was about comics as a medium, and how the medium works was very facinating, and useful.  The second, was more pie in the sky, this is the way I think the would should work type of stuff.

I liked Will Eisner's Comics & Sequential Art and Graphic Storytelling more than both of them.  

Funk.


Actually Funk I thought Re-inventing comics was the better book, granted it was denser than Understanding Comics, but it also went places that Understanding Comics, a book clearly written for laymen, did not.

I think Reinventing Comics was supposed to be a wakeup call to the comic industry much like Warren Ellis' frequent syphillitic rants on the state of the medium.

"It was when I found out I could make mistakes that I knew I was on to something."
-Ornette Coleman
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