johncomic: (SK BW)
Curmudge ([personal profile] johncomic) wrote2017-09-15 12:42 pm

the comic book as mechanical device

I've seen this idea bandied about in a few places over the years, but one of the clearest quotes I am able to find as an example is in this book:

"The creators of a comic can control [the reader's] reading speed by altering the levels of information in each panel --- the more detailed the art or the more dialogue it contains, generally, the longer it takes to read. Many comic creators fail to recognise, for example, that a fast-moving fight scene will be slowed down if the antagonists are making lengthy speeches to each other."

I couldn't help thinking of this recently when I saw someone post this page fragment from a 1968 issue of Avengers:

I can easily recognize that this is a good example of action art -- penciller John Buscema is an acknowledged giant of the field. But I also couldn't help noticing that, not only is everyone saying more than they could possibly have time to say in these circumstances, but they are also saying things that no one would say. Think them, maybe -- say them out loud, no. This dialogue not only slows the rendered action to a crawl by its sheer volume, it strains the reader's credulity as well. Yet the comic books from this era are routinely lauded as classics by old-timer fans such as myself.

All I can say is, times, tastes, and techniques have certainly changed.
ginsu: (Default)

[personal profile] ginsu 2017-09-16 01:21 am (UTC)(link)
times, tastes, and techniques have certainly changed

And so has the average age and mental sophistication of comics fans. It would have been completely unimaginable at that time for Marvel's Avengers to be the heart of a movie-and-TV franchise grossing billions worldwide, but here we are.
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[personal profile] ginsu 2017-09-16 02:31 am (UTC)(link)

Not in terms of what you're talking about in this blog entry. Joss Whedon's writing in both the movies is dramatically superior to the sixties comics... both in the quality at the line level when it's appropriate, and in the sense of characters shutting the hell up and fighting when it's not.
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[personal profile] ginsu 2017-09-16 08:28 pm (UTC)(link)
Same applies in the comics, though, for the same reason.

In the sixties comics were aimed at pre-high-school boys who had little to no sense of bad writing such as Pym's lines in his first panel above. The audience today is far more diverse and conscious of such terrible dialogue.

Whedon's writing in his X-Men comics run from about 15 years ago is very similar to the Avengers movies -- just night-and-day better than the panels above.

From an art standpoint I'm not sure things have improved much. There have been guys who are perhaps more adept in certain ways, but in the sense you usually mean -- art as a means of telling a story and enhancing its value -- that doesn't seem superior today, at least based on the few comics I've read in recent years.