Saturday, October 1, 2011

Digital Comics Addiction

Oh please don't call them comics. Say it with me-- graphic novels.* I'm 41, for crying out loud! So what if I sometimes enjoy my artwork and literature all wrapped into one package?

Sure, a good fourteenth century Simone Martini flips my hat, like this comic strip... ehm, I mean painting, depicting an infant falling from its cradle and being healed by Saint Augustine.
A Child fallen out his cradle healed by Blessed Augustine
I think it's the word "comic" that doesn't work here, because the story depicted isn't humorous. Many illustrated stories (illustrated novels, graphic novels, cartoon strips) aren't humorous. And in case you didn't know, loads of them don't contain super heroes. But so what if they do? Everybody needs the occasional super hero and humor is necessary for survival. Isn't it? Well, I thought so.

Is a serious story loftier than a tragedy? Tell most people you're reading Chaucer and they'll nod approvingly without realizing he's full of base humor. Tell me what's sophisticated about "The Miller's Tale" in which somebody farts out the widow. 
comic version of Chaucer's Miller's Tale

Don't mistake me, I have great affection for Chaucer, particularly in the original Middle English. I had this professor in college who spoke it so beautifully. Whan that Aprill with his shoures soote The droghte of March hath perced to the roote... Sigh...

But I digress. Digital Comics. Yum! Over at Dark Horse (home of Hellboy, B.P.R.D., The Goon, Conan, and others) they got me sampling freebies. The next thing I knew, I bought one. See, I didn't think I'd like reading a comic on the computer, but it's super dynamic. As I press my arrow key, I'm tossed into close-ups, then on to the next panel, into the next close up. I think if I wasn't used to reading comics, this might make for a good tutorial on how to read them- you know, to help you figure out which panel or word bubble to read next?

from "Abe Sapien: The Drowning 1" (the real thing is easy to see because if fills up your screen)
As I said, it's a dynamic experience, having the pictures move into frame like that. Plus they're cheaper to buy in digital form. I'll always love to hold an actual comic... I mean graphic novel, in my hands, but the digital experience is super fun and you can buy more of them for the same money.

*Notes on the terms-
Illustrated novels have few pictures- maybe one per page or even one per chapter. I fluidly interchange the terms graphic novel and comic book and some people will pop me in the nose for that. Many will call a little magazine style, a "comic book" and a bound up book with a collection of comics, a "graphic novel." Some are very particular about terms. This guy on Youtube explains how the experts feel on the issue. 

 ~Links to image sources embedded in image captions.


Joylene said...

I've often wondered why comic books got their name, because, as you pointed out, most aren't funny. This was interesting, Amanda. Thanks.

Amanda Borenstadt said...

Thanks for dropping by, Joylene. Yeah, I guess the first comics were always funny and the name stuck.

Mohamed Mughal said...

A gal who likes comics...oh, my, you're a nerd's dream :)

I can relate with what you shared. "Watchmen" is one of my favorite works of literary art.

Amanda Borenstadt said...

Thanks Mohamed! I guess that explains why I had so many guy friends in high school. LOL

Oh yeah, "Watchmen" is awesome! :)

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