Thursday, February 15, 2007

Entertainment Weekly: Friends of Comics

Lets all thank our lucky stars for the internet, and for the ability to actually get noticed by the real world at large and not just those with complete books of Marvel Value Stamps: Wook Kim has a blog rolling column over at Entertainment Weekly, and gives a nice plug to Devon over at Seven Hells as well as cluing the rest of the entertainment world that real writers write for comics:
Attention readers! There are a bunch of talented authors — who write real books and everything! — currently working on comic books. Like Jodi Picoult, whose Wonder Woman should be in stores sometime next month, and Tad Williams, who wrote the six-parter The Next, and is now at work on Aquaman: Sword of Atlanti
The very fact that EW has made a point of running a graphic novel bestsellers list and keeping focus on comic related projects (The link on the side of the Blog Roll column mentions Kate Beckinsale starring in "Whiteout"), which to me is just huge. Huge huge huge. This is what has been missing for 20 years: actual coverage of our media.

Lets face it: perception is reality, and if people are continually being told "Comics are for kids" and "Graphic Novels are for adults", then that's what they'll believe. I heard mention on TV the other night, someone talking about a graphic novel, and I turned to my wife and said, "that means we've arrived. When someone on a mainstream TV show can say that without having to explain what a Graphic Novel is, then we''ve actually changed the public's idea of the product."


RAB said...

Um. Consider how you'd feel if EW had published the statement "Hey, comic books are good now that real artists are drawing them, instead of those old hacks who were full time comic book artists because they weren't good enough to get work drawing anything else!"

Yes, I exaggerated the rhetoric for effect...but the underlying message is the same. The implication of that quote absolutely is that comics are being saved by writers who come from outside comics and are therefore better.

Leaving aside that from Mickey Spillane and Patricia Highsmith down to the present day, there have always been writers who worked in comics and in other media...what about people like Steve Gerber or Alan Moore or countless others who clearly are writers fine enough to do great work in whatever medium they choose, but who actively pursue comics work out of a love for the medium and belief in its potential? The money in comics writing is so poor compared to what a writer can get in nearly any other variety of commercial writing that the truly good ones who can adapt their skills to another medium are either forced out due to sheer economic necessity, or have to sacrifice financial security because they genuinely need to make comics. And for this, they get disparaged and belittled, and this is supposed to be a good thing for comics?

If the comics medium is regarded as something that has to borrow legitimacy and prestige from novels and movies and television, that's not a sign of much progress at all.

inkdestroyedmybrush said...

Sorry, but I fall back to "perception is reality" here, or perhaps, any new readers are good readers.

I don't see it as "famous authors come to save comics" as "new readers who might never have picked up a graphic novel may well do so".

This is positive publicity all the way round. Good writers doing work in our preferred medium. I don't take offense to it int he way that you're implying. I see how you might want to take it like that, but I just can't get the negative vibe out of that review.