Saturday, June 30, 2007

Paul Pope and the imagination of Jack Kirby

Paul Pope, over at PulpHope, has a great little story about a conversation that he had about Jack Kirby. Takes two minutes to read, and I love it.
"Sometimes I feel like all science is doing now is reverse-engeneering Jack Kirby," I say.
.. is just one great line. I'll let you savor the rest yourself and then you can come back here.

Great. All done?

What I'll bring up is a subpoint in the discussion, the vitality of comics. Elsewhere in the world, with comics hidden into the small stores sucking on the teat of the direct market, run by dedicated comic lovers who can barely afford the rent on their stores, comics aren't anywhere you can see them, and, as objects, lose their relevance to today.

New York is different, perhaps because its been the home of comic book publishers and many of the artists, perhaps because of the sheer density of people and, therefore, density of retailers to serve the population, perhaps because people there still read because they have time, time on the subway platform, on the train, on the bus, as opposed to sitting in a car driving and not being able to take their eyes off of the road, the nature of transportation demands a way to escape from yet another long hot wait on for the N and R at Union Square.

Whatever reason, or combination of reasons, comics there do maintain a certain relevance to populace, and, as an artist, there is such a joy in that that it is truly hard to express. After all, there was a time, 10 years ago, when you could have likened the comic artist to the horse and buggy salesman: they had their heyday, and would likely have been sure that their market position would be secure; after all, people had been using the trusted horse as transportation for hundreds of years now. Surely this new horseless carriage would never really replace the equine animal.

Now, with success of manga and the cartoon channel and 300 and Spiderman and Hellboy and X-Men and, god help us, the FF2 movie, we can continue to see the ideas generated by comics, and that energy, brought out to the masses...

...and we're relevant again. groping blindly most of the time, but relevant.

i'll take that.

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