Monday, April 23, 2007

Why comics?

If you read comic books on a regular or semi-regular basis, what is it about the medium that makes it special? Why do you find time and set aside money for it when there are a lot more cheaper forms of entertainment out there? What makes comics interesting to you, personally? What do comics give you that other forms of entertainment can't?

If we can get enough answers (maybe a hundred... har har!) , maybe we can come up with comics' USP, or unique selling proposition. It can be comics' "tagline," so to speak, a statement that can encapsulize the experience and/or benefit unique to the medium. (Let's not tackle genre, writing and artstyle for the meantime; let's focus on the medium per se.)

Anyone?

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I found myself drawn to comics primarily because of the art, and I got into reading the weekly komiks anthologies because there was hardly much to do in my day.

I'm not too patient when it comes to reading very long stories--novels aren't up there among my reading preferences. Not yet, at least. So comics (as well as short stories) give me my story fix without taking up a lot of time.

But what I really like about comics is how it leaves little and a lot to the imagination, all at once. I can't explain it; it's only when I read an installment of Gary Larsen's The Far Side that I'm reminded how powerful the medium can be.

7 comments:

ten e. said...

I enjoy reading comics and i think that the imagination is backed up and interpreted powerfully by the art/drawing, which any novel would complicate.

For humor, I like Gary Larson creations and Dilbert comics.

Jac said...

I love how comics can tell stories by the synergy between words and images :)

Proscenium Arch said...

Comics kasi eh mas masaya kasi may drawing lalu na kapag maganda, nakakaakit, ung ngang sinabi ni Carver nd USP ba un? Unique Selling pichuchu, bastah, maganda yun comics kasi nakakaakit, kaya ko nga binili yung zsa zsa eh, na curious ako , na akit and nung natapos ko, enjoy naman...

Reno said...

What's attractive about comics is that it's a combination of art and the written word. People who don't like to read books can still be persuaded to read comics, since there are pictures that break up the monotone of just looking at plain text. In a way, I guess, it speaks to the child in us, since that's how kids start to like reading, by perusing picture books.

I guess I'm echoing Jac's sentiments. :)

Joel said...

1) The medium of comics allows a relatively quicker production time for a creator to get his/her/other person's message across.

2) It serves as cost-effective springboard to launch a title/story, and a relatively safer testbed to segue into something with inherently more risk... like a theatrical production, movie, or animated feature.

Those are true however also for illustrated children's books and webcomics.

3) Print comics cost more to bootleg than other media. It's bootleg-unfriendly.

4) Comics are easy to re-use, dispose, and recycle - anywhere.

5) Comics can hide as much as sex & violence in them without worrying about MTRCB censorship or other prying eyes. Or it can smuggle Christianity to where it's needed the most.

6) You can have street kids & vendors sell them right off the street, or you can carry it in luggage without getting nabbed by the Optical media board.

7) Comics can serve as a marketing tool attached to a location without requiring an electrician.

8) Comics can carry below-the-line freebie stubs and discount coupons without making itself look tacky.

9) Comics makes general education fun & easily archival. And can be very effective in teaching the arts in particular as comics are a cheap & handy visual reference for the growing artist.

10) Comics can be enjoyed & their stories sufficiently digested even under deafening noise or complete silence... or if you're deaf.

11) Comics can be enjoyed in poor or underdeveloped locales, even those that have no electricity.

12) Comics can entertain & educate and get better distribution than any other visual media in places where isolation/extreme privacy is necessary... like prisons, comfort rooms, hospital wards, and motels.

Boy that was fun.

Jamie B. said...

I love the amount of control comics gives me as a reader. I can scan through a comic quickly to get a quick feel of a story, or I can spend minutes pondering a single panel and appreciating its subtleties or drinking in a particularly powerful scene. I can also jump around a story easily and quickly; jumping to earlier scenes at will if I need a quick recap or reading panels in any order I choose (though the story may not make sense that way. But good comic writers/artists know how to take advantage of that reader ability to make unique comic stories.)

Movies and TV force you to watch at their set pace. Books and prose force you to go in one direction and you can't really scan quickly through it and understand a story. A lot more processing is required for even simple comprehension.

Carver said...

Wow! Thanks foe your answers! :-) Let's see where we can take this.

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