The Perception of Comic Books

Comic books have carried a negative stigma for as long as they have existed.  Viewed as juvenile, cheap or inferior forms of literature and art, comic books have had an uphill battle from day one.  But with the success of comic books as represented in Hollywood, maybe, just maybe the perception of them will change.

The truth is, however, that in some circles comic books will always represent what’s wrong with the world, like many other forms of entertainment.  Video games and television have been put under a similar assault by parent groups, religious groups and highbrow elitists that just don’t get their appeal and blame them for the moral downslide of society.  Music over the past few decades has suffered the same kind of negative backlash.

The beautiful thing about comic books, though, is what sets them apart from all other forms of art.  And that thing is the marriage of art and writing that come together in a symphony of story unparalleled.  Much like the film and television industries possess the unique coupling of stories, and sometimes graphic art, with live action, or moving pictures, comic books are unique in the way they present a story.

For instance, take the art in comic books.  Any artist worth his salt can illustrate a still portrait or landscape scene, or what have you. Similarly, any abstract artist with any merit can illustrate a still masterpiece of odd attraction and sensibility.  But it takes a special kind of skill to use those same artistic abilities and techniques to transform a writer’s words to sequential story-telling, depicting constant movement and a wide range of emotions panel after panel, page after page.  Likewise, it’s a chore for a writer to structure their words in such a way that allows the art to do the descriptive ‘talking’ and fill in the dialogue in the appropriate places while still maintaining an interesting and flowing story.  And this is what comic books are made of.

Look at an artist like David Mack who pushes the medium of comic books into another level with his use of paints and materials to create abstract beauty while still maintaining the comic form.  Or the many acclaimed novelists, like Orson Scott Card and Stephen King, for example, who have made the transition to comics bringing their same talents and skill to the mixed media art form.  Yet comic books continue to be disrespected, or looked at as substandard as compared to other media.

That perception may never change, but whether comic books continue to thrive and grow, or eventually fade away, there will never be another art form that quite does what comic books are able to do.

Follow the exploits of rockers DEMON TWEAK and the racing clan HARD DRIVING HEROES, as they battle the evil trickster Loki at http://www.classic-comic-books.com . Also read articles on your favorite classic comic book heroes written by our resident historian VIRGIL THE STORYTELLER.