This profound realization hit me straight and hard the other day. I know that most people reading this will have the same sentiment as myself: “I love comics.” But why? Why?
Why? Because comics are a unique and beautiful medium, comics marry art and writing, they have the best of the worlds of art, film, poetry, and writing. Comics can be exquisite, artistic, imaginative, funny, and beautiful and yet they can also quickly show real situations, political, ugly, nostalgic, truthful. Open a comic page and just look, ignore the words. You are already instantly transported into another world, so well thought out, the author or artist has gone on to describe without words in several panels. Look deeper. The text or lack thereof tells a story, wrought with emotion, information, mood. The worlds of comics like Owly or Bone are so well drawn that they don’t always need words to convey the story or progression the artist has in mind. And the worlds of comics by Brian Vaughn and Neil Gaiman are so deeply thought out, the text flows from page to page like a novel. What other medium can whisk you away to worlds unknown so quickly and effectively, and keep you there, holding you with story and character? Comic book world have varied so much from the whimsical and stylized worlds of the past, in the works of Will Eisner, Stan Lee, Osamu Tezuka and Jack Kirby. People now use the comic medium to tell stories in a fantasy setting, as in Bone and Gunnerkrigg Court; they tell of deep love, as in Blankets; they record life, as in Maus and Alan’s War; they are a forum for art and beauty, as in Flight; they make serious social and political commentary as in Y: The Last Man and Ex Machina; they are adventure, Tintin; they are hope. They’ve become so much more than people give them credit for.
I heard from a friend the other week that one of their coworkers was ashamed to admit that they had been reading a comic book. As most new forms of art and representation do, comics have been seen as something base and fleeting. But I’ll tell you now, comics are here to stay. And I’m not ashamed to admit that when I was a kid I loved superheroes and Sunday funnies, when I grew older I liked manga and romance, recently I’ve been into autobiographies and indie graphic novels, now I love them all.
So here’s an ode to comics: new, old, trendy, classic, fantastical, magical, harsh, real; those great authors and artist who have come before us and served as our inspiration; the talent that is pushing the field further and further every day; and those who will come, with their art and their words. We love comics.