Comic Books: Towards a Definition

It might seem redundant to take time out to try and define what a comic is, but you’d be surprised what sort of misnomers exist about the medium and the industry.  The big one:

Q: Aren’t comics for kids?  A: Normally when you mention comics to someone who doesn’t bother to read them, they think you’re talking about kid books.  What’s a bit ridiculous about this misinformation is that for more than two decades now comics, by and large, have not been aimed at children.  Some are okay for kids and most mainstream books are fine for teens, but tykes are by no means the main audience.

Q: Why not read regular books?  A:  Comic book fans probably also read a lot of regular books too.  Comics are by no means a dumbed down version of books, like “literature-sans-imagination;” They’re best thought of as a different medium.  If anything, comics are closer to film than anything else.  The perk: reading even a mediocre book will take you a few hours, whereas reading a mediocre comic will only rob a few minutes from your life.  You can read dozens and dozens of good comics in the time it’ll take you to read a decent book.

Q: But are they art?  A: Yes!  Again, they have to be considered as their own medium.  Don’t simply judge comic art against fine art in museums because both are visual.  Comic books represent the work usually of entire teams of artists working together: pencilers, inkers, writers, colorists, letterers and so on.  It’s a collaborative art, whereas literature and paintings are the products of people all by their lonesome.

I hope this elucidated a few things.



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