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Return of the Knave
Drink It Black
Friday, 2 March 2007
Refill

Magazine readers are always going to have more interest in American quilting than comic book readers. This is not to categorise them (us) as all of a kind, but a Revels reader may be predisposed to reading about Sarge Steel and Sarge readers may look across with approval at the lurid mags and still not change the fact that magazines and journals can take a serious tone on the most lighthearted of subjects with more natural aplomb than can comics, which often struggle to bring gravitas to serious matters.

 Newspaper readers, even subscribers who wake up to one each day on their front lawn, scoff down the news of the day - and once they're done, they happily recycle or leave on the seat. Newspapers do have a 'cast' of characters that either are of interest or who have an interest. Anna Nicole Smith seemed to have one of those totally tabloid lives. But we have heard the old lies and griped about the old wars; we're ready for a fresh supply with our cereal. Comics, on the other hand, engage our familiarity and position their players in the way they want. In the way we want. Papers, by mourning a succession of big notes, have an easier job than comics, which have to preserve the perpetual franchise. They do this, though, not by keeping the character and their surrounds the same, but by updating them in line with the times each generation of readers is going through. The uneven result is no doubt the subject of many a late night geek discussion.

Short story readers won't feel they've missed out if they haven't had Mac Raboy to illustrate the story in their heads. What distinguishes comic readers from all other readers in this respect, is that part of the joy of reading is the 'creative' process of imagining the scenes and characters depicted, based on words alone. I don't think there is a laziness on the part of comics readers as much as a love of the whole potential of sequential art storytelling.

Novel and novella readers enjoy those eloquent turns of phrase or vivid descriptions that are best worked in to longer works. It is this extraneous scene-setting that displays a different character to the comic book.

 The agenda for many non-fiction readers is not one of escape. It is linked to serious purpose, with any edification directed to professional or academic ends. Reference readers have an even more fleeting attention to their reading matter; where only the facts matter and not how they are related.

Lastly, poetry readers have an even greater attraction to the language itself and the way a narrative is conveyed.

Comics have at times attempted to cater to readers who don't normally bother with sequential art by emulating the feel and focus that other reading forms possess.

Posted by berko_wills at 11:36 AM EADT
Updated: Friday, 2 March 2007 11:38 AM EADT
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