Blog Tools
Edit your Blog
Build a Blog
View Profile
30 Jan, 12 > 5 Feb, 12
17 Oct, 11 > 23 Oct, 11
3 Jan, 11 > 9 Jan, 11
29 Nov, 10 > 5 Dec, 10
20 Sep, 10 > 26 Sep, 10
19 Jul, 10 > 25 Jul, 10
28 Dec, 09 > 3 Jan, 10
14 Dec, 09 > 20 Dec, 09
28 Sep, 09 > 4 Oct, 09
24 Aug, 09 > 30 Aug, 09
3 Aug, 09 > 9 Aug, 09
15 Jun, 09 > 21 Jun, 09
8 Jun, 09 > 14 Jun, 09
23 Mar, 09 > 29 Mar, 09
23 Feb, 09 > 1 Mar, 09
12 Jan, 09 > 18 Jan, 09
15 Dec, 08 > 21 Dec, 08
24 Nov, 08 > 30 Nov, 08
27 Oct, 08 > 2 Nov, 08
13 Oct, 08 > 19 Oct, 08
15 Sep, 08 > 21 Sep, 08
8 Sep, 08 > 14 Sep, 08
1 Sep, 08 > 7 Sep, 08
19 May, 08 > 25 May, 08
12 May, 08 > 18 May, 08
14 Apr, 08 > 20 Apr, 08
24 Mar, 08 > 30 Mar, 08
17 Mar, 08 > 23 Mar, 08
25 Feb, 08 > 2 Mar, 08
28 Jan, 08 > 3 Feb, 08
21 Jan, 08 > 27 Jan, 08
31 Dec, 07 > 6 Jan, 08
12 Nov, 07 > 18 Nov, 07
15 Oct, 07 > 21 Oct, 07
8 Oct, 07 > 14 Oct, 07
1 Oct, 07 > 7 Oct, 07
10 Sep, 07 > 16 Sep, 07
2 Jul, 07 > 8 Jul, 07
25 Jun, 07 > 1 Jul, 07
21 May, 07 > 27 May, 07
5 Mar, 07 > 11 Mar, 07
5 Feb, 07 > 11 Feb, 07
8 Jan, 07 > 14 Jan, 07
18 Dec, 06 > 24 Dec, 06
4 Dec, 06 > 10 Dec, 06
20 Nov, 06 > 26 Nov, 06
13 Nov, 06 > 19 Nov, 06
16 Oct, 06 > 22 Oct, 06
9 Oct, 06 > 15 Oct, 06
18 Sep, 06 > 24 Sep, 06
28 Aug, 06 > 3 Sep, 06
31 Jul, 06 > 6 Aug, 06
24 Jul, 06 > 30 Jul, 06
10 Jul, 06 > 16 Jul, 06
26 Jun, 06 > 2 Jul, 06
29 May, 06 > 4 Jun, 06
15 May, 06 > 21 May, 06
1 May, 06 > 7 May, 06
24 Apr, 06 > 30 Apr, 06
17 Apr, 06 > 23 Apr, 06
20 Mar, 06 > 26 Mar, 06
20 Feb, 06 > 26 Feb, 06
13 Feb, 06 > 19 Feb, 06
30 Jan, 06 > 5 Feb, 06
16 Jan, 06 > 22 Jan, 06
2 Jan, 06 > 8 Jan, 06
26 Dec, 05 > 1 Jan, 06
19 Dec, 05 > 25 Dec, 05
5 Dec, 05 > 11 Dec, 05
21 Nov, 05 > 27 Nov, 05
14 Nov, 05 > 20 Nov, 05
7 Nov, 05 > 13 Nov, 05
24 Oct, 05 > 30 Oct, 05
17 Oct, 05 > 23 Oct, 05
10 Oct, 05 > 16 Oct, 05
19 Sep, 05 > 25 Sep, 05
29 Aug, 05 > 4 Sep, 05
22 Aug, 05 > 28 Aug, 05
8 Aug, 05 > 14 Aug, 05
25 Jul, 05 > 31 Jul, 05
18 Jul, 05 > 24 Jul, 05
27 Jun, 05 > 3 Jul, 05
13 Jun, 05 > 19 Jun, 05
6 Jun, 05 > 12 Jun, 05
30 May, 05 > 5 Jun, 05
23 May, 05 > 29 May, 05
16 May, 05 > 22 May, 05
2 May, 05 > 8 May, 05
25 Apr, 05 > 1 May, 05
11 Apr, 05 > 17 Apr, 05
4 Apr, 05 > 10 Apr, 05
21 Feb, 05 > 27 Feb, 05
3 Jan, 05 > 9 Jan, 05
27 Dec, 04 > 2 Jan, 05
29 Nov, 04 > 5 Dec, 04
15 Nov, 04 > 21 Nov, 04
25 Oct, 04 > 31 Oct, 04
27 Sep, 04 > 3 Oct, 04
6 Sep, 04 > 12 Sep, 04
16 Aug, 04 > 22 Aug, 04
9 Aug, 04 > 15 Aug, 04
2 Aug, 04 > 8 Aug, 04
26 Jul, 04 > 1 Aug, 04
19 Jul, 04 > 25 Jul, 04
12 Jul, 04 > 18 Jul, 04
5 Jul, 04 > 11 Jul, 04
28 Jun, 04 > 4 Jul, 04
14 Jun, 04 > 20 Jun, 04
7 Jun, 04 > 13 Jun, 04
31 May, 04 > 6 Jun, 04
24 May, 04 > 30 May, 04
17 May, 04 > 23 May, 04
10 May, 04 > 16 May, 04
3 May, 04 > 9 May, 04
26 Apr, 04 > 2 May, 04
19 Apr, 04 > 25 Apr, 04
12 Apr, 04 > 18 Apr, 04
5 Apr, 04 > 11 Apr, 04
29 Mar, 04 > 4 Apr, 04
15 Mar, 04 > 21 Mar, 04
8 Mar, 04 > 14 Mar, 04
1 Mar, 04 > 7 Mar, 04
16 Feb, 04 > 22 Feb, 04
9 Feb, 04 > 15 Feb, 04
2 Feb, 04 > 8 Feb, 04
26 Jan, 04 > 1 Feb, 04
19 Jan, 04 > 25 Jan, 04
12 Jan, 04 > 18 Jan, 04
5 Jan, 04 > 11 Jan, 04
29 Dec, 03 > 4 Jan, 04
22 Dec, 03 > 28 Dec, 03
15 Dec, 03 > 21 Dec, 03
8 Dec, 03 > 14 Dec, 03
1 Dec, 03 > 7 Dec, 03
24 Nov, 03 > 30 Nov, 03
17 Nov, 03 > 23 Nov, 03
10 Nov, 03 > 16 Nov, 03
3 Nov, 03 > 9 Nov, 03
27 Oct, 03 > 2 Nov, 03
20 Oct, 03 > 26 Oct, 03
13 Oct, 03 > 19 Oct, 03
6 Oct, 03 > 12 Oct, 03
29 Sep, 03 > 5 Oct, 03
22 Sep, 03 > 28 Sep, 03
15 Sep, 03 > 21 Sep, 03
8 Sep, 03 > 14 Sep, 03
25 Aug, 03 > 31 Aug, 03
18 Aug, 03 > 24 Aug, 03
11 Aug, 03 > 17 Aug, 03
4 Aug, 03 > 10 Aug, 03
28 Jul, 03 > 3 Aug, 03
21 Jul, 03 > 27 Jul, 03
14 Jul, 03 > 20 Jul, 03
7 Jul, 03 > 13 Jul, 03
23 Jun, 03 > 29 Jun, 03
16 Jun, 03 > 22 Jun, 03
9 Jun, 03 > 15 Jun, 03
You are not logged in. Log in
Entries by Topic
All topics  «
Return of the Knave
Drink It Black
Wednesday, 4 October 2006
New flavour

Although I write about comics from the standpoint of having a hobbyist and afficiando's interest in the medium, the process of writing this comics primer ensures that I often uncover highlights I was unaware of.

For instance, I had never heard of a legendary writer, perhaps because he's worked the last 47 years in Archie Comics.

Similarly, I knew of Lou Fine but, because he was a Golden Age artist and I was a child of the Silver Age, I haven't had the pleasure of reading the stories he drew. When I was most avid about comics, inkers were my favourite and yet I missed a great name like George Klein. Is it because letterers and colourists represent craft more than art, that we notice their individual contribution less? There is discussion of Tom Palmer's inks on Gene Colan's pencils but you'll wait a long time for an exhibition of Simek, Art. Nor hear someone expound on the degree to which S. Rosen contributed to Marvel's success. Colourists must sleep with the other artists.

Posted by berko_wills at 4:07 PM NZT
Updated: Friday, 6 October 2006 1:42 AM NZT
Post Comment | Permalink
Monday, 18 September 2006
Coffee cup ring

Artists and illustrators who worked on book jacket design, magazine and newspaper illustrations probably did have an influence on comic books. Just as flyleaf illustrators and book jacket designers, and magazine illustrators also did work for comics.

Now, we know that journalists and reporters do a bang-up job of writing about the industry but does the skill set transfer across so that they write for comics?

Well we know courtesy of the man himself that J.M. de Matteis started out as a rock journalist. Indeed, it appears that he practices what he preaches. And he isn't the only critic to cross over. Serious news journalists too, have found the graphic format useful for their reportage. And, while we're not moving beyond comparing print media yet, it's helpful to know that comics are being written up in the same pop culture breath as things Hollywood.

Posted by berko_wills at 3:12 PM NZT
Updated: Monday, 18 September 2006 3:45 PM NZT
Post Comment | Permalink
Sunday, 27 August 2006
Paper cup

There's a lot of crossover between the media. A digest is like a magazine or journal but can also contain book excerpts. Then there's the newspaper.

Comic books, as we've assayed, were originally comic strips from the dailies combined into one book or pamphlet. Strips have their own resonance.

Comics themselves don't often make the headlines but there are no end of columns and articles dealing with them and their antecedents. Papers, in order to give relief from the preponderence of bad news that is their stock in trade, can cover some broad subjects.

 Comics aren't quite so broad as to have pieces on male pattern baldness or to appear as reading material at the hairdressing salon, they may not often be set in Guangdong Province or tell of the plight of camel drivers and, yet, neither can the most earnest broadsheet  cover every outage, every outrage; while, too often, the tabloids are busy touching up the page three girl.

Comics can give you the fun of a puzzle page, but mostly they coexist on the same page as the crossword. And they crop up as items of interest in the classifieds.


Posted by berko_wills at 5:55 AM NZT
Updated: Sunday, 27 August 2006 6:32 AM NZT
Post Comment | Permalink
Monday, 31 July 2006
Slick
There are magazines about comics and there are comics in magazine format, but in what ways are comics like magazines in general? Far from being narrow and fan-based, magazines cover everything from psychology to sheep farming but specialist publications usually take the form of trade and professional journals, and are available on subscription. Of course, this was not always available. The newstand won't cater to readerships below a certain size but neither are they all general interest. Apart from those glossies catering to: one also has to consider the groupings that are common to any larger newsagent: Comics have moved toward artful covers but they once bore catchy titles and descriptions to hook the reader in. Publishing history has seen an uneven attribution of bylines in both media. Advertising has long featured and you do sometimes get an editorial and a letters page

Posted by berko_wills at 4:01 PM NZT
Updated: Tuesday, 1 August 2006 4:15 PM NZT
Post Comment | Permalink
Saturday, 22 July 2006
A watched kettle

In all of the crossing of genres, we have largely stayed clear of terms that are particular to other media but, now that you have the perfect primer for beginning your exploration into the world of 2D adventure, let's look across at those terms; starting with books: Now the thing about the potboiler is that, while it is just as racy as yer average comic book, being in printed word form and lasting at least a couple of hundred pages, the idea is that all the action and suspense keeps you reading. Adding pictures and reducing the size to thirty-two pages turns this into something different; it isn't anywhere near as big an investment of the reader's time. So too the airport novel.

But the term thriller is a different story and has been employed in the graphic medium a number of times. In fact there was a series called Thriller. Not that I want to fall into the trap of equating comics with the lurid end of book publishing; it's not all pulp fiction, it could even be literature.

Taken over the complete series, a (comic) book may need an appendix, it may possess a frontispiece The index comes into play at the study level. Comics themselves don't usually contain an index to individual panels but Silver Age Marvel, especially, made judicious (often uproarious)use of footnotes. Not even the multi-story British weekly comics would necessarily have a contents page. Part of the fun was reading each story in turn and working through the mag that way. You pretty soon got to know all the regular strips anyway. To an extent these are like a collection of short stories but the ongoing seriality of many of the stories makes them appear more like periodicals than books.

Any reference  is likely to be about comics rather than in a sequential art format. But did you really want a  dictionary,  thesaurus , or concordance in comic book format? An encyclopedia is different since it utilises a combination of words and pictures to supply its meaning. It is also varied and general in a way that, say, an atlas (yeah, I know) or a cookbook is not.

Comics also occasionally deal with non-fiction. Popular are memoirs and biographies. But comics can cover Rod and real and everything beyond. What's on your coffee table?

Posted by berko_wills at 5:05 AM NZT
Updated: Saturday, 22 July 2006 5:59 AM NZT
Post Comment | Permalink
Thursday, 6 July 2006
There's many a slip
He who laughs last does so because this cross-genre exploration is a wrap. A-ha-ha-ha

Superheroes are all too easy to poke fun at. Fantasy is frivolous; science fictions of the past superfluous.

The seriousness of war and crime still allow for madcap dissection. War comics could either berate the enemy or at least stare them down; or they could deride the taking of sides or the whole rationale for war.

Keystone Cops showed an early inclination to laugh at the law and we presumably get some joy from seeing evil taking a tumble.

Comic drama finds its natural home in the dailies. This doesn't mean that everyone's as suburban as Hi and Lois but, sure, there's a commonality with what you find in sitcoms. Note the number of times that even strips like Hagar the Horrible and Wizard of Id veer into domestic drama with a humorous tinge.

Comedy and adventure have long gone well together and action comedy is only a pratfall away.

And we agree, intermittently, that romance is a suitable subject for humour as are more, nyuk, adult concerns.


Posted by berko_wills at 4:30 AM NZT
Updated: Monday, 10 July 2006 3:55 PM NZT
Post Comment | Permalink
Sunday, 25 June 2006
Stash

As crossovers go, it's a fair cop

Black Canary straddles both sides of the criminal fence and she is not the only superhero to be trained in the same skillset as detectives before deciding to do some serious moonlighting.

If, in this, it is seen to complement the science fiction and fantasy then one could just as easily do a census of such comic books involving a protagonist using deductive skills, apprehending someone with some fiendish plan, which will most likely be classed as a criminal act.

Horror/crime crossover is covered very nicely by (John Constantine) Hellblazer and wild west adventures just need to focus on law enforcers and outlaws;

With news that the US military are producing a comic book for Arab youth , one can only assume that someone somewhere believes that a propoganda war to secure a system for justice-based society is the way to avert the stalemate with insurgents and finally broker peace. But if this is how the military are bound to their morality, how different is the private dick? His brief isn't to make the world safe for democracy or big oil. Though I imagine this is an inadvertent consequence at times. 

Solving a patricide could be as exciting as it gets.

The Military Police feature in a feature like From Here To Eternity but the drama that plays out can't be so succintly portrayed in other media. At least I haven't seen any examples in comics. So I guess that leaves war crimes

Now is detective work adventure or not? It doesn't have to be restricted to mean streets, if Speed Saunders is anything to go by, detectives also operate on mean waterways. How far can they be international crimefighters without treading on the toes of spies or diplomats? Larry Steele to the rescue.

The promised action is displayed for all to see in this crime comic cover gallery

Detectives are called in to investigate affairs of the heart and then there are the affairs with detectives

Ms Tree has drama woven through; this is seen as a strength in detective stories.

Do we really want to laugh it up when there's the threat of being murdered in our beds? Well sometimes Johnny Law likes to let off steam and one way to do this is to quip


Posted by berko_wills at 10:11 PM NZT
Updated: Sunday, 25 June 2006 10:25 PM NZT
Post Comment | Permalink
Thursday, 25 May 2006
Lipstick smudge
When I studied Reading Cultural Forms, one of the first things we were taught is that it is women who read romance. This entry should be right down their alley then..

Sure, the Bronze Terror is dated but do the, largely female, romance audience care? Does romance necessarily have longevity?. The combination of genres already implicit in the exploits of the Bronze Terror - notwithstanding a later profusion of western characters with secret identities and superheroes with spooky mien - is not romantic, unless you're a golden age buff. And, even then, the usage is as broad as that for adventure*.

Buff bodies and an air of mystery, ensures that superheroes do quite well in the romance stakes. Wonder Woman has her Steve Trevor; Wonderman his Wanda Maximoff (though, as you can see from these examples, they're no less fraught with complications than nonpowered relationships).

In considering the reading of relationships we consider our relationships with reading and in comtemplating writing romance we contemplate the romance of writing.

Spot the surreal drama in another suburban romance. Revel in the romance of detectives fighting crime; of men and women defending their country. Discover the romance in an engagement with the underworld or a seat in the saddle.

There will be romance in the future. Perhaps even beyond the grave.

Romance can be unrealistic, too realistic or too too realistic.
And, yes, love is a funny thing.




*though, and much as Terror we know too well to want bronzed into the process, the Bronze Terror is unique as a character in that later Native American supertypes like Red Wolf and Warpath fought general battles. He is the only one to fight specifically for the rights of his people and that years before it was 'fashionable' to do so.


Posted by berko_wills at 4:04 PM NZT
Updated: Wednesday, 14 June 2006 4:01 PM NZT
Post Comment | Permalink
Monday, 15 May 2006
Prop
And so we come to drama. Nearing the end of our long haul of seeing in what ways genres blur and cross each other to differing purpose, we move again from the specific (secret agent) to the general.

It is here we note, yet again, that drama appears in genres, rather than as a cohort. At least this is the case with the specific gun-weilding hatwearing kinds; in other more nebulous types like action and adventure, there is more of a play off.

For the superhero(ine), the drama is highlighted in the efforts to keep their dangerous escapades a secret from loved ones (and enemies!)and of reconciling their powers with the preoccupations they have as private individuals.

The wild west stars and the crimebusters, the soldier/sailor/pilot/marine and the clowns, the romantics, the fantasist and the spacemen&women all have their dramas. Here, a ghoulish trawl through the daily strips.




Posted by berko_wills at 5:11 PM NZT
Updated: Monday, 12 June 2006 4:19 PM NZT
Post Comment | Permalink
Monday, 1 May 2006
Secret ingredient
Talk about a mystery or stay hush about secret stuff, there were government and semi-government operatives who had an outfit to match their code name.

Fantasy shows its hand wherever there is a shadow organisation or secret weapon not catalogued in our own reality; similar to science fiction.

Action. check. Adventure. check. Drama check.

The spy theme is a good one to have fun with.

Then there's the crime crossover. Horror works well with cloak and dagger. All in the dark together.

My tip for the comic chronicler: write an original spy story i.e. the covert operations and the double agents of yore. I did unearth an interesting history of the Wobblies, if you see the political struggles as part of that wider picture; suspicion and hostility between nations supplanted with class wars at home.

Hot and cold running phone taps spies operate during wars both hot and cold.

Finally a good opportunity for the reader to laugh up their sleeves.

Posted by berko_wills at 4:00 PM NZT
Updated: Saturday, 13 May 2006 3:36 AM NZT
Post Comment | Permalink

Newer | Latest | Older