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What are the advantages and limitations of the comic format?

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What are the advantages and limitations of the comic format?

I'm wondering what /co/'s opinion is on this, because now that I think about it I can't really think of any comic book that I would consider a "masterpiece" on the level of, say, A Passage to India (which is still pretty pleb as far as masterpieces go anyway).
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>>77642955

The advantage is that it's its own unique artform with plenty of possibilities for playing with style and storytelling.

The downside is that no one will read your comic if it isn't capeshit, a bad gag comic about "nerd culture," a boring slice of life thing about insufferable hipsters, or weird fetish porn.
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>>77642955
>advantages
You can pretty much do anything you have the time and imagination for.

>limitations
The audience.
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I don't know what to tell you, Anon. Maybe you're reading the wrong comics?

Since you enjoy books about European colonialism, maybe you'll enjoy a comic about European colonialism.
http://www.mediafire.com/download/8v8luhv2zmg8i94/Arsene+Schrauwen+%282014%29+%28digital-Empire%29.cbz
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Comics allow to draw things rather then having to describe them like in book. So you can easily deliver big detailed picture without drowning. Meanwhile it's also cheaper and logistically easier to produce then motion pictures of any kind. Less cheap and easy then books though.

However, comics have appaling space-to-information ratio.
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Words and pictures, you can do anything with words and pictures
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>>77642955
The comic book format is in its infancy...for decades/centuries, the novel was considered nothing but trash culture (unlike the high art of the day such as poetry, opera, and painting). Comics have enormous potential, but have not crawled far from the primordial ooze. I think the Invisibles is a masterpiece on par with Joyce's Ulysses, but I'm obviously in the minority. I think in time comics will get the recognition they deserve.
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>>77642955
comics take longer to get ideas across
For example, a TV show that adapts a comic will have to take several issues for one episode
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>>77643270
Have you read Ulysses or is this just your gut feeling?
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>>77643300
Yessir. English major here.
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>>77643322
I'll have a Cheeseburger combo without pickles.
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>>77643322
So what do they have in common?
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>>77643121
I feel like comics are in the same rut as video games. No one respects them as a medium so they aren't held to any particular kind of standard. Even the creators themselves often seem to have a 'come on it's comics' attitude that just devalues the whole thing.
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The main thing about comic books are that they can depict insane things with more authorial control and more clear cut impact than a textual description without the amount of budget necessary to put something in motion with either film or animation. It is the perfect middle point between using someone's own imagination to conjure up their impression of what something looks like, like with writing, and filling in 99% of the details like you have with film. It is the best of both worlds.

Beyond that, they also have the benefits that all cartoon arts have by having a highly variable style that can either be as abstract, iconic, or realistic as you want it to be.

But if you're measuring the art form on the scale of "How does it compare to this piece of historic fiction?" then you're an idiot and full of shit. That's like going "I DUNNO, MUSIC IS NICE AND ALL, BUT I THINK MUSIC IS PRETTY SHIT COMPARED TO CITIZEN KANE Y'KNOW?"
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>>77643335
Oh yeah I'm sure your hours of posting on 4chan help your job prospects considerably.
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Blacksad.

It's not a "masterpiece" in the way you seem to be using it, but is it better than a hell of a lot of novels from the same genre?

Fuck yes.
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>>77643335
Haha I know it.

>>77643337
Not a lot directly; I was referring more to the generally cultural perception of Ulysses (super-dense, intricate, genius, etc). The Invisibles has more in common with something like Gravity's Rainbow in my mind--the mixture of postmodern eccentricities (and a sea of esoteric allusions) and genre pastiche recall Pynchon, or a more coherent Burroughs.

>I'm going to grad school because my degree is fucking useless
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>>77643400
Touchy, touchy. Looks like a nerve was hit, eh?
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>>77643393
>MUSIC IS NICE AND ALL, BUT I THINK MUSIC IS PRETTY SHIT COMPARED TO CITIZEN KANE Y'KNOW
Not him but if I put a gun to your head and two buttons in front of you and one erased all music and the other all movies, which would you press?

Except the buttons are comics and literature.
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>>77643335
No tomatoes on mine and I'll have the large fries
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>>77643445
Go ahead, shoot me.
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>>77643423
I never went to college buddy you're just an unfunny cunt.
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>>77643455
I'll have a number 9 large...
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>>77643371
Video games are taking themselves pretty seriously these days. Whether it's from the big publishers or from indies. It doesn't help that the media keeps saying it's the "1st entertainment industry" above movies.
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>>77643393
Music and film are different kind of art.
Comics and literature are both narratives.
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>>77643471
Wow, rude.

Do you always get this angry on the 4chins?
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>>77643490
There are narrative-free comics and books.

You might as well say that all all songs and all movies tell stories.
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I wouldn't even know where to begin with this.

But I mean, if you can express something with words, or with pictures, then it can be done in comics.

It can be done by a small group of people, which offers the advantages of tight collaboration, it can be done by a singular author offering the advantage of very pure and unfiltered personal expression. It can be done very cheaply.

Literally anyone can make a comic, it's a very open access grassroots DIY friendly medium. Anyone can make a film too arguably, but pencil+paper+public library scanner to distribute on the net is a lot cheaper than buying a digital camera. I mean, look at the original One Punch Man webcomic or the litany of zines and minicomics out there (the latter may be limited to where you live regarding how big a scene there might be).

Anyways, here's a novel turned into a comic. It's really very good. Everyone should read City of Glass and Rubber Blanket if they can (the latter is pretty hard to get scans of, impossible to get in print, mind you, real shame)
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>>77643634
>Rubber Blanket if they can (the latter is pretty hard to get scans of
#1 and 3 are easy to online. #2 not so much.
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>>77643445
Probably movies and literature. I mostly read non fiction stuff anyway and that can be done justice with audiobooks and documentaries.

And TV is (has the potential to be?) like tiny movies.
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>>77643726
*to find
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>>77642955

Scott McCloud's Understanding Comics is worth reading as background for your question.
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>>77643371
>Even the creators themselves often seem to have a 'come on it's comics' attitude that just devalues the whole thing.
Only the bad ones.
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>>77642955
Advantages are nearly limitless, the disadvantage is the lack of sound in the medium.
Really your issue is that you're a literature faggot who thinks that circlejerk works of academia are actually good.
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>>77643498
>Cunt
>rude or mad on 4chan
Reddit's probably a bit better for you friendo.
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>>77643335
>No pickles
Pleb
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>>77644061
I think another problem is that pacing depends on the person. With a film, you get what everyone else is getting at the same time the way the director intends. But like with a painting or a book, it depends on how long you look at the pictures or read the words. That has an affect on the overall product and how people can interact with it.
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>>77643799

This. Pretty much everyone else so far has been giving shit answers.
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>>77644129
It's a problem and an advantage at the same time.
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>>77644238
I don't know if I'd call it a flat out advantage, but it certainly lends some uniqueness to each reader's experience.
But if the creator wants a really slow, tense scene, a really fast reader is probably going to miss out on some of that through no real fault of their own.
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Comics are fun but an inherently limiting medium.

They're movies without movement, books without depth.

Think of it this way: you need to give your reader the experience of the six senses: sight, smell, sound, touch, taste, and emotion.

Books use words to do this, and they let the reader's brain form those words into images and feelings.
When done right, books can be masterful. They use words to play with the reader's imagination and to craft a person, a world, an emotion, all within the reader's mind.

Movies don't have the power of words and their audience's imagination to play with, but they have not only visuals but movement, acting, and music. Visual subtlety and superb acting, as well as a fantastic score, can make a film into a masterpiece.

However, comicbooks are neutered of many of these important elements.
The visuals are supplied, and so the power that the words have to create a world in the reader's head is neutered.
There is no movement or room for subtle and deft acting because the images have no movement.
There is no music, no sounds coming out of the mouths of the characters which give them emotion.
And we can see the world, and so relying on words in textboxes to add description risks being redundant.

Comicbooks are good for fun. But not for masterful human drama.

That's why comicbook masterpieces never stand up in comparison to literature and film.
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>>77644370
>books without depth.
Only if the comic you're reading is shit.
There's no reason a comic can't be as deep as a book.
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>>77644399
Read the whole post.
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>>77644370
>books without depth
>depth
>inherent
Stopped reading there, fuck off retard depth is all about the author.
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>>77644421
I did, and I still disagree with you.
Those aspects aren't so much as 'neutered', you just need to use them in a different way for comics. If you approach the comic medium the same way as you would a film or a book, it's going to end up as shit. You need to approach it for what it is. Only then can you get to those upper levels of quality.
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>>77644370
I disagree. You imply that prose relies on the author's imagination and pictures do not, but that's not true. I use my imagination to fill in the motion between panels, for example.
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Moore popularized the idea that the visual and linear nature of comics means you can instantly flip back to a page or panel to look at it again. He used this in Watchmen to give the reader a sense of omniscience, explained to the reader through Dr.Manhattan. Like a watch or clock, Watchmen ticks forward with identically sized panels in groups of nine.

Another good example is Grayson Futures End. Like the movie Memento, the story is told in reverse order. But in a way that Memento never could it encourages flipping back and rereading scenes with new context by using specific language, for example a word that had little meaning when originally read may be repeated in another context later, reminding you to flip back, where the word now gives new meaning to that scene.

I encourage everyone to track down a physical copy for the greatest effect. It's such a simple gimmick but it changed the way I view the potential of comics.
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>>77644370
I've never understood the claim that static images remove all imagination from reading a comic.
I imagine the movement between panels in my head, I imagine characters voices and the sounds that would be in the area the image is depicting. The images are a definitive reference, they're not an absolute depiction.

I also think that the claim would then also apply to all visual art. If deft prose is superior to static images why should we have any kind of visual art at all rather than a piece of paper with a description?
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>>77644483
Except that books and movies have many tools at their disposal to do so, while comicbooks are like limited books or limited movies. They don't have many of the tools that invoke the six senses, and they have nothing to replace those tools other than still pictures and limited word use.

Comicbooks can be good, but they never beat the greats of literature and cinema.

Though a good comicbook can be better than a shitty film, looking at the comic versus the movie of Watchmen.
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>>77644564
How are books less limited than comics? One of the dumbest fucking things I've ever read.
Comics are books with pictures, you can have just as much prose in a comic as in a book.
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>>77644564
>they will never beat the greats of literature
Yea, no. JT Krul comics are better than half of Dickens' works dude. Most "greats" of literature are overhyped complete shit.
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>>77644626
greatness is not only subjective, but relative to the merits of the particular art form

>that said, Krul is the shit
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>>77644564
It's not an either or. While it's true they lose some things from not being film or literature, they still gain advantages from both of those mediums. Being able to combine images and the written word is a fantastic advantage that more people aren't taking advantage of.
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>>77644503
>>77644535
The problem is that your imagination does all the work. The artistry of film and literature does not apply, you as a reader instead make spacial assumptions. But what about subtle emotions? A slow breakdown? A woman realizes something deadly, but must hide her revelation in front of the party guests? A man waits a painfully long time, then nods, revealing a secret. All of these are usually portrayed in comics like a limited film, where the action is drawn out as much as possible over decompressed panels. But this works like a choppy movie, and can be done so masterfully in literature and film.

For instance, the man with a secret. A comicbook would either have to include a series of identical panels to indicate the passage of time, or just use words to spell out "he waited a long time."

The options are more limited than film and literature.
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>>77644652
Krul is dogshit, do you read comics?
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>>77644626
>Most "greats" of literature are overhyped complete shit.
Well it certainly helps that they've had a couple hundred years worth of study. Comics are still in their infancy.
>>77644530
Every now and then I think about how different reading a book electronically/digitally would be, and it does have a bit of an impact on me.
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>>77644707
I enjoy Ed Wood movies too. Krul sucks in an awesome trash-culture way.
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>>77644585
I already explained, books use words to play in the playground of the readers' imagination. Still images take away this playground as the reader has to reconcile the words and pictures presented.

It also becomes clunky when the heavy use of words are inserted into a panel to describe everything that isn't visually shown, unlike if there were just written words (literature) or no written words (film).
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>>77644773
Okay so the Mona Lisa shouldn't exist either, just a piece of paper that describes what it looks like.
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>>77644811
Paintings aren't a storytelling medium. Yeah, Mona Lisa is a wonderful painting, but not a very good story, because that story is a woman sitting in a chair in front of a nice view.
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>>77644773
This is such a narrow interpretation of how we relate to prose and comics, I can't help but feel like you're being purposefully obtuse.
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>>77644811
>>77644840
I also never said comicbooks shouldn't exist. I think there's enough room in the world for both great masterpieces and fun shit.
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>>77643371

I disagree with your equivication to video games. Video games, more recently at least, take themselves quite seriously and is quite well accepted in mainstream culture. But indeed, comics themselves don't have a lot respect as a medium.
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>>77644773
Film shouldn't exist by your standard either, visual images are inherently inferior to imagination according to you.
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>>77643371
The difference is, video games make shit tons of money.
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>>77644844
I think it's perfectly apt. You're free to disagree, I knew /co/ wouldn't like my opinion and I was hoping for some good disagreement.
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>>77644773
Comics just frontload your imagination needs.
It provides what things actually look like, and then your brain does the fill ins.
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>>77644892
No, that's cool. If you're not trolling I've got no problem. It's fine to disagree.
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>Static visual images are worthless in storytelling because MUH IMAGINATION
I'm out. You have no imagination if you just see comics as images and words. If your imagination doesn't show you how a scene plays out then I can't imagine you get a super vivid scene from prose either.
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>>77644870
This isn't about whether something "should exist."

Films make up for losing the audience's imagination playground by using acting and sound, both things which comicbooks lack.
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>>77644840
So what, imagination is more powerful than images, all the things the Mona Lisa tries to convey can be better conveyed in prose.
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>>77644936
>Comics lack acting
See this is how I know you don't actually have a good imagination, which makes your claim of prose's superiority moot.
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>>77644918
By frontloading your information needs, however, they lose something. Words no longer have the omnipotent power of literature when images appear, and their neutered power isn't replaced with the acting and sound and movement that film provides. Instead, you have neutered words and still images. Which are not enough to take a comicbook to the realms of the greats.
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>>77644844
> I can't help but feel like you're being purposefully obtuse

wilful ignorance - on mai 4chan?
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>>77644962
Words use imagination, film uses sight, sound, and acting. Both of these tell better stories than paintings.
I don't know where you're going with this. Paintings aren't masterful storytelling mediums, they provide immediate and undefined visual and emotional stimulation.

>>77644935
I never said imagination was everything. Imagination is a tool of literature. Just like acting is a tool of film.
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>>77644984
>Puts a little bathat on his avatar on /co/
Fuck off
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old simsons stream, currently on kamp krusty

http://movietme.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=27&Itemid=604
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>>77643335
why are people on the internet so rude?
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>>77644981
The literature should deftly and purposefully stimulate the reader's imagination, the reader isn't supposed to do the artwork's job of crafting a story in their head that manages to do what the literature cannot.
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>>77645036
But storytelling is irrelevant to the claim. Thematic content is also important to the visual art of the comic, which is what fine art uses static visual art for as well. If that is inherently worse than prose, all visual art is useless.
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>>77645069
>Imagination is supposed to be stimulated by the story except when it makes me wrong
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>>77645085
If you want to say that a comicbook uses still images to create something masterful on par with a painting, I won't disagree. My claim has been concerned with comicbooks as storytelling mediums.

Comicbooks can, of course, have pretty art.

And just because something isn't a masterpiece, that does not make it worthless, and I never claimed otherwise. I have read and enjoyed comicbooks.
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>>77645107
>imagination is supposed to be stimulated by the story
>either that or the imagination must be provided the experience with sight, sound, and movement
>comicbooks do the second thing but with only sight, and also lose out on the total freedom of the first thing
>hence, they are limited

That's my claim.
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>>77644983
You limit language to description, and you limit image to physical depiction. You have a narrow minded view of not only comics, but literature and film as well. And you act clueless as to why people take offense to you demeaning the medium by referring to it as "pretty, fun, enjoyable, but incapable of producing a masterpiece".
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>>77645117
I'm just taking your concept to the logical extreme, in effect shitposting.
I just think your claim is so fucking dumb. You seem to not value visual art as a concept, you don't think it's capable of stimulating emotion/understading in the same way as prose because it's not based in your imagination even though multiple people have said that their imagination is stimulated far beyond the page. In fact you then start claiming that if imagination is stimulated beyond the page that the art has failed because the reader is doing the artists' job for them.

We haven't even gotten into the way that there is a dialogue between the narrative and art the same way there is one between the visuals of a film and the narrative, something that literally cannot exist in prose, and provides an opportunity for extra thematic value. Something like Morrison's Animal Man would come off extremely awkwardly in prose, the visuals are crucial. I don't even know how well it would work on film.
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I dunno man, if you read some Dave Sim and the lettering/sfx DON'T stimulate some juicy auditory cortex information, I suggest you get an EEG and CT-Brain.
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>>77645193
It's more like a strawman than a logical extreme. You seem defensive.

And yet Animal Man, while being great for a comicbook, is still not as great as many of the film and literature canon.

>>77645189
Language and images can give the audience great experiences, but they step on each others' toes when they try to tell a story at the same time. They step on their toes in the ways I describe here.
>>77645156
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>>77645301
YES I was going to bring this up, Sim is a master that deftly and regularly moves his art outside of the visual using the reader's imagination that one guy is so hung up on.
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>>77645346
I'm pretty sure that he's just upset that there aren't more writers that know how to take really advantage of both writing and art at the same time.
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>>77645301
And yet, it could still be done more effectively if it were just literature or had real motion and sound.
You can do cool things while being limited, but being limited still holds you back. It's also why films never truly became great until they got sound, which turned out to be the key letting them rise to be on par with literature and theater.
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>>77645328
Not really defensive, more offensive, I'm calling you stupid.
Animal Man is absolutely better than every single book I have read in my term as an English Major (at a top 50 school no less) besides Moby Dick. The second closest is Oroonoko in my opinion. Most "great prose" has absolutely no sense of pacing. A minimum of 50 pages could be cut from almost every novel I've ever read. (not that lots of comics don't have horrid pacing too, I just don't think AM has that issue at all.)
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>>77645391
No, he's made the claim that comics are inherently limited.
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>>77645412
>Animal Man is absolutely better than every single book I have read in my term as an English Major
>Most "great prose" has absolutely no sense of pacing. A minimum of 50 pages could be cut from almost every novel I've ever read

Now this is just sad though.
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>>77645438
All mediums are inherently limited. But you still see creators working through them to create masterpieces.
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>>77645346
One thing I wonder is, if you're brand new to comics, might you lack the sufficient "comic book reading comprehension" to get the effect from stuff like that, in the way someone very unfamiliar with films might miss out on a lot of cinematography nuances

I've been reading comics since before I could read the english language, so I often wonder things like that

>>77645393
> if it were just literature

Nah. The words "Pound. Pound Pound." written singularly inherently carry less information, less impact than the words depicted with visual enhancements. "Effectively" is the word you chose to use. It's literally carrying less effect to just use the words in a regular font.

Unless you mean a paragraph of prose describing the sensation of a pounding headache. Which is an inherently different effect to visually depicting it and thus comparing apples to oranges and saying something as stupid as " music is better than books".
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>>77645393
No, it couldn't be. Any description of this image would fail to accurately describe it in my opinion. And the lettering of Cerebus' different voices would also fail to be accurately captured on the prose page, defining the voices with names would change the interpretation through personification, but the different style of prose alone isn't enough to create the distinction.
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>>77645055
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>>77645513
I certainly think it's possible to do, but at the same time it would take a lot of time to read. That page is much faster to digest and carries a certain weight that I'm not sure whould translate to the prose page.
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>>77645631
As I said, it would entirely change the interpretation of the page to put it into prose.
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>>77644370
>The visuals are supplied, and so the power that the words have to create a world in the reader's head is neutered.
>There is no movement or room for subtle and deft acting because the images have no movement.
That is literally what composition and simplified art styles solve
Read this book >>77643799
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>>77645510
>>77645513
>>77645631
With literature, it's as much about what you choose not to say as what you choose to. It's not about describing the headache with purple prose. It's about telling a story by setting up the entire scene with words, including expectation, which leads to the impact. What's important, what needs focus, what needs subtlety, these can be played with in literature (and also film). Comicbooks have a veeeery difficult time with subtlety. They can only stimulate the "that art is nice" or "that art is cool" senses, but not the storytelling senses (at least not in the way literature and film can).
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>>77645706
Stop. You can't defend something as superior by claiming it's too different for direct translation.
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>>77645706
>Comics can't into subtlety
I think that's way more of an issue with the quality of writers than the medium.
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>>77645067
It's the one place they can be the bully they always wanted to be.
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>>77645706
>With literature, it's as much about what you choose not to say as what you choose to

I can think of thousands of instances of this in comics. Something as simple as the way the protag in One Punch Man is illustrated, switching up between hyper detailed more realistic leaning image vs instances of cartoon abstraction to the point where he's barely more than a smiley face dpending on the tone of the scene or given panel. A popular young boys/young men targeted action-comedy manga has this nailed. You can be sure that Joe Sacco and his war journalism comics, or David Mazzucchelli and his high brow literature comics and Frank Santoro and his DIY zine approach, and anyone in any branch of comics who have skill and forethought in their craft also have this down.
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>>77645745
I'm claiming that comicbooks can provide the visual stimulation of a painting but can't do subtlety and so cannot be as successful as a storytelling medium as film and literature. That visually engaging comicbook page does not disprove this.
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The biggest limitation comics have is the difficulty of using a narrator. You can include one broadly, but you can't switch between first and third person the same way you can with a written book.
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>>77645906
I'm not saying that the one page disproves your entire claim, I'm saying your response to how comics have some ground over film/literature is fucking retarded
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>>77645922
Yes you can, Miracleman does it all the time. Read some fucking comics god,
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>>77642955
With comics, you can create any sort of visual you want without the constraints of realism, budget, animation, etc. The only thing stopping you from creating your scene is your own competence.
>>
The reason we really haven't seen any masterpieces of High Art come from comics is because it's a medium deeply rooted in pulp. You don't really see people trying to leave that realm of pulp. And lot of it is good, compelling pulp, but pulp no less.

Meanwhile the few trying to bring comics out of Pulp just don't have the writing or art prowess to really bring it to a literary level.
>>
I think it's time to post the best pages from comics. Too lazy to find my favorites.
>>
Can someone really tell me how anyone can find something like Wuthering Heights more enjoyable or thematically superior to even a simple Elliot S! Maggin Superman comic? Like even thematically the idea of using all your great power to help others is superior to the muddled commentary on entitlement and family that Wuthering Heights pukes up.
>>
>>77645706
>>77645906
I'm not sure you even know what you're trying to argue at this point.
>>
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>>77646206
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>>77645055
the blurst of times?
>>
>>77642955
Books have been around for a long time.

I think comics are a respectable medium of their own, not unlike movies, and there's a great deal of unexplored territory in comics that holds fantastic promise.

You've got the second strongest form of art as a tool for storytelling, one picture can really work better than a thousand words. Comics made by one person can have an incredibly unique footprint and the potential for personal expression might be even stronger than that of literature, as comics can easily dive into abstract territory and evoke a very specific mood.

Speech balloons were to comics what caption screens were to old movies, but lettering has already evolved above its role as a crutch. What other elements are being overlooked today that might evolve in ways we can't foresee? Audio-comics may become big in the future, who knows?

Art talk aside, I think comics are accessible, flexible and CHEAP. This is a massive advantage comics and books have over team efforts on a larger scale (movies, animation) as the need for a higher budget always puts a limit on what can be achieved in one way or the other.

>>77645906
>comics can't do subtlety
I'd blame the fact that very few comic authors even considered working with subtlety so far. It's like saying that acting can't be subtle after watching Punch & Judy shows exclusively.

The problem with comics is that they're niche, they have a bad name, they're a terrible career path for authors, they're very easy to pirate, they need a lot of skill to pull off, and genuine works of passion are lost in a sea of soulless, petty cashgrabs. Being a visual medium it tends to reward flashy, superficially attractive stuff and draw flaky, shallow audiences in.
>>
>>77645706
You really need to stop reading capeshit, brah.
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