Originally posted by Dumas:
I'll ignore the trolling for now.
You just failed.
But aren't they really just substituting one set of formulas for another in some cases?
Naturally. Trying to push the boundaries of what can be done in comics can entail both trying to create new formulas as well as attempting to use established formulas in ways that haven’t seen used before. All progress in creativity uses past progress as a stepping stone; these things don’t happen in a void, so of course
you’re going to recognize previous influences, formulas, ideas, themes, styles and so on.
When I look at indie/alt/self-published comics, I see a lot of stuff kind of like American Splendour, a lot of stuff kind of like Andi Watson's work, stuff that looks like comic strips from the early twentieth century, a lot of stuff that looks like it was drawn by Mahfood, a lot of artwork influenced by old Hanna-Barbera cartoons (Ragmop, Pants Ant, etc.)...
. Again, these things don’t happen in a void. They don’t spring from some netherworld, they’re made up of pieces snatched from here and there, influences obvious and obscure.
The sum total of a work is not the individual pieces from which it is made, but rather what those disparate pieces are turned into.
And sometimes, it’s not even about doing something no one else has done before, but simply making more “acceptable” a technique or style or tone previously “unavailable” to comic creators.
Even if some indie creators are simply doing straight retreads of stuff others have done before – and certainly many are – none of that stuff is visible in the mainstream consciousness, both within comics and beyond. They’re doing
it, but no one is seeing
it. If and when some obscure thing catches, even it’s been done before by others it is (arguably) “advancing” the form by being new to a majority of readers and creators. Suddenly that obscure thing is changing tastes and influence from that point forward, even if only in a small way many wouldn’t notice.
Sometimes the steps are small. Sometimes large. But anything that broadens the palette with which creators feel they can work is to me an advancement of the genre. I like the idea that a creator might feel he or she can do damn near anything they can dream on the page.
The painted comics of Bill Sienkiewicz and others in the 1980s were not, to the best of my knowledge, the first painted comics to ever appear. They weren’t even necessarily widely popular at the time. What they were
, however, is influential. They said, “you can do this
, too.” They put another tool in the mainstream tool box.
That’s a positive in my book.
Yes, in the end what you have is a different set of formulas … but so what? More choices for creators, whether in presentation or simply in being able to tell the kinds of stories they want to tell, can hardly be a bad thing.