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#240673 - 04/10/99 10:26 AM Disco Vs. Punk, Heavy Metal Vs. Chester Brown
Ben Adams Offline
Member

Registered: 12/24/98
Posts: 483
Loc: Minneapolis, MN
I just wanted to take a little time to talk about "online comics" in a slightly different way.

It's really the "job" of an artist -- a singer, a filmmaker, a comic book creator -- to engage/excite/arouse/captivate/seduce/provoke an audience. If you're a folk singer singing on a street corner, you want the people walking by to stop and think "Man, he's good" and throw money in your hat. Similarly, if you've got some online comics on a website, you want surfers who hit that page to think "Man, he's good" and stay and read the rest of the comic.

Just like the comic artform has gone through many different periods, music has gone through different periods. Disco was, at one time, huge. Then we reached a point where people like Peter Frampton started to perform below expectations. The Sex Pistols caught on. Huge, overproduced rock-and-roll shows were "out." Grassroots punk (in various forms) became "in." The latter was connecting with people. The former wasn't.

There's absolutely no point in creating online comics loaded with animated .GIF files and .MIDI sound files and Shockwave animation if people still aren't connecting with your message.

Right now, alternative comics are not exactly an "in" thing. Will they become an in thing if we all start using Shockwave animation? Maybe they'll become an "in" thing if lots of people with interesting things to say scan very "low tech" comics onto their computer, download them to their free Geocities websites, and get lots of traffic over to them.

While there has been material in Heavy Metal Magazine and Epic Illustrated that I have liked, the worst material from these two magazines online with animation and .MIDI files is something we don't need. Simply put, a lot of the people who've done material for Heavy Metal & Epic were preoccupied with technique and craft, but they didn't have much to say. (I personally think that comparing the worst of Heavy Metal to Peter Frampton is pretty appropriate.)

On the other hand, very "low tech" comics by people like Colin Upton & Chester Brown have developed followings because these people had something to say, and they were in fact connecting with people.

Maybe people want lots of animation and sound. On the other hand, maybe they've been so saturated with MTV and really stooopid, hi-tech movies like INDEPENDENCE DAY and GODZILLA that they'll be completely numb to it.

I certainly don't have any problem with people experimenting with animation and sound, but message & identity & distribution are all things that I'm more concerned with.

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Ben Adams
www.mediawarpcomics.com
_________________________
Ben Adams has led an interesting life. He writes about it in his blog and in his autobiographical webcomic, MISFIT\'S JOURNEY .

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#240674 - 04/12/99 02:42 PM Re: Disco Vs. Punk, Heavy Metal Vs. Chester Brown
Jeff Zugale Offline
Member

Registered: 12/06/98
Posts: 1806
Loc: Los Angeles, CA, USA
I dunno, I think that while there are certainly people who just get into whatever's the big thing at the time, most of the people out there who are really interested in such things are more discriminating. They grok what's good and what ain't.

I mean, the art in Heavy Metal is largely very nice to look at, from an artistic technique point of view. But I agree that the writing is off-putting. Many of the stories are incomprehensible -- I happen to enjoy trying to unravel that incomprehensibility (and usually find something interesting even when the artist has NOTHING to say, as figuring out what kind of brain produces that stuff is also entertaining), but not everyone does.

Basically I think that if you put out crap, eventually people cotton on to that. They know what is innovative and what is rehash. How many Nirvana-clone bands have outsold Nirvana? Maybe Foo Fighters... but Dave Grohl was in Nirvana. Do you think Days of the New will ever outsell Alice in Chains? People know which is the real one and which is the retread. Once it's all retread, they move on (maybe it's as they grow up).

So all sorts of flashy stuff in your online comics will get the "Gee Whiz" factor, but if your story is boring and goes nowhere, eventually people will go elsewhere.

Like, Starship Troopers. It did well, not just because it had way bitchin SFX, but because Heinlein wrote it. People grokked that it was an over-the-top, fun, satirical look at power structure and pulp sci-fi. It was loud, and scary, and fun, and wild to look at, and yeah there's some nudity too. But the story -- and the exaggerated TV-news style satirical bent -- work well.

I bet Wing Commander had all the bells and whistles too. But Heinlein didn't write that. So it didn't do so well.

Just my thoughts, I could be totally off base. [img]/resources/ubb/smile.gif[/img]

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Jeff Zugale
Pagan City Comics
www.pagancity.com
_________________________
Jeff Zugale www.jeffzugale.com/
My "Just A Bit Off..." webcomic

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#240675 - 04/12/99 10:09 PM Re: Disco Vs. Punk, Heavy Metal Vs. Chester Brown
eric hess Offline
Member

Registered: 12/19/98
Posts: 488
i think the key thing is for a work to strike an honest, resonant, emotional chord with its audience. if it can do that, it'll succeed regardless of artistic style or choice of venue.

... or it has to have lots of babes in swimsuits. can't go wrong with that, either. [img]/resources/ubb/smile.gif[/img]

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#240676 - 04/12/99 10:27 PM Re: Disco Vs. Punk, Heavy Metal Vs. Chester Brown
Bradly E Peterson Offline
Member

Registered: 11/23/98
Posts: 322
Loc: Fort Worth, Tx USA
A few words about style and substance...
They aren't always at odds with one another.

They don't HAVE to be at odds with one another... But spend some time looking at network television or some of the movies that have been released lately, and you'll start to see that style generally gets the vote over substance by a very wide margin. At east as far as Hollywood, Burbank, and Nash Vegas are concerned. heh...

I mean, just look at what they're sending to the theatres... I know which "Dawson's Creek" cast member you screamed at last summer during the (insert teen activity here. Some appropriate items might be seduction of the innocent / running from knife-weilding maniac/maniacs / rebelling against authority whilst drinking beer, having lots of softcore teen sex, and seducing aforementioned knife-weilding maniac/maniac.)

As far as movies are concerned, we've just recently turned a corner. And there COULD be good news ahead for those seeking substance from movies. That corner was turned when the Wachowski brothers made "The Matrix". This film was ALL about style, and y'know something? It didn't matter. That's right. It didn't matter that the style outweighed the substance by about twelve metric tons, because this film is going to pave the way for something better. A smart action picture. I really believe that there's a place for that, especially in light of films like "Pulp Fiction", and damn near anything starring Chow Yun Fat. Mr. Chow is da man, dammit. heh... The future will say whether I'm right or wrong, but the technology is available to create damn near ANY environment you want to create. This means that the stories that had been previously thought "Unfilmable" are now fair game.

That means that imaginitive writing is going to play a MAJOR part in film, rather than taking the standard situations we've seen a million times and slapping whoever the flavor of the month into it and releasing it to the theatres. Hell, there's more imaginitive thinking going on in CABLE TV thatn in MOST movies right now. If you doubt me, just wait for the reruns this June of "The Sopranos" on HBO. That'll open your eyes, I think. heh...

As for the world of graphic storytelling, there's bound to be a lot more work for artists in the film industry. At least if the Wachowski brothers have anything to say about it. They had Geoff Darrow and Steve Scroce do 600 pages of work before "The Matrix" was even MADE! It was THAT work that finally convinced the studios to let them make the movie. The actors trained every day for SIX MONTHS before a frame of film was even loaded into the cameras. A LOT went into it. I believe that this brand of filmmaking is going to become more commonplace, but the writing will take the forefront. The material will rise to the level of the style, and they'll both get a chance to shine. Finally.

Now, if we'll just take a cue from that in the comic industry, I think we just might be able to stand the bad weather that's been brewing (for quite some time). Not only that, but I hope that more people like the Wachowski brothers, Kevin Smith & Quentin Tarantino will extol the virtues of comics in a very public way. The comics fans are in the spotlight, and they're talking. Let's get more people talking, ok?
Later yah'll...


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Bradly E. Peterson
Psychodrama Press
"Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds"
(Albert Einstein)
http://www.fastlane.net/homepages/drama/
_________________________
Bradly E. Peterson
Psychodrama Press
"Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds"
(Albert Einstein)
www.fastlane.net/homepages/drama/

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