Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Art1 Art2 Art3 Art4

Long Story, Short Pier has another comics post up. Debating the definition again - or rather, the word to use to describe the thing he means when he says comics. "Sequential Art" or some such. Here the players are Eddie Campbell, speaking through an interview at Graphic Novel Review, the ubiquitous and inevitable Scott McCloud (so I'm taking this class, Harvard Extension, "Reading Across Media" - and first class, not far into the first lecture, what does the professor do but start drawing boxes on the blackboard, then lines between them, then little guys in them - all the while talking about the structure of narrative, ad the importance of the gap between panels. We will, in time, be reading Understanding Comics - though she noted, at the end of the class, that a good place to start in understanding narrative was - well - right there...), and Kip Manley himself. Whose take is this:

But we’re you and me both at once tenacious and fickle: once we’ve named a thing, we balk at the idea of changing that name—but that very truculence lets black-garbed stagehands work some magic by changing the thing just enough when we’re looking somewhere else. I’ve seen previous attempts to do what Eddie Campbell wants, from “comix” to “drawn books,” and while I’d never say never or not in a million years, nonetheless: my money’s on “comics.” Sad as it may seem, it’s much, much bigger than the longjohns—and it always would have been, if only we’d known how to look.

Now in the company of these giants who am I? But my money's with Kip. Cause to me it seems what is unique in that art form - the thing that makes it an art form itself (whatever you call it - format? medium? something) is - well - what Kip said, just above what I just quoted: that "all they have to work with is one picture after another". Everything else - the drawing (or photos or whatever), the words, the stories, the plots, the themes and ideas and characters and - getting back to Professor Kakoudaki - even the idea of transition itself - belongs to something else (all of them, maybe, something different, though often overlapping and etc.) What makes it comics (or whathaveyou) is the series of pictures - which exists as much in Rose is Rose as Maus. So - I'm for comics.

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