Comics – The Revolutionary Medium?

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Chute and Dekoven describe comic books as a new transition between film and script, combining the best of both worlds to enhance a reader’s grasp on the meaning of the work. They talk about the media forms outstanding work and the progress the form of entertainment has undergone.

But is this true? Personally I feel the social stigma for this form of literature has killed it before it could be taken seriously. When you first hear the mention of a comic what comes to mind? I don’t mean to offend anyone who reads comics but for me, it is the image of an overweight and rather pale boy wearing large rimmed glasses, pocket protectors, and high-rise socks. This may be following the status quo, however I can’t help but think I’m right when one of the quotes used in bullet fifteen, and one of the only fan commentary on comics, comes from guttergeek.com.

Comics provide a new way to connect with the text by infusing pictures to emphasize the main ideas, and also giving a quicker way to determine what exactly is the idea. I am very lazy; if I want a visual to go with the text I’m reading I will ditch the book entirely and just watch the movie that accompanies it. Perhaps I am alone in this laziness, but I don’t think I am.

There are benefits to visual representations of things as there are with written versions. Visual media can spark certain emotions throughout an entire nation in ways text cannot, the example used in the essay was the images of war and death. However, text can often give more depth to emotions than a picture. You can portray a feeling on a screen, but not in the same way words can. Comics have the potential to become a powerful form of entertainment with its blending of portraying emotion and eliciting emotion, but I don’t think it will be possible until it loses its nerdy stigma.

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11 thoughts on “Comics – The Revolutionary Medium?

  1. This article is actually pretty good. I do agree with you when I think about comic books all I see a pale white boy with glasses, but I may disagree that they are different people that actually read comics that don’t look like that at all. For example I have a 13 year old sister that wears blue jeans and t-shirts and she read comic books all the time. So I believe that you are stereotyping just a little bit. When you say that text can’t bring much emotion then a picture would. I would have to disagree with you, because when I am reading a book I can picture what the text is and it can bring emotion from the text. I do agree that picture can bring emotion, but sometime movies never get it right when they are making a movie from a book. They can switch different things and put other things in the movie that doesn’t belong. So I believe that the text from a book can bring more emotion then most pictures. I do believe that comics can bring a new way to connect to books, and most people should go out there and maybe just read a comic book and see what it’s like. It’s a different style of reading that everyone should have a experience with.

  2. First of all I would really like to say I like the picture you have used for your blog. You make valid points in your blog as well. When I first started to read comics I would think that they were corny and that they were for only nerds that play Yu-Gi-Oh in high school classes. However I was wrong when I started to read more of them. I’m not a crazy comic reader. I’ve only have read a certain amount of comics in my lifetime, but every time I have read them they weren’t corny or bad to read. I thought it was actually fun to read a comic and kind of interesting how well the pictures and the storyline went together. However I do agree that comics aren’t meant for everyone, as the same goes for reading and watching movies. Some people have their preferences and to find what ones preference is, he or she must try it.

  3. I think comics like any other sort of medium will only help for as much as each individual wants it to. Everyone will have their preferences and will process information differently. I share your laziness and find it a hassle to read text and analyze pictures to get a full grasp on the expressed meaning. I also agree that I get more out of the visual or textual side of information mediums when they are separate in books or movies like you had mentioned. Though for someone brought up in a “cross discursive” way of gathering information, there is probably a great potential for more comprehensive learning. I think that the authors are pretty spot on in claiming that this combination of image and text is a fast evolving means of helping people understand things more fully. There also definitely is a social stigma that attaches itself to comics though this may be unfair due to the wide avenues that comics can evidently provide. When I think of comics I think superheroes and villains and violence. I was unaware of the alternatives like academic comics even existed. If more people knew about the varying types of comics and how they could help people, I think the stigma would disappear.

  4. This blog proved to be quite comical. I agree to an extent with you about comic books being more of a geeky thing, however, I think that the reason is because the comics have been mainly focused on action hero-based texts. I really enjoyed the movie Sin City; it was based on a comic book I think. The movie was a comic-style movie and it was very elaborate and fun to watch. My point is that if comics started covering a broader range of contexts that comics would be more enjoyable to a number of audiences. I am actually excited to read that comics are making a come-back , and if the comics start to tell different stories that aren’t just action heroes then I will probably give comics another chance.

  5. Having read this blog, I concur that there are benefits to both visual representations and written literature. I actually agree with Chute and Dekoven that comics and “graphic narratives” have a lot of power and capabilities that written literature cannot necessarily accomplish. Although the reading was somewhat verbose and hard to follow at times, it could be generally understood that there are several facets to visual representations that cannot be transposed into syntax and letters. You may have addressed this, but I do not entirely agree with the “social stigma” that is placed on comic books. The impetus for the actualization of this stigma on comic books seems to be nothing more than a direct result of Hollywood productions. In almost every single movie, the archetypal nerd or scapegoat, who also tends to read comic books in his spare time, undergoes an unfortunate or traumatic event which then heralds the coming of the hero who defends his honor and those around him. Why has our culture made the pleasure of reading comic books and the image of a “nerd” essentially synonymous in movies? While this exists in movies, I do not actually see this as an ordeal in real life. There is a fine line between reading comics for leisure and collecting all of the first editions of each superhero genre. The latter does produce the image of “an overweight and rather pale boy wearing large rimmed glasses” but comic books themselves are not innately “nerdy”. Even I enjoy reading comic books in my spare time, and I am often considered a meathead by friends! Comics rule.

  6. For as long as I can remember, comic has been playing a little role in many cultures and in different countries. Although, it wasn’t the primary talking points for most adults, it was for many children who would spend hours after school watching comics or even reading newspaper clippings if they did not have access to a T.V. The use of more comics gives the world a different look at just how things have change over the last few decades. The main reason for this is that people are expressing their ideas through the use of drawings that can be animated, whether through books, screen, or even plays.
    Looking at this images with the different outfits, remains me that, people that watch comics all have a favorite person or a favorite cartoon that they like to watch. I my case, my favorite would be Thunder cats. Comics does provide new ways to connect with people, there are many people that are not smart in a literary way, so for them to be able to express themselves through comics and drawings is a huge success for them. This allows them to feel better about themselves, knowing that they are fitting into something that gives them a chance to express their thoughts and ideas.

  7. I completely understand where you are coming from; however, I believe, since comics were first published so early in the 1900’s, their purpose originally started before motion pictures were created. Also, comics were cheaper, perhaps, than going to the theater for a little boy or girl back then. I mostly agree with you that it defeats the purpose of reading now that there are so many other options. The new purpose for comics seems to be connecting with others and collecting. What I think is ridiculous is, writers are changing the stories of these collectible comics to fit the social criteria for today’s kids instead of keeping them wholesome and classic for future generations to aspire too(realistically, of course). Comics are no longer about fight evil, upholding justice, and standing for truth; they are all about doing what you think is the best according to the individual’s standards.
    kwatkins

  8. Although I agree with your statement how comics typically have a nerdy stigma, I feel that you shouldn’t base your opinions about comics solely on this. As you have mentioned, “text can often give more depth to emotions than a picture” so by choosing to watch a movie instead of reading a novel, you are losing the original intentions of an author. Movies often change many aspects of the original work to better interest a modern audience and to make the work more exciting, so you may be missing the point of the novel entirely by solely focusing your view on what the movie has to offer and not giving the novel a chance.

    Comics are used in a variety of settings and for many different purposes. They are used in political cartoons to easily describe an event or opinion in a way that the vast majority will be able to understand. The people reading these types of cartoons aren’t necessarily the comic book nerds that you would typically associate with comics. Comics appeal to a wide variety of people and across many generations, because they provide a means to combine both words and images and makes the material easier to digest. By giving comics a chance, you may discover that comics are not all that you think they are and they are solely another medium used to simply tell a story.

  9. I think you have raised some good points. I completely agree with the social stigma that accompanies comics. A few weeks ago, I saw pictures of some people at a Comic Convention on Facebook. They were dressed up in their favorite comic book character and posing with others who were doing the same. My face scrunched up and I immediately judged those individuals. Looking back, I don’t think it was fair for me to immediately make judgments, because I didn’t fully understand what comics had to offer and why people enjoyed them so much. I think this is why people are unable to accept this form of entertainment, and if comics are going to lose its “nerdy stigma,” people have to be open-minded. Comics have come a long way. Sometimes, you’ll see political cartoons in the newspaper. Comics effectively portray events and oftentimes have a meaningful story to tell. I agree with you on the potential of comics to elicit emotion. As discussed by Chute and Dekoven, drawn images have brought turmoil between nations. Its controversy lies in the touchy topics found in many cartoons. Though debatable, comic books are an effective means of connecting text and image. Comics aren’t meant for everyone, but people will be unable to appreciate and accept them until they truly understand its value.

  10. The need of Chute & Dekoven’s introduction was largely based on your presumption that comics aren’t to be taken seriously. Throughout the article, they show that while the academic world had largely ignored comics, it was precisely because of intellectual, more serious comics such as Maus that they decided to take a closer look at the medium of comics and what they mean.
    While perhaps the most common form of longer comics in the public mind are those of the superhero-type story, the field has seen a tremendous amount of genre expansion since about the 80s. Before this, comics were seen by those who made them as cheaply made amusements for boys to buy with their pocket change, but as those boys grew up, some took their love of comics with them and began making them for themselves and other more mature readers. This is where series such as Watchmen originated, and where classic superheroes such as Spider man and Batman began to have less silly stories, and to develop the complex array of alternate universes and continuity details that now often define works from companies such as DC Comics and Marvel Comics.
    This expansion of views of what a comic could be also allowed manga to be introduced to American viewers. Manga are Japanese comics with a wide field of genres, ranging from series for young boys and girls to dark, heavy tales. Anime is the cartoon equivalent, and also has a broader range of demographics than U.S. cartoons do. The distinctive styles and plot elements of manga and anime have had a huge impact on how many shows and comics made here in America are created.

    One thing Chute & Dekoven neglected to mention in their introduction was web comics, or comics made to be distributed on the Internet. Perhaps this is because they were still such a young field when the article was published. The thing about these web comics is that, like most of the works that Chute & Dekoven covered, they are generally both drawn and written by the same person, or a writer and artist team. More importantly, anyone with the ambition can create and publish their own web comic online. This means that the creator of the comic does not have to have their work approved by a publisher. Publishers of print works generally only print what they think the majority of people will want to read, or at least try to target an existing demographic. Like producers of movies and T.V. shows, they don’t want to risk their money on something that may turn out to be unpopular. Self-publishing on the internet allows the comic maker to create their work the way they want to, and not have to worry about pleasing the maximum number of viewers. This, combined with the ease of finding things on the internet, allows those who are searching for a particular type of comic to find it, and allows comic-makers to fill niche audiences.

    This is all a bit of a tangent, but I merely wanted to point out that while there are existing stereotypes of what a comic is, the field of comics has largely expanded beyond superheroes, and it is growing larger all the time.

  11. Thank you everyone for your comments! I hope I did not offend anyone, I do not think you are a nerd if you read comics (I will read any batman comic..), I simply was referring to the stereotype typically given. I agree with the consistent comment that there is a more vast pool of comics to choose from, I simply meant the average public would not realize it if they were previously turned off to the subject. I appreciate y’alls feedback..

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