01 October 2009

Comics @ their Best and Worst Times

I am not going to lie, I was not super excited to read Introduction: The Twelve Revolutions because it was written by Scott McCloud. McCloud kind of bores me, but this reading was actually more interesting than I thought. At first McCloud talks about how he talks about how he, was not particularly interested in any one kind of comic. McCloud was interested in many different genres of comics. Because of all of those different genres, comics began to boost in sales and were coming to a high in their history. New and different types of artistry were coming about and McCloud says that “while others created more truly independent work which sought to reach beyond comics fandom and strike a chord in the real world outside.” The problem that McCloud and other artists didn't see was that even though comics were becoming popular they were hitting their peak and were going to fall back down very quickly. Comic book retailers were having to shut down their businesses and the people who were hard core fans of comic books were leaving the group, they were jumping off the band wagon and never returning.

Even though comics had fallen off the popularity ladder, McCloud and other artists believed that comics still had nine things in common. The nine things that they had in common were: 1) Comics as Literature meaning that comics could be considered great works of art and could be studied to “represent the life, times and world-view of its author.” 2) Comics as Art meaning that comics could be considered like those of the great sculptors and paintings that everybody knows about. 3) Creators’ Rights meaning that those artists could stake more of a claim to their works and could receive a little bit more money and control on their works. 4) Industry Innovation which says that the producer and the reader may be able to “reinvent” comics so that the reader will be able to enjoy them more. 5) Public Perception which means that the readers may be able to look ahead to see where comics may be able to go in the future. 6) Institutional Scrutiny which means that “institutions of higher learning” may be able to get over their pre-conceived notion of comics and make them equal to any other literature. 7) Gender Balance meaning that comics should be able to get the attention of women as much as it does men. 8) Minority Representation means that comics should be able to appear to more than just the “white upper-middle class males.” Last but not least 9) Diversity of Genre meaning that comics should be able to be more than just superhero fantasies and actually be something that has to do with everyday life or even history.

With these nine ideas comics started to make a comeback and were beginning to get their sales back. New artists came about by the beginning of the 90s and were really striking new ground. There was still a small problem, there were still only about two to three dominant styles that were being produced at any given moment. McCloud says that “to reach its [comics] full potential, both as an art form and as a market, comics must expand its territory, plunging into many areas at once and not losing sight of past gains as it chases present goals.” McCloud hopes that comics will come alive again and that comic retailers will be able to have a reason to sell comics to the public and that comics will hopefully have a boost in sales once again.

This reading is interesting because McCloud makes some good points and tells more of the comics sad tale. It actually makes me want to read more comics to get them back on the map. I have never really been a fan of comics and really had no true desire to get into them. But learning about the nine ideas that McCloud has and the ability that comics have to grow and expand to new levels really makes me interested in what they could become.


  1. Good post, Scottie. But what about the last three revolutions?

    Still, I'm glad to hear McCloud is inadvertently persuading you to try and help comics out. Or is it inadvertent? From what we know of McCloud, do you think he's using clever rhetoric to make you want to help?

  2. I've always liked comics, so as of now Scott McCloud is just making me tired...His intro. was okay but I thought his other book was better...So Scottie are you going to start reading comics now to help Scott McCloud help comics reach their full potential?

  3. Amanda, I would have to say that ya, I really think that I could get into comics. They are a lot more interesting to me now that i know that they are not just Superhero crap stuff.

  4. Mr. V, I do believe that McCloud is making a much better argument in this book then in his "Understanding Comics" book. He goes about addressing the sad history of comics and basically pleads with the reader to help. So, yes his rhetoric does make it so the reader wants to help. At least I do now that I see his point of view.