23 February 2012

Are Comics on the Road to Extinction?

            Exposing the awesome internal workings of a comic was apparently not enough according to Scott McCloud in Reinventing Comics. In this textbook he plans to show the other side of a comic since he was not satisfied with the reaction toward his previous textbook Understanding Comics. After 15 years of being in the comic business, McCloud focuses on the external life of a comic in the introduction of this text. He subtly expresses his frustration with comics being underestimated and debates whether it is just a phase in American comics or if it is permanent. In his view comics should form a complete puzzle with all the different visions and varieties being an individual puzzle piece. From 1984-1994 comics were at the top of the ladder and had increased sales, innovation and public image. However, the decline came soon afterwards causing many comic book stores to close down and comics to be less available to the general public. Scott McCloud goes over the common ground ideas that professionals work hard to achieve which also form part of the twelve revolutions he will describe throughout his text. The first 9 revolutions are: literature, comics as art, creators rights, industry innovation, public perception, institutional scrutiny, gender balance, minority representation and diversity of genre. Although these revolutions of comics did show progress in its golden years they never reached their full potential. McCloud describes how a certain type of comic always succeeds at the expense of another type, therefore creating a never ending discrimination toward anything that is different. His overall  focus in this chapter is to create awareness so that comics are placed among the rest of basic art forms and communication media. McCloud acknowledges that the challenge of comics is not to move forward but to grow outward. He looks to start a debate that was not fulfilled with his previous text and in the hopes of bringing all biases to the table change the future of comics to a much brighter one. 
Discontent with the success of comics after his first textbook McCloud uses this chapter of Reinventing Comics to show yet another side of comics (the external life) in hopes of creating awareness to all readers of this form of art. McCloud is an advocate for all professional comic writers who have been discouraged of continuing their art due to the many struggles comics have been through since 1994. In this chapter he exposes his point of view more openly and uses his own life experience as a testimony of how a comic book author is looked down on by society. By explaining the 9 revolutions, McCloud pushes the boundaries and insists upon the existence of a comic for every individual person. If comics were once at the top of the ladder and had the potential to connect with readers, McCloud wants to create a debate among all the readers of his text so that this form of art can take its well deserved place among all basic forms of art! 

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