Many of the people who have taken this class are (understandably) already comic book fans. Before this class, I had never read a comic strip/book in my life, so I tried to come into this class with an open mind.
Reading this blog, I have found a lot of defensiveness of the fans. To an extent, I understand why – if society was making insulting assumptions about something I loved, I’d be defensive too. I just can’t help but feel – even after reading and studying all these comics – that the offenders have a point.
The idea of comics is a good one, obviously proven by its popularity. However, I feel it is a bit silly to compare comics with either literature as art, since they can’t ever truly compare with either. The complexity of making one work of art (painting or writing) is hard enough on its own. Because comics need both, there needs to be a balance – the image-text relations need to complement each other, and if there is too much of one, then it is criticized. If a comic has too much text, it threatens to become a novel, and if there are not enough text, it becomes a series of images without enough story.
By doing this, both the writing and the drawing become simplified – you must “read” the pictures and “look” at the text all at once to get the desired effect. Since it is necessary for the art form of comics to simplify, I don’t think, even the most sophisticated comic book, could ever compare to a classic novel or painting. There just isn’t enough opportunity to expand the depth of either the writing or the drawing, because they need to be entertaining.
As with any newer media form, I believe comics is still trying to find its legs, and I do believe it’s possible for comics to come up with classic pieces (as we have studied, they are well on their way with comics such as Maus and Krazy Kat), but I think it is still in the making. Comics is something all its own – it isn’t prose, and it isn’t art in the classical sense either. To compare them, in my opinion, is setting up comics to fail.
– Diana Harrison