Modern Comics

Scott McCloud shows us how time can be manipulated in comics in Time Frames. He also shows us how how action is represented and how the layout can effect perception.

Most comics twenty or so years ago didn’t really try to experiment, though. Many were already venerable and most new comers (I’m looking at you Garfield) weren’t particularly adventurous.

One exception is Gary Larson’s The Far Side, second only to Bill Watterson’s Calvin and Hobbes.

It tried new everything. Style, layout, content, flavor. It pushed the envelope, annoying editors everywhere.

Notice how the lack of dialogue gives this comic a timeless feel

Notice how the lack of dialogue allows the reader to interpret this how he wills. Is this a political statement about how socialism's handouts lead to the proletariat biting the hand that feeds them? Is it telling us that if the lower class unites we can take out the oppressive rich once and for all? Or perhaps it is just showing why you shouldn't feed Alfred Hitchcock's Birds.

Regardless, brief sparks of genius soon fade. Comics have stagnated and newspaper comics still remain in the same position (I’m still looking at you Garfield), with some exceptions.

Yet the fine art of webcomics offers something new. Something fantastic: variety. In infinite amounts.

Whereas traditional comics must appeal to a broad audience to be somewhat successful, webcomics don’t. They can have as narrow an audience as they want, they can be as strange or odd as they want, and they can do whatever they want- it’s near total artistic freedom!

Take Dinosaur Comics, a famous internet phenomenon. Every comic has every character in the same pose- the only difference is in dialogue. And yet…

The first

The original


Manly Rex

The Secret Formula

The Secret Formula

it is so satisfying. The ludicrousness of it- dinosaurs in the same position time after time having deep philosophical arguments- is where its popularity stems. Sometimes being different is good.

Attesting to its popularity is the fact that, no jest here, Japanese and Korean English teachers have used this comic for creative writing prompts. No joke.

A lesson we all should learn.

A lesson we all should learn.

Another interestignly famous interweb comic is xkcd, a comid about math and whatnot.

This falls under the "whatnot" category.

This falls under the "whatnot" category.

See? You don’t have to be a particularly skilled artist to manufacture awesome!

So go forth and create! A virgin world is ripe for the taking shaping!

Published in: on October 7, 2009 at 9:15 pm  Comments (2)  

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Speaking of Garfield, have you ever seen the webcomic “Garfield Minus Garfield”?

    It’s brilliant – it basically takes Garfield and everything he says out of the equation, revealing a Jon who might very possibly be schizophrenic, or bipolar, or at least very very depressed. Of course, if you take one more step back from that comic, you will realize that even if Garfield were there, he’s a CAT, he doesn’t TALK. So Jon really is just talking to himself in a crazy manner…

  2. Those dinosaurs made me laugh so hard!

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