Thursday, September 18, 2008

Stylized Art vs. Sequential Storytelling

Pltypus and I are wired differently. Can't help it. We're just different in nearly everyway (as can be gleaned from our individual postings here). When it comes to comics, he's more likely to pick up something simply because it looks like the below:

As for me, I'm more likely to buy a book because I like the character(s) or story. Hence, my preferred choice would be something like this:

The artists that Pltypus adore are great artists - Sam Keith, Ted McKeever, Jon J Muth, Kent Williams, Bill Sienkiewicz, etc. but my personal preference are for those artists who are comic-book storytellers first and foremost. People like Mike Zeck, for example. Or Neal Adams and the Buscema brothers. Or Paul Gulacy, Barry Kitson, Dan Jurgens, Jerry Ordway, George Perez, John Byrne and Kevin Maguire. Or the Kuberts and the Romitas. I generally don't go for stylized art when I can help it. Truth be told, I usually pick up a book to read without even noticing the art very much until several rereadings later.

Comics are not coffeetable artbooks to showcase an artist's works. Comics are comics first and foremost. The story is all and the best comic artists are those who can tell the story best. I was flipping through the J.M. DeMatteis book, "Kraven's Last Hunt" (aka "Fearful Symmetry") this morning. The artist was Mike Zeck. The work was as beautiful as it was emotional and clear. DeMatteis wrote a deeply psychological story from the perpectives of the characters' inner psyche (Kraven's mad search for honour, Spidey's love for MJ, Vermin's hunger, etc.) Mike Zeck illustrated the external of it while working in perfect harmony to gel in with DeMatteis' monologous caption boxes. In my mind, it was a perfect collaboration and the work danced. In times like these, who needs a movie. The experience of reading a book like that where the writer comes up with a solid story and the artist doesn't step all over it by showcasing his "stylized art" - where the story and the characters take centerstage, well, nothing compares to that. That, my friends, is comic-book magic!

Sam Keith on Batman or the Dennis O'Neil / Neal Adams stuff? I think you know the answer to that one. Stylized artwork does not equal to "superior COMIC-craft". It's simply stylized artwork.

4 comments:

pltypus said...

I evoluted early. Lard Tub Dukes is still in the ooze stage. But that's not a bad thing. Who wants to go to Jeremiah just for the one shots right? Heck, in case you have not notice - Jeremiah is one giant continuity. Just follow the ART... :)

(stylized? apa binatang tu?)

pltypus said...

Truth be told. I can't handle a continuity to save my life. Your in-depth and wide-girth (literally) of scope in comics continuity often leave me breathless. More!

Uncle Screwtape said...

"Evolved". I laugh out loud everytime you say "evoluted". The root word is "evolve" so the past tense is "evolved". I don't know what "to evolute" means. Hahahaha!

Forget words like "continuity" or "stylized art". I'm into comics for STORIES. Simple. And I enjoy them for that alone. :)

pltypus said...

No. Not 'evolved. EVOLUTED.

evolve + polluted = EVOLUTED

Even a "half duck, part beaver" can understand that.

The real mystery of evolution? Lard Tub Dukes. (aka Sumo) (aka Hippo) (aka Fats) (aka Jabba the Hut) (aka Blob) (aka _________) (fill in the blanks with your favourite michelin man)

Why I like comics: Life is too funny to be an atheist. Life is too sad to be a god believing-ist. Life is just too pathetic to be an agnostic. Life just IS. Now that's a damn good story.