Comics, Part 2: Movies and Comics and Comic Book Movies

There’s a whole new genre of films called “comic book movies”. You know: they’re those movies that don’t have Wonder Woman.

GeekChicElite.com

GeekChicElite.com

Newspaper comics predate cinema by a just few years. Check out this silent movie where the comics artist Windsor McKay makes “pictures that move” while his friends drink brandy and guffaw at such an idea: http://www.wikiwand.com/en/Little_Nemo_(1911_film).

A fairly clear line can be drawn between comics “before cinema” and “after cinema”.Little Nemo in Slumberland by McKay ran from 1905-1926, with every strip following the same basic story: Little Nemo has a dream that ends with him waking up in bed.The panels are set up like a stage play, with the viewer at a fixed distance from the action:

Wikimedia.org

Wikimedia.org

Now let’s look at a strip from Terry and the Pirates in 1942, 16 years after Little Nemo ended and well after film became really popular. Zoom! Pow!

KellyRiggsMysteries.com

KellyRiggsMysteries.com

Comics now have a “camera” that follows the action, zooms, and pans. By trying to imitate movies, comics became more like storyboards instead of an art form of their own. Aside from motion lines and weird characters, comics started to lose what made them unique.

ProgressiveBoink.com

ProgressiveBoink.com

Of course, there’s nothing wrong with one medium borrowing from another. But while movies exist in time, comics exist in both space and time. There’s a lot of fun to be had with the page itself! Take a look at these Sunday pages from the 1930‘s comic Gasoline Alley:

Linesandcolors.com

Gasoline Alley by Frank King,  Linesandcolors.com

Nijomu.com

Gasoline Alley by Frank King, Nijomu.com

Now look at this spread from the 2014 book, Here:

Wired.com

Here by Richard McGuire, Wired.com

The fixed viewpoint is back, with every page taking place in the exact same room, traveling through time instead of space.

Or you can play with how people think in pictures as well as words:

Goodokbad.com

Asterios Polyp by David Mazzucchelli, Goodokbad.com

Or how people think in video game mechanics:

Ethermetic.com

Scott Pilgrim by Bryan Lee O’Malley, Ethermetic.com

If you want to, one of your characters can even bust out a blackboard and explain his view on religion right to the reader’s face:

Killingthebuddha.com

Asterios Polyp by David Mazzucchelli, Killingthebuddha.com

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s