Monday, August 27, 2018

On the internet, a comic-book writer said some familiar things about 'comics' . .

. . .  that I disagree with:

“Comics aren’t for everyone”

Odd – would someone say movies or prose books aren’t for everyone? I doubt it, but maybe. Given how many people of all ages read comics and manga as well as comics-like things (memes, picture-books, etc.), it’s an odd claim. Is he talking about ‘comic books’ but instead uses ‘comics’? That’s a familiar, but pretty imprecise use of words. Maybe he means ‘my kind of superhero comic books aren’t for everyone’? That’s true. But the medium - comics - is everywhere, all over the internet, in newspapers, magazines, etc., and especially in the form of the near-universal ‘visual sequential’ instructions on product packing (there are many in every grocery store I've been in). In this way and many others, comics is/are literally for everybody (at least as much as anything can truly be said to be 'for everybody,' which, to be accurate, it can't.)

“Created by the children of immigrants”

I’m not sure who created comics – does he or anyone really know?  The medium goes back centuries, so again, an odd claim. If he means not ‘comics’ but ‘the American comic-book that emerged in the 1930s and that stars a costumed super-being’ then maybe I get what he saying - we know the names of (most of) these creators; but that’s not what he said. A superhero’s origin story may be pretty specific (though it’s often revised so many times that any one version  is no longer definitive), but the origin story of ‘comics’ is ongoing, elusive . . .

“It is the medium of the outsider and the outcast, the nerd who won’t fit in”

Maybe, but I’m sure countless non-nerds have for many, many decades read newspaper comics regularly; and my Facebook feed is full of non-comics people posting jokey online comics. Every week I see/read about some celebrity coming out as a ‘total comics nerd.’ It’s a thing. Comics are cool, I suppose.

So, to sum up:
Comics is/are for everyone, except those who don't like them.
We don’t know who created the medium (because it evolved over time in different places).
Reading them doesn’t (sadly) make me or you a rebel or an outsider.
And if you’re talking, not about the medium of ‘comics,’ but about ‘superhero comic books,’ just say that. It’s fine.