Sunday, April 12, 2009

Comics rule - but why do they rule?

While writing the last entry, I came across this quote from Terry Moore (whose creator-owned series, Echo, just keeps getting better and better).

"It's amazing how powerful the comic book format can be because it incorporates the best of both film and prose. Novels and movies or television are creative vehicles that rely on something moving in order for you to experience them. The film has to roll, your eyes have to run across the page to get the experience … whereas in a graphic novel, you're looking at the scene. It stays there on the page all day, and you experience the moment for as long as you want to experience it. It's just an amazingly powerful medium."

That's what I've been struggling to get across over the past several comics-related blogs. In fact, I've been struggling with it since I started reading the comic book adaptation of The Odyssey. As much as I love the original epic (Okay, I've never read the original GREEK.) I kept thinking to myself how happy I was that this was finally done as a comic book. For one, I can read the story much faster than I can when I read my huge Robert Fagles' translation. Secondly though, I teach this every year, and it'll be much easier to refresh my memory by scanning through the comic than scanning through all that epic poetry.

Most importantly though, and this gets to the heart of what Moore said, comics are great because it's so easy to relive the experience. If I want to re-experience Odysseus getting past Scylla and Charybdis, it's so easy to flip to the right page. And then I can sit and absorb the work for as long as I want. This is something that you just don't get with either a novel or a movie - as much as I like both of those genres.

Yeah, comics are awesome.

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