An Interview with Andrew Arnold, Comics Columnist for Time Online
Andrew Arnold writes a column for TIME Magazine's online version, Time.com, about comix. Time.comix focuses mainly on reviewing print comix – in the past he's written about Andi Watson and Jason Shiga, as well as defending his use of the term comix rather than comics.
A Master’s of Journalism graduate from NYU, Arnold got his start writing about comix in his own fanzine, The Comix Review, which tanked after two issues, because, according to his bio at TIME.com, "it was too much work." He then wrote a column, "Hooked on Comix" for the freebie paper Boston Rock. He's been working at TIME as a programmer since 1998 and has contributed articles on comix and video games to the print version of the magazine.
ComixPedia: Why did you start writing about comix?
Andrew Arnold: I can't draw and I lost patience with script writing, but I like writing and I like comics. In particular I felt that the most interesting comics weren't getting enough attention and that I could contribute to their popularization.
CP: Who are your favourite artists/writers?
AA: Hergé, Stan Lee/Jack Kirby/Steve Ditko, Dan Clowes, Chris Ware, Chester Brown, Jason, Alan Moore, Eddie Campbell, Debbie Drechsler and Ben Katchor, among others.
CP: What was your favourite comic book as a kid?
AA: The Tintin series and Marvel comics, particularly the "Origins of Marvel Comics" volumes.
CP: What, if any, online comix do you read?
AA: None, I must admit.
CP: You don't seem to write about online comics - is that your choice?
AA: I choose what to write about in my column, so yes, it's my "choice." I don't object to online comix. I just feel like I have my hands full with print comix. They nag at me, though. More and more interesting print comix artists have exclusively-online projects.
CP: What do you think of the Internet as a medium for comix?
AA: I'm fine with it. I like the way Scott McCloud creates comix that could only exist on the web (http://scottmccloud.com). That's more interesting to me than a traditional comic that simply appears online.
CP: Where do you think the future of comix in general lies?
AA: In terms of distribution or popularity? I suspect that ultimately all print media will be distributed by download onto some sort of "electronic paper," converging the "web" and print. Until then I think print will remain the primary form of comics distribution, simply because it allows you to carry them around. As for popularity, I see comix gaining more respect and coverage as a mainstream art form and leisure activity. They will make up an increasing percentage of trade book sales, but I doubt they will ever achieve the consideration accorded to traditional prose literature.
CP: Why not?
AA: Prose has a history spanning centuries while comix have been around for a little over 100 years. Perhaps with time, and the continued mass-market publishing of such sophisticated books as Chris Ware's "Jimmy Corrigan" and Kim Deitch's "Boulevard of Broken Dreams", comix will achieve the respect and popularity of prose.
CP: What print artists that you've read have gone online? Have you checked out what they're doing?
AA:James Kochalka and Jason Shiga, among others, have started works for the web after being in print. I will admit to not having checked out the online work, though. I'm all for comics in any format.