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Art styles: Old School vs New School

After my partner Monique and I updated our webcomic GAAK with the latest new page, a reader wrote the following comment and it was just one of those things that make you go "Hmm?":

"...I said it before and I'll say it again cuz I haven't seen this comic in a while. But this is pure brilliance missed out by a lot of people by the old school style. The sad thing is that you're like 100 times better than popular artists out there, but it's not flashy or anime cuteness..."

It made me wonder, if clothes make the man, do art styles make the webcomic? Do you as webcomic readers read the webcomcs you do more because of the art style that it's drawn in? Do you think the face of the growing anime/manga style juggernaut that "old school" comics/webcomics like GAAK and others suffer from a lack of "flash"?

Just wondering.

Dee

GAAK Online
www.drunkduck.com/GAAK

apfurtado's picture

Quote:
Do you as webcomic readers read the webcomcs you do more because of the art style that it's drawn in? Do you think the face of the growing anime/manga style juggernaut that "old school" comics/webcomics like GAAK and others suffer from a lack of "flash"?

Hey Dee Man,
This is something I’ve been encountering since I started making webcomics back in 02. I get more responses from people who have been around the block for a while and have some appreciation of the "Old School" style, (Mainly people more on the creative end of things) than I do your average webcomic reader.
I definitely feel that if I adopted a manga/anime style to my work, my stuff would be a lot more popular. That's not going to happen though. I am what I am. Having conversations with other webcomic creators over the years, I know that I'm not alone in this thought.

Coydog's picture

Sometimes I think we're destined to have a following of other creators more than a general fandom. They have a better sense of the substance beneath the surface.

Monique MacNaughton

UNA Frontiers

I wasn't aware there were only two styles of drawing.

Are comics just either "manga-influenced" or "not-manga-influenced"?

Give it a little time and it may become just that "manga influenced" and "non manga influenced".

Just this week someone here at Comixpedia referred to GAAK (that "Old school" comic of Me and Coydog's) as something they'd "prefer to read in print form". I guess nowadays when folks think of old school/new school art styles they may infact be thinking old school as in traditional print comic style art and new school as in the growing manga influence in webcomics and the skyrocketing anime/manga comics.

Dee

G.A.A.K: Groovy Ass Alien Kreatures It's like The Goonies meets The Invaders from Mars. Updates on Mondays.

Here's a related question. Do you think old school vs new school is a question of age? That younger readers who began reading comics in the age of anime/manga prefer anime/manga above and beyond all other styles?

Dee

G.A.A.K: Groovy Ass Alien Kreatures It's like The Goonies meets The Invaders from Mars. Updates on Mondays.

Coydog's picture

I can draw manga style, it just doesn't come naturally to me. I've done such characters for video games

Monique MacNaughton

UNA Frontiers

Just as a note GAAK is currently messed up. It says that it couldn't fing the comic data.

Yikes! You're right. Seems Dunk Duck is having a bit of an operational hiccup.

Be sure to check GAAK again if you were trying to read it and couldn't. The folks at DD are always on top of these little gliches.

Dee

G.A.A.K: Groovy Ass Alien Kreatures It's like The Goonies meets The Invaders from Mars. Updates on Mondays.

I don't think it's a matter of "old school" artists like you, AP, and others being able to draw in anime/manga style or not, Coy. The question is how, in a relatively short time, one specific style (anime/manga) can become such a dominating force in the medium.

I mean, when Marvel had The Punisher go anime/manga a while back, you just knew the times they were a'changin'.

Dee

G.A.A.K: Groovy Ass Alien Kreatures It's like The Goonies meets The Invaders from Mars. Updates on Mondays.

apfurtado's picture

There have been so many trends in comics throughout the years that seem to just spawn imitators. The comic world got all grim and gritty, when Dark Knight, and Moore’s Watchmen came out. When Liefeld became a household word, superheroes became steroid freaks with little feet and abstract anatomy. Thank god that trend didn’t stick around. I was inspired by the underground guys and the Euro-Heavy Metal artists of the 70’s. I think that the manga style was following in that same trendy tradition but, something else had occurred. I believe that the trend went beyond comics and into the video game industry which just burst the bubble of popular culture. So I think it became more than just an art form and morphed into a popular culture phenomenon, here in the US of A. What we’ve been seeing is a whole generation that’s grown up in this manga-anime video-game inspired world. So, I think it’s only natural that webcomics influenced by this style are going to be much more popular than the cave-dweller scrawls I’m putting out there. I’m not a big fan of the whole genre, but I can definitely see its appeal. I’m sure somewhere down the line it’ll morph into something else, but until then, I’ll just have to be content in my little “old-school” seat in the classroom.

Quote:
I don't think it's a matter of "old school" artists like you, AP, and others being able to draw in anime/manga style or not, Coy. The question is how, in a relatively short time, one specific style (anime/manga) can become such a dominating force in the medium.

I think it's similar to the presence Hollywood Cinema has around the world(unless it has none and I'm a foolish American). I've heard that over 40% of the books printed in Japan are comics(I don't know what the actual stat is... but the point is that there are a lot of comics there), and a comic featuring such hard hitting plotlines as someone investigating the possibilities of opening a factory in Vietnam for the japanese company he works for can sell over a million copies of its books and be made into a super nintendo game. It became the dominating force because its classification is so general that when you refer to "anime/manga" as a style it really is referring to other comics as "not anime/manga" and "anime/manga" is the single biggest push the comics industry has recieved in general over the last decade. So even though there are likely more "not anime/manga" influenced books/webcomics being made in the west, its presence still very recognizable and people don't look at all of the comics that come out here as being part of a single general group like manga, though in reality there are plenty of styles and themes present in anime/manga, and some genres,like the factory investigation comic I mentioned earlier have almost no presence out here. In fact, the only place you can get the book I mentioned in English is from Japan.

As far as the general "draw better than most popular comics"... most popular comics on the web aren't so because of their art. There is no pride in being able to say you can draw better than people that aren't drawing(either by choice or because of lack of ability) very well. Take most of the "good art" webcomics and compare them to strong works that are in print and most of the webcomics will seem fairly pedestrian. On the otherhand, if you can find a crappily drawn comic that is popular and working with similar themes as yours and it started later than you... then yeah, I can understand the fans shaking their fist at it having success where you should have. But for certain genres and styles being more popular than others... those are just the breaks. Manga may be the thing now.But not in general. You probably have to work with comedy, fantasy or sci-fi and you can't stray to far from the things the fanbase is familiar with or you'll alienate a large number of them while not really picking anyone up from the "no anime!" camp. You'll also do better when your comic is in color, and when it focuses on being funny, and uses simple linework over texture heavy complicated technically impressive linework, features very attractive characters over gross looking ones etc etc etc

Unless you plan on developing a comic based on exploiting the marketing quality of its elements, I think its best to not worry about those kinds of things. They're not what you want to do. If it is what you want to do though, then make the best colorful cartoony comic strip featuring the big-boobied models making jokes(possibly about the big boobies) that you can. Don't make the humor too subtle or clever though! If you're too good at being funny, many people won't be able to get the jokes!

Anyways, for my own personal preferences: I like some of the styles that were more common in manga from the 60s-70s and the styles found in American comics from the pre-1950s era- primarily comic strips. I can count the webcomics that I know of that make use of these styles on my hand and still have a few fingers left over.

<a xhref="http://www.kiwisbybeat.com" target=blank>Kiwis by beat!</a>

apfurtado's picture

I don’t think it’s a question of “draw better than most popular comics”, that’s a totally different discussion. I think the main gist of this conversation is the popularity of one style over another. The manga/anime style and I know I’m generalizing here, is without doubt, a cultural phenomenon in many different areas. That includes comics, video games, the web and even our own Hollywood born movies. I’m not implying that any comic with a hint of manga/anime influence sucks. I’m not a fan of the style but I do find merit in a few comics that are technically well-done, no matter what style they’re in. An example I can use is Fantasy Realms. This is a great looking webcomic comic with a pretty descent story, and it’s definitely influenced by anime. I just purchased the Appleseed DVD because it’s a stunning piece of work. So I guess what I’m trying to say is that, I’m not a flag waving anime/manga hater. I just prefer one style over the other but, I can appreciate a piece of work if it’s well-done no matter what genre it is.

Pertaining to webcomics, I think the thing that disappoints me the most, is when someone starts a comic to try and cash in on what’s popular, whether it’s style of art or genre. These comics inevitably fail, and if there’s an abundance of them, it could potentially hurt the webcomic genre as a whole. As an example, look at what happened to the Independent market when the Ninja Turtles appeared on the scene. It started an explosion of self published Ninja rip offs which pretty much leveled the whole scene a few years later. Now am I saying that the boom of manga/anime inspired webcomics is going to cause the webcomic community to implode? No, I’m not. But in some way, I don’t think it helps very much. Diversity is the seed that helps a genre grow.

Another argument could be that because of the ease of putting a webcomic up on the net, many creators don’t give themselves enough time to shake-off their obvious influences and mold it into their own personal styles.

I don’t know…I forgot what the hell I was talking about! 
:?

Quote:
I don’t think it’s a question of “draw better than most popular comics”, that’s a totally different discussion. I think the main gist of this conversation is the popularity of one style over another.

The "drawing better than popular the comic" thing was mentioned in the first post, so I commented on it as well as other stuffs!

The reality is that the majority of comics made regardless of what they're influenced by are fairly derivative. Someone could pass off the fact that they think too many comics are manga influenced, while they work on a fairly straightforward action comic. Someone could say your comic fits in with all of the fantasy comics made(one of the more represented genres, and even in the scope of manga that gets released out here fantasy, sci-fi and comedy are fairly overly represented... the comic you pointed to is an example of that, I guess)... I can't read it to confirm how much(nor do I really care to. I'm just using you as an example because you're the guy I'm talking to). But defending your comic or any other individually isn't really worth anything, because someone that thinks that way will probably gloss over it when they come across it.("elf and troll...where are the hobbits" kind of thing). GAAK's is fit into the mold of a more popular style from another era, apparently. Comic/humor strips tend to have squashed cartoony characters, and people of the superhero mindset tend to think that "creatinging a character" is giving someone a costume, a power, and a neat name.

The reality is, and I say this often, that if something comes off as unique to someone, it isn't because the artist is doing something new and amazing. In most cases it's just a matter of the reader not being familiar with what the art is influenced by. There are few works that I would say really stand out artistically, manga or whatever else. And I don't mind it too much because that's just the way things are. Something with 1 million readers will influence more people than something with 10000. Most people are influenced by the most popular things out there, so in general, visually, everything we see in comics should come across as "familiar" to a comics reader. And I don't think people are influenced by manga to "cash in on what's popular." At least not so much with webcomics. That may apply more to the "Spiderman... in manga form!" thing that Marvel was(is?) doing. I think that because its popular it's natural that you'll see a lot of people doing it. And similar to how -in the eyes of detractors- manga is a sort of very homogenized sort of singular style, it is also seen as such a thing by some fans, who in many cases don't read manga at all and think that the comics follow the same styles and approach as the cartoons(you'll notice that the influence of anime is far stronger than manga is out here... and that makes sense, because people don't read comics. They do,however, watch TV). In any case, that is quite different than ripping off a concept like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. If there were a single popular work that everyone was emulating in a really obvious manner, I'd love to see it... but I don't think it exists beyond the normal habit of working with familiar genres.

<a xhref="http://www.kiwisbybeat.com" target=blank>Kiwis by beat!</a>

I think you're both right actually. AP with "diversity is the seed that makes a genre grow', and Rez with the comment that anime/manga as a style is seen by some as becoming "homogenized".
I think anime/manga has become homogenized. It's like rap music used in tv commercials. Like Sir Mixalot's "I like Big Butts" used to sell back to school clothes. Even more telling is the what Rez pointed out about anime/manga fans who don't buy the comics for whatever reason. I've even seen some artist clearly influenced by anime/manga who deny it.

I'm much closer to a flag waving anime/manga hater than AP is, but I recently commented to an artist that I liked her particular style of anime art and she nearly lost her mind. She went on this "This is my own style that I've been developing for years! It's not anime!", etc, etc. Like she was saying, "How dare you compare me to that crap!". But to anyone with eyes, born in the post Speed Racer/anime cartoon age, her "style" had anime written all over it, whether she liked it or not. And she obviously did not.

Dee

G.A.A.K: Groovy Ass Alien Kreatures It's like The Goonies meets The Invaders from Mars. Updates on Mondays.

Please tell me what you mean by old-school. So GAAK is "old-school." Is this the same "old-school" as Captain Spectre? The same "old-school" that John Allison uses? The same "old-school" that White Ninja Comics employs? Do you mean "old-school" as in Jack Kirby ? Frank Miller? Scott McCloud?

If by "old-school" you simply mean, not-outwardly-influenced-by-manga, then yeah, you are right, all comics are either manga or not manga. Just like all comics are either include space aliens, or do not include space aliens. I don't even understand what this discussion is about, yeah, manga is a popular trend right now.

I can only assume by the comment that was made about GAAK in specific, but I'm sure could have been made about AP's work or the comics that you mentioned (I'm only familiar with one of them) and any number of other non anme/manga comics, that the poster saw old school as more in line with traditional comic art (comicbooks, strips, etc) as a style. I used the words "new school" in my post to describe anima/manga because as a comic art style here in america it's a rather recent thing.

Dee

G.A.A.K: Groovy Ass Alien Kreatures It's like The Goonies meets The Invaders from Mars. Updates on Mondays.

I picked those comics because they're entirely different from each other. Captain Spectre is sort of a retro, 30's-40's radio-serial-looking comic, Scary-Go-Round has a very smooth, colorful, cartoony look, and White Ninja is essentially glorified stick figures. All wholly different styles, but by your division as I understand it, would all be considered "old-school." None of them are "manga," so are the all "old-school"? My point was that I don't understand how we can simply classify all comics as either "manga," and "old-school" in a practical way, when there are thousands of styles, artists, and comics that though, they often borrow from one another, are pretty unique.

Michael it is my fear that, as someone brought up earlier, that comics may well one day be classified as manga/non-manga. Go to any comics forum, and just like the difference is made between webcomics and print comics, the difference is also made between traditional art styles and manga. With manga/anime often having it's own separate forum.

I understand what you're saying, but manga artist often make the distinction themselves that they are infact "manga artist". And being a relatively new style (to us) I called it new school. A bad choice of words maye on my part.

And you really can't get more od school then glorified stick figure doodling, now can you? LOL.

Dee

G.A.A.K: Groovy Ass Alien Kreatures It's like The Goonies meets The Invaders from Mars. Updates on Mondays.

The manga/comic forums are just because manga generally refers to comics from japan, it's not because of the art styles(or at least, I've never been to a place where "manga" drawings are put in one forum and "not-manga" drawings are put in another). It's not much different than a movie message board having a foreign film section... which in some cases is narrowed down to asian or chinese films depending on the tastes of the people there.

I don't think it's much worse than having "punk rock" as a genre instead of just calling it rock. People classify things, that's just how it is. If you go to the right place they'll probably seperate the "boy" japanese comics from the "girl" japanese comics and a bunch of different things, but in the end everyone gets that they're just comics.

Also I think you confused "homogenized" with "commercialized".

But yeah, if western comics were classified out here in the same way as manga is, people would be considering white ninja, your comic, and scary-go-round as all being the "Same style". Japanese people refer to American comics as "Amecomi" but I think that is mostly just used for the generic superhero look, I'm not sure.

<a xhref="http://www.kiwisbybeat.com" target=blank>Kiwis by beat!</a>

"Amecomi"? Now that is scary. LOL.

But I guess most folks who hear the terms anime and manga don't know the difference between the two, so why not "Amecomi".

Dee

G.A.A.K: Groovy Ass Alien Kreatures It's like The Goonies meets The Invaders from Mars. Updates on Mondays.

Re: Art styles: Old School vs New School

[quote:6f463489ac="TheDeeMan"]
It made me wonder, if clothes make the man, do art styles make the webcomic? Do you as webcomic readers read the webcomcs you do more because of the art style that it's drawn in? Do you think the face of the growing anime/manga style juggernaut that "old school" comics/webcomics like GAAK and others suffer from a lack of "flash"?

Does art make the comic, well yes at least in a sense? On the web or in print the first thing you see is the art. And just from looking at the art you can tell a few things about the comic. If you see people with big heads and 3 fingers on a hand. Well it’s safe to say the story of that comic is more comedic. Now if u see a lot of high gloss art with uber detail. Well that ones more likely to be serious or have a less comedic tone.

If the art is dark and kinda creepy then it’s probably a horror book. So yes art does make the comic but well it kinda can’t help it. Now do I think anime/manga is taking over and causing some other comics to suffer? Yeah of course but that’s only a sign of the times it can’t be helped. Ok lets flip things right quick as I try a what if scenario here.

What if manga had been this big 30-40 years ago? And what if the old school comic style was becoming big today? Naturally things would be different we’d be asking is manga/anime suffering instead. And instead of seeing a pointy chins and ppl with bed hair we’d be seeing superheroes jump onto the scene. Here’s something else to think about tho.

Fad or not maybe ppl are using manga style because there’s something to it. Maybe they see I don’t know beauty in the art and depth in the stories. Or maybe they just see big breast, fireballs and giant robots. Either way it’s not a bad thing if anything manga can only make American comics better. If we learn from them instead of just biting off the style.

In closeting the manga style was born out of a mix of art style. One being the American comics the Japanese took home after the war. And the tradition of ukiyo-e art which is about the simplicity and beauty of a line. So ya see they learned from us and well now its our turn what so wrong with that.

RE: Re: Art styles: Old School vs New School

Here's my issue: once Borders figured out that manga was popular, they took half of the graphic novel section (in Waldenbooks it's more than half) and devoted it to manga. Why? Because they've been defined as different only on the basis of their art. Which I think is silly - they don't devote a portion of the shelf just to comics drawn in any other particular style. Miller-esques don't get their own sections, or Kirby-esque, or even 50's style versus more modern graphic novels. It's not that I don't like anime or manga, but I don't think the art should be such a defining characteristic, completely disconnected from the writing. There should be division between different genres on the graphic novel shelf: horror, superhero, science fiction, crime, relationship, etc. The problem is that Borders doesn't give enough validity (or volume) to the medium of graphic novels to say that they might have the same categorizations as their "real" books. They get lumped together like their medium was their genre.

Re: Art styles: Old School vs New School

[quote:b0735abcc1="Demetric"]Fad or not maybe ppl are using manga style because there’s something to it. Maybe they see I don’t know beauty in the art and depth in the stories. Or maybe they just see big breast, fireballs and giant robots. Either way it’s not a bad thing if anything manga can only make American comics better. If we learn from them instead of just biting off the style.

As far as current comics go, it's really gotten to the point that folks are just copping the style. A lot of American comics sort of fall into either the artsy realm or the superhero realm. Even the major manga publishers don't seem all that keen on evolving the style or anything. They're just cashing in on the whole manga thing.(*cough*Tokyopop*cough*)

If there's anyone at fault for the manga trend, it's the major American comics publishers which have a history of shackling and screwing over the talent and confining the comics market into a profitable, although dwindling niche. From my understanding, the Japanese at least give their creators as much freedom as possible to create what they want. It doesn't mean their product is superior, but it does mean it's different, and that in my opinion, is the major selling point. Imagine if American-style creators had that level of freedom in print to represent and promote their culture. Manga wouldn't stand a chance, but that's just my theory.

I'm sorry to say that in the end all of it is just business. The kiddies are into all that fluffy manga crap, so it must be pushed to the point of excess. That's how capitalism (i.e. da' system) works.

Oh yeah, hi everyone. I'm new to these forums. Second post, yippee! :)

RE: Re: Art styles: Old School vs New School

Hey Edgy! I'm new too (this insubstantial little thing is my second post). I'm a big fan of your comic!

I'm with you, Edgy. I think that nowadays a good majority of folks are just copping the manga style because it's popular now. And that if conceptual stick figure drawing becomes popular tomorrow, those same folks would drop manga like a hot potato for the new "trendy" thing.

I really don't think I would mind so much if the stories were worth a damn. Manga is becoming the new "early Image" brand of style over substance.

Dee

G.A.A.K: Groovy Ass Alien Kreatures It's like The Goonies meets The Invaders from Mars. Updates on Mondays.

It was once said

That to be an artist you have to be a business man.

And yes many ppl are just biting the manga style. But well isn’t it fair to say that ppl copied the superhero style? Ya see I’m not really a card carrying member of those for manga or comics. Each has it’s faults and each has aspects that make em great. The detail and style of comics are wonderful. But the story arc and character depth of manga is outstanding.

I’d love to see someone take those3 two parts and put em together.

Welcome to the boards you two.

Well, I don't see much of the depth you mentioned. I've seen a lot of manga webcomics that are little more than a bunch of doe eyed, spikey haired, girly-boy looking guys doing little to nothing for panel after panel, and page after page, but fight eachother.

I guess that was always the knock against superhero comics as well. Replace spikey haired girly-boys with muscle bound steroid cases in tights, right? So, is manga becoming the new superhero comic? That seems to be the genre of comic manga bites hardest into.

Dee

G.A.A.K: Groovy Ass Alien Kreatures It's like The Goonies meets The Invaders from Mars. Updates on Mondays.

Whoa. So that means I'm kickin' it old skool. Awesome.

Just to name what i can off the top of my head

www.schism.com
Semi Auto Angel at www.wirepop.com
www.seraph-inn.com

Not really sure if Inverloch fits into manga. But it looks to much like it not to mention it. And again i say i'd like to see someone put those two elements together. So its clear i'd like to see this in webmanga. Such things are pretty easy to find in big name anime/manga.

This very topic of conversation has led me to propose a serious research study into whether webcomic formats influence the repeat readership of the average webcomic browser. I'm initially proposing to draft college students (100 - 200 ideally from numerous universities in NJ) into viewing 3 original webcomics, each one representing a unique popular format: sunday newspaper, manga, and mccloudian infinite canvas. The comics will not feature any text, so the simple story will be driven by art alone. The students will fill out a questionnaire to express their opinions of various aspects of the sample webcomics, and whether one particular format would entice them to come back for more. There are other details in the study, but that's the gist of it. If the study actually comes together, I'll be sure to post more details here.

-BizarroJoe (still waiting for my forum registration to come in...)

Quote:
If there's anyone at fault for the manga trend, it's the major American comics publishers which have a history of shackling and screwing over the talent and confining the comics market into a profitable, although dwindling niche. From my understanding, the Japanese at least give their creators as much freedom as possible to create what they want. It doesn't mean their product is superior, but it does mean it's different, and that in my opinion, is the major selling point. Imagine if American-style creators had that level of freedom in print to represent and promote their culture. Manga wouldn't stand a chance, but that's just my theory.

I doubt it. While the best comics from whatever region will always be comparable in quality, the fact is that the comic culture is huger on all levels in Japan, with some publications selling weekly amounts that are nearly equal to the size of the entire comic supporting population in the US.(based on estimates I heard several years ago which put it at 1%-2% of the US pop) They're covering a wider amount of topics to a deeper degree out there and nothing short of half of America falling in love with comics will change that.

In the mainstream American market, I think the most important thing that needs to change is to need to continually support iconic characters endlessly. The fact is that in 20 years it is very likely that Spiderman, Batman, X-men and Superman will still be[some of the] the biggest comics on the market, and two of the biggest publishers of American comics are still depending largely on nothing more than "a collection of super heroes". Look at the big pointy haired fighty comics of japan(which are usually pretty obviously aimed at junior high kids ) and you'll notice something similar about all of them. They actually have an ending or will eventually end properly. In twenty years, Dragon Ball, Naruto, Yu Yu Hakusho, Ring ni Kakero...anything will not be on new adventures or fighting that same foes ad nauseam. They will be "classic series" that new artists mention reading when they were children. They'll all have been the singular vision of one creative team and not farmed out to whoever could keep them going. I'm sure there are some series out there that seem to go on forever, but they're not nearly as dependent on them. And in the same giant telephone book sized comic collection(which only costs a few dollars) that gives them their spikey haired fight comic, they also get comics about real life drama, sports, comedy, card games etc... does America even a single well known Sports comic? It is ridiculous to even think about, that such a simple genre had to be introduced to America when the sports being played are far more popular in America( and the japanese creators make references to NBA players and their designer shoes and etc)... if you're looking for a particular kind of story from manga, it is not too difficult to find out about a comic of that type that has recieved a fair amount of success. Caveat being that there are many that are left in japan and certain genres and themes(that I'm not particularly interested in) dominate what makes it here. But if you want something with a theme as simple as "relationships"(which could entail any variety of human drama), you're almost immediately going to be looking for small press books. =\ I think that's pretty crap.

As for why simple big-eyed fighting comics or cheesy magical girly comics or whatever are so popular is easy enough to understand. It's the same reason that superhero comics dominate American comics. The most popular themes are the most likely to be repeated. You will never find a situation where the majority of something is distinct and unique, which is why people try to point out their own originality by comparing themselves to things that are vastly different than what they do instead of things that are thematically similar...where the conventions they use are much easier to identify.

Surely we've all come across the "I don't do a gamer comic" comment before.

<a xhref="http://www.kiwisbybeat.com" target=blank>Kiwis by beat!</a>

Here's a theory I'm having a hard time counter arguing:

People who like, romance, action, comedy, legal dramas, spiritual, SF, and the various other genres, dont read comics because they can get this material in droves on their TV or at the movies. The reason why western comics are dominated with superhero works is because comics are the best place to get that material. This doesn't account for the differences in culture, but it sugests that American print comics wil NEVER change because they are filling a niche.

Still, good comics is good comics regardless of how it's rendered.

Theory #2:

You know how some of your friends like the Lil John and most anything else they can "get jiggy" to, and some of your other friends like The Misfits, Black Flag, and just about anything they can jump around and be agressive to? and the only reason they like it is because it speaks to them on some level?

It could just be that manga is suited to the tastes of the people reading and making it, as is the Kirby/ Crumb tradition to those reading and making it.

But, as stated above: Good comics is good comics regardless of how it's rendered. For example, both Maus and Barefoot Gen are engaging memoirs on the horrors of war made in very different styles.

Quote:
Here's a theory I'm having a hard time counter arguing...

Probably because its true. Most genres under represented in comics are available in other forms. Comics had their chance to maintain a large market decades ago, but society shot them in the foot, and now there's very little reason to recover/for people to seek those things out in comics... in spite of how much as I would like it to.

I think the market will change though. It already has started to. It'll never gain the popularity of other media though, not unless someone can create an argument for why most types of human drama are best delivered with cartoon characters trapped in boxes rather than with... humans.

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Tim  Demeter's picture

Some human drama is better done with only prose, so never say never.

Tim Demeter
does a bunch of neato stuff.
Clickwheel
GraphicSmash
Bustout Odds

Stories driven by thoughts for one, but it doesn't really matter. Conventional literature has been around long enough and was accepted wide enough for it to still have a place even when other media allowed for similar things to be done in a manner that appeals to people on a much simpler level. Comics have not. Or at least, not enough of a presence to be relegated to not much more than a sideshow in comparison to everything else.

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Now this is kickin' it old school:

www.webcomicsnation.com/jerzy/silver_wcn/series.php

What a great looking comic. If that doesn't remind you of saturday morning cartoons of old, you were obviously wasting your saturday morning cartoon time as a kid watching the Smurfs. And shame on you. LOL. :)

Dee

G.A.A.K: Groovy Ass Alien Kreatures It's like The Goonies meets The Invaders from Mars. Updates on Mondays.

Are we just referring to comics made here? If so, then the superhero genre seems to dominate.

But if we take a country like Japan, where comics, IMO, are treated like another medium, the genres covered are similiar to what we see on TV or cable: crime, noir, fantasy, SF, legal, sports, soap opera, etc.

As to old school v. new school, I suppose one's mileage may vary. Some like a Steranko/Buscema/Kirby look, some a Katsuhiro Otomo, some a Jim Lee. In certain cases, the tone and premise of a work dictates the style. (A really dark horror story done in a Peanuts style won't have quite the same effect as one done in a highly photo-realistic style. Unless you were going for parody or the like.)

I agree with William: At the heart of the issue, good comics is good comics.