I recently featured Jason Overby’s post on the Concerns of Comics. Jason’s essay prompted a long comments thread. I thought I’d highlight some comments from it by L. Nichols.
When the people I talk with say ‘this comic had minimal impact on the comics world’ they don’t just mean ‘oh it wasn’t talked about on the 2 or 3 comics blogs i read.’ They are primarily talking about how none of the comics people they talk to in real life are talking about these books. Or, at least not talking about them in the “wow, I’m really excited about this book” sort of way. I feel like this excitement is something that is often missing when I hear conversations (real life, not just the internet) about comics like “Wilson” or “Genesis.”
Maybe this excitement (or lack thereof) is something to think about? Something to talk about? Maybe excitement is the wrong word, because strong feelings against something can also be a big motivation for change, for thought. Maybe it’s just the lack of people demonstrating strong feelings one way or another. A lot of times I feel tired of the comics scene because people just act like they’re too cool to care.
I can’t divorce myself from the creation aspect of things, seeing as that’s what I spend the majority of my time doing. But I know that for me, what I’m excited about either at the time or in my past has a lot of bearing on what I produce. Sometimes it is wanting to explore an idea. Sometimes a technique. Sometimes I am so angry I want to just make something better, something that states my view of things. But strong feelings are the reason I make art and the reason my art changes.
I remember a while back Frank talking about jazz, how he was missing the interplay in the comics world, the building off of each other. Sometimes I feel the same way. Not necessarily that we (as creators) should only play from/with the past, but maybe that we should play more off of each other as peers. Maybe we should talk more about what we’re excited about and how it’s influencing our art, whether it’s in the comics scene or not. Maybe we should not be afraid to say that we disagree something without worrying about stepping on toes.
Maybe if we talk more about our influences, our excitements, our ideas, then we can make a space for comics in the greater sphere of creativity instead of an maintaining the idea of an insular world that is only influenced by itself.
I noted in response that ““If there’d been stronger feelings about the Genesis comic on this blog, we would have had fistfights.” L. Nichols replied:
Sure. But that’s just this blog, one blog, a blog with a history of people who like to get in long arguments about comics. I was more talking about people in real life. What’s the number of times I’ve heard Genesis being mentioned in real life by real life comics artists? I talk to comics people all the time and I’ve heard MAYBE one or two of them talk about Genesis. I’ve heard more non-comics people talking about it than I have any comics people I know!
I was more trying to say that people aren’t excited enough about comics to REACT to them in their work. I mean the type of excitement that wakes you up in the morning, keeps you up at night. The kind of excitement that makes you want to go draw “Exodus.” Or maybe the kind of excitement where you’re SO upset about Genesis that you just have to react some way against it in your own work. Excitement on the creation side of things.