December 19th, 2013

Leonard machismo

I Know a Moderate Amount About Art, But I Know What I Like

So for the past two or three years I've been making a point of trying to get a little into more mainstream comics, on the grounds that newspaper-daily-style is a dying format, and that the comic page is a much, much nicer canvas to work with.

Both of these are still true; but no matter how thin you slice it, I still just really can't get into mainstream comics. I love IDW's Ghostbusters series, but that's because Ghostbusters. I dig Kelly Sue DeConnick's Captain Marvel and I was enjoying Avenging Spider-Man while it ran, but beyond that... meh. Supers don't do it for me, and there's precious little out there that's both "not supers" and "going to run past a few issues."

Mind you, I knew that any comic I ended up doing, whether it was Arclight Adventures or One Way to Coventry, was not going to ever be a mainstream comic-- but I thought it would be good to at least have one eye on what the "big boys" were doing, for inspiration or ideas or even just pop-cultural literacy. But I had a strange epiphany a few weeks ago, which is... I just don't care about mainstream comics.

This is certainly not a slam on anyone who does love them or works in that field or anything. Everyone has things they like and things they don't care about, and that's one of mine. My tastes run closer to manga, and even within manga I have a pretty narrow band of interests, which feel like they're getting service less and less over time as the market evolves.

It occurred to me, as I was pondering this epiphany, is that the one real advantage the 3-4 panel newspaper-strip format has over a full comics page is that it's quick and fun, practically custom-made for quick patter gags that are set up and knocked down. That makes each individual strip relatively easy to write and draw, even if the entire comic becomes a magnum opus spanning decades. And I think this was probably an important factor that was missing in Arclight and several other of my floated-and-discarded project ideas, they weren't fun enough to carry the work part. All of them had fun bits, but none of them were specifically designed to be more fun than work.

So now as I noodle around with another idea, I'm making a point of keeping "fun for me" a high priority, not just for the obvious reason ("It'll be fun!") but for the deeper reason that it's more likely to actually get accomplished that way! As much as I got exhausted by Suburban Jungle, most of the time at least I did love doing it. At least when I had a good day. ;) And loving the process as much as the end result is absolutely vital in a long-term creative work.

-The Gneech

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