Long OP: Future for comics? (not about analogue / digital)

Discussion in 'Off Topic Chat' started by doobiedoobiedum, Oct 22, 2017.

  1. doobiedoobiedum

    doobiedoobiedum Scribbler - Standard Member

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    My 7 year old daughter reads about 15-20 library books a week and she does reading with us (parents) so this isn't about whether she can read or not but a couple of months ago I loaned a couple of children's graphic style stories for her to try.

    I thought she'd be through the books like a hot knife through butter but the following week when taking books back to the library, the two picture stories were the first in my backpack to take back. I asked if she'd enjoyed and wanted more but she said no, she didn't know how to read them. Usually we have a banter about which books she wants to read again and I play at taking them back with the ones she didn't like as much. So when the graphic books came back first and unread, I was puzzled.

    I spoke with my partner who said she'd had a similar conversation and I was a bit confused as both my partner and I used to love (and buy) weekly comics and had never had anyone "teach" us how to read comics. We've discussed this a lot more since as yesterday I actually sat with my daughter and explained a lot of the unspoken communication and layout in another book I got for her. I was shocked at how she had not understood or followed before this. I ran my own comic strip 20 years ago so I am asking from an artist's perspective as much as anything else.

    We (my partner and I) think part of this MAY be that cheap throwaway comics aren't as available or cheap as before: in the supermarket, a child's comic may now cost up to £4 which is the same price as two children's novels. Did we older people learn to read comics from cheap throwaway weeklies which are now pricing themselves and the future mass market of comics out of existence?

    Thoughts?
     
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  2. WillAdams

    WillAdams Scribbler - Standard Member

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    Doesn't Scott McCloud's Understanding Comics touch on this?

    I can remember a few times as a child being puzzled by layout and reading order, but I persevered since there wasn't much else in the house to read, and there wasn't much else to do on a rainy day.
     
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  3. doobiedoobiedum

    doobiedoobiedum Scribbler - Standard Member

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    Hadn't ever come across this book - but I've placed an order today.

    Yes, I think I've made the mistaken assumption that my young child would automatically understand comics but it's clear (IMO) that you have to learn to read the story. I think also that at least here in the UK, there are very few child-friendly comics or even cartoon strips that would help a young reader learn how to follow the story.

    I suppose what I'm suggesting is that young kids won't grow up reading comics in the same kind of numbers and this could have an impact on the industry when they grow older.
     
  4. Bronsky

    Bronsky Wait and Hope. Senior Member

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    I think the absence of newspapers in people's homes may be a large part of the problem. My mom and dad had the evening paper delivered every day. I would open it up to the comics section and read such luminaries as Charles Schultz, Mort Walker, Al Capp, Walt Kelly, Lee Faulk, V.T. Hamlin and Bil Keane. On weekends, the comics section enlarged to 6 pages of color print. From that, I moved onto Archie (Betty or Veronica?), Donald Duck and Casper comics when I was very young and my parents were still buying them off the rack. Later, I graduated to D.C and Marvel Superheroes. I literally learned to read from comics.
     
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2017
  5. doobiedoobiedum

    doobiedoobiedum Scribbler - Standard Member

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    Yeah, the art of the sequential panel strip. I loved them.

    I looked at the comic strips in a range of newspapers and the stories are terrible. My daughter didn't like them either.

    I have a feeling I will start doing a 3-4 panel comic strip just for her - have to start the lifelong passion somewhere!
     
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  6. WillAdams

    WillAdams Scribbler - Standard Member

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    A lot of that creativity and energy has moved to webcomics. I follow a number of them, but can recommend one wholeheartedly:

    - Girl Genius: http://www.girlgeniusonline.com/comic.php?date=20021104 --- gaslamp fantasy with mad science, a bit more then cartoon violence, and Victorian underwear (no bad language I can recall, and reasonable levels on romantic involvement)
     
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