Sunday, November 20, 2011
I just finished another volume of 20th Century Boys last night and although it wasn't my favorite volume of the bunch, it is still one of the most amazing stories and it makes me incredibly jealous as a storyteller. It got me thinking about the different types of stories that we tell in comics, and the different ways that we go about doing it. For example, we have the manic insanity that is Manga, volumes of hundreds of pages of story that are pumped out by little factories of men. You have the European model, where art is not sacrificed for time, but is created in full, lush paint and color with usually one artist taking responsibility for everything. You have the North American model, where people push out a comic of twenty pages in a month (or so) and the quality is quite high in both story and art. And I don't even know what goes on in huge markets like South America (which creates some amazing artists) to the Indian and South Asian markets. Oh, and the crazed Brits and their mags as well.
What I am trying to get at, or my insane genius for this morning, is that each of these models of creation works. People are making money around the world working in a manic crazed state, or working in a more relaxed controlled atmosphere. Whose craft is better? I don't think that you can judge it by anything. Each of these markets has produced something that I have seen and been amazed at. I, quite frankly, am jealous of the fact that the French market is so robust, as well as the Japanese market. What makes comics so fucking popular over there? I am a firm believer in the fact that the North American market has choked itself to death. Don't get me wrong, I love the comics I pick up every week. I love the creators that I follow on a regular basis, but if you take a look at the product coming from other countries and pay attention to the rumors of how things are in foreign markets, you have to wonder.
I remember when I took my wife to Paris and we went into a comic shop. I was so amazed at how different things were, and how big the market was. And how many things I had never heard of, or even seen before. I was so shocked. And that followed up with a trip to Montreal, where I realized that the crossover to French Canada was incredible. I bought some amazing French comics based solely on the art alone. These volumes are available in bookstores, are hardcover, and aren't considered to be for children. Don't get me wrong, there are some that are for kids (Herge most famously), but there are also titles that are incredibly versatile and adult.
We all know how versatile the Japanese market is. Boys, girls, men an women all have titles that they can dip their toes and enjoy. This market is incredible and amazing and a model that our comics market would do well to try and emulate on some level. Archie comics seems like the only one that has been and does what the Japanese market does on a successful level (Archie comics has been super edgy lately).
Once again, I don't know enough about the details of these markets and the other ones that surround us, but if I was working in some way for a North American comics company, I would be paying close attention to how things are done in foreign markets, based solely on the style and delivery of the comics and the demographics that these markets are hitting. We can take something from these comics and people and apply it to what we have and create a better model for North America. I know we can.