March 19th, 2008

The Zombie

If I Had A Hammer...I'd Make Comic Books

March 18 -  Oh, hey!  I forgot to make a big deal about yesterday having been St. Patrick's Day.  Of course, in past years, all that has meant is that I post the date in bold green rather than the usual black.  Whoop-de-do.  I guess that I could have come up with some sort of Irish-themed Comic Book Misconception of The Day too, rather than the thing about comic book artists going to school, which I could have saved for today's posting...especially since I remembered an addendum to my little back-story.  It happened while I was at The Kubert School.  For whatever reason, discussion during class one day led to talk about stereotypes regarding the wearing of eyeglasses (you know, whether they made the wearers look like brainy nerds, etc.).  Our instructor, Ben Ruiz, listened for a bit, then said (and I'm paraphrasing here) "I've never understood the aversion some people have toward glasses.  To me, they are simply tools.  If you are trying to accomplish something that can't be done by hand, there is no shame in using a tool to finish the task.  If you have trouble seeing well, then to refuse to wear corrective glasses is as stupid as trying to force a nail into wood with your hand."  Ben was always a deep, deliberate thinker, so I suppose it's no surprise that I saw in his clear, matter-of-fact statement the perfect justification for an Arts education.  Such schooling is, after all, merely a tool like any other.  Now, decades later, gone completely is my "fear" of artistic training as I monthly whine about my lack of higher education, often adding that I should "take some classes."  I guess, then, it's time for another WOMP Staff suggested Comic Book Misconception of The Day - A comic book is written and drawn by the same person.  Apparently, amongst the general populace, this assumption is prevalent.  Within the industry, however, a comic created by a single artist is much more unusual.  In a way, the comic book business as a whole looks at single-creator comics with some contempt...and not without reason.  Most such comic books are, like my own, self-published or alternative, which by definition comes from outside the established biz.  Those published by bigger companies are often subject to complicated legal problems and prickly, "willful" creators.  Plus, on a pure "control" basis, it's much more comfortable for comic book publishers to employ a team of people to produce a comic, if for no other reason than be able to hire others to help continue production on schedule should something happen to a member of that team.  And, as I've noted before, most single-creator comics are not really singly-created anyway (just ask Lynn Varley or Gerhard...and that doesn't even take into account the input and influence of editors or publishers).  It's interesting, then, that the misconception persists.  I suppose it stems from the Golden Age, during which artists like "Bob Kane" and "Walt Disney" supposedly were the single creators of many, many comics - their bold "signatures" pasted or ghost-written onto the artwork of hundreds of unnamed contributors.  That today's comics credit everyone who even helped design the computer lettering software, and yet the world at large thinks that each was created by a single cartoonist...well...I guess that just shows how much ground the medium still has to cover in the public consciousness.  Ugh....speaking of consciousness, I'm about to lose mine.  Time for this single-creator to get some sleep.  See ya tomorrow.