Real quality (re: "correct" comics)

M.J. Prior M.J.Prior at
Tue Dec 10 19:24:40 CET 2002

SIGVALD in reaction to DAVE FENSKE:

>> Calvin & Hobbes is popular because it's both very funny
>> (not at all a bad thing), and it makes observations about
>> us (life, family, friendship, interactions with peers,
>> the world of the imagination, etc.) that are both 
>> poignant and accurate.
> These qualities may fit well for a simple news paper 
> strip, but IMO it looks a bit strange in big hard cover 
> books.

Er, Sigvald? Dave is actually trying to say that Calvin &
Hobbes is, because of these very qualities, *not* a *simple*
newspaper strip.

>> I have a large collection of Disney comics from the
>> 60's, when I was young. Many contain great Barks
>> stories, but there are a lot of rather juvenile (and
>> totally shallow as far as reflections on life are
>> concerned)
> Of course they are - real quality comics should be

> concerned about entertaining not about reflecting.
> Well of course reflections itselves doesn't make a
> comics bad, but a comics can IMO *only* be concerned
> as good if it's entertaining - just like as it is
> with movies.

Are you trying to say that 'real quality comics' *should* be
'rather juvenile' and 'totally shallow'?

>> But a comic like Calvin & Hobbes, or Bloom County, is
>> about so much more. Sure, the humor is there, thankfully,
>> but those comics also contain a lot of insight, political
>> commentary, etc.
> So what? As stated above comics should IMO first be 
> concerned
> about entertaining, not act like "60 minutes".

I think that reflections on 'life, the universe and
everything' *do* make a comic (or a book, or a movie) more
entertaining ('onderhoudend') and more worthwile to read.

(What do you mean by 'act like "60 minutes"'?)

> No I mean that it's *in* among "cool" people. These
> people can say "Donald Duck is for kids", 

I don't know if these people are either "correct" or "cool",
but I think they might like Calvin & Hobbes and other gag
comics just because these are funny or also because of
Watterson's artwork and the realistic, if cynical, worldview
of its main characters. 
Which is exactly why I like Barks' stories, for example. 
(Funniness, good art and very real characters.)

I think that somewhat the same criteria can be applied to
define good long stories as well as good gag comics.

By the way, Donald Duck *is* for kids, they're the main
audience. Donald Duck is only not *just* for kids. Good Duck
stories have certain qualities that appeal also to a more
mature audience, but a Duck story that can't in any way be
enjoyed by children has missed its target.
> Well, I am different, I prefer long comics stories
> with an intelligent plot. So I very seldom read
> modern humor gags comics.
So do I. I prefer intelligent comics in general. So
fortunately I'm able to enjoy both: gag comics as well as
long stories.

>> or the better super-hero stories (of which there are a >>
few that are worthy of consideration).
> I don't read such super-hero stuff (well except from 
> Captain Kentucky).

Maybe you should give it a try. 
Take for instance "Watchmen" by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons.
It's a long, humorous, if cynical, comic story with an
intelligent plot.

Michiel Prior.

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