American Comics Live

posted July 3, 2003 by Jer


Someone in the Splurd Forums suggested that American comics may soon become a thing of the past, in favor of Japanese Comics. This comment really got me thinking. Right now, Anime is a fad, just like super-hero art was a fad about 10 years ago. American Comics are alive and well though, and in no danger of being drowned out. Personally, I found you just have to look away from the super heroes or the Anime to see anything worth a damn. There's a lot of original stuff out there that doesn't follow either "Japanese Style" (the art style I attribute to Astro Boy and Speed Racer that evolved into the mecha/schoolgirl/cute critter art we all recognize) and "American Style" (which I assume refers to the golden years of comics, ALA Jack Kirby, Frank Miller).

The Kirby/Miller style was insanely popular among amateurs and beginners several years ago, just a the Evolved-AstroBoy/Speed-Racer style is now. I don't believe either will ever die out. Every serious artist has their starting point, it's what they evolve into that makes them great. No artist will ever become great by sticking to the styles of the past... they must create their own way of doing things. This is why artists like Fred Gallagher and Mike Krahulik are so insanely popular. I could see a picture of Konoko from Oni and know it was drawn by Mike Krahulik—that is exactly why he's famous. Fred Gallagher did start with Anime, but—despite my strong and possibly unfair negative opinions of the man—I must admit he's developed something unique and popular. If he just drew copies of existing "Anime" style, he would not be popular at all: he would be one of the hundreds of boring fanboys that no one cares about.

Styles do eventually wear thin, but you need to look at what styles have been born lately. People are getting caught up in the Anime fad. Look away from the light for a moment and check out all the other stuff that's going on. The tides of comics run much deeper then people are letting themselves see.