Thursday, September 16, 2004

American hero: At Comic Book Galaxy, Alan David Doane talks with Howard Chaykin about his early days in comics, American Flagg!, and what's missing from sequential storytelling:

"When I became a professional comics artist, there were still a number of anthology books, where a newcomer could develop in relative obscurity. These days, a guy has to be ready to kick ass from right out of the starting gate.

"Another difference is simply societal. There’s a loss of interest in narrative on the part of the artist -- which, since I believe that much of the writing in comics should be done by the artist, is a crying shame. ...

"... It’s impossible to answer with specifics, because the details are themselves case-specific -- but it just seems to me that most comics artists who’ve come into the business in the last twenty years or so -- with some very conspicuous exceptions -- have no interest in the storytelling aspects of comics.

"The kind of talent I’m talking about is more interested in endless splash pages, or trading cards -- mostly posed imagery that brings to mind professional wrestlers glowering at each other or bodybuilding competitions -- as opposed to narrative based forms like fiction, the drama, opera or musical comedy -- all of which can share in the heightened reality of story telling with visual imagery."