Friday, 14 April 2017
LET'S TALK COMICS...
If you have any statuettes or ornaments in your home, I bet you probably look at them more often than you actually touch them. However, there's something about having the actual physical articles to indulge yourself when you feel like being more tactile with your cherished items. If I were to offer to buy them and give you a few photos so that you could still see them whenever you wanted, it wouldn't quite be the same, would it?
To me, it's the same with comics. I don't just want to read a comic, I want to own it, touch it, smell it, linger within its pages (oh, steady, that's a bit steamy), because a comic is an experience beyond the mere reading of its contents. That's because I love comics - the actual 'physical' embodiment of a comic, and not just the comic strip material it contains. It's the carton as well as the content that does it for me.
Book lovers are the same. To them it's not just about reading the story, it's about turning the pages, the feel of the cover, the smell of the book, the taking it down from, and putting it back up on the shelf. If you're only interested in the tale it contains, then you can read it on an iPad or Tablet or whatever, but to a lover of books, that's a second-best experience at least. To perch on the porcelain - or anywhere else - with a book or comic in your hands is a magical thing that true lovers of the format are loath to relinquish.
That's why the comics 'industry' is, essentially, dead (though it's being kept going on 'life-support'). It's unlikely that the comic strip industry will ever expire, as that can take the form of books, albums, and exist in a digital format. However, to the comics lover (the actual physical manifestation of a comic that is), such incarnations fail to satisfy. Ironically, although I've sometimes been accused (by a few cretins) of illegally downloading comics, I never read digital comics - I'm simply not interested in them. Any digital images I might have (old, out-of-print strips) are stopgaps 'til I can track down and acquire the actual published item.
So if you like comic strips, you can read them in various forms, and those who earn their living from writing and drawing them probably aren't too bothered about what form their work takes just as long as folk get to see it and (more importantly) they continue to be paid for it. However, if like me (and thousands more) you recognise the exclusive thrill that comes from reading and handling an actual, paper periodical, you'll lament the fact that the traditional British comics industry seems to have breathed its last.
I have loads of books that collect comic strips of the past and I think they're great. I love books, but to be honest, wherever possible, I think I'd prefer to have the original comics. That's because books and comics are different, and tickle the senses in different ways. Even when the content is the same in both formats, if I had to make a choice, I'd probably opt for the original presentation. Case in point: I once bought the OMNIBUS volume of MARVEL's SILVER SURFER, even though I've got all 18 original issues. I examined every single page, savouring the near-perfect reproduction - then I put it aside and dug out my original issues and read them.
Some folk won't understand that. To them, the content is the important thing. And of course it is important. However, to lovers of traditional published comics as they've been for decades, the carton is equally as important. However great a present may be, it always seems far better if it's wrapped up and presented in pretty paper, ribbons and bows, etc. Without that, it can sometimes seem less than it actually is. So the old comics industry is dead, but the comic strip industry will go on. However, despite a strong resemblance due to the fact they're related, they're not quite the same thing. In my view anyway.
How about you?
Posted by Kid at Friday, April 14, 2017