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Things I don't like in comics
Tuesday 2 January 2007
Here are a few items that irk me slightly in the wonderful world of comics. Don't take this too seriously - this isn't a major rant, and these things only usually nibble at me due to over-use. Coming next will be Things I Do Like in Comics.
  • Gun poses (usually "pin-ups") - women with guns, men with guns. Guns in general irk me with their proliferation, especially when used as a solution to all plot problems (in films too)
  • Gritted teeth, or always-shouting-characters - especially when also holding a gun
  • Female characters that are always dressed like, well, prostitutes, when they're not prostitutes. You know, like pop stars. What happened to a bit of dignity and class?
  • Artists who computer-draw over photographs, and claim they don't. Particularly the use of 'adult photographs' as 'reference'
  • The words 'arc' as in 'story arc', and 'season' to refer to a run of comics - I know this is completely irrational
  • 'Cool ingredients' just for coolness - these include monkeys, dinosaurs, zombies, robots, nazis, kung fu, girls, ninjas etc... They are usually combined, eg. 'kung-fu zombies', or 'nazi monkey robots', and the word 'giant' may also be inserted. Comics with these often don't include a storyline, thinking the concept is strong enough on its own
  • Word balloon tails that cross over because the characters are on the wrong side of the panel for correct order of speech. Bad storytelling and it jars
See related post: Things I do like in comics.
posted 02.01.07 at 1:13 pm in Comics | permalink |


Paulhd, on Tuesday 2 January 2007 at 9:08 pm, says:

Interesting list (total agreement with the 'season/arc' thing), only undermined slightly by me really liking your kung-fu monkey nazi zombie:)

Garen, on Tuesday 2 January 2007 at 9:18 pm, says:

Paul - I knew you would, ya big geek! And you're not alone. You know, when they're done *well*...

jdalton, on Wednesday 3 January 2007 at 10:13 am, says:

I like this game. Here's a short random list of things I don't like in comics!
*50-year old comic characters who have the collective power to keep newer characters from ever seeing the light of day.
*Confusing panel layouts. KISS should be the rule of the day.
*Copy and paste!
*(Your Nazi-zombie-monkey made me think of this :D ) Artists who stick Chinese or Japanese or whatever into scenes without using actual words or (even worse) not knowing what the words mean.
*When artists colour things blue that are obviously meant to be black.
*Ditto on the non-stop shouting.

Garen, on Wednesday 3 January 2007 at 10:20 am, says:

Yup, with you on pretty much all of them (though not sure I've seen the blue/black thing!). I did start to write the ideograms for kara-te on the money's bandanna - the only Japanese I can write, but scribbled the end, ha ha! (Didn't Herge make up his Arabic?) In line with 'copy and paste' - I'm also a bit tired of those gag strips where the third panel out of four is always a silent beat panel, you know, where the characters just look at each other.

jdalton, on Wednesday 3 January 2007 at 7:34 pm, says:

Herge made up his Arabic? That's not very good. I know his Chinese is genuine. More than that, it's full of political slogans that add an extra element of depth to the story for anyone who can read them! I read astory once that the translator he used was able to survive the Cultural evolution by showing his captors how he used his work with Herge as an opportunity to promote anti-imperial sentiments.

Garen, on Wednesday 3 January 2007 at 9:53 pm, says:

For Herge's Arabic (and I should really check my facts) it was probably done when he never thought it would be translated into Arabic one day - in his later books I'm sure he'd have it done correctly. I wouldn't have a problem with mock-Japanese if it was for purely a home audience (well, it would be best if done correctly) - but that would rarely be the case now with a global audience via the internet. I wonder what a Japanese comic with mock-English lettering would look like? The Blue Lotus did feature genuine Chinese by Tchang, and the Japanese consulate complained to Herge (or his publisher) about their political nature!

Paulhd, on Thursday 4 January 2007 at 11:11 am, says:

Comic hates (that you both haven't already nailed) Splash pages (every other page) Padded storytelling to make sure every 'story arc' can be collected in a TPB. Computer lettering (sorry!) One character with half a dozen comics. Crossovers Ugly/ridiculous proportions and anatomy. Just way too many of the things, it's scary looking at the shelves in comic shops.

Neill, on Friday 5 January 2007 at 11:07 am, says:

With you on the word balloon tails on the whole, but I do sometimes find myself getting into trouble by trying to follow that rule and also trying to follow the '180 degree rule' - something I read about where, to keep the storytelling straightforward and easy to read, the camera angle in a scene should never pan more than 180 degrees - i.e. characters should stay on their respective left / right sides of the panel. I tend to agree with this on the whole (obviously you can break it when appropriate - when characters are moving around, for dramatic effect etc), but it does mean that if you have an odd-numbered amount of lines of dialogue in any given panel you can end up with the characters word balloons on the wrong sides fo the panel. If you see what I mean. Any thoughts?

Garen, on Friday 5 January 2007 at 11:41 am, says:

I don't generally follow the 180 degree rule... I think it only really comes into its own if you think the reader isn't going to look at the pictures (though, of course, people do that). I always thought it was something a DC Thomson editor came up with, thinking that kids wouldn't know how to read comics properly. It does have a logic to it, but I believe clear storytelling doesn't need to rely on it. But that's just my view, of course!

Paulhd, on Friday 5 January 2007 at 9:42 pm, says:

Think the 180 degree rule's more appropriate to films and has just been appropriated by comics.

pdurdin, on Thursday 18 January 2007 at 10:41 pm, says:

Re: Herge's Arabic, in the originals it was just pseudo-Arabic drawing, not real text. It was updated when the comics were coloured in. This probably only applies to Cigars of the Pharaoh and Land of Black Gold -- don't think any Arabic appears in Crab with the Golden Claws, and by the time of The Red Sea Sharks he was definitely getting such things right first time!

Garen, on Thursday 18 January 2007 at 11:13 pm, says:

Thanks for that - things were very different then, and Herge was someone who cared about getting things like language right if he could.

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