Selasa, Ogos 26, 2008

writing serious comics (again)


Comic books. They're not just for kids, you know.

Not anymore as far as I'm concern.

Despite the success of the superhero movies now and the slew of comics-based movies which had-coming and up-coming to a cinema near you every single year, comic books themselves remain marginalised. They're still largely considered the domain of kids. Seriously. Especially here in Malaysia.

Much of this reputation is due to the effects of the public or general awareness, a set of reactionary guidelines, the effects of comics on youngsters and bla-bla-bla. It essentially restricted the medium to childish themes. Even primary international publishers, namely DC and MARVEL struggled for decades to make 'things different'.

It wasn't until the mid-80s that the global industry (which was dominated by the international English language scene) broke free. In 1986, the twin giants of modern comics appeared. WATCHMEN by writer Alan Moore and artist Dave Gibbons and BATMAN: THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS by artist/writer Frank Miller. These titles introduced dark satire, media savvy and grim urban visions and represented a fundamental shift in the medium. Malaysia was only recently effected, thanks to Hollywood capitalist/film makers.

After its mid-80s success, DC launched VERTIGO, an imprint that nurtured the talent of a new breed of comics creators. Today, innovative comics creators find employment across the spectrum of publishers, with them writing seriously over mainstream titles for MARVEL and DC. Serious and artistic work is riding high in the bestseller lists, providing a fascinating satire of the very franchise-oriented culture that spawned it.

And yes, all the best comic books writers comes from Britannia.

Frank Miller continues to create excellent comics like Sin City, a vice-drenched series of noir tales that function as a resounding riposte to the legacy of the Comics Code ( macam FINAS la ni). Alan Moore, who in the 90s created the Jack the Ripper investigation From Hell (the film version starred Johnny Depp) after the success of Watchmen and V for Vendetta, also still writing superb titles. Among them The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen, which unites characters from Victorian fantastical literature. The most subversive yet is Lost Girls which is an erotic graphic novel depicting the sexual adventures of three important female fictional characters of the late 19th and early 20th century: Alice from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, Dorothy Gale from The Wizard of Oz and Wendy Darling from Peter Pan. They meet as adults and describe and share some of their erotic adventures with each other. But enough of that. I didn't read it myself as it is extremely rare (and expensive!). Alan Moore still remains one of my favorite writer despite his dispute and abandonment of mainstream comics.

I, too, refuse to say anything of Neil Gaiman's comics work as that one is particularly reserved for another time and space. It can't be generalized here.

Writer Brian Michael Bendis' POWERS offers another twist on how real society would cope with the presence of superbeings. Bendis also writes various commercial titles for MARVEL . Another distinctive indie-turned-mainstream title is Hellboy by artist/writer Mike Mignola. His art is uber-cool.

Joss Whedon, Geoff Johns, Mark Millar, Grant Morrison, Warren Ellis, Brad Meltzer, Brian K. Vaughn, Damon Lindelof, Jodi Picoult and Jeph Loeb are among the big shots who have made it to the Hollywood/Comic Book Land inter-section. Please wiki them for more info.

The diversity of comics currently available is remarkable. Certainly many comics still pander to the pubescent male, but beyond these are the titles that cater for all tastes - even those of intelligent adults.


Tanpa Nama berkata...

Errr...nak tanya En Faizal.
Since u ada mention pasal Frank Miller Dark Knight. Kat Kedai Komik hang tu tak de jual komik Dark Knight Return ke? Kalau ada mau gak aku memilikinya.

faizalmukhtar berkata...


ada. ada 3 versi... mahu yang mana satu?

1. Single set 4 isu (1986) FIRST PRINT

2. Paperback

3. Gotham edition. Ni stock reprint untuk yang budget-budget runcit.

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