Does Comic Art Matter?

& Creation, Ranty.

Two of the world’s biggest companies have recently revealed their latest magnum-opus’s: the PS4 and the Xbox One. They do good graphics. Gigabits were mentioned.  Some idiot even went on Jimmy Fallon’s show and told us all this processing power would create characters we care about ‘because’.

I think the ‘because’ had something to do with pixels.

Now I don’t care much for art that doesn’t look interesting – I’ve often fallen back to a tequila-laced argument I came up with when I was seventeen… it is thus: the world’s most caring, thoughtful and deep person could be in the same bar as you, but if they don’t look (at the least) interesting, you probably won’t go and introduce yourself and find this out.

I have the same Shallow-Hal approach to art galleries. If a piece of art doesn’t grab my aesthetic interest from across the room I’m sure as hell not going to read the little tag telling me why it’s important.

Have I missed out on some amazingly complex pieces of art and thinking? Probably.

Can I ‘case’ an exhibition in moments and hone in on the stuff I like (or alternatively, leave and get a coffee down the road) quick-smart? Hell yeah, I can.

BUT – when it comes to games, and when it comes to comics (ie storytelling) while the art may pull me to a work, it’s the writing that keeps me there. In other words, grab me with the look, keep me with the depth. You could progressively devolve the graphics or the art in my favourite games and comics as I’m experiencing them, and I wouldn’t care.

Which puts me in a weird position. I love Brian K. Vaughn and Fiona Staple’s comic Saga. It’s got eye poppingly amazing art (I would give both my tequila-soaked kidneys to have Staples on Moth City art in place of me) and a great story. That team-up drew me into a world that is developed with both keyboard and brush – its lush, deep and atmospheric.

And at this point I’m so invested that it could transition into the simplified style exemplified by Rich Burlew of ‘Order of the Stick’ and I’d still love it. Of course, Burlew has a good eye for expression and emotive poses, so I’m hardly going to the opposite end of the spectrum here… I love me some ‘Order o’ Stick.’ I’m sure seventeen-year-old Tim would have bothered Order at the bar.

(I probably should have picked an artist whose work I don’t admire to take Burlew’s place in this little hypothetical, but that’d just be mean).

That said, and in a complete contradiction, I am spending progressively longer periods on my Moth City comic art than I did when I started. The problem is that I as a reader of Moth City, probably wouldn’t even notice…

Anyway, here is some fanart I’ve done for two very different, but very good artists.

Make sure you check out:
Fiona Staples’ fine work at her tumblr
Rich Burlew’s mega-webcomic Order of the Stick

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