Understanding Comics in 2000s

Understanding Comics in 2000s - Understanding the...

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Unformatted text preview: Understanding the Sequential Art of Comic Strips and Comic Books and Their Descendants in the Early Years of the New Millennium Garyn G. Roberts ‘‘It was once pointed out to me that the New York Times carries no comic strips and still is a great newspaper. My answer to that was, ‘Think of how much greater it would have been had it carried comic strips. It might have attained a circulation almost as great as the New York Daily News .’’’ —Chester Gould, from his remarks to the Newspaper Comics Council, November 2, 1972 In the world of blockbuster movies, the summer of 2003 ushered in a watershed era of movies based on comic book and graphic novel art and story lines. Following the recent successes of Spider-Man (2002), The Road to Perdition (2002), and Daredevil (February 2003), X-Men 2 (May 2003), The Hulk ( June 2003), and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen ( July 2003) came to represent an era perhaps not too dissimilar to that of the Great Depression. As much as ever the ‘‘average’’ American (from almost all walks of life and demographic cate- gories) sought escape from the very real horrors of international unrest and terrorism whose epic moment was September 11, 2001, the dark days of economic recession if not outright depression and collapse, and a host of other tragedies of environ- ment, ecology, culture, and humanity. That American was in search of a dark avenger hero as much as ever; he and she were in quest of a moment of well-conceived humor, and archetypal truths about gender and lifestyle, the workplace and home life, and the innocence and bliss of children and all-too-human pets and animals. For these reasons and more, sequential arts and advances of graphic storytelling found in the pages of newspapers, comic books, and graphic novels at the turn of the millennium were and are as popular and profitable as ever. But this popularity and profitability are the result of a paradigmatic shift in the industry. Though ex- periencing an upturn in popularity and profit due to the enormous success of blockbuster movies based on their content, standard format comic books have become the old legends to which contemporary media pay tribute. ‘‘In Hollywood, comics never have been bigger business, lucrative fields of creativity waiting to be mined by the film moguls, directors, merchandisers, and advertisers’’ (Zappaterra 22). But, this success was not achieved overnight. As David Bloom documents, ‘‘In 1997, Men in Black , based on a little-seen Malibu Comic series, grossed $250 million, showing even unknowns could break big. The Matrix ($171 million) in 1999 and X-Men ($157 million) in 2000 further fed Hollywood’s interest, Garyn G. Roberts is a faculty member and former academic chair (1997–2002) of Communications and English at Northwestern Michigan College (Traverse City, MI). An award-winning author and editor, Roberts studied under Ray Browne at Bowling Green State University (1981–1986) and is a staunch advocate of Dr. Browne and his legacy.(1981–1986) and is a staunch advocate of Dr....
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This note was uploaded on 04/20/2008 for the course IDS 102 taught by Professor Eaton during the Spring '08 term at North Shore Community College.

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Understanding Comics in 2000s - Understanding the...

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