In his illustrated post, Edward Ross looks at the difference between time and space in films and their depiction in comics, and the process of crystallising iconography.
What pleasures and possibilities do comics as a form offer in the way we think about cinema? And how can this form illuminate theory?
Interesting. Can’t say I’ve ever read film criticism as comic strip. Closest I’ve come is McCloud’s “Understanding Comics”. The only problem is that it seems too much emphasis is placed on the strip, not enough on the criticism.
I love graphic novels as an inherently cinematic medium. Am I wrong, or did the comic book and the cinema develop and flourish at roughly the same time? I think comics can illuminate theory very well. I’d love to read a strip version of Eisenstein’s theory, with special emphasis on visualizing all his various forms of montage.
It can relate to auteur theory, in that it’s a collaborative medium, but often the writer is the one treated as the auteur, like Alan Moore or Frank Miller as opposed to the editor or the illustrator.
But Frank Miller goes both ways, and now he directs films too. He’s a true auteur. Alan Moore is a rare case of a larger-than-life writer.
Well, Miller was the first larger than life name besides Moore, but Stan Lee might be another, or Chris Claremont. You get the point….I assume….
Lee yes. But he’s a different category altogether. I don’t think Claremont was ever larger-than-life.
Both film and comics can be defined as “sequential art” as McLoud puts it. To me the connection is obvious. A film’s storyboard is basically a comic of the film, but film goes a step further by defining the time and space that those stories accupy. Comics are a primitive form of cinema.
With Lee, starting in the ’60s, because of the workflow Marvel followed, the artists (most notably Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko) actually had a great deal to do with both story and dialogue and the way time flowed in the books, because they were generally working from just a few plot points or a bare outline.
Comics are not a primitive form of cinema they are an entirely different medium to films but share exciting similarities, though the tension between written text and sequential image is unique to comic strips.
Gasoline Alley by Frank king shows the beautiful dance between panels as they work in unison spatially to each other whilst simultaneously being individual moments of time.
Beat that cinema!
Godard played with the differences between the two forms such as in Tout va bien. A good essay on the subject: http://www.sensesofcinema.com/2009/feature-articles/godards-comic-strip-mise-en-scene/
Ernie Bushmiller, genius.
This is great. I intend to use UNDERSTANDING COMICS a ton next year in my high school video classes, and there are a ton of good examples here to lead me in other directions. Thanks.