25 June 2008

Dear My Peers In The Media:

When you are reviewing a movie based on a comic book or graphic novel, please bear the following in mind:

  1. Do not refer to comic books as "comic strips". Strips are published daily in newspapers. Like Peanuts, Calvin & Hobbes, The Phantom, or Brenda Starr. This serial format is actually not analogous to "comic book", despite the fact that they both feature panels of artwork with words in them to tell a story. Still confused? How about this: a racing bike is not the same thing as a bullet train, despite the fact that they both have wheels and get you from A to B. Get it?

  2. "Graphic novel" is a novel which is told in the medium of sequential art. And like all novels, it has a beginning, a middle, and an end, and was meant to be read as one story. Even if it's published serially (like, you know, Dickens). All graphic novels are "comic books". All comic books are not graphic novels. If you are using "graphic novel" as a fancy grown-up word to make "comic books" socially acceptable, then you're just being an asshole. Please, don't be an asshole.*

  3. Sequential art (i.e. "Comic books") is a medium. Not a genre. A genre is "thriller" or "romantic comedy" or "science fiction". The comic book—like film, theatre, television, novels, plays, audio programmes, painting, photography, wood-block printing for fuck's sake, etc.—is a medium with which to tell stories of any genre. The form does not dictate content. Stop trying to imply it does. See above re: asshole.

  4. Yes, comics have writers. They also have artists. If you only ever mention Neil Gaiman, Mark Millar, Stan Lee, etc. then you are leaving out 50% of the team that created a story. Knock that shit off. I mean it.

  5. Comics have never been, at any point in human history, a medium to tell stories solely aimed at children. The same is true for animation. Stop acting like every new hot thing based on a comic is the very first to de-kid-i-fy a "genre" (see #3) that was aimed at a wide mass audience to begin with. The fact that the publishers for the last 20 years have aimed their marketing machines almost exclusively at 10 year old boys is incidental.

  6. On that note, this may come as a shock, but chicks (albeit in the minority, but growing all the time and rapidly approaching gender parity in some areas) have been reading and writing and drawing and editing and publishing and reviewing comics for over 20 years. It is no longer cool or ground-breaking or amazing to make a point that "...and now girls read comics". Get with the program. Join the 21st century. Please. I beg you.



* also, "sequential art" is the fancy grown-up word for "comics books," just so's you know.

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