Monday, March 01, 2004

Comics and Auteurism

Originally from Barbelith

A lot of the people in this thread recognize that film is the medium most often used as a comparison when reviewing comics, which leads some people to believe that comics are an inferior medium than film.

However, up until fourty or fifty years ago, film seen in a similar way to the way in which comics are now, namely an inferior medium that can only ape the tendencides of other media (at that time literature). In addition, at the time most directors worked in the studio system, without a strong degree of control over their work, much like your average comics writer can't really alter the corporate superhero title that they work for.

In the 60's, the auteur system emerged, and the individual director became more valued, even in the Hollywood studio system. I think this is what's starting to happen in comics right now. The writer is becoming much more important, as a marketing tool, and as a creative force, even in the corporate superhero title. And stuff like the Vertigo line is similar to the writer/director emerging in the 70's.

Until the emergence of the auteur system, a lot of people saw film as only a medium for staged plays. However, these auteurs were crucial to furthering the unique language of film as a medium.

Comics have been around for a while, but they're just starting to move beyond the "studio era." And I think as unique writers become more prevalent, they will sculpt even more so the unique visual language of comics.

And according to the classical definition of an auteur, an artist whose work has a thematic coherence, I think Grant Morrison and Alan Moore stand out by far as the only two comics writer you could really call auteurs.

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