Comics: A Better Means To An Artistic End

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Comics: A Better Means To An Artistic End

If a line of symmetry were to be drawn down the center of the paper, it would seem that each character rests within his environment about to collide with the other. Even without words, a vivid story begins to formulate in my mind, and hopefully I share the artist's vision.

Comic book art is the Pez dispenser of modernism. The aesthetics of this accessible medium walk side by side with pop culture. No other art form can reach so many people due to its incredible volume. Each Wednesday of every week brings new issues of titles that have been in circulation for decades. Despite the vast numbers that arrive at retailers each month and the respect they sometimes receive (like Art Speigelman's Pulitzer Prize winning Maus), comics are under appreciated in the literary world, but why? They use a clever organization of symbols to express concepts shared by all people in their own social environment, and provide more tools than conventional art to truly show artistic intention.

Comic artists choose to express personal thought with universally complex themes through a symbolic medium. No one refutes the idea that comics do not demonstrate realistic form. Comic artists do not attempt to portray the simple beauty of the natural world; rather, they try to relate a universal idea with a stylistic approach. Magritte's painting of a pipe with the inscription, "this is not a pipe," at the bottom demonstrates the way in which comic books are misunderstood. In his explanation of the art form, Scott McCloud uses pictures of various characters following Magritte's structure. For example, he draws a picture of a cow and states that "this is not a cow" (McCloud 26). The pictures only resemble what we a...

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... connection. A conventional expressionist must assume that the observer realizes the purpose of his or her art. Many people see a portrait as just a portrait, when the mood and the intricate detail of the face add to its meaning. Comics, on the other hand, are expected to be symbols enveloped in a detailed history that replaces the wobbling bridge between reader and artist with a strong one suspended by invisible messages from creator to potential viewer, messages anyone can see.

Works Cited

Carrier, David. The Aesthetics of Comics. University Park: The Pennsylvania State

University Press, 2000.

Crain, Dale, ed. Batman: Black and White. New York: DC Comics, 1998.

McCloud, Scott. Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art. New York: Harper

Perennial, 1993.

Thompson, Don, and Dick Lupoff, eds. The Comic-Book Book. New York: Arlington

House, 1973.

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