Saturday, May 30, 2009

It's all clear

It's been a while since an update. I've seen Star Trek and I loved it. I got a job at ITT Tech as an instructor in 3ds Max. I start June 8th. bit the dust, another victim of the bad economy or poor management depending on who you talk to. I've been mulling over some ideas for a comic book. Which brings me to the point of this entry.

I have been studying the art style known as ligne claire and I have fallen in love with it. Ligne claire (clear line in French) is a style popularized, if not created by, Hergé the father of Tintin. On the surface the style is very simplistic. But it requires a great amount of disipline. If you look at the ligne claire books there is an immense amount of detail and the stories are heavily researched.

One of the problems with American comics, at least in the mainstream, is that it's pretty much either superhero, horror or licensed properties. With mainstream European and Japanese comics it's pretty much "balls-to-the-wall" when it comes to style and content. In these countries comcis have always been respected by children and adults alike. It wasn't until relatively recently that some of that respect came to the American scene. The problem, however, is just what I mentioned above: limited art and story styles in the mainstream. How long will the respect last if we do not diverify.

Of course the standard caveat applies here: I love superheroes and horror and licensed properties as much as any other fanboy. But I believe that we need to broaden our scope, both as consumers and as artists. We know about the independent market but "slice-of-life" stories can't be all there is to our industry. Certainly there are some independents out there that explore other story ideas and genres but what I am saying is that these shouldn't be niche markets within the industry.

The web and portable technoolgy have given us new venues for our stories but we have to reciprocate with good content. Why should European and Asian markets be the only ones to bask in diversity? I don't know what to do other than to produce and buy non-mainstream books and stop looking at that as "independent".

One of the ligne claire books that I found is The Rainbow Orchid by Garen Ewing. It's an adventure story a la Indiana Jones or H. Rider Haggard. I've read a few of the strips and I am impressed. However, it is a British book so it doesn't answer the question of what we Americans should do, but it is a beautiful book. It is online and he is already taking preorders at his site for the trade paperback. So take a look and search around the net and support these creators. We can all benefit.

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