Tag Archives: Comics

Comic Books Breathe New Life into Old Stories

We’ve all had it happen to us. We get invested deeply in a TV show, maybe for a season, or maybe for many seasons.  And then one day we get the terrible new that our favorite show has been cancelled. The problem is, some of us aren’t finished enjoy it. Some producers are finding a new way to keep their shows alive in a surprising way…through comic books. Many series have already taken to this trend.

Superman

Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Smallville are two great examples of television shows that lasted for many years, but when they were done, fans still wanted more. Luckily for them, there were still plenty of stories to tell in those universes, and comic books provided a low-risk environment to continue the story for the fans who couldn’t get enough. Media producers usually want to keep their franchise alive just as much as we want to see them continue. They have poured their heart and soul into their shows and worked very hard to deliver them to us. Whether it is a television show, a movie, or even a video game, comics can be a great way to continue the story for all of us who aren’t done with it yet.

buffyThe problem starts when the studios and networks no longer wish to support the show. Comics allow for these deserving series to have a proper continuation. For producers this could be a far safer bet than continuing to produce a television show that is not going to be successful any longer. If the comic afterlife is a success, then everyone is happy. The fans get more story, and the producers make a profit. However, if comic continuation looks to be a dud, it is not nearly as hard of a hit to take. The general costs of making a comic are $40-$120 a page for a Penciler, $20-$80 per page for an Inker, $20-$50 per page for a Colorist, and $5-$20 for a Letterer per page. Even when you add in the costs of writing talent this still adds up to be far less of an investment than a single episode produced for a television network.

Comic books allows for things that are not always possible on camera. In the world of television production, actors can have budget disputes, be fired, quit, or even pass away. With comics, as long as the permission is given for the likeness to be used, the “on-screen” talent can be immortal. They can have cameos, or their characters can last for much longer than their contract would originally allow for. And drawings never ask for raises! Take a look at Dark Horse’s Star Wars: Dark Empire. This was a comic series produced in the 90s, and on the page the actors look as they did while filming Return of the Jedi, when in reality they have all visibly aged.

Batman

Video games are another medium where comics can perfectly add on to. No matter how much replay value a game has, at some point you run out of story. If the game is good enough, fans will want more. Games such as Batman: Arkham City, and Deus Ex: Human Revolution are both deep story-based games that have engaging plots that have left audiences wanting more. Enter DC Comics, which took both of these titles and made comic books based on the games, and released them about six months after the game’s initial launch. The comic book series Arkham Unhinged is a whole new set of stories that continue where Arkham City left off. Two years after Arkham City, and monthly issues of Batman: Arkham Unhinged are still being produced in monthly installments.

In short, I believe more producers should look to the comic book medium as a way to continue their franchise. It is less of a financial risk, and it is in a medium that is still thriving. Comics can immortalize characters and talent and continue to deliver engaging stories to fans. The stories can continue, and we can keep getting the stories we want and deserve. Do you think more franchises will get a reboot in comics? What would you like to see re-imagined in the panels of a comic book?

– Kyle Hogan

Violence in Media: How Comic Books Faced the Fire First!

Recently, video games have faced an onslaught of critics denouncing the industry’s development of violent video games like the Grand Theft Auto or Gears of War franchises. In a recent Supreme Court Decision, Brown vs. EMA (Entertainment Merchants Association), the court upheld that California’s law to prohibit the sale of violent games to children under 18 was unconstitutional.

The majority opinion written by Justice Scalia compares the current video game argument to that of comics fifty years earlier. Justice Scalia writes:

The crusade against comic books was led by a psychiatrist, Frederic Wertham, who told the Senate Judiciary Committee that ‘as long as the crime comic books industry exists in its present forms there are no secure homes.’ Wertham’s objections extended even to Superman comics, which he described as “particularly injurious to the ethical development of children. But efforts to convince Congress to restrict comic books failed.

Here is the historical context of Scalia’s statement. In 1954 Dr Frederic Wertham published the book, Seduction of the Innocent, which correlated reading violent depictions in comics with juvenile delinquency. Seduction was the capstone to Wertham’s attack on comics, and in 1955 a US Senate hearing was held to argue the validity of Wertham’s findings.

The Senate concluded that the comics industry should create a regulating body that identified violent content. To avoid government censorship, the industry reacted by creating the Comics Authority Code.

After the adoption of the code, the debate fizzled with the last comic book burning. That’s right folks! Here. In the United States. American Citizens were burning books. But I digress…

The code was implemented, like those of the MPAA or the ESRB, by affixing a stamp of approval on the comic, deeming the book appropriate for all readers. The difference between the Comics Authority Code and other media regulating bodies was that if a publisher, writer, or illustrator did not follow the guidelines, the comic in question was doomed to fail.

By the mid-1980’s, creators began combating the code by completely ignoring the guidelines and as a result redefined the industry. The Code has since died out completely, and publishers have created other rating systems.

As the debate over violence in media continues keep in mind that it is not a new phenomenon. The comics industry took its licks way before video games, and I would wager that the video game industry will thrive similarly to its comic book forefather.

– Jason Allen

The Year of The Superhero Flick

This year seems to be the year of comic book superhero movies, and I of all people am not complaining.  This trend does not seem like it is going to let up in the next couple years with movies that will intertwine and tangle with each other to form sequels upon sequels.  Take for example all of the Marvel comic movies that have came out recently such as The Hulk and Iron Man.  At then very end of these movies after the credits comes an Easter egg of the next upcoming movies to be released and the eggs at the end of those movies were for Thor and Captain America who are all ironically part of the Avengers.

All these movies are leading up to a grand finale where they can put all of these action hero’s into a movie together.  Same thing with the X-Men franchise after the first three came out they stared to do X-Men Origins Wolverine, which is expecting another film in the next year or so.  Now, X-Men First Class in coming out in June, which is basically the story of Magneto as a teenager and Charles Xavier, better known as Professor X.  The creators are also talking about doing  X-Men Origins on not only Wolverine, but for some of the other main characters from the group.  Oh yes, and did I mention that all four of these movies are coming out in the next two and a half months?  So needless to say, the box office should be pretty interesting in the upcoming couple months.

– Steve Marksteiner –

 

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