Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Story First....Blockbuster Second

I think this is an interesting opinion piece on the state of storytelling in Hollywood.

I post this because the influence of the blockbuster has by default become the basis for many Comic Books. Comic Books make for big blockbusters so creators seem to be pre-editing their work to fit the movie format. In the end this weakens what Comic Books have to offer as a medium for more complex storytelling. It has generated this strange storytelling loop.

Comics tell stories
Movies are made of those stories
Comics are made to be like Movies.
Movies are made of Comics

A copy of a copy of a copy.

Between the companies that try to pass off "pitch books" as real Comics to the Comics that look like a series of storyboards for a movie that has yet to be made. There is a point where someone has to say it's okay for a Comic to just be concerned with being a Comic. Everyone has their eye on potential outside of Comics. You would be doing yourself and your work a disservice if you didn't. At the same time the art form of Comics has it's own unique style of storytelling that seems to be glossed over in order to tell a story that makes it easier for a producer to see how this could be a movie.

I was once told the best thing about a Comic is that "it's budget is your imagination.". You don't have to put money aside to pay for ILM when you are making a Comic. If you can think it up and you can draw it, it's possible in a Comic. That limitless storytelling potential combined with the ability for a single individual to create a comic on their own and deliver it in a popular format, either through print or digitally is one of the last frontiers for the storyteller with vision. I try and remember that when I go to the board and start drawing or when I sit in front of the computer and dream up ideas.

IMHO it takes a distinct vision to tell a great story. There are many entertaining stories but really there are very few stories that stir something deeper in you. Delivering that vision to an audience becomes the challenge of any storyteller in any medium. When it comes to Movies the cost of delivering that vision has a serious price tag. If a movie fails and statistically most of them do, there is a lot of money on the line. When there is so much money at stake more people want their opinion figured into the final product. Everyone of these people create a layer between the person with vision and the public. Sometimes it can be helpful other times it just pushes the idea farther and farther away from the source. Weakening whatever made it interesting in the first place. As a Comic creator the barrier of entry into the market (because of cost and the layers between you and the reader) are much less. That close relationship with it's level access to each other separates Comics from other visual storytelling art forms. It's an advantage we as Comic creators as well as Comic fans should hold sacred and always be aware of what makes this art form special.