Modern Literary Art

Posted by Jim Jagielski on Friday, January 7. 2005

The death of Will Eisner on the 3rd got me thinking about how unappreciated, still, "comics" artists are. In my opinion, today's comics and graphic novels represent a truly exceptional art form. I've been a longtime comicbook reader and collector, in that order. I store away my comics not so that there will be worth something someday, but so I can pull out a set of comics one rainy day and reread the Galactus Trilogy, or Crisis On Infinite Earths. When Spider-Man 2 came out, I found my copy of "Spider-Man No More" and shared it with my sons (who are also getting into comics), who thought it was the coolest thing in the world that some scenes from the movie were almost exact homages to that issue. Over the last decades, we've been lucky to see a rebirth in the enjoyment of comics, mostly, I think, due to such seminal efforts as "Watchmen", "The Dark Knight Returns", "Ronin" and "Kingdom Come." I admit that one of my prized possessions is a copy of the "Kingdom Come" hardcover signed by Alek Ross and Mark Waid. Many of today's masters openly admit the debt they owe to such incredible talents as Mr. Eisner. Yet to the public at large, these masters of the craft are relative unknowns. I recall once when Johnny Carson joked about "who the heck" was this Jack Kirby who described himself as "King of the Comics." Johnny had never heard of him, and certainly the host of the Tonight Show would be expected to know all "comics." But Jack "King" Kirby wasn't king of the (stand-up) comics, but king of the comics (as in comic books). Yet even this genius of an artist and supreme creative force was, outside of the world of comic books, unknown. There's also an effort underway in many places to encourage the youth of today to "get into" comics, an effort I support whole-heartedly. Reading for enjoyment is almost a dying hobby, but reading comics help turn that around. I've seen it lots of times, when a boy hates reading yet devours comic books and/or manga ("Ghost In The Shell" is a favorite, of course). "All he reads are comic books," his parents complain, but my point of view is different: at least he is reading. He's learning that reading can be fun and exciting. Isn't that useful? I think it is. One of the best places I've found to get good graphic novels and other comic art is Bud Plant Comic Art. Highly recommended. If you are interested in back-issues of comics, or subscriptions, use the place where I order my comic books from: The NICE Club at Mile High Comics.

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