Having always considered myself a fan of storytelling, I had a shower thought recently about reasons why I prefer comics to film as well as why certain movies resonate with me more than others. The conclusion I arrived at was that I have a strong admiration for the power of words and the deliberate choices made by the writers to instill so much into each page, moment, scene, and story.
While in film, the cinematography and acting expands upon and sometimes delivers directly the writer’s intentions, the pages of a comic book tends to be a bit more bare. It’s just the words of the author, the imagery of the artist(s), and the imagination of the reader to bring it to life within their mind.
For me, my imagination is equally impacted by the words and art, as the two factors work together to establish the story that plays out in my head as I’m reading. Great comic books can have you invested in a narrative, no matter how fanciful, otherworldly or absurd the plotlines might be. Recent examples such as the Vermin Rising Indie Comic show how effective great animation and inventive storytelling can be.
Relating back into film and television, it is the words spoken by characters and narrators that leave the strongest impression on me. Contrary to the popular phrase “actions speak louder than words,” I believe nothing is more effective in communication than words.
While a film’s aesthetic can be as memorable as an iconic title and a single actor or actress’s presence can define an entire series, I really do believe if it wasn’t for the writing, a story’s ability to convey a theme or moral lesson is hindered.
I’ve been thinking a lot more about my relationship with comics lately. One reason is that I am working on discussing one comic per day on Dorkaholics. The other is that I have the bandwidth now to catch up on my reading now that I have finished my last class in graduate school.
For as long as I have had comics, they’ve been a form of escapism for me. When I needed to teleport away from my life whether it was personal, school, or work-related, I could pick up a graphic novel and find myself in Gotham or in Space Sector-2814.
If you’ve ever read comics or wanted to but haven’t, I’m curious what your thoughts are on what I had to say. Does telling stories on paper still have value? Is there anything unique and irreplaceable about this to you?