Who's Who In the SBCU Update 2003
In his dreams Alan
Donald is a multi-award winning writer of comic books,
animation, theme park shows and rides, children’s books,
novels, television, internet animation and more.
In real life Alan
writes this column, which has been described as more than a
lifestyle than a weekly column. He used to write SBC's All The
Comics Cost Too Much?
Tuesday, December 30
Should People Read Comics?
Thing In Comics Over Last Ten Years?
Toe Or Not To Toe
Tuesday, December 9
And A World In Crisis
People Read Comics?
By Dawn Donald
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Ho!, ho!, ho!,
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to one and all. The Panel
gathers movers and shakers from across the industry together to
answer your questions!
Don’t miss out on your chance
ask the big guns a question or two, send them in now to: [email protected].
Don’t forget to get your questions in for our 25th anniversary
column. Will you have the honor of asking the anniversary
Most of the Panellists should be known to you but
if not, don’t panic I’ve got a few details on them at the end of the
This week’s question was inspired by an encounter I
had with a young lady when I was at Dredd Con (2000AD's
annual convention). The question is:
“Joe Bloggs is
standing next to you in a store and says, 'Why should people read
comics?' What do you say to him?”
Bill Rosemann: “My response: "Do
you like cheering heroes, hating villains, gasping at surprises,
laughing at jokes, gaping at amazing visuals, and wiping tears out
of your eyes when a good drama pulls on your heartstrings? Yes? Then
that's why you should read comic books."
Alan Grant: "There are many
reasons, Joe. Comics are usually entertaining. They're often
educational. Sometimes they make you think. Sometimes you realise
you're in the presence of genius. Sometimes they make you so mad you
want to hunt down the writer (or artist) and torture
"From a more cerebral point of view, comics is the only
medium which forces the right and left hemispheres of the brain to
work together, as they strive to make a coherent whole of the words
and pictures. Television and movies appeal to the pattern-seeking
right brain, imposing their message without the need for rational
analysis of that message. With their linear layouts, newspapers and
magazines appeal primarily to the more rational, logical left brain.
Only comics meld the two together.
"It's a little-known fact
that those who start reading comics when young go on to become more
intelligent, more mature, and more able to cope with the vagaries of
the modern world than non-comic readers. The only downside is you
might find yourself wanting to dress up as Batman...and even that
can be turned to your advantage, because girls (of a certain kind,
anyway) really like it."
Terry Moore: “Because
that is where the best illustrators and short story writers in
America are working. Today's comics are on the whole better than
ever, but many of the new talents in comics are simply outstanding,
far beyond anything we could have hoped for. The editors at DC and
Marvel are doing a great job of opening the doors and bringing in
new talent that represents a higher standard. I'm so glad this
business is not an old boy's club, where we're stuck with the same
burned out creators until they die, ala newspaper strips. Comics are
alive, ever changing and remaking themselves into a medium that
distinguishes itself as unique in the arts. It's scary to work in
comics because you have to work harder on each subsequent project
and there's always the neurotic fear that the industry will suddenly
be filled with Rembrandts and the rest of us will have to sack fries
for a living, but as a devotee I am thrilled to be discovering new
names, new images and stories that excite me after 40 years of
reading formula books.”
Alonzo Washington: “I would say
comic books develop strong reading skills in it's readers. I would
tell them that comic books expands one's imagination. I would go on
to say that shape popular culture. I would say comics are fun &
cool. Then I would go on to say buy Omega Man &
Omega7 comic books. Happy Kwanzaa!”
Lee Dawson: “I'd say
he should read comics because comics are a great artistic medium.
They offer the same artistic satisfaction as books, film, or any of
the visual arts. Comics, like film or television, show the power of
words and images combined in an extremely effective manner. It's
also arguably one of the oldest storytelling mediums going back to
cave drawings and the like. But really, bottom line, there are just
so many great stories and storytellers in the comics world... why
Moore: “People should read comics to experience the kinds of
stories that many books don't do and most movies can't do. To
explore places, both beyond reality and within our daily lives. To
experience an American art form, much like jazz or rock. To share
mind space with a creator or creative team for a few minutes or
hours, enjoy a fusion of words and pictures seeking to create a
synthesis between their and your imaginations.”
Devin Grayson: "To keep them
from striking up random conversations with strangers while waiting
in cashier lines. Here, you want one of mine? ... No, that's not the
Hulk, sir, that's The Thing. ... Uh...well, chiefly, I guess it's
that the Hulk was transformed by GAMMA rays while The Thing was
transformed by a, uh, bombardment of COSMIC rays or something like
... No, that would be Spider-Man, and he was radioactive, it went
right into his blood stream -- Right, like in the movie, yeah... No,
he *doesn't* know Batman, they're from different univ -- What? Oh, I
don't know! The Hulk, I guess, if he were mad enough. Though Ben's
got a team, actually, so if it was the *whole* Fantastic Four
against just the Hulk, then I suppose maybe...no, you know what?
They're all heroes, they wouldn't be fighting each other, okay? ...
Yeah, well, that was a special event. I'm not saying they've NEVER
fought each other, I'm just saying they shouldn't --You do? ...
Number six? ... Yeah, that might be worth something if it's in good
shape ... Really? But then your mother threw them all away? That's
fascinating, I've never heard anything like that. Boy, you were this
close to being rich, huh? What a shame ... No, Batman and Robin are
NOT gay, why does everyone -- That's a different Robin, actually,
the current one doesn't wear -- Three. Well, four if you count Dark
Knight, but currently, three ... No, only the second one died ...
right, the first one grew up and turned into Chris O'Donnell, very
good. See, you know more than you think you do ... The current one?
Tim ... No, he's -- look, why don't you just take these ... Hm? ...
Oh, uh, that's Oracle, she used to be Batgirl ... Yeah, that's the
current Batgirl ... No, she shot by the Jok -- wait, here, you
should get this one, too, this one's a classic ... Well, that
character's been around for over sixty years now, so some of the
stories have gotten pretty complex and intricate ... I know, look at
this one page, isn't that amazing? ... No, no, slow down, when there
aren't any words you've got to read the art ... Well, there's a
penciler and an inker and a colorist, actually, and sometimes a
sepera -- About a month, generally, for a standard twenty-two page
issue ... Yeah, no kidding, right? You want something Picasso spent
a month on, you're gonna pay a lot more than $2.25! ... Well, see,
that part's kind of up to you ... Yeah, it's not exactly like
reading, 'cause you don't have to bring the entire world to life in
your imagination, but it's not as passive as watching a movie,
either. You're participating actively in this story, but you've got
this amazing team along with you in terms of the writer and the
artist and what they're giving you to work with .... I can't really
think of anything that compares, can you? ... Well, it's been around
for a long time, actually, in one form or another -- oh, wait, take
this one, too! -- but it's still considered pretty fringe or "alt
culture" in this country, so sometimes you get wildly creative
talents showing up and just blasting the whole thing wide open--
ooh, like this guy, here, you have to read this, this is seminal ...
Oh, and look at this art! Have you ever seen anything like that? ...
See how before this guy the lines were much more flat? ... No,
that's new, the next one won't be out until next month ... Yeah,
you'll be able to get it right here, but careful! It can get
addictive! ... For just that character? Boy, four separate titles
that I can think of off the top of my head that are ongoing right
now, and then if you really want to get into it, he debuted in 1938
... Yeah, they have Archives, hold on, here you go ... Oh, that's a
Trade Paperback, that's several stories collected into one volume
... Right, exactly, and then you can either keep reading the ongoing
book or ... Oooh! That one's AMAZING, you've gotta read that! ...
Only ten? ... Hm, okay -- lemme see, what've you got here? -- get
that one, that one, those, that one, this... you know what? It
really doesn't matter. Get which ever one's you want, I guarantee
you'll be back for more...!"
Donald:>”Because if you don't I'll kill you!”
sensibly and without the end of term madness)
books represent one of the most diverse, enriching and underrated
art forms ever to exist. You have everything from children’s
entertainment to highbrow literary works that are impossible to
achieve in any other medium. When done well comicbooks present an
incredible juxtaposition of words and pictures in such a way that
the reader becomes an active part of the story and not a passive
receiver. There is no budget in comics and there are no artistic
restraints. You can have mindless action, simple dumb entertainment
or you can be made to really work your mind in a way you never have
before. Comic books are cool, comicbooks are incredible and if you
don't pick up this issue of Daredevil and this copy of 2000AD I'll
stove your skull in... all right?!Um... it has been a long and hard
term at school, the kids are insane and...well...I'm sorry.”
Dawn Donald “My reply went something like this…
Comics are the most diverse art and literature medium in the world.
They have evolved almost beyond recognition in the last 20 years.
They tell intelligent stories like Strangers in Paradise by
Terry Moore that appeal to both sexes. There is the Watchmen,
which is used, in some American universities as an Eng Literature
text. There is candyfloss like Nodwick. They can be exciting
escapism, taking you to new places where you can forget about your
life and get involved in the the lives of superheroes and villains
like Batman, Supes, Elektra, The Runaways, Mystic, Joker, Dogwitch
and Judge Death. Then there is the art work which can cover the
whole spectrum, there is the the photorealism of Alex Ross to Jim
Lee’s incredible detail to Mark Buckingham’s sense of comic timing
to David Mack’s poetry in pictures and Mike Collins sense of story
telling. Then you get some of the top writers in the world like Neil
Gaiman bringing fantasy worlds to life, Andy Diggle writing an
action movie in comic form, to the shear genius of Alan Moore. Then
when these folks get together the synergy is mind blowing. Also
where else can you meet the people that have entertained you and
shake their hands, talk to them without a bodyguard muscling in, get
an autograph or a piece of original art.
This Week’s Panel: Alonzo Washington is the creator of
Omega Man and noted black campaigner. Alan Grant has had his hands
in many pies including Batman and Judge Anderson. Vince Moore’s work
for Platinum Studios can be checked out via the link on his name
above. Terry Moore is the creator of Strangers in Paradise and has
written for DC’s Birds of Prey and has done artwork for Buffy the
Vampire Slayer. Devin Grayson is currently writing Nightwing and has
had stints on Gotham Knights and Batman. Lee Dawson edits those
wonderful Dark Horse books. Bill Rosemann is CrossGen’s head of
Next Week’s Question: "Do comics cost too
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gotten it right?
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