If you remember back in the '80s, there was an incredible spate of monumentally lazy headlines in British and American magazine and newspapers. But also something along the lines of "Bam! Sock! Pow! Comic Books Aren't Just for Kids Anymore." I used to think those headlines were just irritating, but it's only recently that I've looked back and realized how incredibly inaccurate they were. Comics had not grown up, bam-sock-pow. What had happened was that you'd gotten two or three comics that had gotten, perhaps for the first time, serious adult elements in their compositions. This was judged as miraculous as a dog riding a bicycle back in the 1980s. It doesn't matter whether he's riding it particularly well; it matters that he's riding it at all.
I think that a lot of people, irrespective of whether they'd ever read a book like Watchmen, took it basically as a form of license. I think there were a surprising number of people out there who secretly longed to keep up with the adventures of Green Lantern but who felt they would have been socially ostracized if they had been seen reading a comic book in a public place. With the advent of books like Watchmen, I think these people were given license by the term graphic novel. Everybody knew that comics were for children and for intellectually subnormal people, whereas graphic novel sounds like a much more sophisticated proposition.
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
New Alan Moore Interview
There is a new Alan Moore interview in Wired, with the unimaginative title, Legendary Comics Writer Alan Moore on Superheroes, The League, and Making Magic.