So You Want To Read Comic Books: Authors and Artists

By this point you have watched the comic book movies and TV shows, looked up characters that interest you, and started reading comic books. But wait, something terrible has happened! Maybe you started reading Runaways, but then the authors and/or artists left and went to a different comic and you just don’t like the  new writers and artists working on the comic. Does this mean that you, all of a sudden, find Superman’s character boring? Or, do you find yourself feeling uncomfortable because of Harley Quinn’s new outfit?

This does not mean that you suddenly don’t like comics, Harley Quinn, or Wolverine, or whatever you are currently reading; it means you don’t like the author/artist.

One of the best parts about comics is you, the consumer, really is able to decide how you want the character to be. Yes, you can’t necessarily force an author to write your favorite character differently, nor can you make an artist stop drawing Storm that way you hate, but over time as you read more comics, watch more comic books movies/TV shows, and participate in fandom, you will grow to have an image of certain characters in your mind, and if the authors or artists deviate from that image you will have trouble continuing with that comic.

Let me give you an example from my own life. To me, Batman is a character that works outside what he considers a broken system, Batman only works with people like Gordon because he sees him as the exception that proves the rule. Otherwise, Batman actually despises authority or at least views that authority as incompetent. So when Batman Incorporated started, I hated it. Not because I didn’t think Batman would start a loosely affiliated crime fighting syndicate, but Bruce “representing” Batman would ask permission of various world governments for there to be a Batman in their country. Batman, as far as I am concerned, would never ask government permission for anything. He would just do it! So, for the most part, I have avoided reading Batman Incorporated.

I don’t like the premises and the writing because they didn’t fit with my view of Batman.

There are so many reboots and alternate universes that naturally you will latch on to one version in particular, or you will invent your own version of the character by putting together various different aspects together from the other reboots or alternate universes. You will also fall in love with certain types of art for certain comics and characters. So naturally, there will be writing and drawing in comics that you adore and others you don’t.

It’s okay. This is something all comic book readers face no matter if they are new to comics or have been reading comics since they were in the cradle.

For you new comic book readers, here are some simple tips, as in very, very simple. If you really like the artwork in the comic you are reading or the writing, check to make sure you know who the author and artist are, then look for more comics featuring that artist’s work or that writer’s work. Chances are you will have a more enjoyable comic-book experience if you do this. Furthermore, avoid authors and artists you don’t like. That way you won’t get inadvertently pissed at the comic you are reading.

There is, of course another aspect of comics that will shape how you view characters and thus whether you like the comics you are reading or not—fandom. But that is a topic for another week.

Until next time comic book fans! Excelsior!

2 thoughts on “So You Want To Read Comic Books: Authors and Artists

  1. This is basically the best advice ever. Identify with authors/artists to the point where I don’t read Batman as much as a read Loeb Batman etc.

    That being said, Grant Morrison is usually an author I like but I felt that Batman Inc.was kind of meh for the same reasons you gave. I did read the first few issues because I am an unabashed batman/catwoman shipper, but that was about all the legs it had really.

    This gets sorta complex too, when you have an author who’s been around longer to create gems and crap in equal measure. Frank Miller? The guy virtually redefined Batman, Robin, and Gordan (I have a sneaking suspicion that he really hates Catwoman tho). But also gave us the “goddamned Batman”, and basically other nihilistic plots that nobody wanted to read.

    • I do enjoy Loeb Batman though it’s not my favorite. And thank you, for agreeing with me about Batman Inc. Most people seem to like it but for me it just doesn’t fit Batman’s character at all. But LOL, I will give you the Batman/Catwoman love. That was pretty awesome.

      And oh God don’t get me started on Frank Miller. The man was so great but I think he idolized Batman the point were he eventually created this ridiculous character. I personally never liked how he wrote the Batman Superman relationship. I like that he pointed out that there should be conflict between the two, but the out and out hatred he wrote as their relationship always felt wrong to me. I prefer later adaptation that allow them to have conflicts of interest, but still remain friends.

      But yeah, this all just shows how important artists/authors are to the comics and our perceptions of the characters.

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