No longer the preserve of the hardcore geek, comics are moving away from superheroes and into a new golden age of creativity and diversity. Andrew Harrsion at The Observer talked to the indie writers and artists inking the changes this weekend, including Kieron Gillen.
(Confusingly, the feature is published on The Guardian‘s web site with limited Observer branding, so apologies for mixing up my newspapwers in an earlier version of this post).
“Nothing kills the excitement of a pop culture phenomenon like proclaiming that is has ‘grown up’, noted Andrew. “The last time this happened to the lurid, fast-paced, gleefully disreputable world of comics, in the late 1980s, the adoption of adult themes and situations turned out to be a blind alley. Classics such as Alan Moore’s superhero deconstruction Watchmen and his anarchist thriller V for Vendetta, or Frank Miller’s brutalist take on Batman in The Dark Knight Returns, would stand the test of time (V becoming an often misunderstood handbook for the Occupy and Anonymous movements). The problem was, nothing came afterwards. Instead of inspiring new directions for comics, these books only led to ever-decreasing iterations of the dark, the anguished, the adolescent and the angry.
“Thirty years later, however, we’re the midst of a new golden age for stories with pictures – and this time feels very different.”
His article is a great round up of some top US-published titles, including Saga, Wicked +Divine, Bitch Planet and more and while the piece doesn’t quite live up the its promise of offering a look at the wider range of comics available for all ages now available (a plug for The Phoenix, for example, would have been a start), and Leah Moore pretty much sums up the positive mood of the piece.
“What we’re seeing is that comics used to be a genre and now they’re finally being accepted as a medium,” she says. “It’s getting to the point where saying you don’t like comics will make as little sense as saying you don’t like novels or movies.”
The founder of downthetubes, which he established in 1998. John works as a comics and magazine editor, writer, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. He is currently editor of Star Trek Explorer, published by Titan – his third tour of duty on the title originally titled Star Trek Magazine.
Working in British comics publishing since the 1980s, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Babylon 5 Magazine, and more. He also edited the comics anthology STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics. He has also edited several comic collections, including volumes of “Charley’s War” and “Dan Dare”.
He’s the writer of “Pilgrim: Secrets and Lies” for B7 Comics; “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood.