The line starts out relatively small, but I’m early, bundled up in my winter coat to stand in line to meet the artist. It’s isn’t the first time I’ve done this, nor will it be the last. Like all lines, it starts out with people staring at their feet, trying not to make eye contact with the strangers who obviously share your obsession enough to come out in the winter and stand in line. This is Jim Hanley’s Universe, across the street from the Empire State Building and the occasion is a book signing with a new artist, for an Indie comic, I think.
I’m one of the youngest people here and female, which makes me stand out in this male-dominate crowd. It’s Jim Hanley’s Universe, but it’s my world, a world dominated y four-color heroes and dark villains and, once, though not any more, by the Comics Code.
My love of the story started early, drawn to it by my love of art, my desire as an artist to see what others were doing and dream of one day doing it myself.
The appeal of the comic book was subtle and strong, an illustrative fantasy like no other. It’s all about the art and the story and the feel of the book in my hands, something I recently discussed with comic book illustrator, artist and FIT instructor Ray Lago. It’s a tactile thing, he said, about the way the medium feels in your hands. No matter how good computers may get, there is something about the feel of paper in your hands that is somehow comforting and exciting all at once. Ray should know, he’s one of us, a collector since he was 8 and comic books were still available for 12 cents each. Those days are long gone. The new issues are now closer to $3, or more depending on where you happen to buy them, but still they call to us, collectors and enthusiasts. Some might even call us comic book nerds. Whatever. If they understood, they’d collect them too.
After all, nothing is so iconic in America as the four-color superhero. Oops, there I go again with those in crowd terms. Maybe I should explain, draw you in just a bit to this world that enraptures me enough to entice me to wait in line with total strangers to meet someone I’ve never heard of. Comics in their most basic form date back to the days of cave drawings, simple drawings telling a story and in 1896 something revolutionary was added, the balloon, a space with a little white tail, indicating what a character was thinking or saying. And, then for a few years, like three decades or so, comics were largely dominated by family-themed strips, like the modern Sunday comics, often featuring a boy and his dog, or in the case of Calvin and Hobbes many years later, a boy and his stuffed tiger. Then, in the 1930s, the genre evolved again and modern printing made color available, and the Golden Age of comics would begin, with hundreds of titles of larger than life heroes and adventure and detective stories. It was then that four-color hero developed, so called because he was important enough that publishers were willing to spend the money for full color, an option that took four colors—black, magenta, blue and yellow—a molded them into life-like color, at least sort of.
This is the era when the icons were born, Superman and Batman, the Flash and just in time for World War II, Captain America. They all followed Superman’s credo of truth, justice and the American way. And in 1954, the comics industry banded together to form a self-policing agency designed to maintain the integrity of their craft and their super heroes. It regulated the story lines that comics could cover, including saying that good must always triumph over evil, required that police officers and other officials be portrayed with respect and prohibited wanton sex, the use of legendary creatures like werewolves and vampires and depiction of drug or alcohol use. It also prohibited specific forms of advertising including alcohol, cigarettes, fireworks, knives and even postcards. Though the censorship provided by the Comics Code was voluntary, most mass market comics chose to be subjected to it because many magazine distributors would not distribute comics that did not bear the Comics Code seal of approval. The first time this was majorly ignored by a mainstream title was in 1971 with then Marvel Comics Editor-in-Chief Stan Lee determined the value of the story was more than the value of the seal. The story, an anti-drug message, was rejected by the Code Authority because it depicted drug use at all. In the meantime, independent comics, often called “indies” ignored the code and wrote the tales of horror and grittier stories that the code would not approve. Today, the code is all but forgotten, but it once had a huge impact on the industry.
Back in the line, I take a look at the book I’m holding for this artist to sign. His name is Kevin and he’s British and came to the States for his art. Oops, getting ahead of myself there. It’s getting hot in here and everyone is getting sweaty and I’ve moved maybe one pay forward in 20 minutes when the clerk decides to announce that if you don’t have a ticket, you shouldn’t be in line. Ticket? I need a ticket? Then, the nice guy in front of me in a red skull cap offers to hold my place while I head over to get the ticket. That’s one of the reasons, though a smaller one, why I love comic book fandom—almost everyone is nice and friendly. When I get back to the line, the conversations start buzzing, and an hour later I get to talk to the author of the book I’m here to get signed. We talked about the need for a great story to go along with the art and the writer’s strike. It wasn’t the stories that brought me to comics in the first place, but they keep me here, each new book is like a phone call from an old friend and we catch up with each others lives for a few moments and then I await the next call.
By the time the night is done I’ve talked to the author and artist about their work and exchange information with guy in the red skull cap. And, I ponder a bit about why we do it, what draws us to the collecting and the art. For Ray, the instructor and illustrator I mentioned before, it was that first time, as an 8-year-old, connecting with the heroes and knowing that the next story was coming, stories written with little boys in mind. As time drew on and the world changed, the comics adapted with it, writing about everything from discrimination (a central theme in the X-men comics) to women’s empowerment as the Phoenix, also known as Dr. Jean Gray, became the most powerful of the mutants. Marvel’s Civil War series not too slyly looks at contemporary American politics and so on and so on… The move toward more adult themes in comic books troubles Ray some, as he worries that the new era of comic books for children will not hold the same appeal to a new generation of children that they once held for him. The books that once helped him develop his style as an artist and his vocabulary have become virtually adult only in their orientation and the books for children are, “I hate to all it that, but almost cartoon-y” and dumbed down.
Few enduring icons of American culture are instantaneously recognizable yet so poorly understood by the mass media as is the comic book.(1) They have a long history, from the beginning of the nineteenth century when the motion picture just came out.(2) They have been in the childhood memories of kids since the 1920s, and since have produced culturally recognizable icons all over the globe.(3) Yet theyre still unknown amongst adults as an entertainment medium, not willing to understand it beyond being a childhood thing of the past.(4) Yet there is so much to be said about the value of reading a good book, one that enraptures the imagination to send people to new worlds, to new places and to follow the story at hand aided by the illustrative hand that is our comic books today.(5) Believably there is some notion to that the experience of reading such a book is generational, because as time goes on stories do change as they are told over time and the people who initially read them do grow out of their old stories.(6) They seem to be the domain of the youth of the time, who inevitably outgrow them eventually.(7)They recall their old books in fondness to the stories told and lessons taught, reflecting the history of the days when they did read the books.(8) Often times being, the books themselves would intertwine the present day events of politics and culture to come across in the story of the book.(8) Just as each generation has written their own history with actions taken place, have the comics been there to report and take note for every generation since its first publication of a funny book.(9) In that way of being, comic books do stand as testament in time to being a history book, reflecting on the beliefs drawn & written throughout the time.(10) Emerging from the constant shifting interaction of politics, culture, audience tastes and the economics of publishing, comic books have helped to frame a world view and define a sense of self for the generations of people who have grown up with them.(11)
Not every youth outgrows their books,however.(1) There are many who prefer this form of journalism over others, myself included.(2) That we prefer to keep an open illustrative book in hand than to abandon the medium and move on to what is socially deemed more adult entertainment: as is the newspaper, the gossip catalogue, or what is most dreaded & devoid of all imagination in most instances, the television programming of day to day life.(3) Comics just have this way of entertaining the imagination with its play of illustration, layout and design that grasps the mind into the story at hand and wont let go until its done with teasing your intellect.(4) As with any other reading novel, it challenges the mind to fill in the blanks;for what is not said with words is said with the mood inside the vivid illustration on the page to bring out what is to be said for what is going on.(5) No wonder it is then that more than ever in previous times that youre getting more and more artists with a desire to get into the field of comic book illustration, which is just as important to the story as the story itself.(6) The comic books need a good illustration to bring out that fantasy aspect of what goes on while you read the story, what garners your continued interest inside the story other than the writing.(7) There are whole classes in schools dedicated to the sole purpose of how to tell a good story with pictures on the page as a comic book layout alone to portray what a said script is giving to the audience.(8)Of such said courses,few are taught by accomplished professionals in the field.(9) All are taught,however by people whom are just as passionate about the medium of storytelling as any other interested in comics are.
Me being the comic book aficionado I am, had decided to take such a course early on in my first semester of college at Fashion Institute of Technology.(1) The class went by the name `The Art Of Comic Books`.(2) The teacher for the course is a man by the name of Ray Lago, a man already accomplished in his field of work as a comic illustrator, amongst other things in the arts.(3) I had the ample opportunity of being able to sit the guy down for a good interview for this project, one that I will let you in on in a moment.(4) The course itself is a sharp intense look at how it started as a medium of journalistic slapstick to the grandiour ages of the superheroes to epileptic journeys through the imagination,and so forth into the subject of the material in.(5) The classroom itself is filled with twenty plus students,including myself,eager to learn how to illustrate such pages the proper way by industry standards.(6) More importantly many are there to learn as much about it as they can, including the ins and outs of where to go and what to do to have yourself established in such a culture.(7) Not only as a fan, but a contributing member of an almost elitist club, one that has already broken into the door and is creating their own mass distributed comic for the ages and out of our generation.(8)
The room itself is standard room size for an F.I.T. classroom, large enough for each student to have their two feet of barrier surrounding them to do their work.(1) Ray takes attendance first thing when the class starts, which is abided by a full attendance by all students being there.(2) The air that is given off in the room is one of enthusiasm, persperation and an overall sense of good will to getting ones work done on time, considering its nearing the end of the semester.(3) We were all given the same assignment, but allowed anywhich way we wanted to be done, to have it done in that way.(4) The assignment was to have a short story made up, type it up professionally as a script, and have four pages done by the end of the semester. In the middle of the class, as an inspirational point and an educative view, he’ll show the students work of various artists of the past and present,to introduce them to new styles of drawing, storytelling, or artistic medium used when making the comic hes presenting.(5) Bearing that in mind about artists whom have already made a dent in the way the books are created, it usually serves as feed and fodder for the students imagination to put it to use to their own pages theyre creating. After the class is when I had my opportunity to give the interview & although incomplete some important details were made to note.
Its after the class and everyone has left, save for one student who’s writing the epilogue of a lifetime with his graphic novel in the making. We both sit down for the interview, in a lighthearted nature I took out the tape recorder to record the conversation, also to record some funny rhetoric concerning the use of tape recorders during interviews which did not make it here to the request of Rays privacy. I asked him the all important question that everyone must be asking themselves about me and anyone else concerned about this essay at this point, what prompted him to pick up the comic books and could he share with us the factors behind his sustained interest in comics.He responds in a questionative tone `OK, I’m assuming you mean what prompted me to pick up comic books to read yes?` `Right right. What got you interested in it?`is my reply, and it goes from there. His story at first seems almost typical of that would be for a child reading their first comic; child reads comic about superhero, the superhero is in a lot of fun adventures, the hero is on t.v. with own show, and kid gets hooked onto a classic.By his own words,`The stories were good for kids, they werent so sophisticated that an 8 year old wouldn’t enjoy them`He spoke of it passionately,but with a delicate respect to the question,for the response was something that mattered to him. `I liked the action adventure stuff and these comics especially the ones that marvel is putting out were great there were a lot of fun. Spiderman, Fantastic Four, the Avengers the X-men they were a lot of fun, adventurous really aimed mostly for boys thats what it was for a young boy it was perfect I remember I got hooked`Was his final response,as it was his conclusion to the answer that seems to ring true for most people when reading comics.The books portrayed a kind of adventure that one would love to be a part of, but the limitations of real life being will not allow for.Imagination is second best though,
This coming up is the first transcribed interview, with my teacher & fellow comic book illustrator Ray Lago
*not neccesary for the essay,after this paragraph then everything else should be essential*
Ray:And the same thing he was also talking about how he had done some pieces and these people didnt understand what he had done & whatever and I remember making a comment about it, thinking `What is he thinking, putting this in print?`, & as I’m doing it my wife says `You realize you’re being taped right now?` Great..
Danielle:Ha ha ha
*not neccesary for the essay,after this paragraph then everything else should be essential*
Ray:Yeah, You see what I mean? OK, what’s the question?
Danielle:Interview questions, what prompted you to pick up the comic books basically & could you share with us the factors behind your sustained interest in comics?
Ray:OK, I’m assuming you mean what prompted me to pick up comic books to read yes?
Danielle:Right right. What got you interested in it?
Ray: I was like 7 or 8 years old when a neighbor that I met in a new neighborhood had this one kid who collected comics, and they were pretty cool & I remember that beforehand I just never thought about them before and so I went out & bought some & then there were 12 cents at the time. I bought some comics & I got really into them and I started collecting them I mean, they were airing superman black & white repeats back then, Batman the TV show was just coming out then, so I think the green horn & all that, so I started collecting comics when I was 8 years old and it was just great if it werent really good I dont think I would have kept on reading them they were excellent they were well done, they were well drawn. The stories were good for kids, they werent so sophisticated that an 8 year old wouldnt enjoy them, but they werent dumb, I mean I liked Archie comics, Richie Rich & the Harvey titles also but I guess at 8 going on 9, I liked the action adventure stuff and these comics especially the ones that marvel is putting out were great there were a lot of fun. Spiderman, Fantastic Four, the Avengers the X-men they were a lot of fun, adventurous really aimed mostly for boys thats what it was for a young boy it was perfect I remember I got hooked
Danielle:End of first question, in tape as 083/084(inbetween)
Danielle:What made you seriously consider comic book illustration as a career then? After seeing all that
Ray:Well, I used to always copy comics just to as a kid I didnt think there was a business so I didnt know if I would seriously get into it for a living When I was graduating high school from what I’ve read I was pretty sure that it would be tough to make a living at it. I was interested in it, but I didnt think I could make a living at it with my skills the way I had what I had. When I finally got out of high school, I applied to a few colleges & the Joe Cubert School of Cartooning & Comic Art and I think thats the title of the school I’m not 100% sure and they liked my work enough to take me on as a student but they werent accredited yet so I couldnt get financial aid, so I didnt go there, ya know? So I went to camp (kemp?) college in Union, New Jersey. The more I got into illustration the less likely I thought I’d be able to get into comics because I realized how quickly the stuff had to be churned out and I didnt think I could churn it out & still be happy with it I didnt think what I could do that quickly would by necessity be very good (130).Pretty much not even be good enough to be hired if I had to knock off what needs to be done today. When comics started producing more deluxe titles, more fancy printing, more books, anthologies, & especially anthologies I realized that I could work on a short story, for an anthology book. Originally I was gonna; I had some ideas for some shot pieces to hitch to epic illustrated at marvel. They stopped publishing Epic Illustrated. Fortunately they started producing some epic related titles, Including Hell Raiser, & another sort of epic like thing called open space, & I had whipped up some painted samples & I took them around & I got some work & that how I basically fell into it but at the time the comics were truly a trick to make money at it (155/156)I was already in a working profession as an illustrator for quite a while ,so I came into it a little differently Id been published I had a portfolio & comics were my first love & became something I did sort of retroactively. I wasnt strictly old, but I wasnt some 18 year old looking to dc and marvel I was in my mid 20s to late 20s & I had a lot of experience under my belt. I was doing a lot of other things, advertising art ,television art & storyboards, animatics & all kinds of things ,graphic design,(174),So I brought more experience to it.(176)and a more professional attitude toward doing it. Still couldnt do it for my book, but with all these other venues, as far as the formats were different, I could contribute a bunch of short stories & it was that was great, given a lil more time & I could really you know, have fun with it & I didnt have to worry about knockin off the pages all day.
Danielle:I could see that being a pain in the butt… (Hehe)
Ray:It was hard, I still dont think I mean I might be able to If I put my time into it I could probably ink a page in a day but penciling a page in a day; I could lay out something rough but I wouldnt be able to do tight pencils, not something I’d want to sign my name to..
Danielle:I know the feeling(205)Ah number 3 Please share with us your views on the comic book industry now and the changes which differ the modern & the past view of the comic book industry
Ray:Oh the industry has changed so much mean when I was a kid, As I heard from people who were doing comics back when I was a kid It was quite different than when I broke into comics It went through several changes long before I got into comics Since I’ve gotten into comics its also changed. So much of everything is done the computer So much of the art is…I dont even know how to put it I think the post image comics were always quite different That era kinda lowered the standard of comics for quite a while considering the drawing & the draftsmanship & the storytelling. Theres been a reversal & good storytelling is back in vogue which is great but the industry is smaller now so work is actually more competitive, much more competitive now than before.(233)Theyre much more serious on who they hire & what kind of work is handed in than they were back then. There was a time when there were so many titles they were trying to put out because they believed in the huge market for those titles, just a huge market for comics in general but they were pumping out tons of titles & hiring tons of people who could barely draw and just pumping it all out so it was that every artist I knew was turning down work, there was that much work. It was crazy, it was a lot of work and now its actually much more competitive. There’s some excellent things being put out but its again, being that I do a lot of color work, the fact that most of its colored on computer; doesn’t benefit me in the slightest. I dont want to do computer color But theres still a lot of work to be done out there, a lot of work to be gotten out there. It’s just not as easy. It’s more the way it was I think when I was in college, when I was in college it was pretty competitive, and even just my first few years out of college and this I know from people who were in the industry back then. And then the field just got wide open with the introduction of the direct retail market and then with success with certain artists Like Todd McFarland & Rob Lyefeld & Eric Larson, Guys like Frank Miller when everything just exploded & a gazillion things were being published it was just work, lots of work. It’s still work, just it was much more competitive than before.
Dainelle:(276)You would say there was a lot more of an emphasis on like being an Illustrator, being a Fine Arts major in the background also then would you?
Ray:Hmm No, no no. I think its really more as each artist & what they bring to the table & I know there are plenty of people who do monthly work & are very popular whos work I wouldnt call illustrative or fine as far as the fine arts vent, but theyve got something High impact and a lot of that is from the Image days, very high impact, a lot of the same stuff as before, but its very Dynamic. Most of the stuff that sells well is very dynamic; I’m talking about super hero stuff. When it comes to other genres like western & suspense, & even romance & real life kind of titles thats a little different. Those things tend not to sell a gazillion copies, and yet some of them can very highly acclaimed & greatly appreciated, they have cult audiences. There’s a lot of stuff out there, I’m not sure even how they can afford to publish them, the fancy books I’ve seen. I look at them & think `my god this book is a $40 dollar book. Whos buying these things & how do they publish? How do they?” But there are obviously other venues, like bookstores & such. A lot of stuff is being kept in trade paperback. It’s changed a lot in terms of distribution, in terms of production quality, but that also means theres no such thing as a 12cent comic book, there’s not even a thing as a $1.00 dollar comic book. Which means that kids cant afford them, which means if I were a kid now I could not afford to buy comics, which means I could never get into comics, which would be sad. (323)
Danielle:Its a sad moment when you walk into Jim Hanleys Universe looking for like the 25 cent comic books just right by the register, just for something cheap & you cant even find them.
Dainelle:So, ah what’s my next question over here? (329)Im going to touch on that subject later on. That’s actually probably pertaining to this next question but, The Golden & Silver ages of comic books have passed. Do you think that the heydays of comics have passes as well? Or, are we to see better days for the comics?
Ray:You know, that’s highly debated. I think, the same way I dont think that regular published, I mean pros books, novels, short story collections, I dont think that the day of those books like that will ever be completely passed. I dont think the days of comic books are passed, in the sense of comic books, but I do think that its changed a lot.(345)The day the kind of comic books I’ve picked up have past but theyve passed as far as content. The comics are so much more adult now that I think that has passed unfortunately. It’s ironic actually that people who grew up reading comics dying to do comics, when they get to do comics do the much more adult & basically prevent kids from buying comics & having the same experience they had growing up. It’s very ironic, they saw the potential in the medium,& they didnt want the limitations of just doing stuff for kids but before you know it, no-ones doing anything for kids, and what it is for kids its more I hate to use the word like cartoony but its dumbed down for children.(362)And I mean even stylistically, as far as the art .Though, there are some wonderful artists who do some great stuff in those kinds of styles the stories are so simple. Like when I grew up, reading lets say Batman comics or detective comics drawing press by Carmen Infantito, Inked by Joe Giallo or Murphy Anderson it was aimed at kids but the drawing was not like an animation drawing so it was more involved it had more draftsmanship as far as the pen & ink quality to it.(376) Today a comic book lets say batman or a detective comic book aimed at a kid would look like a batman cartoon; which has a nice look but its an entirely different experience. It just is, the other thing was something someone could read they were 8 years old or if they were 16 years old. Maybe a college kid wouldnt read it but definitely early high school would read it. It they were into comics. But today, there’s no high schooler whos gonna read Batman Adventures comic. That’s aimed at children. Totally at children. The drawing is fun in its own way, the coloring is very nice, but its an animation on paper, that’s what it is. (390) and because of that, it just looks like its geared at children. It’s just that, I hate to put it this way but the art that I grew up with was in a sense if it wasnt more sophisticated it was at least an attempt at more sophisticated illustration. That seems to be gone, as far as something that children could read. (400) and grow with. I always thought that the writers & the artists wrote, did not write down to the readers, they sort of wrote up and brought us along with them. I’ve found myself learning words & language and grammar that other kids in school just didnt know the vocabulary. My vocabulary increased greatly thanks to comics at a very young age. Today I’m not sure that would be true I think that they really dumb it down, they seem to anyway.
Danielle:Id say thats down to the point of censorship also, which brings us to our next question(414)too .Despite undergoing tumultuous period of stringent censoring by the Comics Code, that saw many story lines being heavily affected or rejected ,the superheroes concept still remained deeply entwined in the eyes of the public. Do you think that the latter is still true to itself?
Ray:`What do you mean by the last part of that question?
Danielle:I would say, like the superhero genre in general, What do you think beyond the censorship what could be brought back to –
Ray:I don’t think it needs to be brought back, I think that certain individual titles with certain creative teams may approach certain characters in a more traditional fashion but it wont be because of any kind of censorship. Maybe certain publishers might introduce characters that are done in older style but the market is no longer the youth of America the market is now young adults & young adults they want to see in a comic book what they see in a video game (435) unfortunately or in a movie. It has to have that amount of sophistication, that amount of violence ,& that amount of what I consider to be immaturity to call it to mature audiences but its actually more immature audiences is what it should be called. I don’t think theres any going back, I dont, unfortunately, unfortunately. Thats not to say they may not create a line of comics towards kids, theyve always done it Theyre always creating a line of comics but they look at the art & it looks just like animation again its like they have to change the style in order for it to be for kids and that bothers me because I was reading wonderful art, wonderful pen & ink art & I didnt feel like it was too sophisticated for my eyes, it didnt have to look like a cartoon.(452)If I wanted a cartoon style I wouldve picked up Archie, or Richie Rich
Danielle:Oh yes, thats definitely where its at, hehehe
Ray:And again, don’t get me wrong, I like the look of Batman Adventures. It’s more that I miss the look of Carmen Infantito & Nick Carty & Early Neil Adams & Bill Cain & all these artists are & were doing comics for kids and that young adults can enjoy also. It means cleaning up their act as far as the kind of content & thats not going to happen. I wouldn’t t mind if it happened, but its just not going to happen.(465)They have no intention to, I dont think they feel that they would go into greater sales I don’t think they think that more kids would go come into the market and I dont think the writers would enjoy doing the writing. I think the writers would feel handcuffed, and they wouldnt like it. So I dont see it going back, and its partial to the thing we were talking about before where comics are going. Individual comics, monthly comics are never going to stop being published but more & more youre going to see & we are seeing graphic novels and trade compilations that are kept forever on the shelves Unfortunately mostly on the shelves of comic book stores & not on the shelves of lets say book stores, but theres some in bookstores. The reasons bookstores cant handle it is because theyd have to have a wing in their store the size of a comic book shop in order to carry all the content thats available, but some things do make it into the stores. But even if a comic book shop is half trade paperback thats fine by me, because that means you can always catch up on something that youve missed before. That part of it is actually very nice so if you cant by a monthly title you can by the entire thing compiled later, it’s great & why shouldnt it still be in print? You know as long as there is someone who wants to read it .Thats a very positive aspect of the industry (492)Very tough to tell with electronic media where its all going to go, within my lifetime theyre not going to disappear, but 100 years ago there wasn’t a comic book. So, who knows? (496)
Danielle:100 years ago, there was still a newspaper though :D(thats a smiley emiticon)
Ray:There was a newspaper, newspaper still exists now, they’re never gonna go completely under, Because people like to hold things in their hands, just like the sheets of paper youre holding right now Youre not holding a laptop in your hands, you’re holding sheets of paper (501) You know, printed out of a laptop, but a laptop is still kind of inconvenient to carry around as easy as they are to carry around I dont see myself carrying a laptop around I really dont.
Danielle:Hehehe I dont either. I see some of the other students here carrying around but its like I’d much rather carry my brick of a binder than I would a laptop
Ray:Yeah, well think of a comic book the same as a regular book, a novel is something you hold in your hands, you turn the page, you stick it in your pocket and you carry it around with you. You pick it up & read it, you dont have to turn it on and wait for it to warm up, you dont have to scroll down, you just read it & its a very personal tactile thing (516).the idea that were going to be less tactile that were not going to want to touch things is ridiculous. You get tired of constantly touching a screen & a keyboard & all that.(519)Paper is never gonna go out of style, true wed have a lot more trees if we cut down but then again as soon as we do that all these people will then be out of work, so that would be bad for the economy. Good for the ecology, bad for the economy. Comic books & graphic storytelling as an art form is around to stay, one of the beauties of it as an artist, as a creative person, is you get to tell your own story. Whether you write it or youre in collaboration with the writer, you’re basically making your own mini-movie. Or a sort of illustrated short story in one form or another and there is a very nice thing said about it I think Will Eisner said it in that film I showed you that day basically theres a completeness to it that satisfies him & I agree when youve illustrated an entire story, a decent story and you basically told it the way you wanna tell it there is something very satisfying about it, and its a very different kind of satisfaction than painting a simple picture.(538)When you actually paint a sequence of pictures that work the captions & word balloons and youre selecting the scenes, youre zooming in & pulling out & youre doing things graphically just for the sake of a graphic idea you have so that its not literal to whats happening but its an interesting visual thin you came up with & when youre done with it, if youre happy with it and I usually am even if I’m in a rush something I did the best I can with it within the time constraints .There is a certain satisfaction to telling an entire story in this visual media, that’s different than just fine illustrations.(551) and a short story and different than if you were filming something with a crew. Basically, this you sitting there drawing & painting the whole thing out and there’s something very satisfying about it. Again, quite different than a single picture.
Danielle:It is well noted that more people tend to regard comic books as plain “Funny books”. Is it possible then, to remark that comics have become a more valued, recognized medium where people look towards for representation of socio-cultural issues? Like, we were talking before how the Batman comics have become something for the child perse & everything else but There are other comic book series out there also that are battling everyday things like what we work towards also like ah (I’m kinda confused by the question myself heheheh)
Ray:Well, the thing is there are lots of titles out there that are deal with adult subjects and problems of everyday life as well as the action adventure & perhaps in a more realistic fashion, but there are plenty of people who are converted, who have already acknowledged that comics have changed. There are lots of people since the 70s who realized what great changes have happened in comics ,but by & large its hard to imagine the millions of people living here who are all of a sudden-theyre not knowledgeable about it. Theyre just not knowledgeable about it. They think nothing to sit down & watch a mindless sitcom, but they wouldnt sit down & read a comic book, because they think a comic book is somehow below a sitcom which is a joke when you think of how crappy so much television writing is. Failed ideas, bad jokes, yarns just not that well told and even though theres a lot of crap in comic books also theres brilliant stuff being done. There is this sort of distanced attitude on popular culture that these things are mostly for kids(596).They know theyre not completely for kids I mean, have you ever seen the movie `Road to Perdition`? Frank Millers `300”? The Rocateer? Theres more that come to mind & even whats the damn clowns movie? The one with Rodd Birch & Scarlett Johansson & Steve Bessetti?
Danielle:Whos the characters in there?
Ray:Oh Ghost world! Ah, its about a couple of young teenage girls, its fairly sophisticated & it translated well to the movie as far as I could tell. There are people who realize that comics are just another art form, but most men & women raising their kids, they dont want to see adult material in their cartoons as you see in a lot of comedy central cartoons like….
Danielle:South Park! Ha ha ha
Ray:South parks is basically the tip of the iceberg. A lot of cartoons, theyre horrified when they see that. Cause they think `Theyre funny characters, how can they be dealing with any of these subjects?` and some of them really, I wouldnt want kids watching either in the same way theres so many comic books & when they find that there are comics out there that have adult material in them they actually want the shops closed down. They actually want a cop to do something about it, thats how serious some parents get.
Danielle:Theres this one particular comic book out there I forgot what it was called (Teenagers from Mars by Rick Spear & Rob G) its one of the more popular titles right now its about this slump of a guy in the middle of this hick town, U.S.A.. He makes up this comic book & the local store starts carrying it & this whole entire town is in an uproar against it. Between that the guy is working at Walbaums , he puts his comic on the shelves & they wanted to close down the Waldbaums because of it. They made up this kind of society, him & a couple of the dorks in the neighborhood, the American comic book club society & they wind up breaking some of the windows of the store & now the entire town is against comic books & against them in particular because they went to go do this but It just shows the attitude what people have against comics because of what differences in the change of subject come up as.
Ray:Well unfortunately also it shows (639) the idea that any dork can create a comic book and actually it takes an awful lot of work & most people who are comic book writers are adults. Many of them with families theyre supporting through their comic book writing. So, people just dont have a clue as to as diverse it is. You have some young guys creating some things & youll have plenty of people whose grandparents who write comic books at this point. Its just not what people think it is but I dont know, it what people want it to be. At this point, people want the special superhero comic books to be something that theyre not anymore. They just dont want them to be for adults, so they dont want them to have that adult subject matter. Now, I understand perfectly because I’m not always happy with what I see being done to superhero comic books myself, but because they begin not to resemble the characters that I grew up with. It limits the market but that said; freedom of expression and you dont really want to curtail someones creativity. Theres not going to be a positive outcome in doing that. So therefore, if its more for adults, its more for adults.(661)The public at large, the greater public recognizing this in some cases they do but in many cases they dont & they definitely dont expect superheroes, even those who are notable by graphic novels. They dont expect superheroes to do the kinds of things that involve the kinds of stories that they are involved in. Its not simply that its more complicated than they want it to be, they really dont want their kids reading this stuff when theyre young. They dont want an 8,9,10 year old kid reading characters in bed, doing drugs, alcoholism & all that subject matter. They want some nice escapist literature for their kids. They seem to have no trouble with the violent video games though, so it is sort of a double standard (676) that comics are held to a different standard than video games for some reason. They just are, a different standard.
Danielle:Would you think thats because its something more that could be hand held as something instead of it being just pop a disc inside a computer & thats it?
Ray:I just dont know. Well I think its also because theres no historical baggage. Video games came out, & in a very short time they were violent. Comic books came out & for decades, they were just really nice stories. Nice cheerful stories, with all the right kinds of messages to give kids, & then they changed. Video games came out & within a very short period there was tons of violence & blood & all the rest of it, and people dont even realize it.(689)Not to say that parents accept it, Its just that parents arent as much in arms up against it, they’re not as shocked about it. Every know again youll hear about a video game that came out that theyre shocked about, but in general they expect people just standing in the middle of a ring beating the crap out of each other, the characters beating the crap out of each other. Parents see it, it doesnt bother them. They dont even mind superheroes beating the crap out of each other. Its as soon as you get into something a bit more than that, ya know whether its sexual, whether its about drugs, politically controversial, it gets to be a little too liberal, as far as the values (700) (I hate using that word) as soon as it gets across to if the characters are moral; superheroes are not true heroes, parents have a problem with that. Well with the video game its different, they dont pay as much attention, it’s not a story its not a form of literature. Comics have always been a form of book, where people sit down & read. It’s different, so and again as I said it doesnt have the historical baggage, it doesnt have all these assumptions that comic books have.(709)
Danielle:Id take your word on that, that brings us to our next question that fits in perfectly with this actually. It is known that the media can reflect socio-cultural issues. To what extent do you think comics can play this role?
Ray:I think comics play the role, I’m not sure what you mean by cant play the role…A lot of comics reflect whats going on now, basically as I was saying as the world changes it will always affect the comics. From World War 2, Vietnam, comics have always reflected the light, popular culture such as television and novels & movies. The subjects that are in the news, the dilemmas that face people (724) in various cultures eventually make it to all forms of literature, all forms of entertainment & they make it into comics. Sometimes in very strange ways & sometimes a little late & after the fact but mentioning the war on drugs, there have been comics that have dealt with drugs, back in the early 70s,they dealt with them pretty straightforward, but without being too sensational. They werent making fun of it they were actually dealt with rather honestly, the green arrow & green lantern dealt with heroin & Spiderman dealt with popping, addiction to pills & one of the characters had dealt with it. Politics are dealt with in comics all the time, the hard right, the hard left. There’s always things like that, but not every time obviously though just here & there. Because you know, people buying them do get a little tired of it. If they want a political comic book theyll buy themselves a Jonesburg compilation. But almost always, women’s issues, women always becoming stronger & stronger & stronger, they’ve made the female characters in the 60s were decorative elements of a super team become perhaps the most powerful character like Phoenix in the X-Men, the Invisible woman in the Fantastic Four has become incredibly powerful….
(749)End of Tape, Hallelujah!
The numbers in the interview are for the point they were in the tape is all.The numbers in the essay written so far by me is for how many sentences there were,& if I needed to look back into it is was there.Please dont have the sentence markers in there in the end result,thats only for my own referrence when writing.
This next interview I did only for a friend of mine whos a cosplayer,which means she basically goes to these comic conventions dressed as characters.I did this one to show what other sub-cultures my own subculture has sprung since.You dont have to make it a major point in there,but I would like the word to be placed in there.Essentially,with all this written out,feel free to write what you want, as long as it involves my involvement, a few things said here, the backhistory of the culture itself.Oh,the interview again,sorry about that.
Real Name: Alicia Lugo
Cosplay Name: Dokudel
Years cosplaying: 1997 but at conventions 2001.
Cosplay Rank: Journeyman
-How did this culture develop? There are many debates on how this culture became to be. Some say that it began here in the U.S.A. of science fiction conventions dating back well before the 1970s, even though that isnt quite anime costuming people still consider it the same thing. People will wear there Star Trek,Star Wars, Dr Who and numerous other Sci Fi costumes. Some others say that the japanese started anime cosplaying late 80s early 90s. But its really up to what you want to believe.
-Why costume to impersonate someone fictional?I guess I am going to go cliche and say to escape from reality for alittle while; become one of my favorites characters of it. Theres always a character you can relate to or be fond of. Why not prance around for a little while and pretend to be that character? While wearing these costumes at convention why not relate to it with other cosplayers?
-Why do this in the first place? Hmm I do this as another way to show how much I love this hobby and fandom. I grew up with anime and video games since the very beginning. I only met other cosplayers once I started going to conventions. Making new friends in this hobby makes me want to keep going, for myself and for others.
-Why anime characters in particular? Anime is really a big part of my life. You can ask ANY of my family or friends. I wouldnt be what I am today without it!
-What requirements need to be met to consider oneself a cosplayer outside of halloween? If you want to play dress up when its not Halloween then your a cosplayer.
-What do you get out of it? What do I get out of it? Hmmm there are many reasons I can explain. But it is one of those things you have to think about. I get the satisfaction that working so hard on a costume being simple or complicated and you want to show that nice and proud. In the sense you want attention from it.
-What is the possibility of making a career out of it? In the sense it has been. I have done a couple of modeling gigs, t.v. show auditions, and opened up my own online costume shop. If it werent for cosplay I wouldnt have ever though of those things. I soon would like to open a modeling online portfolio of my own works rather then my costume shop.
-Given that there are conventions for this,how do often do they meet to `update the look`? Hm this is a hard question to answer. I dont think it matters to me if they need to be in the times. I honestly like how conventions use to be more friendly family related that everyone knew one another. I am as well a fan of old school anime so a lot of the newer shows hardly interest me.
-How long does it take to finish one costume to another? I am the type I cant have just made one costume for the year. I like to make as many as I can. But that is also a flaw, sometimes I rush myself and at the end said costume dosent look as well as I would have liked it to because I didnt give myself enough time. I would have to say my estimate time to make myself a costume is 1-2 months.
-Other than anime,are there real life references to the look of the cosplay? Well thats a challange in the world of cosplay. Making a costume not look as cartoony and try your best to make it look good in `real life`. You do to put some realistic qualities in a costume so it can translate well on paper. Thats why in a way anime cosplaying is a challange.
-What is your story,how did you get into it? Well I have always been a fan of anime and videos games. I grew up with it literally. To broaden my horizons of this culture there was a nifty amount of anime magaizines I would purchase( I didnt have a lot of money when I grew up so I couldnt afford VHSs at the time so only magazines and manga issues was my forte.) and one of them being a well known populare magazine called `Animerica`. In the magazine besides talking about what new anime,mangas, and video games would come out. There be a member of the staff who would travel to conventions and take pictures of cosplayers. I wanted to go to conventions for a long time. I made my first cosplay costume around 1997-1998 and that was Tifa Lockheart from Final Fantasy 7. There was finally a convention in my area called Big Apple Anime Fest 2001. I also cosplayed there as Cammy White from Street Fighter. Since then I have made myself over 50 costumes and gone to over 30 conventions.
Cite this Comics: Jim Hanley’s Universe
Comics: Jim Hanley’s Universe. (2016, Sep 14). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/comics-jim-hanleys-universe/