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Are Comic Books Still Relevant?


Comic books are basically fully illustrated story books. To tell the story well in this media, comic book writers not only have to decide on the prose, but also on the way their stories are told graphically. To do this well, the writers at the major comic publishers would typically have to collaborate closely with their co-creators (pencilers, inkers and colourists) much in the same way that movies are the result of a team of scriptwriters, directors, cameramen and actors. While some may think that grown-ups have no need of pictures to get into stories they read, many adults still marvel at visual interpretations of written prose, such as those adapted to movies and television.

One other characteristic of comic books is that they tend to have quicker turnaround times compared to some other modes of modern story telling such as movies and television series. They could be published on a regular schedule, say monthly.

In view of the above, comic books fit into the current landscape of different media modes by telling on-going adventures on a regular basis, filling gaps left behind by the other modes of modern story telling. While waiting for the next star wars movie, the comic books (which form part of Star Wars canon now) tell the stories that happened in between. A new comic book series, Adventure Time Season 11, tells more of the adventures of Finn and Jake in the Land of Ooo that take place after the show ends on Cartoon Network.

Comic books also allow more creators to tell their stories at relatively low cost to all age groups. In this regard, comic books have allowed many creators to add to a rich treasury of stories that set the context and stage for future stories to be told. A great example of this would be the current slate of super hero movies that have been coming out in the past decade or so. Many borrow heavily from the treasury trove of stories that had been told through comic books since the 1930s.

The more famous ones include the stories of the orphaned vigilante that is Batman and his sidekick Robin, the exploits of the highly trained mutant Wolverine, the situations that the responsible schoolboy Spider-Man gets into (and out of), as well as the adventures of the Amazonian princess Wonder Woman. But there are also lesser known ventures into the mystical worlds with former surgeon Dr Strange as your guide, exploring the nine realms with the Asgardian Thor and go wild with the fourth-wall breaking mercenary Deadpool.

More and more big publishers are recognising the gap that comic books can fill today, with the likes of Scholastic and Pantheon (an arm of Penguin Random House) publishing comics in recent times.

Are comic books still relevant? Do pick one up today from your local comic book store or online and find out for yourself!  

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