Anybody else get really disappointed when browsing the indie comic table at their local shop? Now when I say indie I mean self-published creators, not “indie” companies like Image, IDW, Boom, etc. Maybe the problem is that all these writers can’t find (or pay) a decent artist for their book so they just draw it themselves… and it shows. Like film, the visual aspect of the comic book narrative is essential so even IF these books had an amazing ground-breaking story, the boring art kills any interest I may have in it by page 3. However, more often than not the stories tackle such deep issues as sex with your girlfriend or fighting over what to watch on TV. Yawn!
Story aside, it’s frustrating trying to get into these books because the art is so stale. Maybe I’m spoiled by the kind of art you find in mainstream (“big two”) and smaller established companies, but if you don’t care enough about it to do a good job why should I care to read it? I just feel like I’m looking at a poorly drawn comic strip half the time and I’m quick to put it right back where I found it. Comics are a visual medium but I feel like some of these guys only want you to read their words, so they throw in an occasional doodle to keep it from being a novel. Maybe the art doesn’t need to be interesting for these books that are all seemingly just about regular people doing regular things, like Seinfeld on paper.
Indie books like these are essentially the comic book equivalent of Kevin Smith’s early movies like Clerks and Mallrats. Not alot of pizzazz or flash, just a bunch of simple shots of people talking. Now that worked for him because the things people said in those shots or the way they said it was funny, and he had actors who emoted instead of just 2-D drawings and plain text on a page. With comics you don’t have the luxury of an actor’s delivery or even the subtlest of camera movement. Every panel has to pop or at the very least be somewhat interesting to keep the attention of readers like myself. Comic book creators have an obligation to fulfill as story tellers and the audience is bound to be disappointed if you half ass it. While I respect the effort, most of the self-published indie books I’ve seen felt like works in progress.
Is this a problem for anyone else? Am I missing the point? Is that gritty, unpolished art just the essence of all self-published indie comics?