Sometimes I feel I've been repeating myself. And, when I think about it, I also think that maybe that's a problem in the comics world as well.
I grew up reading comic books. In a matter of fact, I grew up reading. Book, comic book, medical prescript, there I was, reading it. Early on, I fell in love with it. Not that my life was dull or uninteresting, on the contrary, but it was great knowing that, no matter how great and wide your life is, when you pick up a bunch of stapled together papers with a story written (or drawn) in it, you can go even wider and everything is possible.
Now, maybe we forgot about that part. Maybe we just like the comics we read (and the comics that sell) and we want to do more of those comics, instead of trying to think about the possibilities we have and the chance to do something different. I started out wanting to draw super heroes, I still think maybe someday I'll give it a shot, but soon I realized I didn't want to tell those kind of stories, for the best I could do would be creating an homage to the super hero comics I read as a kid.
Now, that conclusion led my brother and I (for we work together) into the independent scene, that world of more intimate stories, where the greatest achievement for the hero in your story is getting sober the next morning, just like the rest of us. Jokes aside, I liked the possibilities in doing stories with regular people. It seemed I could tell stories that I have read a lot in books, but not in comics, and it also seemed that I could tell those stories for people who had never read a comic book before.
Well, now I'm original?
Not always. Nowadays, I see a lot of independent creators that have also fallen in the formula, for every genre has it's golden boys and it's very easy to start out wanting to be like the ones you admire. "He's the next Daniel Clowes" or "the next Tomine", "the next Charles Burn". It exactly the same as being "the next Jim Lee". In one way, it's good, it's a easy way for people to say they like your work, but it also means they've seen it before. How will you make a difference being, from the start, the same as it already is?
When Jeff Smith arrived, he wasn't "the next" nothing. He was the first. Sure, his work has influences, pays homage to the past, but Bone was so fresh, so well done, so original, that he, from a very early start, became the reference from where "the next Jeff Smiths" would come. The retailers and the readers are still waiting for the next Jeff Smith, for the next Bone.
What we need isn't another "next". It's another "first".
All the stories have been told, now lets tell them again as you have never seen before.
Saturday, May 01, 2004
Posted by Fábio Moon at 8:17 PM