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Improving Comics with Technology

A column article, Mission: Professional by: Steven Savage

Can we really improve on comics with technology?

This is something I've wondered for awhile.  I recall the "Malibu" computer comics which were, at best, curiosities. I've speculated on comics being treated as hypermedia- with click-on and links.  I've wondered what will come in the age of the iPad and eBooks, what technical innovations will come and stay in the real of comics.

And my conclusion . . . not much.

Comics, if you consider it, are a time-tested method of telling story.  Depending on who you ask (and I'm sure there's plenty of arguments on this), they're literally centuries old, even if the comic book as we know it is not.  Face it, comics professionals have gotten pretty good at what they do.

Even the wild, crazy, experimental comics out there can be wild and crazy because they have something solid to innovate with.

So oddly, I, technophile and neophyte that I am, and actually getting skeptical about innovation in the "way" comics do what they do because they are a form that's been pretty refined over the ages.  I'm not sure animation, sound effects, media experiments, etc. are really going to pay off that much.

If you want to convince me otherwise, go ahead, but it's gonna take a lot of arguing, to get me to change my mind.

This is important because with the comics industries going through so many changes - from webcomics being mainstreamed to DC's confusing attempts at innovation - I'm sure we'll see, as we always do, speculations on how we can improve comics with technology.  I'm sure, as we've often see before, these attempts will implode effectively and in a sad way.

Just as they have before. 

So my advice for comics pros - don't go playing with technology and gimmicks to "take comics to the next level."  Take it to the next level with art and story and clever innovations of both, because comics as a "language" works pretty well.


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