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B&N Week 196: What Are You Doing To Bring Fun & Games To Comics?

| September 24, 2014

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We’ve got another Tuesday upon us! The sun is shining once again in Tucson, and the heat won’t hit in the triple digits anymore. [You’re all going to be envious of me in a couple of months, when I’m still talking about 80 degree weather…]

We’ve got a short discussion this week. This week’s question: are you bringing fun and games to comics?

There’s one thing that I know: it’s difficult to be amusing, if not downright funny, on paper. I don’t know how some writers do it, and I’m trying to learn.

But just because you aren’t “funny” doesn’t mean that you can’t be fun, right? A lot of today’s comics are very serious. No, not grim and gritty, but serious. Look at the state of both Marvel and DC, and the stories being told there. Marvel is going from one event to another, and the stakes keep growing. DC rebooted their entire universe a couple of years ago, and they’re still trying to establish a feel for it. But it’s very serious stuff.

There’s only one character that instills a sense of fun in his adventures, and that’s Wade Wilson, the merc with a mouth: Deadpool.

Now, don’t get me wrong: there are comics out there that are lighthearted and fun. They’re just a challenge to find because everyone is trying to tell a serious story that has consequences for an entire country, if not the entire planet. (Towns and cities are for chumps!) [Exactly!]

When I say “fun,” don’t think that I’m only talking about comedy. I’m talking about instilling a sense of whimsy into the work, so that the reader comes away and feels like they had a good time.

Kevin Bacon made a movie in the 90’s, The Air Up There. In it, he’s a college basketball coach, and he goes to Africa to recruit this huge guy. Bacon used to be a player himself, but he blew his knee out. He gets to Africa, and finds out that the player doesn’t want to leave his village. Trials and tribulations follow as Bacon tries to convince the guy to leave with him, and has to play basketball and hurt himself again in order to show just how serious he is. In the end, the guy leaves the village with Bacon and plays basketball in the States, and the viewer is left with a good feeling for how it turned out.

What comics are geared for whimsy, for fun while having adventures? You see it a lot in comic strips, but not in comic books.

Why is that? Is one format better than the other for it? That’s not really a thought I like to entertain. However, unless they’re more for kids, there aren’t a lot of comics that are just “fun.” Even Deadpool has bite to him. [Part of the humor.]

Do we have to look a decent way outside of the usual suspects of publishers to get a fun book? One of my clients wrote a book I would think of as fun, and they got it published through Alterna Comics. There was some bite, some language, but I couldn’t deny that the comic had whimsy and fun.

What am I doing to bring fun and games to comics? I understand how difficult it is to be funny on paper. I personally don’t think I’m funny, but I find humor in a lot of things. My humor, however, is a bit dry, and definitely based on the minutia that travels through my head. I don’t think I’m well read, but I’ve read a lot, in a lot of different genres. I’ve also watched a lot of cartoons, listened to a lot of music, read a lot of trivia, watched a lot of movies and shows, and have heard a lot of bad jokes. My humor is for me, but I’m going to try and share it.

I’m working on a comic strip (!?) [Yes, I know, but it’s what I’m feeling and works better for me than a humor comic], and I have some elements of things I want to do. They make me smile, and that’s enough for me.

What are you doing to bring fun and games to comics?

See you in seven.

Click here to discuss in the ComixTribe forum at Digital Webbing! 

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Category: Bolts & Nuts, Columns

About the Author ()

Steven is an editor/writer with such credits as Fallen Justice, the award nominated The Standard, and Bullet Time under his belt, as well as work published by DC Comics. Between he and his wife, there are 10 kids (!), so there is a lot of creativity all around him.

Steven is also the editor in chief and co-creator of ComixTribe, whose mission statement is Creators Helping Creators Make Better Comics.

If you’re looking for editing, contact him at [email protected] for rate inquiries.

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