I hate to sound like a stuffed shift, but it occurs to me that the question of whether Clickwheel “should” diversify bears un uncanny resemblance to certain arguments that have stalked the very nature of artistic creation for years. The issue at hand is whether Clickwheel, promoted as a comics-on-Ipod service, should start to include more genres that,
while all relate to comics in some way, push the limits, or at least blur the lines, of what a ‘comics’ site is all about. Some disclosure here is in order: Colin White’s comix-with-a-soundtrack, and my music video for Argo, essentially made from a comic on the inside of their album cover, are the likely instigators of the current debate.
What are we doing here? Why are we involved in this? I think I can safely speak for a great majority of us when I say we’re all interested in the promotion of comics as an art form, and where it can go from here. ‘Purist’ is a loose term. If any of us were REAL purists, we’d still be at home, furiously inking on Bristol board and looking in vain for a publisher to print our comics on four color spot litho. We’d also be looking at being paid around 20¢ page, after printing costs were taken into account.
There is a rank hypocrisy that tends among the comics community , one that is think can be found in anything community that is involved is something really cool. It can be very insular and protectionist, cracking wise at it’s own snarky jokes, furiously posting like mad to private bulletin boards, and converging at conventions to geek-speak to each other (see you next week!). And then, occasionally, the community will raise it’s collective fists, and demand to be taken seriously, outraged that the term ‘comic book’ is still derogatory, and pissed that there’s only about 5 guys who actually get reviewed in the NYT Review of Books. I mean, come on. What do we expect?
My argument is that we have been speaking to ourselves for far too long, and it’s time to ride the current wave of comic book iconism in our more mainstream media sources to a real permanent seat at the table. We deserve this for all the guys and gals that came before, and for all the ones will come later. I think mobile comics are the venue for this.
And if incorporating other art forms, like music, sound design, and limited animation will ease that transition, I think we should go for it.
There’s a certain tragic beauty in the analog tools and methods of the past: I myself still shoot with a 1963 Nikon F series, and when I get the chance, I develop, too. The process is what I love, and that type of photography will never die. But photography had to adapt to keep up. Like all art forms, our chosen method of expression must adapt to our times, and that means getting more fans, and integrating and competing with the rest of the new media out there. For better or worse, and with apologies to Marshall McLuhan, we need a little hot media to attract new viewers. If we want a static, still frame to compete against YouTube, we might need a little background music.
Itunes can be our garden of Eden, if we want it to. Let’s do this, and introduce to rest of the world how cool what we do is.