Remember why you liked comics in the first place?
Our Comics Empower Project continues!
This time, Em tells her story:
Comic books taught me that there are no archetypes when it comes to gender, no limits when it comes to creation, and endless world views when it comes to characters.
I remember the exact time and place when I first realized comic books were more than just a throwaway extension of T.V shows, movies and cartoons.
When I was eleven years old, on a Saturday night, my sister let me read her brand new copy of TankGirl. It was in those pages that I fell in love with the art, as well as with the anarchy and the outlaw nature of a woman living on her own terms.
At the time these concepts were a little beyond my reach, but I was still drawn in by the psychedelic silliness that defined Rebecca Buck’s world. Add to that her potty mouth, her alcoholism, and her chain smoking, and she is the perfect rebel hero. The fact that the comic then carried a 16 and over label made it hard to resist!
It wasn’t until I was fifteen that I seriously began to collect comics.
On the way home from a school trip a girl lent me the first couple of issues of the Buffy The Vampire Slayer comic that had recently been released. Being obsessed with the show I devoured the comics and soon became a regular at my local comic shop, learning this world was available to anyone who wished to roam in it.
Through reading BTVS, released by Dark Horse Comics, I developed a love for indie publishers. Slave Labor Graphics offered Action Girl and the various works of Evan Dorkin; Oni Press the hilarious delinquents of Blue Monday; IDW the cold nightmare of 30 Days of Night.
I read in awe the stories from comic powerhouses Neil Gaiman and Alan Moore and oogled at the beautifully dark worlds of Mike Mignola and Daniel Clowes. For me, the complexities of human nature and the bizarre turns of reality are the tales I have found most intriguing.
Comic books can be about anything or anyone, not just superheroes and villains. An entire graphic novel can hinge on the events of a seemingly insignificant moment, experienced by “normal” people.
In terms of creation there are endless possibilities to be put on blank pages and that’s what inspires me to write. Restraints such as budgets, locations or actors can’t hold comic stories back. The only limitations are down to the writer and artist’s imaginations. Their collaboration of visually telling a story is what sets them apart from the novel or short story. Two very different, yet interchangeable, ways of creating narrative.
There is a sense of excitement rising within the world of comics, as they become more inclusive and representative of the wider world community. Writers such as Kelly Sue DeConnick and Gail Simone have redefined the white male cultural stereotype of mainstream superheroes, while narratives that don’t necessarily center on heroes have been cemented into mainstream culture. More and more comics are helping to shape popular culture, bringing with them a progressive line of people, places and situations to be explored.
Find out more about Em here
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