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JUST LIKE IN THE MOVIES

A draft version of my editorial for next volume of C’est Bon Anthology, “Motion Picture”:

You know the guy. If you have ever in any social context tried discussing comics on more than a “Lil’ Abner was a durn good strip” level, chances are he was in the crowd. He’s a pretty nondescript guy, could be anybody really, but you’ll recognise him when he chips in and goes “Yeah, comics and movies are similar in a lot of ways.” And then the conversation takes a turn towards film, and it turns out he’s in cinema studies and really needs the attention. And sometimes he’s a woman. Look, I just made him up to prove a point, okay?

And there’s really no connection between comics and film, either. For one thing, comics don’t necessarily move (although some webcomics do); for another, movies very rarely work with plastic framing (since the silver screen doesn’t change its shape). Certain compositional analyses apply to both media, simply because they are both related to art theory, in which the analyses originate.

Film is the vision of a director (and a producer, and a board of CEO’s, and their daughter, and the pony she rode in on) filtered through a cameraman, a cast of actors, a sound designer, an editor, and, ultimately, a projector. Comics are the vision of a cartoonist, filtered through anything that might leave a mark on paper; the cartoonist sends her work to C’est Bon Anthology, you read it, end of line.

But there’s more: Comics are sequences of images composed and arranged to convey the passing of time graphically, and/or by juxtaposition transcend the meaning of the individual images. Which is quite exactly what the sequential images of a filmstrip can’t do without the projector, and, incidentally, in experiencing the time and space of the movie, we cease to perceive the sequence of the displayed images.

But the notion that film and comics are related on a deeper level is popular, and hard to lay to rest, much like Justin Bieber. What better way, I ask you, than to orchestrate an anthology of comics set to the tune of (no, wait, that’s our next volume!) – to the theme of Motion Picture? Read on, but be aware that we might be spoiling movies for you altogether!

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  1. Bravo, Allan, bravo. You have hit the nail squarely on the head. As R.C. Harvey once wrote, “Comics ain’t film and vicey versa”.