Press A To Talk: Do you like comics?

27 Jun
By Darryl Ayo

Closer, ever closer.

I think that a lot of comics’ greatest champions are burnt out. They feel that they have seen it before, done it before, been bored of it before and it’s hard to convince them that there’s anything worth getting excited over. I see a lot of sleepiness and boredom with comics. I see a lack of emotional investment. I feel that comics’ champions–even the creators themselves–have been on the force for too long. And like a grizzled flatfoot weeks from retirement, they would rather go home and drink themselves into a coma than engage further with this soul-destroying line of work.

So how do you get people to care about the work…when we don’t appear to care? And not to be a jerk about it but I wonder if there’s anything to some of these people’s interest in comics beyond “it looks cool” or (ugh: cynicism ahead) “I want to get paid for drawing.”

What is that about? Perhaps some comic-folks harbor negative psychological connotations with “liking things genuinely.” Which is too bad because you’d never crack the code of this artform if the stories don’t keep you awake at night sometimes. You will never have a snowball’s chance in the desert of being any good at anything if you’re too afraid to let go and lose yourself in the panels. Let…go.

Dance and don’t be afraid to look silly. Don’t get terrified that your carefully cultivated “adult” facade of “coolness” will be compromised by people seeing you enjoy something from your heart. Because believe you me: we can all see through you and you look a lot more awkward and uncool pretending that you’re above it all.



(c) DC Entertainment; WONDER WOMAN; Starfire; Superman/Lois Lane

“Mermaids” ganked from “l-u-c-i-f-e-r-” on Tumblr

(c) Katsuhiro Otomo for all Akira images

(c) Gigi Digi for Cucumber Quest

(c) Nintendo; Luigi and Mario

(c) Walt Disney Company

(c) Darryl Ayo Brathwaite; Little Garden Comics

(c) Al Columbia for the knives

(c)Thierry Martin; whittling man

(c) Jaime Hernandez; Love and Rockets

(c) Magnolia Porter; Monster Pulse

(c) Evan Dahm; Vattu

(c) Yuko Ota & Ananth Panagariya; Johnny Wander

(c) Universal Studios; Reality Bites

(c) Jordyn F. Bochon; ghost illustration

(c) Brandon Graham; Multiple Warheads

6 Responses to “Press A To Talk: Do you like comics?”

  1. Costa June 27, 2011 at 9:32 am #


    -“I want to get paid for drawing.”

    Who gets paid for drawing stuff that aren’t logos anymore in Western culture? Especially on a daily basis? Cartoonists, that’s who. It’s a luxury of the developed world, and I think slighting it is hipster art bullshit from people who don’t realize how lucky we are to have that (occasionally faint and seemingly-impossible at times but nonetheless THERE) option as a career path.

    – “It looks cool.”

    Comics should ALWAYS look cool. While the definition is as fluid as you make it, the visual element of graphic storytelling should be just as important and to the forefront, if not MORE SO than the writing or thematic aspects of the comic. Maybe it’s just me but I don’t care if your comic is about the formula for world piece, if it looks bad I’ll probably put it on the bookshelf to read it later, if not pass on it altogether.

    Great modern comics like ATOMIC ROBO (a personal favorite) work because the elements all work in tandem, constantly balancing each other out. Yeah, writer Brian Clevinger comes up with some amazing shit, but I honestly don’t think the comic’s spirit would be properly portrayed if the equally-as-important elements from the artistic team (Scott Wegener, Rhona Pattison, and Jeff Powell) weren’t making it as visually appealing as it is. It’s why I can only handle so much Clowes or Crumb…visually not my top pick.

    Wow…this got way too stupidly long to be a comment to a blog post. Now I feel like one of those trolls who post their personal essays at The Beat or Bleeding Cool in the comments sections.

    • darrylayo June 27, 2011 at 11:44 am #


      I think that I see what you’re saying. But I have noticed that for some people, the goals of “getting paid” or “doing cool stuff” is a surface and there is nothing beneath. In some cases. I mean that without the heart at the core, some people make empty comics. Hollow.

      And I would argue that Clowes’ modern work is desperately hollow, but that’s just my read on him.
      But yeah dude, feel free to sub-blog on my posts anytime. That’s what I am here for. I am here for discussion, if nothing else.

      Oh yah, I agree that comics should have an element of pleasantness to look at. Even visual abrasive styles have a sort of beauty to them, if done correctly.

      I also agree that the graphic aspect supersedes the writing aspect. In much the same way tha a screenplay is risen or crushed largely by the craft of the director.

      • Costa June 27, 2011 at 12:04 pm #

        At times, I’d argue that shallow comics sometimes work. At least as gateway comics. I mean, I didn’t dive straight into BLACK HOLE and ESSEX COUNTY, I read my fair share of shitty superhero books as a wee lad.

        But there ARE non-original/non-sincere comics…the annoying trend of wannabe screenwriters turning their scripts into comics just to get them made into movies…I hate that.

  2. ross June 27, 2011 at 12:53 pm #

    awesome post, such a great batch of artwork.
    some days i’m fine but i definitely feel burned out recently, like i’m really questioning whether i even like drawing comics anymore. but i still really love the writing part, i wish i could just write. i don’t know, i don’t know if my issue is the same as what you’re talking about here. anyway, great post, in any case. 🙂

    • darrylayo June 27, 2011 at 8:07 pm #

      You always contribute positively with your writing.
      Drawing comics is such a tough thing to do, it’s like five percent inspiration, ninety five percent endurance. And i feel like I’m out of endurance right now. JEEZ!

      Keep chugging along dude 🙂


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