Eddie Campbell takes on “The Literaries”

In a wonderful essay at The Comics Journal Eddie Campbell, yes that Eddie Campbell, argues against comics being held to the same standard as literature. It’s a shot across the bow of those who ask if the story would hold up without the images, which of course it couldn’t since comics are a blending of story and art to create a cohesive story. A piece of work is the sum of its parts; taking one piece and analyzing it does no justice to the overall product.

To explain the value of Casablanca by its plot would be lame. To represent Billie Holiday’s work in terms of song lyrics would be to do her an injustice, which is not to say that there weren’t felicitous moments. The true appreciation of all this stuff demands a less linear mind.

Can everything about a musical performance be conveyed in a stave of notes, or can everything about a film be known from its shooting script? Sometimes, while everybody else was watching the clock, the clown, the actor, the singer, the cartoonist, the writer even, because writers never have as much freedom as we think they have, have slipped their own story in between the tick and the tock.

A solid and well brought forth statement overall, pulling examples from a wide range. Please give it a read. The highlight for me is towards the end.

If comics are any kind of art at all, it’s the art of ordinary people.

Scott VanderPloeg
Scott VanderPloeg

Scott works in I.T. but lives to eat and read. His other ramblings can be found at AE Index and eBabble. Art collection at Comic Art Fans.

Articles: 1231