In praise of comic books

It’s possible to forget that superheroes come in comic books: not just in blockbuster films. Every week, for years, it’s been possible to find brilliant visual art on the shelves in newsagents, or more often these days online, for less than the proverbial price of a pint. I grew up on these things, and over the last year I’ve began to read more and more of them again, and to be delighted and amazed at the visual quality of them. The one I’m most taken with at the moment is the Marvel ‘Black Widow‘, with drawing which contrary to the name seems almost devoid of any black: if things are outlined at all it’s done in a very unsaturated red. In fact the entire series is very unsaturated with little of the punchy colours normally seen in comic books (the work of artist Phil Noto). It’s a visual delight.

I grew up on comic books, in fact superheroes were one of the first things I can remember wishing I could draw. I can still after 30+ years remember some of the visual images from those comics because they were so powerful. Did I appreciate things like page choreography then? Not by name no but I was pulled along through the story. I found them exciting and enthralling which is what we want from art and design.

Is it art? You bet. Is it design? Totally Is the world a visually better place for comic books? Definitely


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