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John Allison comes out swinging with his Indie Comics Manifesto

by  in Comic News Comment

Scary Go Round, Bad Machinery, and Giant Days webcomics impresario John Allison is throwing down the gauntlet. In his “Manifesto for UK Indie Comics in 2010”, the cartoonist offers some very blunt advice for aspiring comics creators, on everything from content to format to fandom to your personal demeanor as a creator. As is the case with most comics manifestos, there’s stuff in it I applaud, stuff in it that’s somewhere between a nasty rude awakening and a much-needed kick in the pants, and stuff that makes my skin crawl.

For example, I am generally speaking a diary-comics skeptic, and thus point #7, “Diary comics: stop it,” strikes me as advice potentially worth heeding, especially for new cartoonists looking for a way to channel their energies. On the other hand, point #3, “Make comics for people who don’t make comics,” though it sounds like a good enough idea, basically writes off vast swathes of the medium’s best work:

Why is anyone other than your comic making friends and a few select interested parties going to read an art-damaged visual tone-poem about the inside of your psyche? Learn how to engage and entertain people. It’s a profoundly useful skill.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve read plenty of engaging and entertaining art-damaged visual tone-poems about the inside of cartoonist’s psyches.

Elsewhere, Allison argues against living in expensive cultural capitals like London because your financial situation will take time and energy away from actually making comics, and drops the hammer on print:

6. Making pamphlets is ridiculous

Comic book pamphlets are largely read by ageing comic book fans looking for a monthly fix. Generating two such booklets a year is not medicine enough for anyone. Don’t fetishize the object, it is part of another era. There are now many better ways to reach an audience.

Love it or hate it, something tells me this manifesto will have no problem finding a wide audience. Read the whole thing.

(via Kate Beaton)