Comic book creators seem to be driven paranoid by the thought that there are people “out there” that are saying bad things about independent comics. I’ve actually been thinking about this for a long time, and talking with a few friends in the industry, about the need for serious, intelligent and proper criticism of the comic books that we do.
And I don’t mean those faceless and nameless so called “critics” out there who refuse to take responsibility for what they say. We need people who will stand by their criticism, the way we creators stand by our works. We stick our necks out every time we release a new comic book. We similarly need people with guts who will stick their necks out and be hated (but thanked and appreciated) all for the cause of better Philippine comics.
We need this kind of criticism because it is through this experience we can improve our work. I have never been shy in my opinion that all of us doing comics locally still need to improve our creations, and yes, that includes myself. Every year I see a new crop of comic books and I have to be honest and say that all in all, WE CAN DO BETTER THAN THIS!
I see a lot of well meaning indie comic books whose standards are far below what I would consider professional. I see artwork that have never been informed by proper human anatomy. I see layouts that are confusing, and backgrounds that defy the laws of perspective… if there are any backgrounds at all. The placement of words and balloons defeat the proper flow of the page, and I read stories that simply do not thrill me. I tried my best to give attention to those titles that I feel have some quality to them, and say nothing about those comics I feel simply don’t live up to what I consider “good comics”.
Many indie creators continue merrily along, propped up by praises from friends and family, and so continue to create the same level of work. In this environment, little improvement can be possible.
I don’t want to single out anybody. Instead, this is directed at everybody, including myself. There is always room for improvement. Work on your anatomy. Work on your perspective. Work on your storytelling. Think hard about how panels interact with each other, and how your story flows from one panel to another. Work on your lettering. Lettering is NOT an afterthought but part of the artwork of an entire page. If you are a new artist, don’t depend too much on the computer right away. Work on your grammar and spelling.
If you think your work is good enough, it isn’t. It never is.
Are you game? Let’s see what you got come Summer Komikon!