When New York Fashion Week begins Thursday, two masculine archetypes will be engaged in a lively debate on the subject of manliness: what is beloved and what is rebuked; what is romanticized and what is demonized; what is hot and what is not.
One of these guys is beanpole skinny. He isn’t classically handsome. He might simply be an odd duck — someone with a perfectly imperfect face that is impossible to ignore. His longtime dominance of the fashion conversation is being challenged by the return of a man with muscles and swagger who exists in a cloud of intoxicating testosterone.
If these two extremes have anything in common, it is this: Both types are white. After so many years, that remains the default choice.
In comics, the “story” isn’t the words in the balloon, and the storyteller isn’t just the person deciding on plot elements. Storytelling comes from the artist/s of the comic as well as the writer/s of the comic.
The best way to explain storytelling to comics readers is to instruct the student to read “NEW X MEN,” sometimes erroneously called “Grant Morrison’s X-Men.”
The comic had one writer and several artists. The comic’s clarity and stability corresponds heavily with which of these artists has joined up for whichever storyline is going on. Grant Morrison, for all of his talent, isn’t in control of the storytelling as much as some people give him credit for. The issues that people like are the issues that Frank Quitely drew. The common denominator is Frank Quitely’s ability to convey what is needed, not Grant Morrison having a good or bad streak.
In this way, the person drawing the story is controlling the story in ways that the writing collaborator doesn’t control the story.
I FIND IT ODD that in comics, where visual style is so identifiable and individual, the artists are considered a lesser element of authorship than the writers. In film, a director exerts far less proportionate control over a project’s outcome and yet enjoys (or suffers) the overwhelming percentage of the credit (or blame).