Saturday, January 31, 2009

An Analogy Across All Entertainment Media

Of course most comic book stories start with a splash page, a full-page drawing intended to capture the reader's interest. I also used to like when an artist would draw a double-page splash (most often on pages two and three of a story) whether it was to punctuate the grandeur of a setting or to have an action scene seem as large as life itself; Mike Grell regularly employed double-page splashes in his Warlord stories and Jack Kirby included them in his stories in many different comics titles (and, with a tip of the hat to original art collector supreme Tod Seisser, you can click here to see a gallery room filled with TWENTY-NINE fabulous Kirby double-pagers!).

But what if an entire comic book story was comprised of full page and double-page splashes? This may have even been tried once or twice in the long history of comics, but the result would not be a good comic book story. The beauty and magic of comics lies in their panel-to-panel storytelling, which would be sacrificed if each drawing were inflated to a full page.

I've heard the new Bruce Springsteen song "Working on a Dream" on the radio a few times over the last couple of weeks. It's instantly likeable and serves nicely as background music in the car while I drive. But then one time I listened more consciously to the song, and I was shocked at the mindless repetitiveness of what I heard! The phrase "working on a dream" is first sung a few seconds after the song begins and then it is repeated NINETEEN times (yes, I counted) by the time the song ends. This is the epitome of lazy songwriting! Does Mr. Springsteen think his fans are so hopped-up on days-long video-gaming that ear-candy repetitiveness to an insane extreme is the only way he can weasel his way into their psyches?

What if every shot in a Steven Spielberg film was a close-up? What if Dr. House lobbed sarcastic barbs nonstop for the entire 52 minutes of his television show? What if a song was all chorus and no verse? What if every page of a comic book was a splash page? I'm sorry to have to report that you can have too much of a good thing.