What Makes the Latest Books So Great?
With a whole different audience new set of tools and a very different skill set required to make comics today things are substantially different from how they were back in the day. Though comics are still an underappreciated medium, today they command more respect than ever before. This is thanks to an unstoppable stream of impressive modern comics that have been entering the minds of readers for years now. Gone are the days of cookie cutter superhero stories or the noir whodunits of old, today comic stories draw in crowds because they stand shoulder to shoulder with the best stories of our times. Odd characters and strange happenings are still afoot but in a much different manner today, just take a look at the factors that make a difference.
Comics used to have a very particular look. This was in part due to the select few who were making them, the standard and conventions of art at the time and the basic printing abilities. Because of these factors many artists seemed to imitate one another, creating a comic field that felt quite homogenous, today this has gone away. With varying art styles created with a much more varied set of ‘art supplies’ pen and paper inkers and digital artists all contribute to a rainbow of comic looks and styles. Speaking of rainbow, thanks to modern printing and digital comics the colours today are spellbinding with eye popping vibrancy and realistic lighting effects, a far cry from the four-colour screen toned paper of the mid-1900s.
Comics are commonly associated with Superheroes and although that trend does still happen today, many contemporary hits feature non-super characters in the spotlight. From survivors in The Walking Dead to the unwilling vigilante in Kill or Be Killed, today’s icons are more often unspectacular. This not only makes characters more relatable but also means that stories don’t always conclude with people simply just punching their way to victory, providing different and smarter storylines often.
Not everyone is a tall, handsome, muscular white man and so the tropes of olden day comics are quickly being weeded out. Modern comics are easily noticeable for their strong female leads, persons of colour and characters of the LGBTQIA community. Though there was a phase of seemingly forced character switching by the big two (Marvel & DC) objectively this is being done in a more natural manner by other publishers.
It’s not just a case of finding who committed this week’s crime anymore, stories in modern comics go deeper than the costume of caped crusaders. Real world political matters introverted psychological aspects and social issues are all common in the subtext of today’s books. Books like Farmhand take a fun look at modern farming while Regression looks darkly at psychology and hypnotherapy. Thanks to no longer biding by a general comics code, today more adult content is featured in comics which means harder hitting topics can be tackled unflinchingly, whether it is war (Sheriff of Babylon), Addiction (Satellite Sam), mental health (Colder) or Religion (Outcast).