Artist or character

When looking for comics, are you drawn to familiarity of characters or familiarity of art?

  • Characters

    Votes: 5 55.6%
  • Art

    Votes: 4 44.4%

  • Total voters
    9

SckizoBoy

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Just wondering what sort of balance there is regarding this, but quick question, and I guess this is almost strictly for western serial comics since manga and its east Asian cousins are very insular insomuch that writing and art is typically done by the same team (or individual) for its entire run.

I came to comics relatively late in my nerd career and always sought fantastic escapism as opposed to any deep line of thought, so quality writing was never a priority. Consequently, I ended up drawn to particular artists whose style I liked (e.g. Sana Takeda, Khoi Pham, Stjepan Sejic) caring less for any popularity or notoriety of the characters they've been known to illustrate. Consequently, though I'm marginally more a fan of Marvel than DC, this fact is almost entirely superfluous as I generally seek artist owned (or as close to as is possible in the comic industry) characters (no surprise most of the comics I own are Image/Top Cow).

Aware that I'm not alone in this, I wondered how common this is in comics readership at large.
 

Hawki

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I guess of the two I'd go for characters, but this isn't a simple answer, because my relationship with comics doesn't seem to be the same as yours.

Basically, I've never been a "comics guy." As in, I've read comics and enjoyed comics, but I can't really name big names or big styles in the same way as others might. Like, as a kid/teen, the comics I consumed were mostly the Archie Sonic comics, which I had a subscription for, while also reading stuff like Asterix, Tintin, Garfield, Calvin & Hobbes, and The Beano. As an adult, the comics I read are almost exclusively tie-in. As in, I'll read comics in a setting I'm familiar with, but I'll rarely go into a medium where comics are the core medium, so to speak (so no superhero stuff). Similarly, I don't really follow comic authors in the way I might follow directors or novel authors (and even then that's limited). Off the top of my head, I enjoyed the StarCraft comic written by Simon Furman. Does that mean I'm going to start reading his Transformers stuff? No, because I've never really been into Transformers.

But in the end, of the two, I'd go with characters, and plot, and whatnot, because if I'm reading a fictional work without good examples of those things, then pretty artwork isn't going to do much for me. And per the above paragraph, I can tell you even less about comic artists then comic writers.
 

Chimpzy

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I tend to gravitate towards characters, or rather, towards characters as written by certain authors. I like takes on established characters that break the mold. For example, I'm not really into the Hulk, but I like what Al Ewing did with him in The Immortal Hulk.

There have been times when I read something because my eye was drawn to the art, but most of the time I don't stick with those.
 

SupahEwok

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I don't read comics all that much, but of what I do read, I'm usually attracted to particular authors, whether the authors in general or their run on a particular character.

For instance, I'm collecting the 90s Starman Omnibus by James Robinson, and the Sandman Omnibus by Neil Gaiman. I've read Watchmen and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen by Alan Moore, and the Planetary Omnibus by Warren Ellis (I think) is on my wishlist. All of them are highly acclaimed comic series that broke from the usual mold of superhero comics.

Of regular superhero comics, I usually just wiki dive for a while to get the gist of the character and their schtick, and even that's enough to catch a lot of references and plot happenings in TV/movie adaptations.
 
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gorfias

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I don't read comics all that much, but of what I do read, I'm usually attracted to particular authors, whether the authors in general or their run on a particular character.

For instance, I'm collecting the 90s Starman Omnibus by Tommy Robinson, and the Sandman Omnibus by Neil Gaiman. I've read Watchmen and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen by Alan Moore, and the Planetary Omnibus by Warren Ellis (I think) is on my wishlist. All of them are highly acclaimed comic series that broke from the usual mold of superhero comics.

Of regular superhero comics, I usually just wiki dive for a while to get the gist of the character and their schtick, and even that's enough to catch a lot of references and plot happenings in TV/movie adaptations.
The character can bring you in for the story, but a great writer will have you coming back. Alan Moore is a monster talent. At a time in the 80s when there were 300 new titles a month, Moore would win annually the Eagle Award for comicbook writing. His Watchmen won a Sci Fi Hugo award. His Swampthing work is amazing. Miracle Man (an inspiration for the Matrix series) among my all time favorites. They made a pretty good movie of his V for Vendetta mini series. His work on Superman is great. Killing Joke has me conflicted. Initially I thought he went to far. After much analysis, it is a very interesting book.
 

Attachments

Tireseas

Plaguegirl
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Sometimes it's characters, like Gotham (yes, the city itself is a character) in several graphic novels such as the Black Mirror, and Hush.

But the big thing that really actually will drive me to certain comics tends to be the artist or author. For example, Stjepan Šejić has done a few DC project recently, notably the critically acclaimed Harleen that came out in hardcover recently, but he's also known for his particular style which has a unique quality that made me attracted to him initially though his and his wife's other works such as the romance series Sunstone, the D&D-esque fantasy series Rat Queens, and Witchblade.
 

Kae

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I normally base my choices on the writer or a recommendation by someone, but in the few occasions in which I have just picked up a random comic without any context as to what it was, it was entirely based on the fact that I liked the art, for example Locke & Key which I read a long time ago, I picked up because the cover art seemed interesting, and so on for a few different things.

That being said I don't read comics all that much & I haven't been interested in super-heroes for a while, like even before the super-hero movie trend picked up I had already stopped reading the comics, so character is of little importance to me as I don't really follow any long-running series anymore.
 

Dreiko

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Comics and Manga and so on are a visual medium that does storytelling through the art just as much as through the text (and sometimes the text is even part of the art) so it's entirely valid to look at a shiny book and be enamored with the art style and decide to give it a go right there. I did just that with the Drifting Dragons manga. Looked very classic 90s style and the creature design was epic so I gave it a shot. Ended up being a wholesome manga about sky-whaling and cooking dragons. Very worthy choice haha.

If it's just regular books with no images, the cover is whatever though, I try to read the summary on the back or inside the first page to figure out if I like something. Also, I tend to not rely on others' advice about what to read. I'm that friend who gives the advice instead lol.



It may differ in american comics though, since a lot of different artists work on the same character (something I never quite understood) so in that setting you can rely on just knowing you like Batman or whatever and not need to focus on who the artist is as much. Though imo that's kind of a lacking approach to finding good material cause it's just marketing at this point. The thing you hold on your hands isn't really standing on its own two feet to catch your interest in the same way a brand new manga with cool art is, it's relying on a decades old history and the attachment you have with that character it's reusing and re-appropriating.
 

happyninja42

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When I read comics, I would usually go based on character, but for a few cases, it was artist. An example would be the various comics done by J. Michael Stracyinski on his Top Cow label. Those I read specifically because I love JMS's work, and consider Babylon 5 to be one of my favorite shows of all time. His comics equally hit a lot of emotional notes for me. One in particular is from a very religious viewpoint, that the story and how it's done are just masterful where I don't care that it's religious in nature. Which is funny, since JMS is an atheist, as am I, and oneof his best works is a religious work of fiction. It just amuses me that.

But, after working in a comic store back in the 90s during the insane "Insert X Here" phase of comics, I just never really got into the medium for very long. I quickly learned that the stories just go on forever so they can keep selling titles, and when a new writer comes on board, they just retcon anything they didn't like from the previous run, invalidating entire sections of storyline. I found myself more interested in the limited run titles, that had a finite story they were telling, and actually TOLD it.

Later on, in my adult era of comic consumption, I usually focus on characters. They introduce a character concept that I find interesting, and check it out. A new spin on an old hero, a Legacy story where some new person takes up an old mantle (a personal favorite of mine), etc. I'll check them out for a while, but eventually grow bored with them and stop reading.