You are here: Home » Inspiration » Why Creating Comic Books is Important

Why Creating Comic Books is Important

by philhampton on 5 June 2012

'Tuesdays With Morrie' - a life-changing book

If you’re a comic creator, you may sometimes find it difficult to get motivated.  In those circumstances, a strong sense of purpose can ignite the creative spark that you need.

I’ve written this article to do just that.

I’m currently reading the cult book ‘Tuesdays With Morrie’ by Mitch Albom.  It documents the true story of how Mitch’s former college professor, Morrie Schwarz, spends his final few months whilst battling a terminal illness teaching him the most important lessons about life and death.

Whilst there are plenty of ‘a-ha’ moments in the book, one passage in particular stood out as being particularly relevant for The Comic Academy.

When Mitch asked the 78-year old Morrie how he kept from envying the young, he replied:

“The truth is, part of me is every age.  I’m a three-year old, I’m a five-year old, I’m a thirty-seven year old, I’m a fifty year old.  I’ve been through all of them and I know what it’s like.  I delight in being a child when it’s appropriate to be a child.  I delight in being a wise old man when it’s appropriate to be a wise old man.  Think of all I can be!  I am every age, up to my own.  How can I be envious of where you are – when I’ve been there myself?”

That powerful passage got me thinking about the act of creating comics.  Or, more to the point, why it’s so important.

When we read comics, it doesn’t just help us remember when we were younger – we reawaken a younger self.  Whether it’s the latest X-crossover, serious books like Maus or Persepolis, or challenging works by the likes of Chris Ware or Craig Thompson, the act of reading sequential art is a conduit that reconnects us to when we read comics as children.

No matter how old we are now, we get to be young again.  How valuable an experience is that?

If you create comics, your work is important.  More than that – it’s vital to the well-being of everyone who reads your work.

Never forget that.

Phil Hampton

The Comic Academy

Phil Hampton founded The Comic Academy to help and inspire comic creators and publishers to market their work effectively. Download your FREE exclusive report ‘The 7 Steps to Comic Creator Success’ here

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Mike Rhodes June 5, 2012 at 5:05 pm

Thanks, as the cliche goes, I needed that.

As a 50-something entering the comic world in earnest, I am living this post.

Thanks again.

Jason Walter June 5, 2012 at 7:46 pm

I hate to play devil’s advocate, but I will for the sake of healthy debate. I believe that the association of comic books with youth is something that comic book creators need to rise above. I feel like most people don’t consider sequential art to be a serious “high brow” artform because they associate it with children’s literature and little kids in general. “Oh, isn’t that FOR kids?” I think the reason for this is that children DO learn better when works and images are used together, but doesn’t EVERYBODY? Just because kids like eating sweets doesn’t mean that ONLY kids should eat sweets…I don’t know…I’m all about nostalgia, but I think that comic books promote a kind of literacy that is more engaging than that of regular books because a person has to engage with both art AND literature. I’m reading “The Graphic Canon” right now, and I’ve never had such great reading comprehension of world lit! An adult OR a kid would get more out of reading “The Graphic Canon” than Dante’s “Inferno” and “The Canterbury Tales” in Latin/Middle English!

Lionel June 5, 2012 at 8:40 pm

Agree with Jason’s comment of comics blending art and literature – the ultimate reading experience, potentially.

Regarding young and old:
Why would anyone envy the young?

The only blights on the ‘art tree’ are fraudsters and they are not to be envied, only despised.

philhampton June 5, 2012 at 8:41 pm

Thanks Mike,

You’re very welcome.

All the best,

Phil

philhampton June 5, 2012 at 8:44 pm

Hi Jason,

I agree with you, and I wasn’t suggesting that serious graphic works are for kids.

Rather the act of reading sequential art usually starts when one is young (try getting an adult who has never read a comic to read a graphical work, no matter how high-brow. It’s a hard sell).

Part of the enjoyment of reading graphic works is to relate back to the experience of when we were kids. Similar to eating sweets even.

I may have set off further debate by saying that, but I just wanted to clarify that point.

All the best,

Phil

Jason Walter June 5, 2012 at 9:17 pm

Now that I think about it; I completely agree with you, Phil. There is a youthful quality to comic books, and reading comic books as an adult does have a nostalgic quality to it because I think you’re right. We DO start “reading” sequential art when we’re young, and those that don’t, never get into it. I only wish that it wasn’t a hard sell to get adults that have never read a graphic novel (regardless of how low or high brow it is) to read them…I no have no idea how it make this happen, and it’s a huge obstacle for comic creators to overcome. It might be impossible to change that perception, so promotion of comic books in school as a viable tool for literacy might be the better way to go about it—the goal might not be to convince the adults who already think the way that they do, but to convince the kid, who’s on the fence about whether or not to read comic books, that reading comic books is cool, which I guess, is the duty of each individual comic book artist/writer…

philhampton June 6, 2012 at 2:24 am

Hi Lionel,

Thanks for your comments. You can even get non-fiction self-improvement books which have been adapted into comic form, such as ‘Think and Grow Rich’ and ‘The Art of War’ at http://www.SmarterComics.com – an excellent idea.

Kind regards,

Phil

philhampton June 6, 2012 at 2:27 am

Thanks Jason,

Following on from your comments and suggestions, I cover this subject in detail in my article ‘How Marvel, DC and You Can Save the Comic Industry’ at http://thecomicacademy.com/marketing-2/save-comic-industry/

All the best,

Phil

Barry Corbett June 6, 2012 at 1:30 pm

Great article, Phil. I have always felt that reading comics reconnects me to my childhood. Comics were always my escape from the real world. Isn’t all entertainment some form of escape?
Creating comics is hard work but I still get that familiar sense of wonder.

Terrence June 6, 2012 at 2:46 pm

I was coming through some of my old junk yesterday and found some old comic’s I’d drawn when I was a kid. That really brought me back. It kind of reminded me of my i do comics. BECAUSE ITS FUN! that simple reason keeps me going day after day.
Terrence´s last blog post ..The Oni!

Justin Martin (@RsquaredComicz) June 7, 2012 at 10:05 pm

Great post, and you’re absolutely right!

philhampton June 8, 2012 at 3:17 am

Hi Barry, TErrence and Justin,

Thanks for your comments. Yes, both the sense of escape and the fun element are factors for why people read comics, and also why creating them is a unique pleasure.

All the best,

Phil

Leave a Comment

CommentLuv badge

Previous post:

Next post: