A nice, relatively brief interview with Chris Ware that is worth watching for two reasons—
(1) It spotlights Chris Ware, perhaps the single most important graphic novelist of, well…I think that’s it: the single most important graphic novelist (his epic masterwork, Jimmy Corrigan, the Smartest Kid on Earth, being the standard case for legitimizing comics as high art/literature).
And (2) it places him in an interview with an awkwardly bubbly and funnily tenacious interviewer; that in addition to the kitschy background music and editing.
Ware’s responses—both verbal and nonverbal—are priceless. Enjoyable on multiple levels.
Comic creator Will Eisner’s 1985 analysis of his own medium, Comics & Sequential Art, was an important step in freeing a long marginalized and ancient medium. The need for the cumbersome term “sequential art” shows the cultural baggage that the term “comics” carries with it. The earlier tendency of 1970’s underground comic artists to spell their medium “comix” was a similar gesture. In his book, Eisner considers comics not in terms of film or literature, but as its own medium, with its own considerations. He created a teaching tool to free the panels and dialogue bubbles of the comics page.
Almost a decade later, Scott McCloud surveyed comics and made prescriptions concerning the medium, presenting his ideas, appropriately, as comics themselves. His book Understanding Comics studies the capabilities and obstacles inherent to comics. He investigates the medium as Gotthold Ephraim Lessing did painting and poetry in “Laocoon.”