I have an ancient passion for comics. And also a certain respect: it is not at all easy to write and draw them.
Someone calls it the 9th art, a sequential art, an expression that I do not share sic et simpliciter. Comics are necessarily editorial products, they live on stilemes, iteration, seriality. In other words, they live on professionalism, if you want high craftsmanship, it is difficult to identify the uniqueness that characterizes the artistic work in my opinion. Yet the value of many “cartoonists”, both in writing and drawing, is undeniable.
Then I think that there is art in the core of a production, in the idea, written or drawn, driving a character or a series. That core can also run out for seriality purposes. However the “product” will continue on its way, but it remains the art of those who generated it..
In recent years, perhaps to look for new ways to this medium of expression, much more likely to free it as much as possible from mainstream publishing, we have witnessed the torrential phenomenon of graphic novels. Talks about the comic’s artisticity have been revitalized.
Comics have gained corners in the bookstore but to fill them with a very confusing offer, only in a few cases aimed at artistic moments. Graphic novels have become a seriality themselves, an editorial genre, a container of everything and above all of “ugly drawings”.
Like all forms of expression, comics cannot have artistic moments that are not unique in themselves.
I have my own criterion for identifying this uniqueness: I must feel like attending the opera over and over again sure that it will not bore me.
I want give you an example to explain myself better. I take the most classic and popular serialities in Italy: Tex and Donald Duck. Tex I read it out of habit, I look through it for the boreness of all the serialities. But I go every now and then to take back some stories such as “Patagonia” (with Tex) because for an artistic miracle they combine literature and graphics, that is, comics. Donald Duck: Carl Barks has produced small gems for a lifetime, constantly innovating. Who read “Letter To Santa” understands what i mean. Other international examples: “The Eternauta” by H.G.Oesterheld and Solano Lopez; “Mort Cinder” by Alberto Breccia as well as the debut strip of Alex Raymond‘s “Rip Kirby“.
Art is made up of moments, not seriality.