» Blog Archive Special Edition. Going back to comic roots! -

Have we as members of the comic book fandom lost our roots to this genre of camaraderie and cultural heritage? The written values, and artistic panels have seem to lost its meaning in regards to pop cultural imagery and larger than life stories. What I mean by this, is that the convention scene has been overridden by the New York Comic Con’s transformation into a “Hollywood” phenomenon, by which fans purchase countless tickets to re-sell them while celebrities take over with their expensive autograph sessions.

Its not to say the the convention scene should not evolve, but the comic book genre has disappeared amongst the conglomerate of non-appreciative fans who even poke fun of our beloved comic book archetypes.


Enter New York Special Edition. Our solution to gaining the pride and appreciated love for comic book material, and a haven for writers, artists, and fans to dwell on the passion of such heavy driven storytelling. With a long hall of comic creators ranging from veterans such a Klaus Janson (Daredevil, Dark Knight Returns), current legends like Scott Snyder (Batman, American Vampire) and future successor such as Annie Wu (Hawkeye, Black Canary), the system of metaphorical, and philosophical entertainment is once again back within the grasp of the comic book community. Yet, I question the universal language different fans and creators use to the bridge the gap within unity. What are the messages that stem from the artist ally I walked within, and what are the various interpretations these creators use when showcasing their work?

Starting with Darryl “D.M.C.” Matthews McDaniel, I had to ask him how he recently transitioned from music to comic work, and what stemmed his interest? On the contrary, DMC indicates that he made the transition from comic books to music. According to him, comic books sparked his imagination which he claims made him the most “superior” rapper in existence helping him to form his rhymes, moves, and encouragement within the industry. As a child, instead of “scratching” he was first skilled with drawing by the 2nd grade, and it was the pretending of other characters such as the “son of Odin” that even helped him spiritually thoroughgoing his endeavors. Essentially, comic books and music jelled into an amalgamation of creativity for artists such as DMC. A fine example using one method of expression to cultivate another.

If one looks at the way illustrations are portrayed through pop culture, co-creator of New Mutants Bob McLeod explains to me that the reason why during his time certain characters where drawn with a much more muscular physic as apposed to a more toned and slim image was because of the popularity and wonder of body-building at the time. Competitors such as Arnold Schwarzenegger and Lou Ferrigno took the world by storm with their God like persona, and sculpted Greek presence. One could see how the unlimited potential of pushing the body to its physical peak would cause artists to translate those omnipresent imagery onto panels, and transformed into the characters we were exposed to such as The Hulk and Colossus. After all if the ancient Greeks used sculptures to express detailed greatness of the human body, while the Egyptians documented through hieroglyphics, why can’t comic books just be seen as highlighted archetypes for our everyday lives? Artist of Spider-Gwen Robbie Rodriguez tells me that when collaborating with writer Jason Latour, the panels display a combination of “Neon-Noir” for its backgrounds. The world of Spider-Gwen seems to be immersed in a technicolor dream scape of highlighted reality. Regardless if one relates to this repertoire of work, the expressionism stems from ones take of seeing the world through another perspective. Some fans have indicated to me that they do not like comic characters to reflect “our worlds” flaws, and that the reason for reading them was not to reflect what they were going through as a person, but to bring out the best of a person even if that comic character was flawed in their own right. One fan in particular iterates that his vocabulary derived from Reed Richards, and the importance of education. These points dwell on the importance of what pop-culture, and what inspiration does to a creator and fan respectively on how they channel their energies.

In regards to the comic book industry as a business taking on the responsibility of the messages being produced, Chris Claremont Co-Creator of New Mutants and Godfather of the X-Men franchise tells me how an example of smoking for instance being taken away from comics by editor Joe Quesada is not a form of creative control, but company policy. According to Claremont, company policy and rules is not a bad thing. To stop the influence of smoking for children is something the industry takes seriously, and to follow company rules does not take away from creative freedom. Yet, with characters such as Wolverine and Punisher still killing off bad guys, is getting rid of the image of smoking really that much helpful? Regardless, even the notion of consequences and what we internalize from this fandom is a consideration that creators and fans must take into consideration.

Ultimately, in regards to the balance of creative freedom and policy, current artist of Iron Fist Kaare Andrews interprets the way they go hand in hand. For example, while B-grade characters were listed for a come back, such as Hawkeye, Shang-Chi, and Iron Fist, Andrews claims that a list of these characters were provided. As an illustrator, one is allowed to pitch an idea for a character, yet simultaneously one cannot pick any character at random and do whatever they want. This could be the reason why artist of Hawkeye Ramon Perez prefers a direct ending for a series, by which a specified story can be properly told without constantly stretching it. While attending a Marvel Panel, Writer (A-Force) , tells a fan in regards to those who have negative connotations to female characters that a creator should not loose sleep over it, and that part of the job comes with saying what one wants and taking in the criticism. I suppose while company policy does stand on rules, creative input is not entirely negated. Perhaps it is the love for this craft that makes this medium have a pivotal role on freedom of speech, case in point of the repercussion to the Charlie Hebdo killings in France.

Saying that, it seems that the bond between creator and fan share a symbiotic connection that Special Edition acknowledges. Scott Snyder although has a contract to do a 50 issue arch of Batman, he states that “as long as the fans feed into my writing, I will always have something else for them.” So, can we say that Special Edition preserves that mutual relationship between traditional heritage and our love for comic books? One can only hope that Special Edition does not distort this meaning in the same manner as the New York Comic Con and fall into obscurity…..

By: Adam Vega

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