When I read a negative review, I want to know what’s wrong with the book, not what’s wrong with your relationship to the medium. Likewise, in a positive review, I’m not looking for a blow-by-blow account of your realization that comic books can have cultural value. I already know that they do; I’m hoping you’ll tell me why this particular comic book has cultural value.
My love for animation shares a space with my love for comics in all their various forms. Comic books (and graphic novels – yes there is a difference), after all, are just a movie on a page rather than a screen. My main concern going into the animation industry is the criticism that cartoons are ‘for children’. That if I were to seek funding for a project of mine, I would be ridiculed for the decidedly not child friendly stories I write. Thus far my experience has been positive, but I have had a few people speak to me with the mindset that any adult who watches and enjoys an animated TV show or movie is thus a deviant, a ‘weirdo’, an immature child in adult’s clothing. Someone like myself who would like to produce animated features shouldn’t stray too far from the beaten path and try to turn cartoons into ‘something they’re not’.
When asked what I’m studying in school, I find it funny that the most common reaction to my answer of “I’m an animation major” is a simple “Oh” then quick change of subject. It’s as if they can’t wrap their head around the fact that an adult like myself (“And a talented artist at that!”) would pursue such a strange career. Were I an undergrad seeking to become a lawyer, or a doctor, or an IT professional the conversation would turn to my field and its prospects or latest developments. But with animation there’s no follow up questions, no oh what are you future plans, no interest in why I may have chosen the field. It’s dismissive; I try not to think too hard about it, because the majority of the time it’s from a simple lack of understanding. The mindset that cartoons are for children prevents people from experiencing the joys of a medium which broadens the horizons of storytelling. And that’s just sad.
I aim to change that with my career. I’m not concerned if I succeed in it or not, however, because I don’t do this for the money. I enjoy it; I wouldn’t be happy doing anything else.
I highly recommend the article I quoted, and how I found it – via Kate Beaton’s tumblr. She writes Hark, a Vagrant! and I find it a fantastic example of how an adult can enjoy the world of comics, too.