Books that have become sources of scholarly learning have been categorized under these titles to make the field sound more appropriate than comic book, which could be mistakenly perceived by others as something that may be childish or adolescent. Such a thing would cost the literature its’ credibility and cause people to lose sight of what is really important, the content. So why is there such a sudden sense of acknowledgment on the academic end? This type of literature has never been sophisticatedly observed up until recent times.
More and more complex stories have been using this form as their outlet.
Reading and comprehending the world of comics has evolved into quite the mental task that is not as basic as pictures and words. Most graphic novels/narratives (GN) are basically composed of frames and gutters, which call reader’s attention visually and spatially to the act, process, and duration of interpretation. GN use the artwork to help narrate the story.
This leaves an important part of translation up to the artist. GN offer an intricately layered narrative language (the language of comics) that include the verbal, the visual, and the way the two both interact on the page.
The world of GN are so complex that books have been dedicated to understanding them. Scott McCloud’s Understanding Comics(1993) was used as a medium for comics. It defined comics as “a medium using words and pictures for reproduction. ” This guide may have proved useful before but now the field has evolved into longer more elaborate and complex books rather than your old traditional comics.
Some of the more recent GN drawing attention include Watchmen and V for Vendetta. Both of which are written by Alan Moore who is recognized as a major graphic novelist of our time.
In a interview Moore once stated about GN that “It’s a marketing term … that I never had any sympathy with. The term ‘comic’ does just as well for me. ” Alan Moore is recognized as one of the famous comic writers in the history of the genre. Few writers in the field can compare to his level of success. Moore was born in North Hampton, England on November 18th, 1953. He was also raised in North Hampton and still lives there to this day. Moore considers himself an “anarchist” and you see him express this in his writings. Moore is popular for creating alternate universes of actual history.
He does this by placing several of his stories in “alternate” histories, meaning that many details to the time period are accurate, but some event has been changed. This is seen in Watchmen and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. Watchmen is set in an alternate history during the presidency of Richard Nixon. The story includes other altered historical events such as the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy and the Vietnam War. The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen alters history such that England landed on the moon in 1901. These alterations of history are one of the signatures Moore is most popular for.
They often have political meanings behind them and are a way for Moore to subliminally express his own personal thoughts and feelings in his stories. His popular works also include From Hell, Swampthing, and V for Vendetta. Moore is such a distinguished writer that many of his works have been targeted for adaptation into film. Comics and GN have long been major targets for films. They are often very popular and draw a large fan base of readers that are eager to see a version of their favorite comic book characters brought to life. A major popular string has been categorized as “Superhero Films”.
All these films are comic book adaptations onto the big screen. Some the pioneers of this type of film were the Adventures of Captain Marvel(1941), Batman (1943),Captain America(1948) and Superman (1948). This was just the first generation of comic adapted films. The trend would continue through the years. The decade where these films would pick up and become most popular in would be the 2000s. The list of adapted comics and GNs were endless. X-men(2000),Spider-Man(2002), Daredevil(2003),The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen(2003),Hulk(2003), Catwoman(2004), Hellboy (2004),Ghost Rider ( 2007),Iron Man (2008) and Watchmen(2009).
Sequels to many of these would also come out after a successful first film. The decade of 2000 was a major generation for comic adaptation. Several of these were graphic novels. The biggest box office hits were the traditional Superhero films such as The Dark Night which brought in $533. 3 million dollars followed by the wall crawler in Spider-man which brought in $403 million. The films actually based off books categorized as graphic novels didn’t do so bad as well. Frank Miller’s 300 made number 10 on the list of the top 50 comic book movies in history by bringing in $210. 6 million.
The very same director, Zack Snyder, whom directed 300 also directed Watchmen. In his second major adaptation of a graphic novel Snyder didn’t due to shabby, Watchmen brought in $107. 5 million and was considered to be a pretty true representation of the graphic novel (it’s was the original source). Other graphic novels that made it into the top 50 include Sin City, Hellboy, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, and V for Vendetta. The latter two were both original works of Alan Moore. Alan Moore hasn’t exactly had the greatest history with directors, especially with the ones being paid to adapt his films.
Whether the director of the film was very distinguished or even a fan of Moore’s work it did not gain him any more cooperation on Moore’s end in the adaptation to film. Zack Snyder who was both well distinguished and a fan of Moore’s mentioned in an interview about the making of Watchmen “When I arrived to do the movie and I said to the producer ‘So when do we call Alan’ and he said ‘Never. He doesn’t want to talk about it’,” Snyder said. Moore has refused to cooperate since he felt Hollywood butchered his last novel The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. The film itself was a success and Moore was still left unsatisfied.
Moore has had several conflicts with DC comics and Warner Bros. regarding the film adaptations of his novels. Moore refused to be associated with anything he did not write and told Warner Bros. to keep his name out of any of the films. During a press conference at Warner Bros. about the film adaptation of V for Vendetta producer Joel Silver said that Larry Wachowski had spoken to Moore about the film and that Moore was very interested in what he had to say. This was it for Moore and he asked that his name not be included with anything done in Hollywood.
The film version of V for Vendetta opened in theatres on March 17, 2006. The film was directed by James McTeigue and its screenplay was written by the Wachowski Brothers who are well known for their work on The Matrix. Alan Moore was not credited in the movie as he wished. The film version contrasted to its original version in many ways. The film was not an exact translation of its graphic novel, but rather another version of the story with the same type of concept. Alan Moore’s GN was written as a political response to British Thacherism and set a conflict between a fascist state and anarchism.
The screenplay written by the Wachowski Brothers kept the theme of the film as a political expression that also involved anarchy but chose to incorporate more current political issues in the film. The film involved many of the same characters and plots from the graphic novel. The actress cast in the role of Evey Hammond was Natalie Portman and Hugo Weaving was chosen to play V. The graphic novel was set in the early 1990’s while the movie chose to set itself in the near future between the years of 2028 and 2038. That alone would leave many differences in setting and technology between the GN and film. My Analysis of the film…To be continued..