‘Four Color Memories’ – by K. Patrick Glover – Installment the Eleventh, In Which We Take a Look Around and Ponder Where We Are


‘Four Color Memories’ by K. Patrick Glover

K. Patrick Glover is the writer of the webcomic The Invisible Skein, which is illustrated by Amanda Hayes.

‘Four Color Memories’ is a column about the comics of our youth, full of nostalgia for the days when heroes were heroes and villains were villains, before the Avengers were DARK and before the Lanterns were BLACK.

To see a directory of previous installments of the column, please click here!

Installment the Eleventh

In Which We Take a Look Around and Ponder Where We Are

I’m often asked why I’m drawn so strongly to comics as a medium, not just of enjoyment but of a medium in which I wish to work. It’s a question I usually brush off or answer with a glib remark or two. Truth is, despite a lifetime of study and thought on the subject, I still don’t have an honest answer to that question.

I can tell you that I never thought of comics as “kid stuff”, at least no more than I thought of film or television as kid stuff. I mean TV was filled with cartoons, but it also had lots of adult programs. The same could be said of film. For every Who Framed Roger Rabbit we have an A Room With A View.

See, that’s the common vantage point among the mediums. Not only are they all visual storytelling, they all lend themselves to a wide range of stories for a wide range of audiences. So, yes, Richie Rich and Casper are “kid stuff”. No argument from me.

The material the big two (Marvel and DC) put out when I was younger was usually all ages, but not strictly kid stuff. Some of it skewed adult when they wanted to make some social point (often stories about drug abuse) but just in general, the storytelling in Spider-Man was more sophisticated than anything you’d read in Archie.

Interestingly, from my eyes, the medium seemed to grow as I did. As I grew into my teens and a comic shop sprung up down the road, I began to find titles like Cerebus and American Flagg and Jon Sable. I was no longer limited to just Marvel and DC, companies like First, Eclipse, Pacific, Aardvark-Vanaheim, Vortex and Warp all chimed in to help feed my imagination and I started to realize that there simply wasn’t anything you couldn’t do in comics.

In what seemed like a response to my expanding palette of taste, Marvel and DC grew even more complex. Marvel gave us the X-Men, recreated in a bold new way, a firm parable against intolerance of every stripe. John Byrne brought grand adventure back to The Fantastic Four, and Frank Miller led Daredevil to some very dark places. Howard The Duck battled existentialism and Tony Stark battled a demon in a bottle.

I used to show my older friends that run of Daredevil books and say, “Look! See! It’s not kid stuff!” Some of them got it. A few. The others just shook their heads.

It was a process I went through over and over back then. It felt, at times, almost evangelical, as I attempted to preach my four color gospel to any who would listen. I didn’t exactly knock on doors and hand out issues of the X-Men, but show any interest and you’d be hearing from me, in great detail.

The conversion process, as I liked to call it back then, became a lot easier when a gent named Alan Moore brought his unique point of view across the pond and turned Swamp Thing from a silly monster book at DC into one of the creepiest and most poetic things I had ever read.

And that book made things so easy. “You think comics are for kids, huh? Here, read this. It’s called ‘The Anatomy Lesson’. And sorry in advance, for any problems you might have sleeping tonight…”

There wasn’t one turning point, there were many. Or maybe I should say that many bricks were laid upon the wall. Whatever turn of phrase you please, the result is the same. The medium matured. It has grown up alongside me, maybe no more eagerly than I have, but grown up it has.

It still has a fascination for the guys in tight suits, doing amazing things. Morality plays have always been one of the things the medium does well, and that’ll never change. And like me, the medium does seem to be struggling to find its way. It’s one of the tenants of growing up, there’s no blueprint to follow. We all have to find our own path.

Just as that’s true for me and for you, I think that it’s true of the comic medium. And just as I’m sure that we’ll both find our way, dear reader, so do I think the medium will. The path is there, just ahead, and the underbrush may be a bit thick, but I think I see a clearing ahead.

K. Patrick Glover

Ancillary matters -

Don’t forget that my webcomic The Invisible Skein, launched on Dec 14th at http://www.theinvisibleskein.com, and we’ve now got 14 pages live!

I can be found regularly at my blog, http://kpatrickglover.wordpress.com or on the Twitter thing at http://www.twitter.com/kpatrickglover

Related posts:

  1. ‘Four Color Memories’ By K. Patrick Glover - Installment The Fourth, In Which Worlds Collide
  2. ‘Four Color Memories’ by K. Patrick Glover - Installment the Second, in Which Fear and Loathing is Entirely Appropriate
  3. ‘Four Color Memories’ – by K. Patrick Glover – Installment the Ninth, in Which Who is Most Definitely Not on First
  4. ‘Four Color Memories’ by K. Patrick Glover - Installment the Third, in Which Questions Arise and Problems Are Solved
  5. ‘Four Color Memories’ – by K. Patrick Glover – Installment the Eighth, In Which We Briefly Look Forward and Not Back


2 Responses to “‘Four Color Memories’ – by K. Patrick Glover – Installment the Eleventh, In Which We Take a Look Around and Ponder Where We Are”
  1. Greg says:

    Alan Moore’s (and Rick Veitch’s) Swamp Thing was filled with subtle media & historical references in each issue. Learn about them at the Swamp Thing Annotations site: http://tinyurl.com/2jc79


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