Get out your white suit, your tap shoes and tails, let’s go backwards when forward fail, and movie stars you thought were alone then now are framed beside your bed — “Everything Old Is New Again,” written by Peter Allen and Carole Bayer Sager
Every commercial storytelling medium that achieves any sort of longevity finds itself inventing recurring themes and concepts, often inadvertently. The kids today call them “tropes” but I’m old enough to remember when they were simply called “do that again so we can pay our bills.”
This is not to suggest comics have abandoned the trope motif. Nothing could be further from the truth — except Donald Trump. If we stopped using all the contemporary comics tropes we’d have nothing but panel borders and staples. But I miss the occasional use of a number of little used or ignored formats and concepts. I’m going to list a mere five; I’d do more if I had a functional attention-span and this wasn’t a holiday weekend.
There was a time when most comics stories had backgrounds, unless they were inked by Vinnie Colletta. You know, stuff going on or simply being there to establish environment or allow for some foreshadowing. Some artists would drop “eyeball kicks” into their backgrounds to lighten the mood. Let us not forget that minimizing or not drawing backgrounds is a great way to pick up deadline time.
Now we have computers that deploy palettes that contain three million more colors than the naked eye can distinguish. We can go apeshit with our computers and the color artists have a lot more range and so it is intuited that the need for filling space with backgrounds isn’t necessary. Well, not to this guy. Let’s cut back on the cutting back on backgrounds. Continue reading “Brainiac On Banjo: Five Comics Tropes I Want Back!”