With my interest piqued and my mind sparked by the most recent Yirmumah! story arc, I have a simple question for you all:
Comic book or comic strip?
Those of us who frequent both forms of art are immediately thrown into a frenzy to defend one or the other, but what about everybody else? What of those who know nothing of the differences between these two story-telling techniques? And why should we have to choose between the two? Can’t we have both?
First, a synopsis. The comic strip is a quicker method of telling a story with pictures that typically employs the one-liner to land a punch line or make a point. Some writers/artists may choose to ignore this convention and tell a longer, more involved story in easy-to-digest chunks. Either way, the task is to get in, do your thing, and get out.
Conversely, the comic book format is more fluid and less predictable. On the same page, one artist might choose to continue the story by depicting the hero blasting the villain across one giant splash page while another could play it out in a more methodical and dialogue-heavy manner. The comic book page allows for more variety and depth than the comic strip simply because it is larger and gives the characters as much (or as little) room as they need to breathe and exist.
So it’s mostly a matter of personal preference; an OPINION, if you will. Nothing wrong or right in this debate. But which do you prefer? For the sake of comparison, I’ll go back to where I started. As previously cited, D.J. Coffman’s Yirmumah! has gone from a stagnant, four-panel format to a much more dynamic comic book layout for the current story depicting the origin of the strip’s main character, Drew. Coffman wished to tell a story more involved and intricate than the usual gag-a-day fare Yirmumah! is known for and changed the playing field accordingly.
For my money (traffic?), the comic-book layout of this new story is a welcome change of pace and gives me that much more confidence and respect in Coffman’s abilities. When art looks a certain way due to a lack of skill or craft, that’s one thing. But when that distinct style is revealed to be a choice, not a pattern, the art gains more of a life of its own. It’s hard enough to possess the wit to keep’em coming back, four panels at a time, but it’s even rarer to be able to increase that flow AT WILL. Kudos to you, D.J.; you’ve really cranked it up to 11.