Sean Kleefeld's Comic Manifesto
How To Read & Appreciate Comics the Same Way I Do
- Comics, as a medium, are inherently interesting and every variation of comics (graphic novels, comic strips, illustrated instruction manuals, cave paintings, etc.) is worth studying.
- The culture that surrounds comics and comics creation is inherently interesting and worth studying.
- A subset of Rules 1-2 is that comics and comic fandom do not need to be defended or justified.
- Every comic should be approached as free from preconceptions as possible; any given work should stand or fall on its own merits, or lack thereof.
- Comics created by Jack Kirby, Will Eisner or Windsor McCay are sheer genius.
- Except when they aren't.
- There is no Rule 6.
- Don't read comics out of habit; an ongoing comic that fails to live up to its promise (whether to entertain, educate, inform, whatever...) should be ignored.
- Every individual reader has their own preferences and, while a critical eye can be used to critique any given work, there are good odds that there will always be somebody who appreciates it.
- Critical analysis of a comic should not include personal attacks or judgments against their creator(s).
- Be honest and own up to any statement you make as if you made it on a legally-binding, public document.
- As a reader, you have no stakeholder claim whatsoever in any comic created by another individual; they are free to do whatever they wish with their creations.
- Lend whatever support you can to those creators whose work you do appreciate and enjoy, even if it's only to tell other people about the quality of work they're doing.
- Don't argue with idiots.
- The future of comics is online.
- But there's still absolutely nothing wrong with creating your own comics using a #2 pencil and some spare typing paper.
- The "next big thing" in comics will come from someone you've never heard of before.
- Xeric-winning comics are worth reading.
- A gorilla or a monkey on the cover of any given comic makes it better. (Pirates are pretty cool, too.)
- The key to really understanding and appreciating comics is to understand as much of comics as a whole as possible -- that means studying the history of the medium and its creators; influential works and cultural references both within and outside comicdom; the creation, production and distribution processes; contemporaneous as well as current reactions to works; etc.
- Comics are the Alpha and the Omega; all things can relate back to a discussion of comics.