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The World of Alternative Comics – What Sets Them Apart?

Posted on the 28 February 2019 by Meet Rv @wemeetrv

Alternative comics or Indie Comics as they are also called is an art genre that first emerged in the 1980s and 1990s as an evolved form of the Underground Comics of the late 1960s and early 1970s. Both of these cultural and literary forms were an amalgamation of the traditional comic books with their Superhero themes and the futuristic world where the heroes of stories did not necessarily have to be the exceptionally good guys who could do wrong. On the contrary, the main protagonists could also have shades of gray and were more believable and human.

Alternative Comics vs. Traditional Comics

As the Grand Valley State University Libraries explain, alternative comics have an immense variety of genres with their own set of artists that create the graphics for the stories. Search the internet and you will likely find a surprising number of companies selling their own line of stories and books, one of which is Mad Cave Studios and their collection of titles like the Knights of the Golden Sun, Battlecats, Midnight, and Honor and Curse, among others.

Traditional comics, on the other hand, were the classic range of children’s books released by the stalwarts of the industry, Marvel Comics and DC Comics. Available in the form of thin books with illustrations, the comics were all about superheroes and their feats. The most well-known among them were, of course, Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Flash, Green Lantern, Iron Man, Captain America, Wolverine, and various others. The movie industry has created several hits around these characters and most people and kids are very familiar with their personalities, feats, and powers.

Most comic traditional books are typically intended for children. For this reason, you might just find that not only are they easily available at local newsstands, but that they also include additional features to keep young readers interested. For instance, puzzles, competitions, and other pages to engage readers and entice them to keep buying the comics. A vital difference from alternative comics is that conventional child-centric comics are typically released periodically.

Alternative Comics vs. Traditional Literature

If you have always been a fan of classic literature or the usual novels, you’ll find that alternative comic novels are a welcome change. In place of relying on your imagination for visuals of the setting of the storyline, you’ll find a more full-bodied tale complete with illustrations and depictions created by expert artists. Perhaps, that’s one of the reasons why these books are a lot more compact. With classic novels, the author uses a pen or typewriter (or well, a keyboard) to skillfully craft a theme that captivates you and helps you enter a world of intrigue, enchantment, fantasy, darkness, crime, sex, or any other.

Enjoy a More Compact Experience

When you enter the graphic world of the alternative comix, you will have the scenarios sketched out in front of you. The artist creates the images complete with vivid colors that deliver a powerful impact. You may find it easier to relate to the characters whether they are heroes, villains, sidekicks, or partners because you can see them exactly how the author intended. Since the settings are laid out in front of you, they eliminate the need for additional wording instead allowing the artist to express them in pictures as described by this feature on Research Gate. In place of the brightly-colored images of conventional novels, you’ll come across inventive art forms that relate the story more realistically.

Each Comic is a Complete Story

The story in comics flows in a collection of frames that are separated by borders. And, like conventional novels, books, and epic tales, each book contains a complete tale woven around a single theme. Of course, you can also find a whole series with each book relating a new narrative based on the same characters. As the story unfolds, you will learn about each protagonist, his or her character, the part played in the tale, and other aspects. It is easy to create an emotional connection with them and you may just find relating to some of them and developing favorites.

You may be surprised to know that such graphic novels (not to be confused with graphic comics) are very popular with many companies coming out with new limited period editions to keep up with demand.

Alternative Comics vs. Graphic Novels

Like this article on Britannica reveals, graphic novels are similar to alternatives with the key difference. This genre of illustrated novels includes long-form stories designed for adult readers. Most books are available in hardback or paperback and display high-grade artwork that is refined and ultra-polished. You’ll likely find the narratives in one or more volumes with the tales concluding in the follow-up book. Look for  these books in bookstores that cater to the more sophisticated crowd from different age groups and interests. The novels are printed on high-quality paper to distinguish them from children’s books and will have varying formats to appeal to the mature audience.

Then, There’s Anime and Manga

Developed in Japan, anime and manga are also a variation of comics that appeal to specific cultural groups though they are now becoming increasingly popular across the world. For an understanding of the distinction, you could check out this MIT site. Anime is often animated but also available in comics form. Manga, on the other hand, is typically in black and white and includes illustrations with the Japanese script relating the story. You may find the longer versions of such books with the script printed from left to right. It may also surprise you to know that the Japanese comic art form was first developed hundreds of years back.

Alternative comics, graphic novels, conventional comics, anime, manga, or any other – books with sketches relating a story is here to stay. If you haven’t as yet explored their exciting world, how about getting started now?


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