In this exercise, you are asked to compare and contrast a comic produced by a small press like Drawn and Quarterly, Fantagraphics, or Top Shelf with one from a large publisher like Marvel or DC.
First, review the online catalogues for each publisher to get a sense of
- what types of comics they produce (strips, serials, or graphic novels)
- who creates the comics (single cartoonist or a collaborative team of writers, illustrators, colourers, etc)
- what genres do they tend to emphasize (fantasy, sci-fi, realism, etc.)
Now, turn to the two comics you’ve chosen to specifically examine:
- Consider the paratextual content, such as the cover design, layouts, introduction, etc. What features about the story or author are emphasized or ignored in the cover design? How does the style of design seem to appeal to a particular audience?
- Does what you see in your sample comic appear to fit with what you saw in the publisher’s website? Why or why not?
- What type of audience does the particular comics publisher appear to be attempting to attract through the types of content you found? Are they generalists or specialists? How do you know?