Sunday, 8 July 2012

Looking Good! The dangers of becoming a facsimile factory.

You know those movies, the ones with a similar name, logo-deisgn and theme to a big budget movie, but made at a fraction of a cost and starring c-listers on hard-times? Do you want your creative project to be thought of as one of these?

There is a real danger with looking to what is currently hot and trying to do ones own take on it that your own project will fall into the facsimile trap.

On my off days I wonder if we are all just a little bit suffering from polishing turd syndrome. So many movies, comics and series seem to be slightly dressed up retreads of those things which looked cool when we were six or twelve or whatever. Where are the new ideas coming from?

When something does it big, we all seem to flock towards it and try to grab some of the bottled lightening before it fizzles out, before running to the internet to talk about how bad the thing was initially anyway.

For my own projects, I have come to terms with the fact that I feel as though I cannot compete with mainstream books. I have put too much effort into dressing up the packaging to try to make it work, when what I really needed to be focussed upon was finding my own voice, my own style, my own take on things. It may not be popular now, but at least it is my own.

Who knows... in the future...

I am a little worn out by the retreads of super hero books told in the gritty real world, post-Watchmen mold.

I'm really not in the mood for more Tarrantino-esque dialogue driven narratives.

Alan Moore and Quinten Tarrantino are great at what they do. Let's just let them do it, and find our own styles.

Same goes for a lot of hot creators now. Let's give them their room to create, and worry about our own back yards for a while.

There is a real danger in trying to ride the coat tails of others for too long - we don't grow as a consumer and a creator of art. Instead we get the watered down xerox's, the slightly faded, worn version of the same old thing. Eventually it becomes so faded and worn, that it's worthless.

I don't want that from my comic books, movies, books or art.

Time to move on, everyone - let's see what our own big things will be.


Javier Hernandez said...

Facsimile factory.

Now that's a good one!

Myself, I sometimes ponder if my work is digging to much into the spinner racks of my youth. Is my stuff too retro? Too derivative of what came before?

Obviously I am influenced by what I saw, read, loved 35 years ago, a year ago, last week. But I guess the test of that inspiration will be what the final product looks like.

Once the idea goes through my comic book 'assembling line', design/development/production, and people actually read it, it'll be their call if it was a xerox or a worthwhile experience.

I'll have to quote one of my favorite creators, Steve Ditko:

"A creation is actually a re-creation, a rearrangement of existing materials in a new, different, original, novel way."

As to what the rest of the business is doing? Well, yeah, there's lots of 'influencing' going around! I make my own judgement calls as to what I think is a pale imitation. And I'll have to live with such judgement against me, too.

But I feel I keep my stories in my 'voice', from my point of view, filtered through the totality of my existence: hopes, fears, predjudices, humor, fatalism, family, culture, education, environment, etc, etc....

Jamie Gambell said...

Interesting thoughts and response, Javier.

I think there is a very big difference between filtering a creative piece through one's own prism, and in chasing after the fools gold of whatever someone else has done, hoping to pick up on some of the vibe.

I think the real value is in creating for ones own sake. You may build a following from this, or you may not, but at least you are feeding your creative soul.

Nathan said...

Couldn't agree more. There are so many people out there, so many audiences in this internet age that adopting the "popular" style to try to get reader ship seems like a waste. I think that people can tell when you're doing what you love, and that is always the most interesting draw.
And since I've accepted that it is impossible to avoid outside influences or being affected by them, the only course for me is to embrace everything, incorporate what feels right, and make my stuff my own. There's always someone cooler, more proficient, more eloquent, or more effective but I'm the only me. So if I work hard to be the best me, I'm doing it right.