Tom Spurgeon's Web site of comics news, reviews, interviews and commentary

June 7, 2012

Comics I Read In Series Form In The 1980s: Mage


There's a line of thinking in mainstream comics that certain artists and certain writers are loved by fans because their work seems achievable, that there's not so much in the way of refined craft on display so as to suggest a similar achievement is impossible. I couldn't create anything like Mage as a 15-year-old or now, but I wonder if its appeal wasn't in its relative simplicity. These are very straight-forward adventure stories despite the Arthurian trappings and the "what am I doing?" questions of its everyman lead. Mage even settles into the serial format with the oldest narrative capitulation to that form possible: the cliffhanger.

I remember liking these comics a lot. I think I responded to the notion of suddenly being designated as important, as special, which is about as fundamental a reaction to a fantasy work as I can imagine. As someone that wanted to maybe do something creative of my own someday, I found the idea that Mage and other indy comics of the time seemed to emphasize of connecting a single creator to a single creation incredibly comforting and noble. It was also the way I perceived of comic strips and fantasy prose novels, no matter if accurate or not. I figured if I went into the creative arts I would find my "world," my story, and then be its guardian and gatekeeper just like all these creators whose works I loved. Having these feelings triggered by Mage was odd, as Wagner also had the Grendel serial going, but I remember favoring one over the other in my head so as to better fit my preferred model. I had a lot to learn.
posted 8:00 am PST | Permalink

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