Is the amount of Thrill Power in comics declining?

Message Bookmarked
Bookmark Removed

My current worry is that as the world moves towards "art comics", the form is being drained of Thrill Power. We all know the consequences of a world without Thrill Power - is this the way we are headed?

The Real Dirty Vicar, Friday, 14 March 2008 12:24 (eleven years ago) link

My current worry is that as the world moves towards "art comics"

And what world is this?

David R., Friday, 14 March 2008 14:39 (eleven years ago) link

Well, basically I have looked at one book about comics which has said that "art comics" are on an upward trend while "mainstream" comics are in decline. So it is the world described in that book I am talking about.

The Real Dirty Vicar, Friday, 14 March 2008 14:52 (eleven years ago) link

Art precludes thrill power? Nah.

Is Watchmen an art comic or a mainstream comic? Lotsa fights and shit blowing up in that one.

Was Alias an art comic or a mainstream comic? Marvel published it, but fewer things blew up than you would expect.

Also, this theoretical world is making room for art comics, not replacing them.

Rock Hardy, Friday, 14 March 2008 15:17 (eleven years ago) link

Watchmen is too intricate and considered to be truly thrill powered though. Thrill power partially comes from a feeling of ad hoc improvisation, for me (early Marvel, 80s 2000AD obv).

chap, Friday, 14 March 2008 15:31 (eleven years ago) link

Mainstream comics in decline? They're certainly above late-90s levels, all now both Marvel and DC are involved in enormous, never-ending, company-wide crossovers every season of the year! Though maybe that sort of massive hype is not what you are referring to.

Maybe you refer to the more photorealistic, thin color-toned graphic style of so many books now. That is sort of true, especially on Marvel's side of things.

I think it's great that stuff like Exit Wounds and The Salon can even get published, but I don't think those kinds of books affect mainstream BAM POW comics one whit.

Nhex, Friday, 14 March 2008 15:37 (eleven years ago) link

Alias was good but I wouldn't say it had a lot of thrill-power.

Jordan, Friday, 14 March 2008 16:09 (eleven years ago) link

I know, right? So it was a Marvel art-comic, sort of. I guess I'm just saying that maybe DV is manufacturing categories where none are needed for the purposes of threading.

Rock Hardy, Friday, 14 March 2008 16:20 (eleven years ago) link

Categories aside, I agree that the sci-fi closet needs to be opened!

Jordan, Friday, 14 March 2008 16:23 (eleven years ago) link

I guess I'm just saying that maybe DV is manufacturing categories where none are needed for the purposes of threading.

I'm not manufacturing categories! I read them in a book, by an ILC poster. The art-comics / mainstream split seems to be a big thing there.

Thrill Power - a somewhat harder to define thing, but there is a piece on Freaky Trigger where Tom Ewing talks about it. Basically, people hoping they drown before the giant scorpion get them = thrill power, while an autobiographical comic about people sitting around being depressed = no thrill power.

The Real Dirty Vicar, Friday, 14 March 2008 17:25 (eleven years ago) link

I reckon Watchmen has thrill power... I'm thinking bits like when Rorshach tries to fight his way out of Moloch's house, and so on. Whether it is art comic or mainstream I am not so sure, but that is partly because I am not entirely convinced by the dichotomy.

The Real Dirty Vicar, Friday, 14 March 2008 17:26 (eleven years ago) link

I think there's an archness about action scenes in some mainstream comic books today (anything by Bendis or Judd Winick, say) that is kind of antithetical to thrill-power values. I mean, 2000AD was always pretty arch, but it was never so winkingly meta about it.

These days? Batman #666 was pretty thrill-powered, I'd say. And Mark Millar's Fantastic Four might be if tones down the smugness. But I can't think of any other current examples right now. (I'd say Matt Fraction's comics, but I can't get into his stuff as much as the rest of you guys.)

Chuck_Tatum, Friday, 14 March 2008 18:21 (eleven years ago) link

... and I think that's reflected a lot in movies and television today also (Life on Mars and Grindhouse, say) where thrill-power has become "thrill-power".

Chuck_Tatum, Friday, 14 March 2008 18:26 (eleven years ago) link

Brave & Bold is exceptionally thrill-powered. The place where Bendis really delivers the thrlpwr goods is Ultimate Spider-Man, I think, although it reads better in trades. Also, Death Note was nonstop OMG WHAT'S GONNA HAPPEN NEXT?!?! WHAT'S KIRA DOING???? AAAAAAAHHHH!!!!!!!

Douglas, Friday, 14 March 2008 18:36 (eleven years ago) link

Yeah, Fraction is pretty thorough with the Thrill Power. Iron Fist and Casanova were the first two books I thought of. And the last few issues of Blue Beetle, too.

Garrett Martin, Friday, 14 March 2008 19:13 (eleven years ago) link

artiness & thrill power can co-exist, like old morrison stuff for ex. (animal man, invisibles, etc.).

i can't think of anything i'm reading right now that's especially thrill-powered.

Jordan, Friday, 14 March 2008 20:03 (eleven years ago) link

I'd highly recommend METAL MEN if yr. looking for sci-fi closet/thrllpwr thrills. Stunderful to gaze at as well, even if you don't bother with those pesky word balloons.

R Baez, Friday, 14 March 2008 20:04 (eleven years ago) link

the batman vs. superman story in that new frontier special was powered by thrills, even if the point of NF is to be self-consciously retro.

Jordan, Friday, 14 March 2008 20:04 (eleven years ago) link

PUNISHER WAR JOURNAL is, well, very problematic (in that every third issue resides in sombertown) but when it aspires for the thrillpower, it's pure giddiness. I'm thinking in particular of the WORLD WAR HULK tie-in which featured Frank in a makeshift venom outfit and the use of a GUN THAT SHOOTS SWORDS.

R Baez, Friday, 14 March 2008 20:09 (eleven years ago) link

Actually, one book that's got some cerebral thrillpowa (if it's defined by cliffhangers and twists and turns) that I'm not sure anyone's reading is WASTELAND (by Antony Johnson and Christopher Mitten (and occasional guest artists, including Carla Speed McNeil). #1 for free (and a better explanation of the series than anything I could offer) right here.

David R., Saturday, 15 March 2008 03:02 (eleven years ago) link

wasteland seems cool, very 2000AD. The art reminds me of both Ezquerra and Cam Kennedy.

chap, Saturday, 15 March 2008 14:17 (eleven years ago) link

In a post-The Postman world, I'm pretty sick of post-apocalypse stories. But in a post-having-read-the-first-one world, I could see reading some more.

Rock Hardy, Saturday, 15 March 2008 17:09 (eleven years ago) link

There doesn't seem to be anything that special about the setting judging from the first one, but it's done with enough style to overcome that.

chap, Saturday, 15 March 2008 17:13 (eleven years ago) link

I like the trend of using a monthly comic to tell an extended sci-fi story, rather than as a vehicle for more episodic superhero stuff.

chap, Saturday, 15 March 2008 18:16 (eleven years ago) link

Death Note seconded. Mentalness.

Chuck_Tatum, Saturday, 15 March 2008 20:07 (eleven years ago) link

Scott Pilgrim has more than enough thrill power for this entire decade of comics.

Mr. Perpetua, Sunday, 16 March 2008 01:54 (eleven years ago) link

Yeah, yeah: Blue Beetle (as much as there's a definite throughline for the whole series, there's a lot of weirdy-ass weirdo stuff that feels thrown in as it's conceived), Scott Pilgrim (enough shit comes out of the blue to qualify as T.P., eg, Experience Points).
ALSO: ASSBATS is pure thrill-power. Miller is clearly making shit up and cranking it up as he goes, responding to reader-reaction and pointedly pushing as many tittilation buttons as he can find. One can only imagine how freaky it would be w/ a faster artist.

Dr. Superman, Monday, 17 March 2008 02:35 (eleven years ago) link

Comics, at least in the US are not selling above mid-90s levels, unless you're talking the worst of the crash, and even then the loss of newsstand distribution (which really happened by the early 90s) decimated readership far more than the crash itself.

As for thrill power? I dunno, it's a hard thing to find these days. There's a lot of service to the fanbase that's supposed to be thrill-powered on its surface, but doesn't often actually deliver. Moments of it in stuff like WORLD WAR HULK, but it just couldn't close the deal. Some fun in TEKKONKINKREET, or however it's spelled, but it got awful emo at moments as well.

Oh, ALL-STAR SUPERMAN usually packs a punch, but it's a different flavor of thrill, to be sure.

Matt M., Wednesday, 19 March 2008 02:48 (eleven years ago) link

How come art comics doesn't want to thrill?

M.V., Wednesday, 19 March 2008 04:47 (eleven years ago) link

How is it people are enjoying ASSBATS non-ironically?

James Morrison, Wednesday, 19 March 2008 07:53 (eleven years ago) link

"One can only imagine how freaky it would be w/ a faster artist."

Actually, Jim Lee isn't the reason why it's always late.

Mr. Perpetua, Wednesday, 19 March 2008 11:11 (eleven years ago) link

is it still ironic enjoyment if miller is in on the joke?

Jordan, Wednesday, 19 March 2008 14:29 (eleven years ago) link

What is the reason? I always just assume if a books like its the guy who draws it's fault. Does that make me an artist?

Dr. Superman, Wednesday, 19 March 2008 17:51 (eleven years ago) link

Wait, that doesn't work.

Dr. Superman, Wednesday, 19 March 2008 17:51 (eleven years ago) link

It's everyone's fault -- for example, most of Warren Ellis' books are often late because of WE's storied script lateness. Same w/ GM's work on the WildStorm books.

This just means that creative talent is more hassle than it's worth, and every spandex book should be helmed by the Countdown crew.

David R., Wednesday, 19 March 2008 18:11 (eleven years ago) link

Yep. Tardiness is often a group effort. If the script starts late, then woah nelly, things get out of hand very quickly.

Matt M., Wednesday, 19 March 2008 18:46 (eleven years ago) link

ten months pass...

Is he talking about Thrill Power?

Oh Why, Sports Coat? (Dr. Superman), Thursday, 12 February 2009 18:28 (ten years ago) link

I think he's talking about something that gets lumped in with thrill power, but not Thrill Power in and of itself.

For instance, FINAL CRISIS might have been thrill-powered, but its storytelling style kinda robbed the works of its Thrill Power. Does that make sense? I realize I'm probably just one in a small handful of people who didn't embrace the FINAL CRISIS experience fully (particularly given the Morrison love often showed at ILC, even often by myself.)

Personally, I love the mad ideas, but there has to be something to hang them on. Maybe it's just me.

Matt M., Thursday, 12 February 2009 18:41 (ten years ago) link

There are enough comics that really belabor their plot points and overexplain their points and themes that I'm glad to have SOME Mad Ideas/Thrill Power/Gimmick-driven-plot comics now and then. Especially with a baby in the house, I got no time for prose-heavy mags. Last week's Legion of 3 Worlds, for eg, is busting my hump with all its words and shit.

Oh Why, Sports Coat? (Dr. Superman), Thursday, 12 February 2009 19:20 (ten years ago) link

that I'm glad to have SOME Mad Ideas/Thrill Power/Gimmick-driven-plot comics now and then that err in the other direction, I meant to add

Oh Why, Sports Coat? (Dr. Superman), Thursday, 12 February 2009 19:23 (ten years ago) link

http://canvaspaint.org/a82a.png

The little dude is supposed to be jimmy corrigan.

Philip Nunez, Thursday, 12 February 2009 19:32 (ten years ago) link

I LOLd IRL.

Matt M., Thursday, 12 February 2009 20:18 (ten years ago) link

For instance, FINAL CRISIS might have been thrill-powered, but its storytelling style kinda robbed the works of its Thrill Power.

Final Crisis is the very antithesis of thrill power. You are right on the storytelling style, but worse is its tiresome continuity rockism. And general lack of thrill power.

The Real Dirty Vicar, Friday, 13 February 2009 00:01 (ten years ago) link

Legion of 3 Worlds was pretty thrill-powered, I thought! Yeah, there's too much cumbersome talky talky, but there's a lot of forward momentum in it. Maybe there's an, um, American-style thrill power that's different from the UK version? The Chaykin-Miller brutalist school, perhaps, rather than the goofball-psychedelic-kitchen-sink British style of Mills, Morrison etc.

I must admit, I didn't get a lot of pleasure out of reading Final Crisis (at least in the middle issues 4-6) -- by design its meant to feel doomy and oppressive. So I don't think thrill power's the appropriate measure here...

Chuck_Tatum, Friday, 13 February 2009 00:16 (ten years ago) link

continuity rockism ftw!

contenderizer, Friday, 13 February 2009 01:25 (ten years ago) link

I have to admit, I'd been away long enough to forget all about continuity rockism.

And it's weird that Morrison went that route in making an ur-text for the DCU, since previously, he'd done a great job just dealing with the essential components of the characters (I'm thinking his JLA and X-MEN runs here, but prolly DOOM PATROL as well, maybe) and running with that.

Matt M., Friday, 13 February 2009 04:53 (ten years ago) link

the powar has gone to his head

contenderizer, Friday, 13 February 2009 19:14 (ten years ago) link

absolute thrill power corrupts absolutely

Tracy Michael Jordan Catalano (Jordan), Friday, 13 February 2009 19:17 (ten years ago) link


You must be logged in to post. Please either login here, or if you are not registered, you may register here.