The recent avalanche of comments on the New Warriors piece at Newsarama (seen HERE and featured on TSL yesterday) is filled with flames regarding Skottie Young’s artistic ability. A common occurrence these days, when an artist exhibits ability and control over a more contemporary style of line work. You then tend to get the peanut gallery making lots of crude comments about how untalented said artist is, simply because they don’t care at all for their type of style.
Here’s my take:
There is a very vocal disapproval to manga, graffiti, and cartoon/anime inspired art within the comic book community (and especially the online community), even though these are massively accepted styles in today's culture. Which, when you really think about it, makes sense. The comic book market has dwindled to the point where most of the fans are old guard, and when that is the case, they’re going to be predispositioned to find more traditional styles appealing, in terms of art. Just take a look at the types of books that find success in today’s market, they all cater to mainstream/traditional superhero fans.
Everyone’s entitled to their opinions, but that doesn’t mean it’s not problematic. If the market continues to reject the newer artists, with varied, more contemporary styles, we’re just perpetuating the demise of the market. If only realistic/traditional style artists, and decades old concepts find success, you have nothing to appeal to new fans. Sure, those other new styles and things still exist, and will, but it’s signal to noise. If the bulk of the US industry is old school superheroes, drawn by old school artists. Well, you’re only appealing to old school fans, and manga kids, and anyone else you could bring into the market isn’t going to touch your product.
A healthy comics market can not be so incestuous. That can only lead to bad things. It’s been a longggg time since comics fandom has embraced a HOT new artist. Sure, we prop up our Hitch’s and Cassaday’s, and rightfully so, but there’s been no real superstar artist for ages now. No artist to come along and turn the heads of comicdom as a whole, no one to find the level of success and appeal like McFarlane, Lee, Campbell, or Joe Mad once did. And it’s not that there haven’t been artists to come along capable of doing that, there have, but they fail to. Why? Because the majority of the market is made up of old school fans, there’s a lack of new blood, a younger audience that’s more receptive to more contemporary styles. That’s a problem.
So instead of moaning painfully about your dislike of someone’s artistic style, can’t you instead accept that it’s simply not for you, and that it’s quite possibly good for the medium as a whole? Sure, you’d like to see a different, more traditional style on the revamp of your beloved group of old, and rather this new, more aggressive style was matched to an equally new aggressive property, but the reality of today’s comic market is that for whatever reason, the big publishers continually trot out updates of existing properties, instead of creating new ones.
New styles are not for everyone, but if you keep chasing them away, you’re just chasing away potential new blood, something the industry badly needs.