Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Science Fiction Comic Book Authors

By Marissa Velazquez

The fist ever comic strip in the sci-fi genre was Mr Skygack from Mars, which was written by AD Condo and could be seen in the newspapers in the 1900s. Mr Skygack from Mars was a comedy, and the first non-humerous sci-fi comic strip was Buck Rodgers in 1928. Shortly after this Flash Gordon appeared followed by Dan Dare from the UK. Sci-fi comic books have become increasingly sophisticated ever since and the science fiction comic book authors have produced more and more imaginative concepts.

Many of the first comics were sci-fi, and the introduction of Superman from Planet Comics gave rise to the super hero sub-genre. During the 1950s, EC Comics published science fiction comics to great success. The storylines and characters began to increase in sophistication, and US sci-fi comics continued into the 1960s with stories for both children and adolescents. By the late 1960s, adults became interested in the genre and began a wave of underground comics.

The Japanese Manga comics originated in the 1950s and the first Manga sci-fi comic strip was Astro Boy by Osamu Tezuka. Since then Manga has become very popular all over the world. Not all Manga comics are sci-fi but the most well known, such as Ghost in the Shell and Akira are of the sci-fi genre.

The first sci-fi graphic novels appeared in the 1960s. A graphic novel is essentially a story that uses pictures instead of words, this is very useful in the sci-fi genre as pictures can portray aspects of a storyline that would be difficult in words. Most sci-fi graphic novels include, robots, virtual reality, mecha and time travel. Graphic novels have become more and more sophisticated in artistry and storyline, and many are aimed more towards adolescents and adults as they contain complex themes and ideas.

In America the majority of sci-fi comics tend to be in the superhero sub-genre. Marvel and DC comics have been extremely successful with their Superman, Spiderman, Thor, Avengers and Incredible Hulk superhero comics. The superhero comics contain many elements of sci-fi, although most of the storylines are set in the present day on earth.

Manga comics from Japan tend to be set in a futuristic setting. The famous sci-fi Manga comics include, Akira that was the inspiration behind The Matrix films and Ghost in the shell is set in a futuristic dystopia.

A common trend in sci-fi comics is to capture the zeitgeist of the time, especially with new technology and scientific discoveries. Many modern sci-fi comics and graphic novels use computer generated imagery for the artwork, and utilise software, such as photoshop, illustrator, coral and paintbucket. However, the classic sci-fi comics and graphic novels were drawn and inked by hand by an artist that works closely with the author.

Sci-fi is a very loose term and there are many sub-genres. Many science fiction comic book authors have brought in new concepts, such as the cyberpunk idea in the graphic novel, Transmetropolitan by Warren Ellis. Warren Ellis and other comic book authors use the medium to make a social commentary. Alan Moore's V for Vendetta is a classic example of this sci-fi sub-genre that makes a social statement set in a dystopian future.

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