Man, I didn’t even know stuff like this was a “controversy” in comics. Very interesting.
This is a really good post.
The “Western vs. Japanese” bent of the article bothers me a little, because “decompression” is something often found in Western independent work, and I somehow suspect it’s not something every single one of those creators derived from manga. Decompression is a style of panelling and writing that comes naturally to people who prioritize particular certain aspects of narrative over (or at least as much as) the plot elements described as endemic to “Western superhero comics” by the article.
hah, I’ve gotten so used to the West vs. East slant in comics journalism that I just looked right over it, there. You’re right, though.
While the East versus West slant is somewhat legitimate, it’s not universally applicable. What I find interesting about this ‘decompression’ argument, is that it is essentially an argument of TIMING and PACING. What makes me sad is how much of the argument on the super-hero comics side is based on sales, not the quality of the comic. They are more concerned with making sure the reader gets their money’s worth each month, rather than how the pacing will inevitably affect the quality and clarity of the comic in the long run. Not that fast-facing is inherently bad….if anything I find that on average, pacing is at it’s best when it’s varied. A constant high-pace is tiresome to read, and a constant slow pace can also grow boring. Every comic and story has it’s own balance depending on the needs and style of the creator to tell that story, but one approach isn’t inherently better than any other.