Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Comic Books and Scotland

Recently, I watched a documentary about Scottish comic book creators in the mainstream US comic industry. As with any Scottish documentary made about Scotland, it was hopelessly self-aggrandising. Scotland, they more or less posit, is the centre point upon which the world turns around.

Normally I can laugh off this small countryism, yet as I watched the documentary there was a dawning. The sense that, actually, they weren't overstating things as much as it feels like they should be:
  • Frank Quitely is a much vaunted artist - at the end of 2010 a popularity poll even named him the second greatest artist of all time. Whilst this has to be taken with a pinch of salt, it's certainly an incredibly remarkable feat for a simple Glasgow boy. An incredibly remarkable feat for a simple Glasgow boy amongst a list of incredibly remarkable feats.
  • Alan Grant co-created Robocop, one of the most recogniseable comic characters outside of the DC and Marvel staples alongside an American that lived all of his life in Scotland, John Wagner. He went on to become one of the major Batman writers post-Frank Miller.
  • Mark Miller is really one of the two big name writers in Marvel alongisde Brian Michael Bendis, the highest selling comic company with a growing market share. The man can't even get his ideas down on paper without being offered movie deals.
  • Grant Morrison.
Although the DC reboot might shake this up, there's no denying that Morrison is the big writer in DC behind Geoff Johns. Currently, Scottish comic book creators are arguably doing better than their English counterparts. For a country without a particularly strong tradition of anything resembling superhero fiction, what with The Beano, The Dandy, Oor Wullie and The Broons being our main comic book exports, and not so large a population, we're having rather a flabberghastingly large effect.

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