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Punchdrunk




Am I the only one who is becoming increasingly irritated that fight sequences don't seem to be shown in a linear enough way to know..

who is fighting who
who is winning
what specific techniques/powers etc are causing the outcomes

it just looks like a mess with costumes a good chunk of the time.

The visual of fights used to have an ebb and flow that told you a lot about the personality of the combatants.

This issue and mighty/new avengers of the last year have been particularly egrigious offenders.

I know it is trying to depict the chaos of war but this isn't a documentary.

Clarity needs to be respected enough that the story is digestible.

This feels like a movie with over/poor use of the shoulder held camera technique.

Please explain why I am wrong or why you agree.


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Finster




What an excellent topic! I completely agree and this has been happening more and more over the years. The new generation of pencilers don't seem to have the ability (or choose not to) depict "story telling" the way this medium really needs. There are two reasons for this from what I can tell:
First I think they are busy trying to be different with competition in the industry so high they feel forced to continue to push the envelope but I think in the end we the readers get the short end of the stick. There are some illustrators I see that have actually made me stop buying titles because I'd sit there saying "my god this is horrible how can they print this?" or "this fight scene is basically a mess."
Second I think there is an effort by the publishers to pander to a new generation of consumers where fast paced cut scenes are expected, because anything that resembles linear story telling is regarded as old fashioned or a bore. Think of the new action sequences in film these days the edits are so close together that you can't even see what is happening. All of these people could learn a thing or two by rereading some Kirby, Ditko, Kane and Adams classics!






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Punchdrunk




> What an excellent topic! I completely agree and this has been happening more and more over the years. The new generation of pencilers don't seem to have the ability (or choose not to) depict "story telling" the way this medium really needs. There are two reasons for this from what I can tell:
> First I think they are busy trying to be different with competition in the industry so high they feel forced to continue to push the envelope but I think in the end we the readers get the short end of the stick. There are some illustrators I see that have actually made me stop buying titles because I'd sit there saying "my god this is horrible how can they print this?" or "this fight scene is basically a mess."
> Second I think there is an effort by the publishers to pander to a new generation of consumers where fast paced cut scenes are expected, because anything that resembles linear story telling is regarded as old fashioned or a bore. Think of the new action sequences in film these days the edits are so close together that you can't even see what is happening. All of these people could learn a thing or two by rereading some Kirby, Ditko, Kane and Adams classics!
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Posted with Mozilla Firefox 2.0.0.14 on Windows 2000
bd2999




> What an excellent topic! I completely agree and this has been happening more and more over the years. The new generation of pencilers don't seem to have the ability (or choose not to) depict "story telling" the way this medium really needs. There are two reasons for this from what I can tell:
> First I think they are busy trying to be different with competition in the industry so high they feel forced to continue to push the envelope but I think in the end we the readers get the short end of the stick. There are some illustrators I see that have actually made me stop buying titles because I'd sit there saying "my god this is horrible how can they print this?" or "this fight scene is basically a mess."
> Second I think there is an effort by the publishers to pander to a new generation of consumers where fast paced cut scenes are expected, because anything that resembles linear story telling is regarded as old fashioned or a bore. Think of the new action sequences in film these days the edits are so close together that you can't even see what is happening. All of these people could learn a thing or two by rereading some Kirby, Ditko, Kane and Adams classics!

I agree with you. Fights have gotten really tough to follow and the points of them to start with are razor thin to a crazy point. Everyone likes a good scrap, but still the imagery has to be done well. Each image does not need to be a master work, just tell the story and make things progress. With a good story and discussion ahead of time this should not be an issue, in theory.
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mtyoung




> Please explain why I am wrong or why you agree.

I think fight scenes have just evolved in the last few years, and in a way became much more realistic. Traditional comic fights always involved team A vs team B, but there would be individual fights. So it would still be strong guy vs. strong guy, hand to hand fighter vs. hand to hand fighter, etc. In most of today's scenes, you really just have chaos.

Sometimes this chaotic fight is intended, such as Avengers Dissembled, the Breakout, House of M, etc. Bendis (as I'm sure you are aware) tends to overuse this technique. It' still warranted and makes sense, but if you repeatedly show something, it starts to lose that "special" thing about it.

On the other hand, I think certain writers have done a great job of having clear fights. Millar for example, with Civil War, the Ultimates, and his Wolverine arc, all had very clear fights.

I think it also goes back to the fact that comics aren't the only medium anymore to have big "expensive" fights. Other forms of media, such as television, video games, and movies, are all much more likely to show those big fights then they were in the past. Why show two comic book characters fight, when I can play Ultimate Alliance and do the same thing? Comic book are no longer "unique" in this way.

And fight scenes in comics are also less important than they were in the past. It use to be that every comic had a fight scene, whether it progressed the story or not. Today, fight scenes are more rare, and only serve to progress the story. But as fight scenes decreased, other areas got more attention, like characterization, the story, etc.


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EcMan




Hello,

I think you have touched on at least some of the reasons. Here's my 2 cents.

1) As mtyoung mentioned below, group fights are no longer sets of 1-on-1 fights, they are true melees. Depicting that is just harder to choreograph and artists are struggling to logically compose the panels. Perez is of course a master of this, where you can see the logic of each character in the panel even though the panel itself looks like chaos.

2) It seems to me that artists are trying to show more with less space than they used to. In the old days, a giant fight might last for 6 pages with lots of panels and maybe one splash page to hit a high note. Now, all of that is shown in one double-page spread (essentially just 1 panel to work with). It is like seeing a snapshot of action rather than a sequence.

3) As you mention, like movies, artists are trying to show the reader that the fight is chaotic and hard to follow as if the reader were "in the action". Movies have a huge advantage with this because they can do that for a few seconds and then focus in on a smaller sequence within the fight to orient viewers and then switch back to the chaos. Comics just don't have that luxury.

4) There is a tendency, perhaps because of manga influence, that artists will sometimes pose characters rather than show them in motion in a big fight. That breaks the flow and consistency of a fight. You mentioned SI specifically, and I think Yu tends to do that (both in NA and now in SI). I'm not saying it's bad or good, but it is a different presentation.

-EcMan




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Awesoman




And this is one of the biggest problems I've head with Marvel in recent years. In an effort to be "contemporary" they slow the pacing down and bog each issue down with tedious dialogue and keep the action to a minimum. And when there is fighting it's just kind of brief and random. Punching and kicking but it doesn't seem like anyone's powers or abilities are relevant. I haven't seen a good, straight-up slugfest in a Marvel book in *years*. This is a problem.


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FirstChAoS




I noticed that latey fight scenes are confusing, hard to follow, and story free too. the "team battles as one on one with assists" way of doing things allowed story to flow from it and a sense of danger to appear. This new method is a confused mess i find hard to follow. Marvels penchant for darker and drabber art, color wise since CW makes this even worse.

I have literally read fights in the more recent comics and had no idea who got injured or stopped and how.


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Fiasco




And cuz some writers cant write a fight scene. Some however can do it fine, but really, as other posters mentioned, there's a choreography to making a fight scene. If a writer says "depict large group fighting, participants should include characters x, y, and z" then it's up to the artist to basically depict what's asked of them. Random slugfest with the occasional grunt and "aack!" tossed in. You mention Avengers. Bendis has great ideas and dialogue, but i've said it for years, he really doesn't belong in mainstream comic medium. He's out of his element writing the "big guns" and truth to tell, you can point at sales all you want in the here and now, it's the long term effect that damages the entire industry. A reader drops the book here and there, and new readers cant jump on board and clearly understand everything that's happening without an omnibus to help them - part of superhero comics is the FIGHT. How it plays out. It's in the nuances. Bendis and others can argue that "in real life, this is how it would be..." but they're wrong. Melees are not about a gang of people punching one another and swapping opponents. The Avengers and X-Men TRAIN so that they can counter opponents and contain them in their own fashion. It's a chess match sometimes, or it's a battle of willpower - it's shown in the details. Characters don't just "read and react" like a bad NFL defense.

So my long winded point is that while some titles may thrive by relying on dialogue and never ending story threads, Marvel is shooting themselves in the foot consistently by not hiring writers that are willing to stick to a classic and proven writing standard and allow the action to be a part of the story. Some people in power in the industry just dont get it anymore and thats sad.

Would Die Hard had been as much fun if the bad guys just massed up and jumped on Mclane and beat him to death? No. It's a movie, not reality. If I want reality, i'll go take on some terrorists myself and get my @$$ shot up in 30 seconds.

These are comics and not reality. The harder they try to infuse reality - especially their OWN interpretation of reality - into the comics, the further away they get from making comics. That's why more people will see The Hulk movie this coming weekend than will buy his latest comic. At least we know each punch will have some kind of visual impact, regardless of how good the overall movie turns out.










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jwd




> This feels like a movie with over/poor use of the shoulder held camera technique.

>

> Please explain why I am wrong or why you agree.



I agree completely and am not suprised by this really. Its been moving towards it since the 90s and the big push at Image.



Large full page spreads which means less panels to tell a story in sequence. The added feature to draw the characters to look "cool" and in some kind of action poster in the middle of the book.



There should be a definate sequence of events or it should be drawn clearly enough you can tell what is going on and not some giant mish-mash of chaos.





There's some great artists working in comics today but quite a few of those aren't great comic artists. Now if I wanted a poster to hang in my room ...



jwd







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Doc Shallot




> Am I the only one who is becoming increasingly irritated that fight sequences don't seem to be shown in a linear enough way to know..
>
> who is fighting who
> who is winning
> what specific techniques/powers etc are causing the outcomes
>
> it just looks like a mess with costumes a good chunk of the time.
>
> The visual of fights used to have an ebb and flow that told you a lot about the personality of the combatants.
>
> This issue and mighty/new avengers of the last year have been particularly egrigious offenders.
>
> I know it is trying to depict the chaos of war but this isn't a documentary.
>
> Clarity needs to be respected enough that the story is digestible.
>
> This feels like a movie with over/poor use of the shoulder held camera technique.
>
> Please explain why I am wrong or why you agree.

I think you're right for the most part. Some titles still use action sequences to good effect, moving the story along and providing insight into the heads of the involved participants.

In real life superhero battles would be lightning fast, messy and hard to follow. It seems to me that in recent years Marvel has tried to stress that, particularly in the Bendis titles, where, IMHO, brawls are just a waste of space. I have to wonder what the script looks like when the artist gets it: "insert mindless battle here for the next four to five pages, no logical structure needed."

It's novel for a while but gets old quick. Sometimes you should give free reign to the artist and let him strut his stuff, but more often than not you need to have the panels serve as the camera, zooming in and revealing motivation, thoughts, etc. You should try to maintain a balance. Take Chris Claremont's work for example. A lot of times a character, in between a backflip and right cross to an oponent's face could recite five paragraphs of preachy exposition. So if you go too far the other way you're most likely going to annoy some readers as well.

If a reader has to ask himself over and over "what's happening here?" then the creative team isn't doing their job.


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CyberCoyote




Writers will write what they know, but if they know nothing about the subject matter it comes across poorly. Certain writers shouldn't touch sci-fi, others have no grasp of horror or crime noir. But in this industry it seems impossible but true that some don't get 'super-heroes' or the standards they're held to. If you think the combat/fighting part of it all is just filler and treat it that way then it'll come across in a very poor light. Heck, have my wife write a boxing scene and see how it comes out,"well it's just a couple of big idiots beating on eachother until someone falls down."

> And cuz some writers cant write a fight scene. Some however can do it fine, but really, as other posters mentioned, there's a choreography to making a fight scene. If a writer says "depict large group fighting, participants should include characters x, y, and z" then it's up to the artist to basically depict what's asked of them. Random slugfest with the occasional grunt and "aack!" tossed in. You mention Avengers. Bendis has great ideas and dialogue, but i've said it for years, he really doesn't belong in mainstream comic medium. He's out of his element writing the "big guns" and truth to tell, you can point at sales all you want in the here and now, it's the long term effect that damages the entire industry. A reader drops the book here and there, and new readers cant jump on board and clearly understand everything that's happening without an omnibus to help them - part of superhero comics is the FIGHT. How it plays out. It's in the nuances. Bendis and others can argue that "in real life, this is how it would be..." but they're wrong. Melees are not about a gang of people punching one another and swapping opponents. The Avengers and X-Men TRAIN so that they can counter opponents and contain them in their own fashion. It's a chess match sometimes, or it's a battle of willpower - it's shown in the details. Characters don't just "read and react" like a bad NFL defense.
>
> So my long winded point is that while some titles may thrive by relying on dialogue and never ending story threads, Marvel is shooting themselves in the foot consistently by not hiring writers that are willing to stick to a classic and proven writing standard and allow the action to be a part of the story. Some people in power in the industry just dont get it anymore and thats sad.
>
> Would Die Hard had been as much fun if the bad guys just massed up and jumped on Mclane and beat him to death? No. It's a movie, not reality. If I want reality, i'll go take on some terrorists myself and get my @$$ shot up in 30 seconds.
>
> These are comics and not reality. The harder they try to infuse reality - especially their OWN interpretation of reality - into the comics, the further away they get from making comics. That's why more people will see The Hulk movie this coming weekend than will buy his latest comic. At least we know each punch will have some kind of visual impact, regardless of how good the overall movie turns out.
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>


Posted with Microsoft Internet Explorer 6 on Windows XP

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