Indistinguishable From Magic Avatar

Posts tagged violence

336 Notes

Q: You’ve said before that you don’t like violence in comics. Why is that off the table?

What I’ve specifically said before is that I don’t care for much violence in my own comics. For the types of stories that I create, there’s just not much of a place for it.  I should probably clarify that when I say “violence” I’m really talking about instances of people dying or being seriously injured, not cartoon violence or the occasional bop on the head.  My complaint is that too many creators use graphic violence as a substitute for plot or character substance.

The most violent moment in my comics is probably when Kim was vaporized by a Time Colonist laser. It’s graphic and brutal, and I think it needs to be because it’s there to mark a massive turning point in the story and the comic as a whole.  All of Kim’s stories and character elements can be divided between “before” and “after” that event. I’d liken it to something like (spoilers) Luke Skywalker losing his hand in Empire Strikes Back, not because of the literal limb loss, but because it’s definitively the most violent thing to happen in the series, marking a major turning point for the character and story.  The rarity of that type of graphic violence accentuates the significance of the event, and that there is no going back.

In real life, for most of us, serious violence is not a regular phenomenon, and when it does occur it has serious implications that can change our lives forever.  If you’re writing about soldiers or similar settings that require regular violence, you should still be respectful of the inherent psychic erosion that happens when a real-life person deals with death, even if you’re not going for something serious or dramatic.  

It’s my opinion that too often in a lot of fiction, death is dealt out in either a cavalier manner or graphically and randomly inserted into a story to generate a quick, cheap shock. This is partly where we get the notion of “desensitizing” ourselves to violence; it’s less to do with the frequency of violence and more to do with the lack of any real thematic importance attached to violence.  Every time a bad writer fridges a character to “develop” another, every time the bad guy kills even more people than the other bad guys to show how much badder he is- our culture gets a little stupider.

Death and violence are a creator’s tools like any other, but they’re useless unless they’re connected to something valuable in the story and characters.