So to take the point further I polled 4 comic book messageboards asking the same question I did of the creators above. And while a lot of the responses weren't nearly as eloquent and polite as the answers the people above gave, the idea was pretty much reaffirmed that there really is no need to change how comics are called. In fact 90% of the people who participated in these messageboard poles said they were fine or preferred the words comics and comic book than an alternative option.
Here's a few of the more interesting posts relating to the topic... (Note, some of the posters names are anonymous user names for the forums I took the quotes from)
"This is the truth of the matter. Calling them something else is not going to change what they are or how you feel about yourself for reading them. I don't collect and read "sequential art", they're comics. I don't buy "action figures", they're toys. Accept and move on."Jollymon
"Calling them The Artiest Artful Art Ever isn't going to make Superman's red underpants look any less dumb."Agent Helix
"The term 'Comics' is a little antiquated, sure. But still better than calling 'em, 'Man-child Porn'..."Asmith
"The term "Comics", is totally fucking fine with
me now! It was an issue when I was trying to get laid, but now that I
have a "stable"marriage, it's all good!"
"Comics is fine for me. Most of them are quite frankly undeserving of a title along the lines of "Literary Illustration" or whatever other ridiculous title one would give a comic book."Dupont
"'Comics' is the least pretentious option at this point. Everyone knows what it means and you're not intentionally talking over anyone's head by calling them "sequential art documents" or whatever other option you're gonna try to use.
The only thing I try to do consciously is that I never call a singular comic book a 'comic.' It's always 'comic book.' Without 'book,' it's always comics, with an 's.' This is because I once told my boss I needed to use vacation time to go to the New York Comic Convention and he thought I was really into stand-up.
Additionally, while we're arguing semantics, why are long-form sequential works always graphic novels, regardless of whether they're actually fiction?"epalicki
"I also found that being married brought me more
out of the comics closet but mainly because I was careful with who I
shacked up with. Anecdotally, there are more young women at comics
gatherings and many are clearly fans of the medium or attracted to the
people who are. It's a different world to when I was a young man, that's
for sure... What the diversification of content and the rise of
geek/nerd culture will mean in evolutionary terms is anyone's guess..."
"Some of the examples given above remind me of the dillholes who insisted po-faced that from now on, we should say "Speculative Fiction" rather than "Science Fiction"; also the fratbros who tried to coin the genre "skullstep" a few years ago, as a pointless subdivision of a peculiar corner of DnB.
It's almost an interesting question, but most of the time, such things need to evolve fairly naturally to not sound forced and pretentious, rather than be imposed under pressure. If an idea has some measure of "fitness", it will catch on and spread, as Nice Prof. Dawkins points out. It needs to appeal to enough potential hosts/vectors to go anywhere, though. If it's just jarring and daft, then it will fall on its face, often.
what you call a publication affects how the author and readers approach it, to a degree. However, if nowt else, "comics" has become so dilute that it has lost a lot of its baggage, simply referring to something mostly made of toothsome illustrations and carefully enbubbled(tm) text. The General Public can just about get their heads around "comic" and "graphic novel" (the latter is thicker and less floppy, as far as they're concerned). Caution would have to be exercised if attempting anything too confusingly racy, lest heads assplode. In a bad way."microclimate
"I've never gotten a confused or disgusted look
from non-comics readers when I say "I draw graphic novels." They know
immediately what I'm talking about. I started saying that instead of "I
draw comics" because immediately people would comment on Garfield, or
Dilbert, and ask if I've submitted to newspapers. etc. Then I'd have to
explain what I meant. If I said "I draw comic books" they'd ask about
superheroes and I'd have to explain again.
But since "graphic novels" isn't going to go anywhere, because it's now
ingrained in the public mind thanks to Hollywood, what I have a problem
with is calling collected editions a "graphic novel" when it's not."
"The wisdom that's gradually accumulating in this
thread would seem to suggest the inescapable conclusion that there is no
common parlance possible. Rather, with careful testing on a case by
case basis, people should use whatever term doesn't get them funny
So end of story right? I doubt it. As long as there is any sense or
chance of true respectability for comics, some people will consider the
idea that it is time to shed the "comics" or "comic book" moniker and
give it another. In fact in 1948 Charles Biro
, editor of Lev Gleason publications
tried renaming comic books to "Illustories". Starting with the title Boy Comics
, it was re-named Boy Illustories
with issue 43 (December, 1948
to issue 91 (December, 1953
.) He also did this with Daredevil Comics
(then being called just Daredevil) but changed the tag line to "The
Greatest in Illustories" with issue 51 (November, 1948
.) While the tag
line was eventually removed he would continue to use Illustories on the
cover until issue 107 (February. 1954
.) (Thanks to Jamie Coville for that story.)
Of course "Illustories" never caught on like Charles Biro planned, but he gave it a try.
And what about outside english speaking countries? How are comics called in places like Brazil, France, Italy, Japan, Korea and etc.? Well most of us know what "manga" is and that its comics from Japan, but do you know what the direct translation of manga means in english? "Whimsical Pictures" (basically). What about in Brazil? They call them Gibis.
Pronounced geebees. And a gibi is something for a child. So not much different from what they're generally considered to be in America. But they also call them Revistas Em
Quadrinhos in a more formal manner, which roughly translates to Little Frames Magazines or Panel Magazines, which to me sounds pretty accurate.
In France they call them "bande dessinée" translated to drawn strip. Again another more accurate term. In Italy they're called "fumetti" (which comes from
the smoke like appearance of the thought balloons). Fumetti in America means something more akin to photonovels. And remember in much of Europe and Asia comics are read by as many adults as they are read by children and have been taken seriously much longer than comics have in America or the UK.
Observe how much the words "graphic novel" are being bandied about when referring to a book of comics as compared to 10 years ago here in America. Maybe in 50 or 100 years we will be calling "comics" something more "apt". Or maybe we won't. I guess it doesn't matter in the end, what we love about comics doesn't matter by what they are called. And it won't matter if the medium is accepted or not, it never has before. If "comics" as a term is here to stay it won't effect the depth of material being produced despite the ill-fitting moniker. Comics are what they are no matter the term.