How do theatre and comics overlap? How have they influenced each other? How is an actor’s life similar to that of a comic creator? Tim covered some of this ground with Austin Tichenor in episode #159, but revisits this ground (with entirely different results!) with actor and comics creator John Roberson. A discussion ensues about Scott McCloud’s contention that comics become more universal when drawn more simply; John is “skeptical”.
One thought on “#274 Comics and the Theatre, v 2.0”
An additional point I can’t believe didn’t occur to me: THREEPENNY OPERA has BEEN a comic, sort of, recently. And given it also involves LULU, which I’d just started working on right before it came out, that’s bad of me. It’s LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN: CENTURY 1910. Moore basically does his own version of THREEPENNY, with songs based on the Brecht/Weill ones but rephrased(legal purposes–English translations are still copyrighted, same reason I’m using a 1917 translation of LULU). Moore in fact is fond of Brecht/Weill and has emulated them a number of times, like “Vicious Cabaret” in V FOR VENDETTA, which you can hear here performed by David J:
However, I wouldn’t say he exploits the medium for an equivalent of their effects. I’m highly skeptical of attempts to literally render songs being sung in comics. It rarely works. I find a better approach with comics & music is more synaesthetic: to find what comics can do that is LIKE music and attains similar effects. An example of someone who I think is a master of this would be Chris Ware. Another approach is to render an equivalent of grand music with an equally grand style and layout, as P. Craig Russell does. (and his SALOME actually has a very proto-Ware sort of atomizing approach with all its small panels and moments)
But to actually show people singing songs on paper often just looks…well, silly. Steve Allen used to have a routine where he would recite then-current rock & roll songs like “Who Put The Bomp” as though they were fine poetry, hilariously. The problem is that lyrics are meant to be sung, not read, initially. Many great lyrics look flat on the page.
However, in a time when people often had sheet music and an instrument in the home, once it was a way to have an interactive ad and spread a jingle. Interesting gimmick, and simple. Someone could, then, read it and sing along with a COMIC. Pepsi had a series of these in the 1930s.: