A pretty broad statement to be sure. Let me explain. Have a look at this trailer for a game called “We Happy Few”. Pay close attention to the style of the game. The look of it and the shape of the characters.
What I notice is how “cartoony” the characters are and how these same “unrealistic” characters can tell a “serious” story. I like that the style doesn’t “hinder” the storytelling, the fact that it doesn’t have to be “realistic” to tell its tale. There are many games like this. Different and interesting styles, odd or wild characters and intricate universes created by very talented people.
So why aren’t comics doing the same thing?
Currently, I find that comics are too rigid and predictable. Overall, people expect comic stories to be told with “superhero” anatomy or a realistic anatomy or it doesn’t seem to be taken seriously. I’ve experienced it first hand with people’s confusion over Chicken Outfit. They short circuit because they don’t understand why your characters aren’t built like Spider-Man or don’t have “realism” like horror comics, for example. Short sighted thinking that, in my experienced, professional opinion puts comics squarely in the realm of shooting itself in the foot and becoming obsolete as an entertainment medium here in North America. Drastic? Maybe, but I can’t see many options for what’s out there.
It seems as if there are only two styles people are capable of here in North American comics. There is the “autobiographical” comic or average joe stories, there is the horror comic and then there is the superhero comic. Of course, the Japanese get it, they’ve been doing manga for years and playing with a myriad of styles depending on what the story is. They even use several different styles in the same work to express different emotions and scenarios.
This is why I like games in this country better than comics. Comics are dull and lifeless for the most part. They’re either tie-ins with television and film or the two styles I mentioned above. Games experiment. They try different things to provoke and excite. They delve into stories you wouldn’t normally see grace the pages of our tepid comic industry. And they do it with a detailed style and panache.
We here at Chicken Outfit try to create a universe worth delving into with interesting characters and situations. They don’t have to be superheroes but they are our favorite anti-heroes. Join Rusty, Headcast, Stan and Billy for the adventures to come! Issue three is out now and it’s our best work yet.