Australian Competition Looking for Comics-Based Short Story Writers

 

The West Australian has a report on a competition being held in the Perth area offering a prize for anybody who can come up with great ideas for comics short stories. First, however:

 

Batman may live his life absorbed with darkness but the industry he helps drive is well and truly enjoying its time in the sun.

 

On this, I’m going to have to take a moment to make clear the mainstream isn’t. And a pity they won’t admit it. By the way, even for Batman, is it really a healthy influence to be absorbed by darkness?

 

Sales of comics have been rising steadily over the past decade but took off faster than a speeding bullet when people stayed in their homes during the coronavirus pandemic.

 

Not sales for mainstream comics, they certainly haven’t. And who wants to buy their modern output since the early 2000s, when the Big Two began a downhill journey they never recovered from? Still, the article does accurately state what’s actually selling:

 

Much of the growth has been fueled by the rise of digital comics, which has allowed creators to publish independently, and the runaway success of manga series such as Demon Slayer.

 

That’s right. But then, they very awkwardly say:

 

But the rise of comic book adaptations in film, such as from the DC and Marvel universes, has brought the characters and stories of superheroes such as Aquaman, The Fantastic Four and the Justice League to a broader audience.

 

Umm, none of the above were particularly successful as films in the long run. The first Aquaman may have sold well enough to prompt a sequel, ditto the first Fantastic Four movie in the mid-2000s, but the sequels themselves were far less successful, for various reasons, poor quality included. The Justice League movie underperformed too. I wonder why they didn’t cite the early Spider-Man films, or even the early Marvel movieverse entries? Those would at least provide them with a more convincing narrative based on the box office.

 

It’s a happy confluence of events that has delighted local visual storytellers Aśka and Sean E Avery, who will help guide The Best Australian Yarn’s new Comic Story Prize.



The third season of the popular competition has now officially launched and entrants have until Monday August 12 to submit their work.



The winner of the Comic Story Prize will take home $3000 while the winners of the two Comic Story Youth Prizes — one for those aged 12-14 and the other for those aged 15-18 — will be awarded $1500 each.



Aśka is a graphic novelist who is on the organising committee of the Perth Comic Arts Festival, which has come on board as an official supporting partner of The Best Australian Yarn.



She said news of the prizes was exciting because it helped legitimise comics as another medium of literacy and of self-expression.



“There’s not enough opportunities for comic makers so this provides a lot of people with an opportunity to be part of the general arts community of Australia,” she said. “They get to show off their skills.”



Aśka also hopes the competition will change people’s perceptions of what comics are.



“I think it’s very easy for a lot of the general public to think either of action superheroes — like the whole Marvel Universe — or that they are pulp fiction or that they are just a stepping stone with literacy for young people.



“But there is so much more to them. They can be heavier, multi-layered. They can make us think and reflect.”

 

The problem is that, when mainstream comicdom descends into the kind of woke propaganda seen of late, it takes away all the meaning earlier comics stories could’ve had in this regard. I’ve noted how Bulgarian culture, for example, garners no interest for the social justice crowd in the USA who care far more about LGBT ideology, and even Australian culture doesn’t really interest the USA crowd either. If you don’t see sports like cricket (which had its origins in the UK) in many American comics, if at all, in sharp contrast to baseball, that would surely be telling too.





The idea the Australian organizers of this contest have is great, but if this is all to be viewed through a lens counting USA comics, perceptions may not be changed by much about the medium.

 

Originally published here.

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Avi Green

Avi Green was born in Pennsylvania in 1974, and moved to Israel in 1983. He enjoyed reading comics when he was young, the first being Fantastic Four. He maintains a strong belief in the public's right to knowledge and accuracy of facts. He considers himself a conservative-style version of Clark Kent. Follow him on his blog at Four Color Media Monitor or on Twitter at @avigreen1

JUST KEEPING THE LIGHTS ON