9 times out of 10 if you asked someone what a comic book is you would get an answer involving capes, tights and big screen heroes. But there is a whole other side to comics that is too often overlooked: a vibrant indie scene that is pushing the medium forward and exploring the boundaries of an art form like no other. Our goal is to shed some light on individuals who are truly pursuing their dreams of being an artist, in a field that is too often neglected and dismissed.
The Hollywood heroes may get the spotlight, but it's artists like the the ones in our documentary that are are pioneering the stories of tomorrow.
I can remember the first comic book that my mother ever gave me. Issue #275 of the Iron Man story, 'The Dragon Seed Saga'. For the ten-year old me, this flimsy, colorful little book was a revelation. There was magic in those pages. The mixture of powerful vibrant visuals with direct streamlined prose was a style of storytelling I had never before experienced. I was hooked.
Inspired, I began writing and drawing my own comics. Writing every day, and furiously penciling at night (most often at the expense of school work), comics were my creative outlet ?a way to tell my stories.
But as I progressed in my pursuit of being a storyteller and an artist, a wicked little thought crept into my mind: comic books are nothing but juvenile, cheap entertainment. I still read the books and enjoyed them, but my hopes of one day being a comic creator began to fade and I moved onto other media. Comics became a guilty pleasure.
It was not until I discovered 'Understanding Comics' by Scott McCloud that my appreciation and love of comics began to blossom again. A comic book about comic books, McCloud lays out an exhaustive argument on why comics are the worlds most misunderstood art form. Many years later, sitting in a darkened auditorium, I listened to another comic creator, Matt Fraction, tell his own story of how he discovered comics. Fraction explained how comics carried him through dark times as his mother battled a life threatening brain trauma, and why he too believes that comic books are a unique and powerful art form, one deserving attention and respect.
Inspired by these men I set out to do my own examination of the medium. Who is making comics and why? What draws creators and audiences to these stories?
What I found was a culture of independent artists, many of them right here in Los Angeles, creating their own comics books. Hidden behind the glare of the current Hollywood craze for superheros, these men and women tell unique, quirky and far more personal stories than the the standard capes and spandex crowd. These are artists who were inspired by comics but did not let go of their dreams. Instead they have taken it upon themselves to share their stories with the world, on their terms and in their own voice. This film will be both a portrait of these artists and also an exploration of a medium in the midst of an artistic revolution.
- Michael La Breche, Director