Debate and Discussion

How do I put serious issues into my comics?
jurbas at 2:00AM, Nov. 21, 2007
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How do you put in serious issues, such as drug abuse and suicide into a comic without making it completely serious.

For those that are familiar with my comic style would I be able to present serious issues about life. There are issues I would like to raise for people without it being overly serious or opposingly very childish.


I have read comics that were SERIOUS and had these issues but is there a light hearted way to present these issues?

Please give some feedback
Jurbas
Everyone's a tosser…but you slightly more
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:12PM
Aurora Moon at 2:22AM, Nov. 21, 2007
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You could use satire. It's like a type of humor where you use sarcasm….

That way, you can be funny while being serious at the same time.

Example: you write a comic panel about the issue of putting values on marriage.

person one: “I hate how those gays assume they have the right to marriage! don't they know that they'll ruin what marriage is supposed to be?”

person two: “ooh yes. Just like Straight people haven't done that already, you're right. We need to make sure straight marriages such as Britney Spears's 55-hour just-for-fun marriage was meaningful and not a compete mockery at all.”

See? it's serious yet funny at the same time. who doesn't love to make fun of Britney Spears?

Just brush up on the art of Satire, and then you're set. ;)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Satire
I'm on hitatus while I redo one of my webcomics. Be sure to check it out when I'n done! :)
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:10AM
jurbas at 2:55AM, Nov. 21, 2007
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wow I'm so dumb for not thinking of satire..I studied it last year

I guess that would probably be the best way

anyone got other suggestions?
Everyone's a tosser…but you slightly more
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:12PM
Tantz Aerine at 3:43AM, Nov. 21, 2007
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Depict it the same way it is met and faced by people in everyday life: without too much melodrama, and with a lot of humour in between- and some moments of real down, real tears and despair.

What I mean is, in real life there are good days and bad days when facing or dealing with an issue. Make sure the same is reflected in your comic. And don't treat the issue as something exotic. It happens. Make sure that is the feel of the comic as well.
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 4:07PM
DAJB at 4:17AM, Nov. 21, 2007
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One thing I'd try to bear in mind is don't preach. Don't have characters who constantly tell your readers that “x” is wrong and if you do “y” then you're a bad person and terrible things will happen to you.

Instead, have characters who do those things. And then make them suffer the consequences. Just remember that those consequences may be comic just as often as they're tragic. Life is a mixture of tragedy and comedy. (And, as Alan Moore said recently, “a bit of pornography if you're lucky”!)

Secondly, make at least some of the characters who are doing the bad things likeable, funny, sympathetic characters. Many thieves are “loveable rogues” who you can't help liking even if you despise what they do. Many drug addicts and alcoholics are nice, ordinary people who care for others when they're not “under the influence”. The more the audience likes your characters, the more impact it will have if/when something bad does eventually happen to them.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:03PM
7384395948urhfdjfrueruieieueue at 5:46AM, Nov. 21, 2007
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Make it seem hilarious. This guy's good at that.

http://www.drunkduck.com/TAEAVIAOBJATFCKAS/
i will also like to know you the more
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:05AM
kyupol at 8:48AM, Nov. 21, 2007
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Don't be afraid to do them. JUST DO IT. :)

There is no exact formula you have to do. Whatever serious issue you feel like putting into comics, just do it. I've put serious stuff in my comics (and will continue to do so) just how I see fit that tailors to my imagination.

Good luck though.



Btw, this thread should be moved to ‘tips and tricks’ Im not admin so I cant do it. lol
NOW UPDATING!!!
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:25PM
dueeast at 10:31AM, Nov. 21, 2007
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While it has to match the “style” of one's comic, serious social issues deserve serious attention. But Tantz has a point, if it's a serious issue, you need some humor before and after to avoid driving your readers to dispair! :)

If you treat the topic with respect, by relaying what it means to you personally by writing it into your characters' lives, that will have the best chance of relaying the issue you are trying to delve into.

BUT AVOID STEREOTYPES AND CLICHES LIKE THE PLAGUE!!! ;)
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:17PM
horseboy at 1:50PM, Nov. 21, 2007
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jurbas
wow I'm so dumb for not thinking of satire..I studied it last year

I guess that would probably be the best way

anyone got other suggestions?
I think my favorite satire was that episode of Dinosaurs about drugs. At the end they had Robbie use the line: “Stop doing drugs so we can stop doing these very special episodes.”

Other than that, most of Kevin Smith's jokes are about dicks, farts and weed. So is Chappelle come to think about it. Yeah, they do it all the time.
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Never seek for happiness, it will merely allude the seeker. Never strive for knowledge, it is beyond man's scope. Never think, for in though lies all the ills of mankind. The wise man, like the rat, the crocodile, the fly, merely fulfills his natural function.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:50PM
Hawk at 1:52PM, Nov. 21, 2007
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When dealing with serious subject matter you run the risk of either being preachy if you treat it seriously in the wrong way, or it can feel like you're trivializing serious issues if you treat them with too much humor.

I think you just need to examine how preachy you intend to be and set a line for yourself.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:46PM
jurbas at 5:48AM, Nov. 22, 2007
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Ok i've decided to make a satire comic if the name is available it will be called ‘sitcom’ I think it suits it.

It revolves around a few characters who are ‘against’ socieies norms

If someone can explain to me how to show the image through the forum I'll show you the first one here before I post it online
Everyone's a tosser…but you slightly more
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:12PM
marine at 6:24AM, Nov. 22, 2007
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Like Kyupol said, just go for it.

Aurora suggests the use of satire, something that I employ nearly every day over in penis. Sometimes I read the news to see whats going on. If I find an article or interesting news bit, I'll see what I can do to work it into penis. Sort of like an elephant sitting in the room that you can't ignore, I feel that I can use my comics to talk about anything.

I just think up ways to make light of a serious issue. Anything that people are touchy about or feel is taboo, I'm going to make jokes about. Be it in the form of a simple pun or sight gag, like the superhero the White Devil or things like rape or poverty and even drug abuse.

I did a story a few years ago about a heroin addict who makes friends with an alien and then introduces him to heroin, killing the alien instantly. The heroin addict shrugged and said “I guess I can't keep a friend but you.” Then he picks up the needle from his dead alien friend and shoots up. I may re-do that one or reintroduce the heroin addict character, as he was one of my favorites.

I always try to do some research on topics before just blindly making jokes about things. Wikipedia has nothing but information, use it if you're lazy. Sometimes I'll ask people to tell me their stories. Stories about how they were addicted to drugs or their suicide attempts, serious stuff like that. How they felt when their parents or children died. I'll take their opinions and ask them if their was anything I can think of about their experiences. I'm preparing now for a story about cancer that I plan to do in a few months. Even if its just a page or two, I want it to be the best page or two it can be. I do a lot of research for almost all my pages.

Another comic of mine thats online now, Werewolf, starts off with the main character experiencing anxiety. Its an allegory of the way I've felt and a lot of people I've known have felt. That feeling of doing what you love, but then you think “is this it? Is this the greatest moment of my life.” I do it with a occult dressings, but it works perfectly. The story then goes off into more horror quest themes. Its also a good allegory for drug addiction. You just have to keep escalating your high. More and more every time. Until eventually you have to do it just to feel normal, to avoid falling into complete madness. A lot of potheads or drug users probably won't see the bouts of insanity that others have, but I've spoken and researched up on the topic to where I can draw a parallel between a werewolf going to group therapy for his anxiety to a drug addict or alcoholic trying to get themelves clean in one of those anonymous groups.

Theres a lot going on in my work that most people fail t notice, some even say theres no writing at all in penis. But I'd like to think a percentage sees what I was aiming for, or at least gets close to the same ballpark as to what I was trying to do. I don't want to preach and people and get my own ass with messages like how south park does on occassion. I'd rather just show an outrageous situation with outrageous characters that could mean this, that, or the other thing. Like a piece of music or an one of those films that are purposely vague in their real meanings, you should walk away from penis with your own interpretation of it. Be it as a gimmicky stupid comic or as a serious artistic piece, I like having it that way.

A lot of what I say in my comics or the artwork polarizes people to the point of not knowing what to think. I've tried to start discussions with my readers amongst themselves, but the majority seems to not want to talk about allegories or comedic timing but about poop jokes.

I guess I sort of know what I'm talking about, I was nominated for a drunk duck best writing award a few months ago.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:53PM
jurbas at 6:35AM, Nov. 22, 2007
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hmm that's a lot of information there Marine..I'll have to re-read it tomorrow it's 11:30pm atm so my eyes are hurting.

I have made a page for ‘Sitcom’ please read it and tell me what you think visit it here

http://www.drunkduck.com/Sitcom/index.php
Everyone's a tosser…but you slightly more
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:12PM
kyupol at 8:25AM, Nov. 22, 2007
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Try what Southpark and Family Guy have done. I think they're good at it.

However I also suggest to do RESEARCH. Even though its not exactly RESEARCH that draws audience in (its the sex, violence, drama, comedy, or the pretty-looking male and female characters)

I LIKE doing research though. Some of the research material I did for my newest comics (MAG-ISA and related sequels):

- The news. Mainstream, tabloid, or alternative (conspiracy theory)

- Even message boards especially when there are race-centered flame wars.

- Details about school shootings. I really went deep into reading up about columbine and virginia tech.

- Articles about psychology, politics, economics, religion, and philosophy

- Historical stuff. I also didnt forget to read up on the myths and legends.

- Military stuff. This is a CHALLENGE to research on because militaries are VERY SECRETIVE of their stuff. I tried gathering info on Philippine army since parts of MAG-ISA and related sequels will feature them. I was interested especially on the Musangs (elite army unit) and their training methods. The only answer I got was “those who been through the training wont do it again even if given a billion dollars”. I just imagine it to be at least 20x MORE BRUTAL than the compulsory army training I had. Gathering info on military tactics only got the mods suspicious and I bet they think I'm a commie spy. :(




Researching stuff and translating it into comics doesnt NEED to be factual. Especially if its only 20% fact then 30% myth, while the other 50% is all made up by the author.

NOW UPDATING!!!
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:25PM
Tantz Aerine at 9:48AM, Nov. 22, 2007
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Many times, causing people to laugh when they really want to cry is an excellent way to deal with such issues. It is not easy to achieve though- you must have some pretty kick ass writing in order to do it.

Also, driving a point home can be done in a simple, non-melodramatic way (people generally tend not to respond as spontaneously to melodrama as to actual drama). One of my most popular characters to date in my Art of Veiling books is secretive and very reserved in his reactions. When tragedy strikes home, he just wades through it without many kicks and screams (or none at all).

His takes on subjects (although he never preaches about right and wrong and what people should do- even if he does rant about other things) seem to be imprinted in people's minds and cause thinking much more than any other character's so far.
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 4:07PM
bobhhh at 12:10PM, Nov. 22, 2007
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jurbas
How do you put in serious issues, such as drug abuse and suicide into a comic without making it completely serious.

For those that are familiar with my comic style would I be able to present serious issues about life. There are issues I would like to raise for people without it being overly serious or opposingly very childish.


I have read comics that were SERIOUS and had these issues but is there a light hearted way to present these issues?

Please give some feedback
Jurbas

In my opinion, the best example from recent memory of a serious, even deadly issue handled in a frighteningly farcical way is Dr Strangelove. If you can catch your breath from laughing, you might remember that the world is about to end.
My name is Bob and I approved this signature.
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:29AM
jurbas at 6:43AM, Nov. 23, 2007
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I would like to here your opinion of ‘Sitcom’

the first issue dealt with is homosexuality
tell me if you think this artwork could work with the type of thing I want
Everyone's a tosser…but you slightly more
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:12PM
TitanOne at 9:26AM, Nov. 23, 2007
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Aurora Moon
You could use satire. It's like a type of humor where you use sarcasm….

That way, you can be funny while being serious at the same time.



http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Satire

Generally speaking, that's hard to pull off, because the humor part is harder to create than the serious part, at least if you want a good blend. A lot of heavy-handed TV shows in the 1970s, like “Maude”, “All in the Family”, and “MASH” tried tackling serious issues with satire, and in my opinion, it didn't usually work. MASH was a good television show because of the acting and little tweaks of humanity in the characters, but I never thought their anti-war “message” came across as anything but preachy and pedantic.

Then you have the more ridiculous satire, like the Mel Brooks/MAD Magazine sort of stuff, which is often quite funny but tries and fails to connect its “serious issues”.

There's a old show business saying–“Dying is easy; comedy is hard”.

last edited on July 14, 2011 4:30PM
bobhhh at 9:47AM, Nov. 23, 2007
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Agreed MASH is an example of how not to do it. Thier trick was to get you laughing and make you like the characters as fun loving goofballs, and then the classic bait and switch, the choppers arrive and they pontificate about the horrors of war.

Nobody likes to be preached at. That's why I think All in the Family was brilliant in its first few seasons because it portrayed the bigot sympathetically and the liberal as a lazy whiner and you saw the warts on each side of the ideological divide, and you laughed. Whether you laughed along with either Archie or Mike, you could not be sure if the joke was on you.

But it soon too became a preachfest, in the worst way. The Jeffersons remained more pure satire, although it never quite matched the wit and writing of it's ancestor's early episodes.

Edit: the movie MASH was more on the point, but was not quite as funny as it could have been.
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last edited on July 14, 2011 11:29AM
marine at 2:17PM, Nov. 23, 2007
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South Park has an episode called “Best Friends Forever” that is an ear flawless satire of the current events that were going on that week. If you can watch that episode and remember back two or three years ago when it came on, you'll see what I'm talking about. The parallels to real life and then the last line at the end, as well as the outrageousness of involving the then new “it thing” the psp, it was a great satire.

Also learn about whats known as “black comedy,” the sort of morbid humor that comes from taboo topics. Be it as simple as two old women murdering people with a cheerful attitude or an over the top in your face action movie that uses puppets.

Learn the difference between parody, spoof, and satire. Know the different types of comedy. The referential, observational, slapstick, and others. It took me a long time to develop the mix of awfulness and genius that I've got going on in penis. At its core, its a send up of bad comics using cliche's or really dumb ideas. At times it gets so bad that I couldn't possibly think I could get it to a point where its worse, then I have morbidly obese women pose for pictures and become famous on the internet or a superhero kill himself because he feels he isn't needed anymore. I've always found the using controversial subject matter made for more interesting literature. If everything was plain and non-confrontational, every comic would be as dull as those syndicated in newspaper strips. I like to have things happen. Funny things. Dramatic things. Outrageous things. My favorite is to take a super serious topic and make it funny. Drugs, death, suicide, anxiety, cancer, rape, and anything else I can think of. The only topics I've actively avoided are religious or political stuff. Anytime I do either, people get confused and think that a characters opinion is my opinion.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:53PM
mapaghimagsik at 10:50PM, Nov. 24, 2007
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I was too young to really appreciate MASH, so I dunno. I did read somewhere it was one of the most popular shows of its time.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:51PM
jurbas at 7:50PM, Nov. 29, 2007
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I don't get your complaints about M*A*S*H I like it

I watched an episode of ‘Rugrats All Grown Up’ today it was about Chuckie being upset because his favourite comic book wasn't gunna be made anymore

It raised many issues as the character in the comic was similar to Chuckie in that he was short sighted and clumsy, friends worrying more about themselves but the most important issue raised was the metaphor of the comic book being Chuckie's mother. The loss of his favourite character was similar to the loss of his mother as he had been reading the comics since he was 5.

It was quite upsetting.
Everyone's a tosser…but you slightly more
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:12PM
JillyFoo at 4:26PM, Dec. 11, 2007
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Anime have serious issues in them a lot.

I can name off so many of them that did it terrible.
Metropolis(AI), Jungle Emperor Leo(nature), Earth Girl Arjuna(nature), Apple Seed(AI), Steamboy(war),Full Metal Alchemist the movie(war) and Gantz(suicide and a whole mess of things).



The ones that I liked though were:
Neo Genesis Eva, Akira, Grave of the Fireflies(war), Barefoot Gin(war) and Elvin Lied(abuse).

And for live-action films that was terrible:
I-Robot(AI), Spielberg's War of the Worlds(war), Matrix 2 and 3(AI?).


Good:
Forest Gump(war, aids), Green Mile(cap punishment), and can't think of anymore right now…

I guess one difference between the good and the bad is the amount of talking/preaching vs. showing the situwation firsthand.
Also some serious scenes if done waaaay too over dramatic it can loose the audience's suspension of belief. Basically if its too much no one can take it seriously.

Such as these hilarious moments…
-In FMA the movie, human Al finds a teddybear or a doll in the rubble of a building and freaks out. Also the part where they preach about Hitler and we see anime Hitler.

-The second half of Spielberg's War of the Worlds. The little girl character sees one dead body floating down a river. She and her father freak.(ok that was sad) THEN we see a a whole pile of bodies floating down the river! Terrible! Too much! Also the part when the father shoots that crazy guy in the cabin. Just leave the idiot! Gee wiz!

-In Gantz for half of a few episodes the character just talk and yell at each other instead of doing anything.

-In Jungle Emperor Leo this hunter guy shoots down a huge rhino with one shot from his gun and the rhino goes down slowmo style.

Hope some of the info is useful for ya.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:08PM
kingofsnake at 7:04PM, Dec. 11, 2007
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don't add serious issues to your comic as an afterthought, instead build your story incorporating whatever issue you're interested as a driving force for a character, like christopher's drug use in the sopranos. don't spread yourself too thin, stick to one or two issues, and don't go into things all one sided. show the postive aspects as well as the negative aspects. If you only show one side of things, you're not going to reach anybody, you need to show all sides.

And incorporate Rozencrantz and Guildenstern (ie something that is loosly tied to the plot to helps distract readers from the serious aspects of whatever message you're trying to get across) it'll make you seem less preachy


Marine: Was that an intentional “Aresenic and Old Lace” reference!? You surprise me sometimes
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:16PM
jurbas at 5:02AM, Jan. 10, 2008
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Cyanide & Happiness @ Explosm.net

I wish I could be funny like that with my messages(although not that particular message
Everyone's a tosser…but you slightly more
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:12PM
TnTComic at 6:56AM, Jan. 10, 2008
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jurbas
How do you put in serious issues, such as drug abuse and suicide into a comic without making it completely serious.

Mock it mercilessly.

http://www.hockeyzombie.com/offcomic/daily.php?date=021202
last edited on July 14, 2011 4:31PM

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