The Golden Age of Reprints

Nuestra historia está de regreso.

En su difunto blog, “Death to the Universe”, el crítico y artista visual Matt Séneca exploró considerablemente a la historia del comic del siglo XX y la época contemporánea en búsqueda de sus bloques fundamentales; sus axiomas, su léxico, sus representantes definitivos y los pioneros de su revolución narrativa. “The Golden Age of Reprints” es un análisis de nuestra era digital en la cual todo está al alcance de un click, incluyendo todas aquellas obras que han sido definitivas en el Noveno Arte, y que ahora y a través de la pantalla renacen para inspirar a futuros ilustradores, y ser redescubiertas por los medios, analistas y entusiastas del arte secuencial. Enjoy.

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The Golden Age of Reprints
Matt Séneca
Publicado originalmente entre 2011-2011.

The best thing about the Golden Age of Reprints that comics have undergone over the past decade-and-counting is obviously the fact that we’ve got our history back. For the first time ever, understanding comics via the library of its truly great works rather than a few random snippets pulled from newsstands and back-issue bins is not only possible but downright easy. I think that’s something a lot of people who are concerning themselves with comics’ future right now overlook: the young kids coming up aren’t just part of the translated-manga generation, they’re also the first wave of new readers who could pull Frank King and Osamu Tezuka books off the library shelves as a little side dish to their Naruto.

A significant awareness of comics history has become possible to achieve without even looking for it. A browse around a well-curated comic shop doesn’t just mean they’ve got Kirby and the Hernandez brothers anymore, it means a casual interaction with a century of aesthetic evolution, comparable perhaps to the way that randomly running through Netflix for something good to watch can give one a startlingly clear portrait of the different phases of world cinema.

So that’s cool. I mean, that’s fucking amazing. But another invaluable element of the reprint boom has been that it’s allowed a whole new kind of comics to exist. I definitely couldn’t have gotten the comics education I have without the Golden Age, but even I, a tender lad of 20, think I was just a little too old to really catch the wave perfectly. Not everything of interest was available to me as I got interested in it over the course of the 2000s.

What did you do when you got hot to read Prince Valiant or Dick Tracy in 2005? You had to go to the old-school reprints, which at best were unromantic, plainly wrapped tomes that presented the work in low-budget printing on poorly designed pages; and at worst were hideous abominations, recolored, re-sequenced, incomplete, seemingly put together by astigmatics with paste jars for hands. The idea of making a “beautiful book” simply wasn’t a consideration when it came to reprinting comics until the turn of the millennium or thereabouts.