"Comics are complex thoughts and emotions expressed directly to the heart and the brain and the bloodstream.": Four more cartoonists tell us what is special about the form.


Paul B Rainey

"I like their dynamism and power and their subtlety and poetry. I like how you usually start reading in the top left-hand corner and what happens next can spill out from there. I like their rhythm. I like how they seem to know how the passage of time is perceived by the reader and I like how some creators play with slowing it down and speeding it up.

I like how comics can present the purity of a single vision and the majesty of the third mind, often greater than the sum of its parts, when creators collaborate. I like how physical comics, from the newspaper strip yellowing in a scrapbook to a doorstep-sized graphic novel that it hurts to lift, can be objects of beauty.

Comics aren't unmade films or illustrated novels. To me, comics are like my favourite music. Comics are complex thoughts and emotions expressed directly to the heart and the brain and the bloodstream. Comics are like dreams, untying tangled minds and equipping the reader for real life when they emerge.

Contrary to what you've been told, comics are the tool of the adequate and well-adjusted. But mainly, I like how comics fart in the room when you border on being too pretentious."

Regular Viz contributor Paul B Rainey has been making comics since the 1980s. If you haven't bought his new graphic novel There's No Time Like the Present (Escape Books, £18.99) we're very disappointed in you.

Sydney Padua

"Comics plug into some of the most basic stuff the human brain likes to pay attention to - body language, cause-and-effect, violence, stories, monsters … There's something very primal about comics. I'm an animator in my working life, and worse, a computer animator, so it's easy to get caught up in detail and technique and lose touch with that fundamental .... I don't want to say primitivism, but with the basics of what humans enjoy looking at. Many of my colleagues in hand-drawn animation draw comics after work, and I used to think they were off their rockers to go home and do more 'work'! But when I started my own, I got hooked myself - after animation, drawing comics is incredibly liberating. You only have to hit the most fun pose and you don't have to worry about follow-through or hook-ups and you can fudge all the perspective! The best comics for me feel like that liberation, where you feel the artist is expressing themselves with total freedom."

Sydney Padua popped in last week to answer Five Questions about her very fine new graphic novel The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage (Particular Books, £16.99). So while she was in the vicinity we thought we'd get her thoughts on the form itself.

Sandra Marrs, Metaphrog

"I love comics because they're an incredibly dynamic and youthful artform that is close to so many others: literature and painting, but also cinema, for its use of framing, angles and other visual storytelling devices, and music, for its use of rhythm. It's all of those combined while being an artform in its own right (in France, they call it the ninth art). I started reading comics as a kid with series like Tintin, and then fell in love with them all over again as a teenager in France, discovering the works of Enki Bilal, Jacques Tardi, Moebius, Benoit Peeters and François Schuiten. Then, coming over to Britain, finding out about Love and Rockets, Daniel Clowes, Alan Moore, Charles Burns… That's what made me want to make comics."

John Chalmers, Metaphrog

"I love comics for their endless possibilities - they are simple and complicated at the same time and with just words and pictures they create unique, complex worlds in space and time. As a kid I always read the comics in newspapers and was lucky enough to have a few collections of Peanuts as well as a handful of Tintin books that I kept finding myself going back to and re-reading. My parents got Oor Wullie or the Broons as an annual present for me too which was brilliant. I didn't realise then that I was reading reprinted strips by Dudley D. Watkins. As a teenager I discovered underground comics and fanzines. Along with music, literature, film and art they have been a constant source of input and inspiration."

Sandra Marrs and John Chalmers make comics together as Metaphrog. Authors of the award-nominated Louis graphic novels, their new book The Red Shoes and Other Tales will be published by Papercutz in October.