I’ve been lurking around some big comic book shops recently. As ever, the sheer diversity of the graphic novel section is always slightly overwhelming, but it’s this diversity which holds such interesting possibilities for a subject like archaeology. The comics I have produced to date have been informational and I’ve used a Tintin-esque ligne claire style which suits the kind of storytelling I’m doing. But – as any browse through a big comic shop will demonstrate – this isn’t the only way of doing a comic, not even an archaeological one.
As comics in archaeology matures and develops into a distinct genre, I really hope new artists and writers embrace this idea of diversity, and bring with them all that comics have to offer – not be constrained by graphic or narrative “appropriateness”. Diversity of style and approach might be the key to archaeological comics becoming a distinct genre in the first place. Perhaps then when people think of “comics”, they’ll think of robots and time-travellers, superheroes and anti-heroes, god and monsters – and archaeologists.
If I were to make a comics and archaeology resolution this New Year, maybe it should be to try and explore this diversity of style and approach – to writing, to art, to production, to distribution – a bit more. Happy 2016!