An introduction is in order
Hello and welcome to Panels and Pixels! If all goes according to plan, this blog will serve as a warehouse for my reviews, critiques and other minor thoughts on two of my current obsessions, comics and video games.
A quick bit about me: I am a copy/layout/books page editor for the Patriot-News, a daily paper based in Harrisburg, Pa. In addition to my various duties, I regularly review video games for the Arts & Leisure section. I also review comics for the books page, though on a less regular basis. In addition, my stuff occasionally crops up in The Comics Journal.
One of the goals of this site is to get some of the stuff I write for the paper out to a wider audience (my ego being insatiable), so you'll see a number of P-N approved articles appear here, a week or so after they run in print.
In addition, I hope to offer news and opinions on other noteworthy aspects of these two art forms -- the kind of stuff that wouldn't cut it in a daily rag. When warranted, I'd also like to examine places where games and comics intersect in our culture. For example, I hope to be taking a look at the various comics being designed for the PlayStation Portable console in the near future.
Why comics and video games? Why not just focus on one instead of both? Well, other than the fact the two are mainly what I'm writing about these days, I do see enough similarities between the two cultures to justify this blog.
- Both industries cater strongly to the young male, age 19-35 crowd, usually to the detriment of anyone who doesn't fit that demographic.
- Both are struggling to be accepted by the outside public as art forms in their own right instead of mindless, escapist entertainment. That attitude is slowly changing with comics these days, but games still have an uphill climb.
- Both have been under serious attack from various "well-meaning" parental figures, both in and out of the local and federal government, who seek to censor material deemed harmful to children. What the Kefauver hearings in the 1950s were to comics, the Hot Coffee Scandal is to video games today.
- Both tend to take a rather sexist, sophomoric attitude towards women.
- Both industries are dominated by a fannish press that tends to favor overblown hype and regurgitating press releases over thoughtful criticism and insightful journalism. Except, of course, on the Internet.
- Many comic fans like to play video games too.
God, that's a rather negative list. Of course, I'm generalizing wildly here. There are a continually growing number of people who crave intelligent, engaging comics and games. Unfortunately, that doesn't change the general public's perception that such materials are for emotionally stunted college boys. Hopefully, this blog will in some small way help to do away with such preconceptions. And maybe even challenge some of my own preconceptions too.