Written by By M.I. Siebold, CNN
The earliest American comics depicted a proudly pagan, “dumbwaiter kind of place, but it had somehow managed to survive,” Carl Barks, creator of the iconic hero the Popeye newspaper strip, says.
The world that made this possible — and inspired Barks — was the Mennonite community that funded and helped create a World War I propaganda comic strip, The Thin Man , which in turn fed into Barks’ imagination about the influential contemporary Protestant church.
Barks also drew inspiration from the local dentist, with whom he worked in Mennonite Philadelphia. He notes that such an interracial friendship is unheard of in comic books today.
Barks’ story lines are no longer what they were in Barks’ heyday: tablets of epic proportions of heroism, wit and love.
These days, today’s comic book creators — along with the American public — are thoroughly familiar with the Marvel, DC and Dark Horse universes.
The 1960s ‘Mad’ comics exploded in popularity. Credit: UNITED DISTRIBUTIONS/HARPER LAKE PUBLICITY/Invision/AP
New Ways of Producing Comics
With this in mind, a California-based start-up has launched the “Juice ” comic book project, an idea that sounds worlds away from traditional comic book lines.
You see, the company produced comic books long ago, using computer graphics, live action photography and stop-motion photography.
In addition to some short stories, Juice comics are being aimed at the general public. The comics come in a variety of formats, making them suitable for your shower, bath or bedroom, in addition to regular comic book store purchases.
The comics were co-created by Dwayne McDuffie, a movie director and producer, and Al Barrios, a 38-year-old illustrator.
The juice generation Credit: Juice
“Juice comics are a product that I know consumers will find engaging,” says McDuffie, “because people are still speaking. Nobody’s really figured out how to take this form of storytelling and make it a result.
Juice comics are the marketing term for contemporary stories by artists that are either not receiving theatrical distribution or have never been made into films.