Comics Creators

Random comics-related things


A random comics question that just occurred to me (after reading an article on the new Green Lantern book): what do you as a reader understand by the phrase “European style”, as used to describe comics storytelling and art?

It’s one of those phrases that I see used to mean all sorts of different things, to the point where it has become a bit meaningless to me - other than to signify that something looks a bit different to a typical US superhero comic.

What does “European style” mean to you?


Generally “European style” is American (though I’ve heard UK creators use it as well) for Franco-Belgian or Bande Dessinee style comics. Things like 2000AD and Heavy Metal (which purposefully mimicked Metal Hurlant) could possibly be included as well.


That’s my understanding too, but within those there is so much variation in style that it doesn’t feel very descriptive as far as art or storytelling goes. Maybe it’s more meaningful as a description of format (albums etc.) than style.


That’s true but like American comics and Manga despite the diversity there are also some overall stylistic similarities.


I think it is a very nebulous thing. As Ronnie mentions 2000ad they were always famed for having no house style, Kev O’Neill or Mick McMahon’s exaggerated harsh angles are nothing like Dave Gibbons or Brian Bolland that are very realistic in their proportions. You get lushly painted Belgian-Franco work and then stuff like Tintin or Moebius that are poles apart.

I think the main difference is US comics always used a production line concept due to volume of work. There were never really any inkers in Euro comics and usually artists coloured their own work if needed. European comics either used an anthology or album concept to allow more time to be more of an auteur. That meant US comics had more of a ‘house style’ which has ebbed in and out of being true. You had the likes of Bill Sienkiewikz or Barry Windsor Smith that were quite different and then the Image founders but I still find the ‘house style’ reverts back from time to time. DC definitely had in most of the Nu52 books (but not all).


When I think of the “European style”, it’s more about the format of the product. They tend to be larger sized original graphic novels that come out every few years. As such, story pacing is different as it does not have to conform to the 20 to 22 page monthly format that can impact the story flow when collected into one volume.


Isn’t “European style” where you use your tongue instead of a closed mouth?


Thinking about it some more and in line with what I said I do think it generally represents more expressionistic artwork in general. If you look at something like the last run of Prophet from Image comics, that was described as ‘European’ even though most (maybe all, I haven’t checked each one) of the artists were American.


Like Manga, there has definitely been some bleed over the years. I would say as far back as Frank Miller’s Ronin there are some Franco-Belgian and Manga influences.


It can be two things!


Or is it where you hold the fork in your left and knife in your right hand to eat instead of switching between the two?


Sure and Miller used manga stylings before that in Daredevil but with his own twist. Barry Windsor-Smith of course was a Brit that moved to the US to work for Marvel and his stylings were quite different from the norm. More akin to the curved lines of Moebius.

Marvel for a long time had John Romita Sr as a template for how their comics should be drawn. In the mid to late 80s there was a bigger divergence from that, including his son who started much like that but with his first X-Men run started inserting a lot of contemporary fashion and has continued to be less conventional with every year.


Ligne Claire


Yeah but it’s not like she draws every book in Europe.


The fuck?


Eating “American style” usually involves (if you are right handed) holding the knife in your right hand and fork in your left hand to cut and then switching the fork to your right hand to put the bite in your mouth. I tend to eat European (looks like they call it Continental in the article below) style as it just seems more efficient.


Yeah. Are people really so inept with their off-hand that they have to go through the whole rigmarole of shuffling cutlery around to use their fork? I really don’t see the benefit of it.


It’s more what you’ve grown up with. From the article, it looks like it was the standard way everywhere and Europe switched after America had moved on to a different path. It’s really not that much of a hassle. It’s not like eating is about getting every bite to your mouth as quick as possible. I just don’t care for the rigmarole of picking up and putting down the knife.

I was mainly using it as a play on Dave’s original “European style” question. :wink:


I’m surprised at you, Ronnie. You’ve worked retail, you know that it clearly is.


Hahaha. I usually didn’t eat things that required cutting while in retail. Only slows you down. There’s also not always a knife handy and few things are shittier and more useless than a plastic knife. :wink:

Because of my time in retail, I also tend to eat too fast which leads to issues with hiccups and other things. So it would probably benefit me to slow down. It’s just hard to do.

I don’t think I’ve ever asked, are you in retail, Martin?