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When you think of comics, do you imagine a certain style of artwork? Not specific to just one artist, but perhaps in a more general way of drawing lines and shapes, or composing a page. But what if the comic isn’t a drawing at all?
Seth Kushner‘s limited-edition Force Field Fotocomix Vol. 1 forces readers to re-imagine the boundaries of comics with the use of photography to tell his story in place of illustration. Although photo-based comics have a long history in Europe, in America they’re rare. But if anyone can make photo-comics work in America, it’s Kushner. In my interview with Kushner last year, he admitted he continually fights a resistance to seeing photography comics as comics.
“It’s been tough to get an audience to accept them because I think there’s a stigma that they’re not ‘real’ comics,” he said. “By definition, comics are words and pictures that go together to tell a story. I don’t think it states anywhere in the rules the pictures have to be drawn. I’m working on getting people to see this type of storytelling as just another way of telling a story.”
Kushner is an up-and-coming editorial photographer whose work has been featured in everything from The New York Times to Time magazine, and recently The Hollywood Reporter used his photo of Jay Leno as its cover image. With the website Graphic NY and the recent book Leaping Tall Buildings: The Origins of American Comics, Kushner has become the preeminent portrait photographer for comics creators.
Force Field Fotocomics Vol. 1, with its print run of just 300, is an anthology of five short stories that features Kushner and a variety of co-writers, including Dean Haspiel. Some stories go straight to the comic genre sweet-spot of superheroes, while others go into horror, sci-fi and also straight-up autobio comics.