Once [considered a lesser art form] [limited to superheroes and lasers], today’s comic books [are evolving into a bona-fide literary form] [are tackling personal stories in addition to superheroes] [are becoming more ambitious than their orignators].
[NOTE TO JOURNALIST: Insert quote here from major comic book source to justify lede. Source can be Daniel Clowes, Art Spiegelman, Chris Ware, Alex Robinson or Marjane Satrapi. It is important that you get a quote so that our septuagenarian readers know that you’ve done the legwork.]
Comic books (use at least two of following) [are being taught in today’s classrooms] [are selling ___ copies (insert sales figure of your choice that you feel best reflect economic boom)] [are being compared against Ulysses (MANDATORY COMPARISON)] [appeal to the young at heart] [are a sexy alternative to the novel].
Comic books are more than just Superman and Batman. [NOTE TO JOURNALIST: Avoid esoteric superhero references here. Stick with the big guns.]
[Frank Miller reinvented the form with The Dark Knight Returns.]
[Art Spiegelman tapped into personal experience for Maus.]
[Chris Ware has now transposed his talents to The New York Times.]
I guess it’s safe to say that comic books aren’t just for teenagers anymore. They just might be [categorized as literature] [be more than a guilty pleasure] too!
I followed the link from the Beat. This is funny — especially since I’ve written a few articles that likely fit this format.
The thing to remember is that this boilerplate is funny to comics fans because we would tend to read a lot of articles like this, eager to read mainstream articles about the industry we love.
But when newspaper writers in Des Moines, Chicago, Florida or Texas write such a story, they may think they’re being unique or onto something new — or, at least, introducing readers to something that might be new to them.
It’s when you look at all those articles from various publications at once that you see the boilerplate format. It’s true of a lot of “trend stories.”
“Brilliant!” only just scratches the surface of this article, and yes, I have not only read it before (on numerous occasions), but also have written it once or twice (in my defense, I wrote not only it several years ago, but truth to tell, this is the way main-stream, non-comics readers want to read this type of article).
This post plays into what I have complained for years about what the biggest problem I have had for years with mainstream press’ coverage of comics is that there are essentially two articles that are written:
1) “Holy cash-flow, Batman! Comics are worth big bucks!”
2) “Pow! Bam! Zap! Comics are not for little kids anymore!
Thanks you for codifying this for the rest of us so the article(s) no longer need to be written.