Athens comic artist discusses problems with mainstream comics, digitalization

By Hannah Ticoras

At Sandy Plunkett’s Q&A session at the Kennedy Art Museum last Wednesday, the relevancy of technology in art was prevalent in conversation.

Plunkett began by responding to the usual questioning on form and method, for which he gave the audience all of the secrets of cartooning — if anyone was as near as talented as he. Plunkett explained that he still uses pen nibs and ink to draw his fantastical creatures, but he has trouble finding a company to supply them anymore.

From that harrowing image of an artist with nowhere to buy pens, one woman asked how Plunkett is grappling with the Internet age, specifically dealing with the mainstream depiction of superheroes in movies like The Avengers and Christopher Nolan’s Batman series. Smiling and looking down at his hands, Plunkett said he understood the necessity for these projects, though he has a certain distaste for Marvel and DC.

“The way those companies publish comics is by releasing tons and tons of content without any backstory for the characters,” Plunkett explained. “It’s very alienating for anyone who wants to jump into a series.”

Plunkett’s solution to the Marvel/DC problem is to allow major and minor publishing houses access to the Marvel/DC universe. “They do it better,” Plunkett said. “Longer books, better writing. They just do it better.”

With all of the talk about publishing, Plunkett took the time to express his vision of the future: a time with no paper. With the same understanding he has toward mainstream superhero movies, Plunkett talked about the burgeoning field of eBooks. He feels that they help in literacy efforts, as well as allowing accessibility to an art that some people take for granted.

However, he still remains baffled. “If someone told me I was going to be able to watch a movie on something the size of a piece of bread,” Plunkett joked, “I would’ve laughed in their face. But it happened, and it continues to happen.”

Plunkett stands as an image of a bygone era, but he won’t be forgotten any time soon. Not because of his views on technology, but because of his social justice initiatives. Plunkett illustrates and writes the comics for the Athens News, and he was lauded by several members of the Q&A audience for his depictions of global warming. “I love illustrating for the A-News,” Sandy said, “But my full comics have humanistic views as well – they are a part of me, after all.”


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