The Virtue of Revisitation

The latest Introspective Comic by Ryan Dow raises an interesting question, as shown by this panel.

Introspective Comics

It’s more developed in his author’s comments on the comic, which includes this:

I’ve been thinking a lot about the repetition of themes throughout these comics. It was something I used to be uncomfortable with. I was afraid that it might bore people. It seems the older I get, the more comfortable I am with repeating myself.

I don’t think that’s something to be afraid of at all. Returning to certain themes indicates that they’re important, and saying something new about a shared concept deepens the reader’s understanding. Revisiting a topic can also be a challenge, ringing changes on a particular subject and demonstrating a variety of perspectives.

After all, sometimes the same thing happens again in life, or you need to have a similar conversation with a different person or the same person in a different context. It’s realistic. What do you think? Do you enjoy seeing an artist try the same thing in different ways, or coming back to a concept months or years later?

2 Responses to “The Virtue of Revisitation”

  1. Ed Sizemore Says:

    I don’t mind a comic strip repeating themes as long as it’s not repeating jokes. Repeating a theme is a great way to bring depth and nuance to a comic. So I encourage Dow to keep exploring what what moves him most.

  2. Nick Says:

    In my opinion, a recurrent interest in particular themes or tropes is the mark of a significant artist. From Chris Ware to Grant Morrison, I see a lot of such calculated recurrence in comics (and in prose literature and cinema as well). When the big two trot out the same tired event or narrative twist again…and again…and again–well, that’s not so productive, is it? But it’s quite substantial when the individual creator struggles with an idea throughout their work. In the case of those who work under the corporate umbrella, like Morrison, it even provides the chance to put some kind of individual stamp on what can otherwise be assembly-line production.




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