Chapter 12: Comic art and the law in the international marketplace
There are three major schools of comic art primarily produced and distributed in the world – the American/British school, which has been the focus of most of this book; the Franco-Belgian school; and the Japanese school. While an extensive examination of the effect law has on the creative process in these latter two schools of comic art is well worth conducting, it is beyond the scope of this book. To do this subject justice would require an analysis of copyright, contract, tax and other laws in each of these regions – a fascinating study, but one which would likely triple the size of this work. Rather than ignore this subject however, this chapter is offered to identify a few of the key legal and business issues these schools of comic art give rise to. Comic art created in the Franco-Belgian model is called bande dessinée (literally ‘drawn strips’) and emerges from a very different context than the American/British school. A key difference is that this art was never offered primarily to an audience of children, and the subject matter was never viewed as primarily a vehicle for comedy and jokes. As a consequence, the American/British view that comic art is a lesser form of art that is oriented to an uncritical audience of children never has been shared in the Franco-Belgian context.
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