Comic Art, Creativity and the Law

Comic Art, Creativity and the Law

Elgar Law and Entrepreneurship series

Marc H. Greenberg

The creation of works of comic art, including graphic novels, comic books, cartoons and comic strips, and political cartoons, is affected, and at times limited, by a diverse array of laws, ranging from copyright law to free speech laws. This book examines how this intersection affects the creative process, and proposes approaches that encourage, rather than limit, that process in the comic art genre. Attention to the role comic art occupies in popular culture, and how the law responds to that role, is also analyzed.

Chapter 13: Comic art, law and the digital revolution

Marc H. Greenberg

Subjects: law - academic, information and media law, intellectual property law


The digital revolution, launched at the end of the 20th century, and roaring ahead full force in these early years of the 21st century, has had a profound impact on the creative process for comic art, as well as the legal doctrine that affects that process. For writers, the ability to use word processing programs, and to store vast amounts of data, allows for a much easier writing process. The same computer that is used to write a story can also be used as a research tool to find material needed for the story, and to store and easily access back issues of a comic book, so that maintaining story and character continuity can be done with relative ease. For the graphic illustration team, while the book panels and splash pages are still usually drawn by hand, some artists use cut and paste options to do their drawings, or to paste hand-drawn characters or backgrounds onto digital pages to speed up and streamline the illustration process. Inking, coloring and lettering are now almost entirely done on the computer, making use of a near-infinite selection of fonts and stock graphics. While some people bemoan the loss of the purely hand-drawn, inked, colored and lettered books of the past, most fans enjoy the much more richly illustrated books these new technologies allow. Even more significant than these changes in the creative process is the change in the manner in which contemporary comics are delivered to readers and collectors.

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