Ask A Comic-Book Editor

Bunting: Well, it used to be that it was, like, Kevin Smith. Who was an outlier.

Nybakken: Exactly.

Bunting: And maybe one other guy. Do you think that there's a difference in how people in the [comics] industry watch these shows? I know that for us, we watch TV a little bit differently than maybe "civilians" do, we're a little too critical, so do you think that when someone who is really into Superman canon is watching Smallville, that it's hard to just enjoy it just as show?

Nybakken: I think there's definitely some of that -- for me personally, this is actually the reason why I don't watch Heroes, because...the one episode I watched, every single line a character uttered was, to me, a cliché because I'd heard it a hundred times in different comics, and it just wasn't interesting to me. But I think my reaction was probably more extreme; a lot of the people in the comics industry I'm sure recognize that these are clichés as well, but they enjoy them, so they don't mind as much.

Bunting: Do you think there's a difference...I don't know really what I'm trying to ask here, but it's sort of about clichés working in the various mediums differently? Do you think that, like, an actual physical comic -- do you think that people who are sort of regular readers of comics would be a little more attuned to clichés [in] the visual, like the actual panels and turning the pages, that it's part of the experience that there are certain archetypal clichés that can work better in an actual comic than on TV, or --

Nybakken: I do think that is the case --

Bunting: That was such a garbage question, I'm sorry.

Nybakken: No, that's basically my reaction, when I see these clichés in an actual comic, they're almost invisible, because it's part of, it's such a part of the history that you read them like, "Oh yes, and then this and then this," but it becomes more jarring when you have real live actors, like, speaking these lines.

Bunting: Yeah, and there were a couple -- [to Manu] did you see last night's Heroes ["The Kindness Of Strangers"]?

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