On AI Comics

Well, it’s been coming and it’s finally here. The AI bros are now insisting that the ai content mills can make comics.

Imagine a blender where you can churn every single piece of art until it’s a sort of unrecognisable mush, and then you say “Give me some batman” and it reconstitute a batman from that mush, pulling out the most batman bits it can find. If it’s pulled in enough batman artists you’ll maybe struggle to recognise where bits of this new frankenstiened batman drawing have come from, but if you’re any sort of comic fan you’ll look at it and go “ah! it’s clearly Mike Allred Batman from Batman ’66”

You know what you can’t do with something like that? Get a Kelly Jones batman, unless they’ve already mushed up enough Kelly Jones art. Or Mignola batman unless you’ve similarly ripped every Mignola batman drawing you can find. In fact, the thing hasn’t got an original cell in its body. But man it can imitate and flatten and deaden almost anything.

And of course, a lot of what comics is is what’s NOT there. White space, the panel gutter, the writers and artists intent leaving space for the reader to interpret. But no interpretation required in these the dead spaces.

To be honest, I have much more respect for someone who photocopies the same comic art to produce new work, because that is truly transformative and done with intent. (Tracers are still rotten)

The biggest danger with this stuff is it it totally destroys a generation of kids wanting to do comics, misdirected to think this stuff can do it, it will rob them of their voice and any future career. It’s slop and we can all do better.

Will it get better? No doubt, the dataset will expand. The prompt stuff will get smarter, maybe even the ability to keep consistent within a single comic strip will happen (right now you’ll have an Allred Batman for one panel then a Bolland batman for another) but it will never be able to create something from whole cloth, it will never suddenly become the next hot artist, it will never be anything but shitty zombie art.


I’ve no time to do inktober this year – too busy and, if I’m totally honest, the thought of putting art up on twitter for it later to be grabbed by the content mills and churned into unrecognisable pap for it to be later extruded into a plagiarism patty with no nutritional value isn’t grabbing me, so, for a laugh I jokingly suggested everyone do a blogtober. Let’s get back to blogging. Let’s forget the mini thoughts of twitter where immediacy is all that matters, where, somehow the pushback against ai “comic art” has meant that the ai “comic art” is being seen by more people than real art is and where you can never truly give yourself time to think – let’s try and roll it back to when blogging ruled supreme (hah, I kid, that won’t happen, but still, it’s a nice thought). Anyway, I’ll still be posting on twitter and bluesky (and maybe mastodon) but I will also be trying to blog through the month. Let’s see when I lose track… I give it three days.