Hi. I’m Ally. I have a Comic Book Problem.
This is where you say, “Hi Ally.”
Comics are big business right now and rightly so since they rock. Comics make Wednesday, commonly know as pizza night even better. Now it’s comic-pizza night. The hyphen makes all the difference.
Currently, here’s what I’m reading – in alphabetical order cause I’m just that organized:
Alabaster: Wolves, Amazing Spiderman, American Vampire, Animal Man Aqua Man, Avengers, Avengers vs X-men, AvX, Batman, Batman: The Dark Knight, Batman: Detective Comics, Batman Incorporated, Batman and Robin, Batgirl, Batwing, Captain America, Captain Marvel, Catwoman, Fatale, First X-Men, Green Lantern, Green Lantern Corps, Hawkeye, I Vampire, Incredible Hulk, Invincible Iron Man, Justice League Dark, Mixtape, NightWing, Saga, Superman, Swamp Thing, Ultimate Spiderman, Uncanny X-men, Winter Soldier, Wolverine, Wolverine and the X-men…
That’s nearly 40 comics and I’m pretty sure I’m missing some. That doesn’t even count the list of comics that I had been reading but no longer am for a variety of reason. Now I know lots of people have way heavier lists and they scoff at my puny 40 comic list but I think it’s safe to say that if it’s not Large, I’m at least tipping the scale past Medium. Clearly stretch pants are in order.
So here’s what I love about comics since, you know, no one asked.
I love the art – when comic art is done well it’s phenomenal. When Batwing first started all the panels were watercolor. It was beautiful. I would love to put a picture up here but I fear being sued by DC. I just recently read some chicks blog post about how she posted some dude’s image and even though she linked back to the source, he sent her a cease and desist letter and so she took it down immediately and he still sued her. I don’t need to be sued by DC just cause I love amazing art.
Okay just one picture – please note DC peoples – I took the picture, I bought the comic and really, I’m bragging up your kid here so don’t take the $12.40 I got in the bank, okay?
So I was thinking about the bad rap comics can get. Don’t get me wrong – they’re nerd chic and cool when they’re made into movies but the overriding theory seems to be that they aren’t anything that anyone should take too seriously. They aren’t real books and only those people (read: Simpson’s Comic Book Guy) take them too seriously. Like all comic readers spend the rest of their time learning Elvish or Klingon. And trust me, I’ve been to the conventions and that’s only like 80% of us. Tops.
So Lev Grossman wrote this piece for time not too long ago about Genre Fiction vs Literary Fiction and it got me thinking that a lot of what he says about Genre Fiction could really apply to comics as a medium. He was talking about how people think because Genre Fiction is saddled with convention it’s “easier” to write than Literary fiction. As you know comics are full of conventions. All you really need are Bad guys/villians, good guys/heroes and a universe on the brink of destruction and you got the basic gist of it. The literary people like to say that conventions takes all the work out of creation. Lev says this:
The plots in genre novels are of a different kind, after all, constrained as they are by conventions. But conventions aren’t the iron cage they’re made out to be. Sonnets are bound by conventions too, but that doesn’t stop them from being great, and wildly various. Conventions are more like the rules of chess: a small set of constraints that produces near-infinite complexity. They’re not restrictive, they’re generative. And they flop both ways: genre fiction transgresses its conventions more frequently… Watchmen violates almost every convention of superhero comics that there is, but it never ceases to be a superhero comic — in fact it’s one of the greatest superhero comics ever written.
See that? Lev mentioned comics and I was talking about comics. Can I go work for Time now?
The other thing I love about comics is the writing, which is really good. Like really really really good. Have you read anything by Scott Snyder since the new 52 DC reboot? Cause if you think Nolan knows Batman, then you gotta read what Snyder’s been doing with the Court of Owls. Mind-Blown. Kaboom.
And it’s not just Synder – there are so many good writers out there – Judd Winick, Brian Michael Bendis, Jeff Lemire, Ed Brubaker, Jason Aaron, Jeph Loeb, Gail Simone, Garth Ennis, Joe Hill, Geoff Johns, Mike Mignola, Mark Millar, Brian Vaughan, Neil Gaiman… This list is just gonna keep getting longer but you get my point.
I didn’t really read comics when I was a kid – sure I picked up the occasional Archie but that was about it. Then in graduation school, stressed out of my brain between full-time school and full-time work I came across the Sandman. Yes THAT Sandman. That was it for me. I was hooked.
After that I found Warren Ellis and Ben Templesmith at the same time in the Ellis-Templesmith-Peanut Butter-Jelly sandwich of awesome that was Fell. I loved Fell. Fell was amazing. And then Fell broke my heart by just sort of stopping.
Fell led me to Transmetropolitan and Freak Angels which you can read here, for FREE all 140 some odd issues. Go do it. Now. Stop reading my stupid blog and go read that. You’ll thank me for it.
Alright enough – I gotta go. I got stack of comics here I need to get into, including the whole Swamp Thing/Animal Man combo that is ROTWORLD (god that just sounds so cool) so I best be going.