Thursday, September 11, 2008

A Longwinded Comics Diatribe

As you know by now, I’m a full-fledged comics dork, a tried-and-true Wednesday trooper, and as such, I have developed a great affection for the medium. Having said that, as a comics person, my only real contact with other comics people comes most often at my LCS (local comics shop). And, to be incredibly blunt, I usually walk out wanting to punch at least three different people each and every Wednesday.

And it’s not even the comics-typical, "Who's Stronger, Hulk or Thing?"-type arguments at the shop that get me riled up. Those are kinda cool and nerdy and completely an escapist fantasy during lunch hour from a job that’s likely soul-sucking and evil.

And I get that. And I appreciate that. And I can live with that. What I can’t stand—and I mean, I really, really can’t stand—are the gamers! (Is he joking? Yes, of course he’s joking! We love gamers here!)

No, no, what I truly can’t stand are the fanboys who rave and rant and go into longwinded diatribes about what (Insert Comics Company Name Here) should be doing. And how, if (Comics-Typical Fanboy A) were the (writer/editor/Grand Poohbah of Poohsville) at that company, he would fire everyone and change everything.

Yeah, that’ll work. Fantastic business model. Fire everyone, burn everything. That’s how real businesses do their work and make their profits, and don’t go out of business immediately.

If you don’t agree with the direction of a book, don’t buy the stupid thing. If you don’t like the art because the artist “can’t draw,” well, then, draw your own comic or don’t buy the book drawn by the guy who “can’t draw.” But don’t say everything sucks, and if you were in charge, everything wouldn’t suck. Because it most definitely would.

Suck, that is.

What we can do, and should do as responsible fanpeople, is intelligently and openly discuss why we like and dislike certain books. For example, I just can’t seem to be able to get into a lot of what DC Comics is doing right now. I feel like the world is too far-reaching and complex for me to pick up any book off the rack and follow it and enjoy it.

Now, I’ve only been reading comics for a few years mind you, so I’m not terribly familiar with some of the more obscure characters and back stories that tend to pop up in the DC Universe (or, as us cool kids call it, the DCU). So, do I get on a soap box and scream that Dan Didio (DC’s Editor in Chief) must be fired? Do I rant about how DC should completely change course because I’m not 100% into everything they do?


Because that would be stupid and crazy...and kinda mean, actually. Dan Didio seems like a very nice person. I’m just not into a lot of the books that his company is putting out right now. So, instead of following every single Final Crisis tie-in, I read what I enjoy. (And for those not familiar with the current comics landscape, Final Crisis is a mini-series that is the main event in the DC Universe right now, and it’s written by the incredibly talented Grant Morrison)

So, instead of following that huge cross over, I read other, non-crossover-y stuff. I love All Star Superman, and All Star Batman (I know, I know. It’s not “our” Batman, right? Forget that. It’s an entertaining story and Jim Lee’s art is incredible).

I’m really into the new House of Mystery series over in the Vertigo line, and I am happily (if, at times a bit confusedly) following Grant Morrison’s Batman RIP. Paul Dini’s (of Batman: The Animated Series fame) Detective Comics run has been stellar, and Steve Niles’ (writer and co-creator of 30 Days of Night) underappreciated Simon Dark needs some serious fan lovin’.

So what if Final Crisis doesn’t do it for me? DC is still putting out some pretty cool books.

And that’s the point I’m trying to make. Just because you don’t like something a publisher produces doesn’t mean you should hate the publisher, or stop reading other books by that publisher. I get that it can be frustrating sometimes to walk into the LCS and not see anything from the Big Two (Marvel and DC) that strikes your fancy. It’s happened to me many times.

Actually, the very first time it happened, I force-fed myself a small pile of books that I just wasn’t into, for the simple reason that I didn’t want to come away empty handed. And I told myself that I’d never do it again. So, the next time I walked into the shop and didn’t see any new releases by the Big Two that I was into, I checked out some of the Indies (that’s “Independent Comics,” kiddies).

And tomorrow, I'll post my thoughts on some of the Indies that I love. Oh, and I'll also go through a few of my favorite Grant Morrison books, since this post seems to bash him a bit. (Really, though, I'm a big Morrison fan!)

1 comment:

GarHoch said...

No matter what I think of their decisions of creative teams and character changes both Didio and Quesada have some serious stones. Neither has taken the "safe" route and I admire them for that. That said, if I were in charge I'd fire everybody...except Geoff Johns...and Paul Dini... and Dan Slott...and Matt Fraction and... Kurt Busiek...and Greg Rucka...and Ed Brubaker...and Peter Tomasi...[point made]