Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Newsflash: Alex Likes DC Comics, and Other Things I Learned Today

Lately, I haven't had much time to do much of anything that isn't work or work-related. So, yesterday when I managed to block out a couple of hours in the afternoon to devote solely to reading comic books, I was like a little kid again. It really was a great, old fashioned summer afternoon--me, my comics, and nothing but free time.

And there might have been a bowl of chocolate ice cream.

I have to say, I'm going to try and make a point of it to spend more afternoons doing nothing but reading comics, because the mountain of material that I need to get around to reading is pretty embarrassing at this point. "The Stack," as I like to call it, actually had to be divided into two separate Stacks, to avoid catastrophe.

In The Stack(s) were successive issues of many series, like Dark Avengers and Ms. Marvel and Buffy. There was even a Goon issue that I hadn't yet read.

I know. Someone check my pulse.

It was kinda cool to read issues 42 and 43 of a series in one sitting, and having a seemingly never-ending pile of books to read made the experience all the more fun. Knowing that there was just no way I could get through everything in a couple of hours, it was nice to just sit and read and never have to worry about running out of words and pictures.

But I will say this. When you're as far behind on books as I am, avoiding spoilers online (or in the comics shop, or in the newspapers) is pretty tough to do.

I always hear creators talk about how the element of surprise in comics is something that we'll never get back, due to the up-to-the-second nature of fan sites, and comics news sites, and message boards, and Twitter.

But I have to say, I was so completely unplugged from the world of comics over the past few weeks that it was just really refreshing to sit down with books I hadn't even looked at in almost three months.

And I just read the stories, and looked at the pictures, and never at any point did I think, "Geez, I wonder why that guy on the Newsarama forum hated this so much," or "Wait, why was everyone so mad at the way this book ended?"

Having the disconnect from the Internet fan community was, I'd imagine, very similar to reading comics before the early-to-mid-1990s.

"Holy cow, Jean Grey is dead!"

Or, "Oh, my goodness, Ozymandius was the bad guy all along!"

[Um... Spoiler alert? --Ed.]

And the funny thing is, I never make it a priority to check the news sites, for fear that something might get spoiled. But, especially over the last couple of years, it seems like all you need be is on the Internet to have something spoiled.

I honestly don't know how publishers (or movie studios, for that matter) keep anything secret from the fans. It seems to me that, if you really wanted to know how DC's Blackest Night ends, brew yourself up a pot of coffee, and start surfing the Web.

Eventually, I'm sure, someone, somewhere, will have figured it out.

Not exactly a revelatory statement that the Internet spoils story lines, but still. It was just very refreshing to read the books as books, without any publisher hype, aside from maybe a promotional blurb in Previews.

And speaking of Blackest Night, in my Stack(s) there was a huge chunk of unread DC books. Not that I buy all that many DC books, mind you, but it was just that these were DC books I had purchased and let sit for three months or so.

And I don't mean DC as in, Vertigo. Because I LOVE Vertigo, and I feel that, especially recently, that imprint is returning to its former glories with books such as Madame Xanadu, House of Mystery, and Greek Street.

No, what I'm talking about here are mainstream, in-continuity DC Universe titles. And I enjoyed them all, and I especially liked Red Robin, a book that follows former Robin Tim Drake in the wake of Bruce Wayne's death. Now, as I've mentioned previously, I just don't...get...the whole "let's kill Batman thing."

But Red Robin deals with the issue in a mature, thoughtful way, and I highly recommend checking the series out.

With that, I have to run. Time to get back to work. But I'll be back tomorrow with another installment of the always riveting, and ever popular Waiting for Wednesday. See you then!

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