Oh, To Feel Young Again
Remember when you were a kid and you first read comics? Remember that feeling? Remember when you weren’t thinking in terms of dialogue and plot and theme? Remember when it was story and action and fun? Remember when you just wanted to BE the characters you were reading about?
One of the sucky bits about getting older is that we tend to stop having that same level of out-and-out fun with stuff. We find ways to justify our love. We talk about comics that are “good” and “bad”. For the most part “good” equals “something I like” and “bad” equates with “something I don’t like”. But we can’t just say that, we feel some need to justify it- so we come up with convoluted explanations and try and find others to back us up on our opinions. We pseudo-intellectualize.
And that’s cool. Being an adult isn’t horrific, and learning to re-appreciate things in a more “mature” manner is pretty neat.
Don’t you love those moments when you’re just knocked out of all that happy horseshit and you just groove on a book like you did when you were a kid?
I’m currently grooving on two books like that. Livewires and Young Avengers. These are the two comics I actually check the release dates on. They’re also the two comics I actively try and avoid spoilers for. I have big love for these two books because when I’m reading them (and re-reading them and re-r-e-reading them) I feel like I did when I was a kid.
Livewires is about some kick-ass mecha on a secret mission to destroy secret government projects. The mecha are funny, sexy, silly and stoic by turns. The stories are over the top and hyper-silly and totally wonderful. Adam Warren, the mad wicked guru of the American version of The Dirty Pair, is a writer who writes fun very well. Most everything he does brings a smile to my face and Livewires is no exception.
Young Avengers was an impulse purchase. I like Jim Cheung’s art a lot- kinda a cross between Travis Charest and Chris Bachalo- and every now and then I dip into the Avengers again. So it seemed like a nice little purchase. First issue hooked me big time. Subsequent issues have gotten even better. I’m a sucker for teen superheroes and Young Avengers is shaping up to be pretty darn cool teen superheroes. It gives me the same feel that The New Teen Titans and Legion of Superheroes did back in late 70s and early 80s- that kind of fun adventure crossed with nice character interaction thing.
There are so many things I love about these books. The possibly gay Hulkling and Asgardian, Young Kang trying not to be evil, Stem Cell’s crush on Hollowpoint Ninja, Social Butterfly’s silliness, Patriot and Kate’s obvious attraction, the upcoming big smackdown with older Kang, the failed Sentinel test….so many things that make me smile and keep me reading.
There’s nothing about these books that is deep or thematic or adult. They’re nothing but massive jolts of fun. I find myself wishing I was as cool as the characters- that I had the cool ass mecha abilities, that I could multitask like Cornfed, that I could go back in time and be a teenage superhero.
These books came along at the right time for me. I’ve been feeling a slow burnout on comics. Watching Marvel retcon everything that was cool about Morrison’s run on New X-men and ruin the tone of the X-Canon completely has been a bummer. Watching every comic become “decompressed” while most stories need compressing desperately works my nerves. Seeing writers I love churning out work just to have work out depresses me. Watching the endless retcons and recastings that result in books that look different but are fundamentally the same irks me. And the ham-handed seriousness of some of the indy fare just makes me sigh.
So it’s a good thing, no a GREAT thing, that books like Livewires and Young Avengers come along and remind me that you can love comics. And that it is okay to love comics without having to justify the love.
Now if you’ll excuse me I think I’m gonna go spend some time thinking about whether or not Gothic Lolita could whup all the Young Avengers on her own.