Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Three Rules: Christopher's first post

A few weeks ago, I started a blog called Ink & Drink. It was my own platform for pontificating on two of my favorite things: comics and beer. It was wildly successful. Okay, okay, perhaps three people know of its existence. One of those people is Brian Cronin. Brian and I are co-mods of the Image board at the CBR Forums. That's how we know each other. (Brian is also, at last count, the moderator on 17 other CBR boards.) So, sometime recently, Brian lifted up a large rock and discovered my blog. He picked it up, dusted it off, blew on it, passed it through his rock polisher, and sent me an e-mail that said, "Really, if you're going to do a comic book blog, you might as well do it on Comics Should Be Good." So, here I am. Not that I'm totally turning my back on my little piece of Internet real estate. I'll probably re-tool it a little. I don't think Brian had beer news in mind when he invited me here. He had comics in mind. Comics!

I've got three rules about comics. They're personal rules. I don't enforce them on others. I couldn't if I wanted to. But, hopefully, you'll agree that they're good rules. Here they are.

Rule #1: Comics are for reading.

This seems obvious, I know. I like to think that we've heaved our collective mass out of the sludge of speculation and gotten back to our "reading comics for fun" roots. I know there are a few die-hards out there hoping to get rich off of stockpiled Death of Supermans and variant covers. If they still have that mentality, let 'em be. They're lost souls. Unredemptive. No, most of us woke up and smelled the coffee. Comics can be fun. Enlightening. Comics should be good!

Rule #2: Don't reward mediocrity.

We're all capable of backsliding -- buying a comic because we don't want to break up a lengthy run. Buying by rote. Reading from sheer habit. I like something I recently read at Jason Richards' Comic Riot! blog. He said, "If you’ve been looking forward to it, buy it. If you want it just to have it, skip it."

Some comics readers' intents are noble. They say that a comic may not be stellar but they're buying it to support someone or something. That really shouldn't matter if the book sucks. Marvel Hack Writer X doesn't deserve that support. If you stop buying his work, Marvel will, presumably, can his ass and replace him with someone who does understand dialogue and narrative devices and plot and symbolism. Don't buy a book to "support Marvel/DC." Don't buy a book to "support a creator." Don't buy a book to "support the Indie press." They're on their own. Don't reward mediocrity.

Buy a book because it's good.

Rule #3: Read what you like.

You can't swing a cat without hitting an Internet comics review site nowadays. Heck, we do our share of that around here. There's nothing wrong with it. But some folks buy a comic series because other people say they should, not because they actually like it. Maybe they want to look fancy. "Oh, look at me. I'm an intellectual. I read [insert Top Shelf or Fantagraphics title here]." Maybe they want what passes for popularity among superhero fanboys. "Yeah. I read all the X-Men books and can regurgitate mutant comic history until my eyes bleed."

Horse shit. Do you like that stuff? If you do, then swell. And it's okay to try something that somebody else likes. That's even advisable. But if you don't really like it and read it on a regular basis because somebody else says you should? Don't. Read what you like. Maybe it's the Flash. Maybe it's old romance comics. Maybe it's Disney duck comics. Maybe it's small press b&w stuff. I don't care. But read it because it's what you like.

Hi, I'm Christopher. How do you like me so far?

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Blogger consise10 said...

Yep all points you`ve made are quite valid.
Thanks for the light entertainment,Ive enjoyed reading your Blog

6/22/2005 12:12:00 AM  
Blogger Ginny Chapman said...

Comics are magic. I agree with you...

6/22/2005 06:16:00 PM  
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