Tuesday, July 12, 2005

On War, Surrender, and Disappointment. There Will Be Some Reviews, Too.

It's been quite awhile since I've posted. In my absence, we've had war declared on us by an erstwhile co-founder of the blog, quickly surrendered and lost a contributor in one fell swoop, and been deluged by an interrupted string of posts by Brian Cronin. For that, I apologize. I will forever bear the burden of guilt that these events transpired and I did nothing to stop them.

Had I been here, things would have... well, not different at all, really. For one thing, I was hoping we'd be the Swiss of comics blogs and avoid as much conflict as possible. I'm a pussy, in other words. And Cronin's a machine. Literally. He's some sort of cheery android programmed to provide content and judge the lameness of a given product. I'm sure of it. Maybe Paul would have mentioned me in his last post, but let's face it, as far as my impact on the outcome of events goes, I'm no purple left boot.

So, ignoring my gross inadequacy to stop war from ravaging this fair blog, what else has been going on with me? Well, I've been suffering from a crippling lack of self confidence. Well, more so than usual. At least in any way that would give me the motivation to write about anything here.

I've had a hard time building up any enthusiasm for the blog because I've been mulling over a couple questions recently. Are the comics I read are worth writing about? If so, do I have anything interesting to say about them? I was seriously distressed about this. After awhile, though, the fog lifted, and... well, I haven't really answered either of those questions yet. I'm not sure if I'm burned out on comics in general, superheroes specifically, or just going through a bit of general maliase that I'm prone to ocassionally.

One of the things that's caused me to question my enthusiasm is that even my favorite comics creators haven't been doing a lot for me lately. My last large purchase of monthly comics consisted of work from three of my absolute favorites: Darwyn Cooke, Mike Mignola, and Grant Morrison. I caught up on my Seven Soldiers reading and picked up the long awaited (by me, at least) Vimanarama, picked up Solo 5 and, best of all, Hellboy: the Island. New Hellboy! That should be cause to celebrate, right?

Well, apparently not. At least in the funk I was when I read it and the rest of my stack. I was underwhelmed by every comic I picked up, to varying degress. That's not to say that I thought they were bad. I liked them all, to some degree, and even in the state I was in I still enjoyed Klairon and Guardian quite a bit. But none of it really, truly made me giddy with excitement or feel the same exhiliration that I'm used to from any of these guys. In other words, I found the all Cooke issue of Solo to not be anywhere near the same league as the New Frontier, and the first issue of the Island didn't work for me as much as, say, Box Full of Evil or my other favorite Hellboy stories.

Now, comparing these stories is a bit of a case of apples and oranges. New Frontier was dense, epic narrative. The all Cooke issue of Solo was a series of short stories that, no matter how well they were connected via the framing scenes with Slam Bradley (and that was one of my favorite things about the issue), it wouldn't be fair to compare the two. The Hellboy story was part 1 of a 2 parter, where as most of my favorite Hellboy stories are the shorter ones in the 3rd and 4th trade collections. It probably doesn't help that I haven't read the Third Wish, either.

As far as Morrison's work goes my reaction to his comics is consistent with how much I liked the issues that preceded them. I enjoyed the first issues of Manhattan Guardian and Klarion quite a bit, and that more or less stayed true to form. I liked Klarion as much, if not more, than the first. I liked Guardian a little bit less than the first issue, but still enjoyed it quite a bit.

I was less hot for the initial issues of Shining Knight and Vimanarama, and my opinion remained pretty much the same. I'm not as disappointed with the former
as Jeff Lester at the Savage Critic has been, but it's my least favorite of the minis so far. As far as the latter goes, this felt a lot like Morrison chanelling Kirby, which has its charms. It also has its share of humor, which is something that I don't think Morrison gets enough credit for. And I'll take Phil Bond art where I can get it. But this is definitely a case of the parts being less than the whole. As a cohesive story, it didn't work for me. While I find a lot of the "I don't get it!" criticism of Morrison's work to be knee jerk, and at times even befuddling, this is one case where I found the resolution of one of his stories to be way to obtuse for it's own good.

After having wrote this out, this is looking less like the comics fault in disappointing me, and more like me. I liked some of these comics more than I thought I did, and even if they didn't reach the heights of my favorite works by these creators, they were all good comics. I also understand where that war mongering grade school teacher was coming from when he was so disappointed over the first issue of another Morrison comic. Being disappointed, even temporarily, is never fun, especially when the disappointment comes from the creators that you look to for dependably exciting work. Of course, neither is reading through an overly long post about weeks old comics, so I can empathize with you, dear readers, too.

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Blogger Bill Reed said...

I feel your pain, man. I too suffer from bouts of malaise and indifference and surliness and all that. And sometimes, even good comics can't cure me. But there's always hope, and you can always try some other Wednesday.

7/13/2005 12:35:00 AM  
Blogger Pól Rua said...

mutter mutter... fucking yib-yobs...

7/13/2005 06:28:00 AM  
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