Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Guest Entry - "There ARE Good Comics Out There"

"As it says at the top of the page when you do the clicky thing, “Comics Should Be Good.”

But when you look at the comics that smother the shelves of your comic book store, how often are they really good? Do you ever get the feeling that comic companies are just going through the motions? Like they’ve got this stable of old racehorses and they keep trying to put hot jockeys on top to make them run like they used to run? I’ve just read this horrible article about what happens to old racehorses and it makes me want to punch people in the face for supporting horse race tracks, so it’s not like I necessarily want these companies to drop these tired old characters off at the kill auction and be done with it, but…

Okay, maybe Wolverine.

That would be kind of cool to never see Wolverine on a comic cover again.

But wouldn’t it be great if a new field of inspired and artists were just allowed to go ape-shit with Spider-Man or Batman?

Or to ignore established characters all together?

We’ve seen a few aborted attempts; Mike Allred or Paul Pope doing Spider-Man was kind of cool, but now we’re back to JMS jerking off month after month. She Hulk was fun and irreverent, but nowhere to be found on stands now. Reginald Hudlin’s Black Panther started off okay, but now there’s the dreaded “House of M” tie in and then an X-Men crossover after that. So that’s crossed off the list of good comics. DC’s Solo is interesting and so is Kyle Baker’s Plastic Man. I liked Morrison’s We3 and even Cooke’s New Frontier (notice that all of these DCcomics were or are allowed to circumvent continuity), but we’re knee deep in the summer of gimmicks and forced crossover storylines, and it’s business as usual.

The editors will tell you that they’ve been planning these events for years, but that just makes them more even more imaginatively bankrupt.

They’re done.

They’re tired and out of ideas.

And yet the comics gristmill continues…

And yet, you’ve got creators and small publishers out there willing to take chances.

Brian’s right, “Comics Should Be Good.” It’s an amazing art form that takes pictures and words and combines them in a way that’s been capturing the imagination of kids and adults for almost a hundred years.

Have you read Scott Pilgrim? Street Angel? The Project Superior collection from AdHouse? Love & Rockets? Usagi? The Kramers Ergot collections? Kevin Huizenga’s Or Else? Hikaru No Go? Planetes? Owly? Julie Doucet’s My New York Diary? Hicksville?Krazy Kat? Joe Sacco’s books, any of them? Sgt. Frog? Peanuts? Jim Woodring’s Frank Book? Spiral-Bound? What about Debbie Huey’s new Bumperboy collection?

Comics are good.

It’s easy to get discouraged.


Simply ignore the noise. Quit buying comics that don’t give you pleasure. Don’t wait for a comic to improve, or don’t wait for a creative team change. There are good (hell, great) comics out there waiting to be read.

I’ve spent two years and over 100 weekly columns focusing on good comics.

They’re out there. You might not like everything that you try, but don’t be afraid to try. What have you got to lose, besides a couple of bucks? Think about how much money you’ve wasted on comic books while waiting for them to get better. You know you have, I don’t care who you are. We’ve all done it. I wish I had all the money that I’ve spent on bad Spider-Man comics out of habit. I’d spend it all on comic strip collections and mini-comics. I can’t get that money back, but I’m not going to waste any more money on recycled ideas and heroes. You shouldn’t either.

Check out Fantagraphics, Oni Press, Drawn & Quarterly, Tokyopop, AdHouse Books, Top Shelf, Viz,Alternative Comics, Pantheon, and look to the past for great works.

And if you’re feeling especially brave, stop by the SIZE MATTERS blog and check out the unpredictable world of mini-comics. Like there full size brethren, they’re not all good, but they won’t force you to buy seventeen different titles for six months and leave you feeling like you’ve been cheated."

Shawn is right.

You SHOULD check out his blog, Size Matters. Link on the right.

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Blogger Eliot Johnson said...

With all due respect to the incredibly talented regular writing staff of this fine blog, this is easily one of the best entries on this site thus far.

Bravo, Shawn. I totally agree.

Waitaminute...has SPIRAL-BOUND already been released? I can't believe I missed it...

8/04/2005 10:50:00 AM  
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