Friday, March 24, 2006

I care a lot about the things I don't care about

Continuing my pattern of pissing in peoples' eyes and telling them it's raining, here are some things I don't care about that some people seem to for some reason:
1. Mainstream acceptance of and a wider audience for comics- Now, I'd love for comics to be a respected artform and to not still feel kinda weird for reading them or whatever, I just don't particularly care if it ever happens. I don't need to be validated in liking comics by the vast faceless non-comics reading public who might like Ghost World if they knew it existed, y'know? I don't care that DC and Marvel don't care, either. I don't care that they "nerd pander" or whatever, but that's partially because I'm one of the nerds they pander to and am okay with that. See, if we're defining pandering as "giving people what they want," then Grant Morrison's DC superhero work is so totally nerd pandering. Seven Soldiers is a huge nerd buffet to me; Morrison getting to revamp lower-tier characters with hand picked artists without acknowledging the wider shit in the DCU I don't care about. Speaking of which:

2. Crises, the ruination of the DCU, and the "Death" "Spiral" "of" "Comics"- I put all that shit in quotations just to really illustrate how little I think of it. I don't care if Identity Crisis raped your childhood. Just like I don't care if Star Wars did, either. I don't care if it's ruining comics for you. I don't care if it's ruining the iconic DCU superheroes. I'm a Marvel guy at heart, anyway, and my boys (and girls, not to be sexist) have always been a little fucked up.

Anyways, I figure if Batman survived Adam West and Joel Schumacker and Superman survived his mullet and every other thing Dan Jurgens did to him (I can't remember who tried to ruin Superman), then they're going to be able to weather the current storm of some misguided attempts for social relevance and/or a way of working the hardcore fans in to a lather. Wonder Woman survives no matter what just to fill out a quota and keep her pervert creator's family paid up, so she's cool too. Like Greg Hatcher, I think that if you have any concept of mainstream comics history, you should know that this too shall pass. But he's a lot older than I am. I just don't have my head up my ass. Too much. Not about this, I don't think. I'm pretty confident in telling the people worked up about the current DCU they have a cranial insertion in the rectum problem. That, and I kinda liked the last issue of Infinite Crisis when flipping through it. I mean, shit, it had Zauriel! I'm such a nerd. But for the right comics, of course.

3a. The Avengers- They bore me. What's their hook? Captain America, Iron Man, Thor and whoever else was passing? I don't care that Bendis blew them up and shoehorned his pet characters in there. Because, honestly, Hawkeye? Really? You guys really like him? Ant-Man and Wasp? Like Dave Campbell said, those to are only around because they don't take up too much space. They're the only Marvel super team I don't give a crap about. I'm sure I'd like some of their stories. John Buscema drew them, for god's sake, even if he liked them less than me, so I'll probably get 'round to reading Essential Avengers in its entirety some day. I just don't like them very much or care if Bendis is not writing them these days.

3b. JSA- They have less of a hook than the Avengers. Sure, they were the first superhero team, but what's so special about them that they have to be around now, still published? I mean, they gave Geoff Johns a chance to indulge his Roy Thomas fetish/impersonation, and that in turn allowed Milo George to write a pretty hilarious send up of one of his issues, but still; they are old and give something for Power Girl and Mr. Terrific to do seems like a pretty lame reason to have a super team. I mean, at least the Teen Titans are a support group for lame, whinny sidekicks! (That was for you, T.)

5a. Indie comics- As a monolithic entity. I like some of them quite a bit. Some way more than the superheroes I'm obsessed with. I mean, I don't have any Maggie and Hopey pajamas, but I love me some Love and Rockets. But, like
Ed Cunard, Team Comics ain't for me. I do not find indie comics inherently worth supporting. The more people talk about indie comics, in fact, the more becomes devalued, I think. It's a tangent, but bear with me. It's like punk rock. People are so wrapped up in what is or isn't punk that the term is meaningless now, because Blink 182 and the Dead Kennedies can both be punk or not punk, when graded on certain criteria. And it's punk rock, so grading is stupid. And I feel the same way about this weird indie/not indie divide where Transformers is an indie comic like Acme Novelty Library is just because it is not published by Marvel, DC, or charitably Image or Dark Horse. Also, as a corollary:

5b. Hurting, saving, spooning, etc. comics- Activism is not my cup of tea. I don't have the energy for it and I find most activists obnoxious pricks. Not to say I'm not an obnoxious prick, I just am a really lazy one. Comics will live or die whether you form a street team to pass out your favorite mini-comics or not. By all means, spread the word about your favorite comics. Recommend them to your friends. Be an ambassador for comics to the outside world, as depressing a sentiment as that is when you really think about it. But don't act like it is A GREAT THING OF EPIC IMPORTANCE. Or do. I mean, this is just a request, not a command. I don't command. If I had a credo, it would be "Do as thou shalt." With some caveats. But you get the idea.

Anyway, I find comics activism tedious. Whenever I see things about pushing comics forward or whatnot, I tune out. Comics will move or not move on their own accord. By all means, try to book Geoff Johns or Chuck Austen on a bus out of comics. Just don't expect the peanut gallery to not laugh at you when you do.

6. Ending my spleen venting blog posts with cute, self effacing comments- That's not how I roll. I care very much about what I care about. So much so I'll start an activist group about it.

Shit! I am undone!

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Blogger Michael said...

You apparently also don't care about the number 4.

3/24/2006 05:02:00 PM  
Blogger David C said...

Gotta agree with you on most of these, except the JSA and Avengers bits.

But the biggie is #2. "This too shall pass" is maybe the single most important lesson a fan can learn. Is DC "ruining" Aquaman? (Or Zatanna, or Space Cabbie, or whomever.) OK, so Aquaman's in ruins. Big deal!

I think "Emerald Twilight" was the last comics "ruination" I got worked up about... for a little while, until I said to myself "Self, they ruined Hal Jordan. What does it mean? It means you aren't reading Green Lantern every month, because you don't like what they're doing. So friggin' what? Read something that's good, and who knows, maybe they'll do something good with Green Lantern again, even retroactively fix this awful storyline."

As it turned out, the absence from my life of a monthly Green Lantern comic I enjoyed did not have any great impact on my life, and they *did* fix it, and today I'm reading two Green Lantern comics I enjoy! But not Nightwing, because they've ruined him. Eh, he'll be un-ruined too someday, I bet....

3/24/2006 05:04:00 PM  
Blogger Spencer Carnage said...

Yawn. Another blogger that's too cool for school. Thanks, but no thanks.

3/24/2006 06:04:00 PM  
Blogger faboofour said...

RE: point one:

Stahley's Rule of Pop Music: If it don't scare your parents*, it ain't Rock'n'Roll.

Faboofour's Corollary to Stahley's Rule: If your parents* don't call it trash, it ain't a Comic Book.

*or other authority figure

3/24/2006 06:08:00 PM  
Anonymous Bill Reed said...

No, the Avengers don't have a high concept, other than "let's beat up some bad guys," and that always annoyed me.

3/24/2006 10:06:00 PM  
Anonymous Iron Lungfish said...

Isn't the concept behind the Avengers the exact same concept behind the Justice League? "We're a bunch of super-powered dudes who fight other super-powered dudes": pretty basic. It's the same concept behind the JSA, the Outsiders, the Teen Titans, the Young Avengers and most superhero teams, in fact. Some have very slight tweaks to them ("this is a team with mostly kids!", or "this is a team with kooky C-listers!"), but the number of superhero teams which actually have a unifying concept motivating what they do are decidedly in the minority (X-Men, FF maybe - although the FF has strayed pretty far from its "explore the universe" concept of late).

The last couple years have seen a number of post-Authority team books which use the standard superguys-pound-on-superguys trope to explore other themes (like the war on terror in "Ultimates" for example). Now "Ultimates" is an example of a team book which is about something in a way that JLA and Avengers never have been; of course, this is one of the things its detractors don't like about it.

3/24/2006 11:19:00 PM  
Blogger Andrew-TLA said...

The League's reason for being was spelled out in the first ads: Just imagine your favorite heroes in one comic magazine! Avengers may have started out that way, too, but their reason for being is actually a little different. First, at it's best the title is a raging soap opera. Second, it's the only place where heroes of all origins are welcome. Mere mortals, gods, mutants, and radioactive freaks all hanging out under one roof.

3/25/2006 12:18:00 AM  
Blogger DCUBoy said...

I agree with everything except about the avengers and the JSA. I totally am sick of people complaining that the DCU is dark and bullshit like that. The DCU is just telling great stories and let's face it folks, a lot of stories have very dark things in them. The silver age is over, and it wasn't that great anyway.

3/25/2006 12:41:00 AM  
Blogger Apodaca said...

That would fly if they were actually telling great stories. But it's been explained plenty of times how they're not.

3/25/2006 01:26:00 AM  
Anonymous FunkyGreenJerusalem said...

Dude, you owe me five bucks for reading that.

I thought there would be a point at the end, but it was just stuff you've said before.

you could've at least put a Byrne slam in there so the Comments would be funny.

3/25/2006 02:30:00 AM  
Anonymous Cove West said...

The whole "striving for mainstream acceptance" thing bugs me, too. I was all for it for years, hoping for that one day when I could read Spider-Man in public without getting that "you're still reading funnybooks?" look from people. But it's one thing for fans to want that; it's another thing for the creators to write for it. There's only so much "Watchmening" I'm willing to accept in my superheroes. When Frank Miller does it to based-in-reality characters like DD and Batman, it's not so weird, but when you've got mindwipes and rapes being hailed on par with Marvels because of the "realism," that's a few steps too far. I'd rather get the funny looks for reading "juvenille" 80's Marvel & DC than be accepted for reading most of their "adult" 00's stuff.

That said, I don't get too bent out of shape over current DC. In a few years, the next Mark Waid or Grant Morrison will emerge (or hell, maybe the current Waid or Morrison will emerge) and reignite the "wonder". Until then, I will keep my distance. I just hope DC doesn't get so divergent with continuity that when the renaissance does come, those of us who return aren't turned off by unrecognizable characters.

I will say, however, that DC has made one near-irreversable mistake: killing Jack Drake. They had to kill the ONE GUY in the entire DCU who existed solely to be a normal person? The faster DC can erase the last year of Tim's life, the better.

3/25/2006 03:43:00 AM  
Blogger MarkAndrew said...

Alright: Hawkeye you either dig or don't, and Hank Pym was always the Atom's vaguely psychotic and less effective younger brother who wasn't even drawn by Gil Kane.

But the Wasp rules! She's a spoiled heiress turned superhero! She should be on EVERY team; She'd up the drama and funny quotient 300%.


I mean, not that she's been used effectively since 1972 or so. But the character's a frickin' untapped gold mine of awesomeness. I would LOVE to write a Wasp mini.

3/25/2006 04:09:00 AM  
Blogger Apodaca said...

"Hank Pym was always the Atom's vaguely psychotic and less effective younger brother"

You just described exactly why I love him.

3/25/2006 04:56:00 AM  
Blogger MacQuarrie said...

Isn't the concept behind the Avengers the exact same concept behind the Justice League? "We're a bunch of super-powered dudes who fight other super-powered dudes": pretty basic. It's the same concept behind the JSA, the Outsiders, the Teen Titans, the Young Avengers and most superhero teams, in fact.
The concept of JLA and Avengers was "people buy these characters in solo stories, so let's put them all in one book and see how we do." The concept of the Outsiders (version 1) was "let's make up a pile of characters to surround Batman with so he doesn't have to team up with somebody new in every issue of B&B, and this way he can be the boss instead of the guy one step up from Aquaman, like in JLA." Version 2's concept was "we're turning Teen Titans into something vaguely resembling the TV show, so where are we gonna dump all these leftovers?" The concept of Teen Titans was "all these superheroes have kid sidekicks; maybe if we shove them all in the same book, we'll make a buck or two." The concept behind Young Avengers was "DC has that Teen Titans thing going on; how can we cash in on it?"

Frankly, the concept behind just about any comic book in existence is pretty much "What do you think, would anybody buy this?"

3/26/2006 03:10:00 PM  
Blogger MarkAndrew said...


Explain Champions then! :)

3/27/2006 11:03:00 PM  
Blogger Lea said...

Regarding "hurting comics", if it helps at all, that phrase is taken straight from a letter sent to me by a convention chair post-con.
It was in response to me saying the least critical thing about his convention.
The full phrase is, "'re hurting comics and the people who...struggle to make them." Which just about made me piss myself laughing.
And thus a legand was born. Hurting comics isn't about saving them, it's about saying comics is walking around starkers while everyone else is admiring its non-existant die-cut, foil-stamped, varnished, slabbed clothes.
It's about seeing when they suck, and saying so.

As to the spooning, ew, no thanks. Floppy.

4/11/2006 03:10:00 AM  

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