Tuesday, December 12, 2006

thoughts of a deranged ex-comic collector

I was in my basement the other day and tripped over my old comic collection. I got to thinking about it and thought I'd vent a little, so bear with me... Am I the only one who threw in the towel and stopped buying comic books in the past decade? Well, somehow I doubt it. I finally got fed up with weak story lines, muddled arbitrary crossovers, variant covers (yes, I bought a few), and overall increase of cover prices and gave it up like coffee and cigarettes sometime in 2000. Mind you, I was probably spending $120 a month at my comic dealer on 23rd street and 5th avenue, so it was a hard habit to kick. Every wednesday like clockwork I'd jump on the uptown F train, like I had good sense.

There are plenty of reasons for the demise of the comic industry. Many are detailed in Scott McCloud’s books or on fan sites (www.fanzing.com/mag/fanzing20/specrept.shtml). There are many ideas, as well, to shock back to life this abused industry. Apparently, the powers that be at the top of all the parent companies that own all of the comic companies still are just content with putting out crappy movies (X-men and Spider-man excluded) every so often.( Is it just me or do the previews of Ghost Rider give you a feeling of impending doom ,too.) I still can hardly say 'Daredevil' without shivering. Maybe it’s just like everything else that becomes corrupted. ( I think that corrupted is the right word - corrupted-adj.-adulterated or debased by change from an original or correct condition: impairment of integrity - yes, I think that works.) For example, I also used to collect baseball cards as a kid. Have you seen how much those have changed. If you’re lucky enough, there are some cards new out of the pack that are worth more than my car! I realize I’m grumbling like some puckered senior citizen, but I’ve become comfortable with my reasons and right to do so (hey, get your lips off that, you damn CEO’s).

I’ve been out of the comic loop for a while and I realize there are probably some great new stories and art out there that are passing me by (are we over the variant cover thing yet?), but the few comics I've picked up at the news stands and proptly replaced were full of insipid, condescending dialogue followed by a baffling story line that was part of a bigger convoluted plot that probably started in a crossover somewhere in an alternate universe, DUUUDE. It’s just that I was hoping that my kid would get into them and enjoy them as I did growing up. But I can pretty much guarantee that he won’t if they’re $3-5 a pop and pandering . Well, if he doesn’t, I guess he’ll just be stuck with his inheritance of 2500 'old school' comics.

'nuff said - Kennedy Smith


Comics Archivist said...

I agree wholeheartedly!
This is one way to subvert his problem:


...Have a look around the links there. I think you'll find everything you need to know to continue to enjoy the world of comics.

And then, if you like it, buy it!

Check out Marvel Comics "Civil War," for a refreshing new spin on the Marvel way.

David de Beer said...

oebiesha, comics have changed since I was a kid. Back then, I swear there wasn't this rabid drive to buy for the idea of collectable-ing, it was all about kick-ass stories, great art and getting lost in heroes and villains I cared about. I would spend hours browsing the comics on the shelf, every one of them, and then weedle my mom into buying the one I hand't read.
Nowadays, I gotta pay meself, so...no, there was only one ever neverending story I enjoyed, and that wasn't in comics.
Sure, Grant Morrison had a great run on X-men but ulitmately what;s the point? The status quo will just re-assert itself again, and Morrison may as well never have bothered.

I read mostly Vertigo stuff. As for getting your kid into comics, check out Fables (Bill Willingham). Ah, yes, it does have an age rating and some occasional lovey scenes and stuff, but it's a great series. May not get him reading comics, but it's a hell of a way to get him involved in reading. Fun series, at times comical, at times sad and moving, with some wonderful twists on standard faery tale chars (Goldilocks the uber Politically correct commie revolutionary, what's not to like?)

Super heroes I read mostly only Garth Ennis stuff - The Pro, The Midnighter and the Kev stories. No, these arent for kids, but if irreverent, humor is your thing, it's worth a look.
Serious comic stories - with Alan Moore retired, I read mostly Mike Carey, Grant Morrison and Warren Ellis. ellis tries my patience at times though.

And hey, 2000AD went through a pretty decent revival recently. Haven't read them in the last couple years, but they were entertaining and solid from 2000-2003