Why do I like comic books? It’s hard to say. I’m thirty-one years old and I’ve been reading comics as long as I can remember. In early elementary school I had a printer paper box that I kept them in. Days when I was home sick from school my parents would by whatever was on the spinner racks from the local grocery store and I would lay in their bed and read comics and watch The Music Man on VHS. Archie comics, including Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, X-Men Classics, Spider-Man (Amazing, Spectacular, and Web of). Those talks fueled and colored my imagination more than most other mediums. Hero myths, and takes of injustices overcome.
Comics have aged, comics have matured and comics have regressed. Rinse and repeat. Repeat and rinse. Thursdays, because of my hemisphere, are days that I know will come with Heroes, Spies, Super Soldiers and Gods. I wish I could say that I loved the current state of comics right now. I don’t think I do. DC reads more like mid-nineties Image comics with better art, even if it keeps some of the more exploitative features. Marvel keeps reinventing the wheel over and over all while hammering it into a square. Image and Dark Horse offer treasure and turds in equal measure. Deconstruction means that any small advancement takes at least three issues. Much of what I read is done out of a since of obligation or of keeping up with how terrible things will go.
But I still love comics. The way art and words blend together to give the feeling of movement. The way a skilled cartoonist can layout a page to control where your eyes go and how fast they move. Writers who manage dialogue in a way that would make playwrights envious. A panel that will arrest you.
So, yeah, I love comics. And like so many of the things I love I want to complain about them. So that’s what I’m going to do. My new goal, as part of my renewed effort to write more, is to write a weekly essay/rant about comics good and bad. Yeah.