Friday, February 24, 2006

Hey Kids: Comics!

Yesterday I was over at The Comic Bug and had an interesting chat with Mike Wellman. I confessed that I’ve recently come to realize that the whole superhero thing is officially out of my system.

What I mean is that as a READER, I seem to have lost interest in all of the beloved tight-wearing heroes of my youth. Finally.

The last mainstream superhero title that I’ve followed was Daredevil. Sometime in 2005—I think nearly a year ago—I missed a couple of issues of the book, and never went back. I was a big fan of the Bendis/Maleev run on Daredevil, but once I broke the “habit” of reading those monthly issues, I just did not miss them. To be fair, I also know that these issues will be collected into trade-paperbacks, and I probably will read them someday.

I made this break without really thinking about it. I still purchase comics fairly often, but no superheroes. Only recently have I given it any thought. What’s the deal?

I guess they just aren’t relevant to me anymore--at least, not as a READER. As a CREATOR, I have plenty of ideas in the genre that I would like to pursue. The difference is that I would not be writing for ME, but for kids. Too many creators working in comics today write for themselves instead of for the audience. I don’t know if that is appropriate for Spider-Man.

I guess I’m sick of all the “adult” superhero books. I wish those standards like Spider-Man,Supermanand Batman were really geared towards kids. Of course I loved Watchmen and Dark-Knight when they came out, but I was a teenager then. I think the post-modern, deconstruction of the superhero genre has been officially done to death. Like, ten years ago.

Besides, there are so many REALLY GOOD comics available today that are maturely written for an adult audience. What do I read? Well, on a monthly basis, I still read only ONE regular, monthly book. I still read 100 Bullets, by Brian Azzarello and Eduardo Risso. That book continues to be the “monthly fix” that took the place of Preacher, when that book ended.

I’ve also been enjoying the work of Brian Wood lately. DMZ, by Wood and Riccardo Burchielli has been awesome. Wood’s work on Local with Ryan Kelly and Demo with Becky Cloonan are both well worth picking up.

My old pal, Mark Chiarello, who I know from back in the glory days of at Epic Comics has been producing an awesome book over at DC. If you are unfamiliar with Solo, you really are missing a wonderful series. Each issue spotlights a different comic book creator with all-original short stories. My personal favorites (so far) are the issues by Jordi Bernet, Paul Pope, Darwyn Cooke and Tim Sale. Mark is getting some of the industry’s best talents involved with this book. Quite a feather in DC’s cap.

I adore Paris, by Andi Watson and Simon Gane. Please buy it.

There are a few monthly comics that I don’t read on a monthly basis, but instead choose to wait until they are collected in trade-paperbacks. The Walking Dead, by Robert Kirkman, Tony Moore, Charlie Adlard and Cliff Rathburn is a wonderful, dramatic take on the whole “zombie” craze. I also prefer to read Usagi Yojimbo by Stan Sakai in the collected format. I also like them on my shelf!

There are many more worthwhile books out there that I read and recommend. Top Shelf had been publishing many of them (have you read Blankets yet?). I wish that people like Dan Clowes, Frank Miller and Adrian Tomine produced more. I wish European Albums were easier to come by here in the US. What can you do?

I’m rambling now, and getting away from my point about superheroes. In fact, today I’m not sure what the point is! I just found out that Paul Pope has a new Batman book out. I may have “regress” for a minute and pick that up…!

Recommended Reading:

I can keep going, but I won't! Happy reading!

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