Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Comic Book Wednesdays

I want to move towards at least one "themed day" per week, for a number of different reasons. I think it'll add some structure and direction to the blog thing, and allow a sense of progress beyond "here's some random stuff that popped into my head." And I'm going with comic books because there's already a *huge* comic book blog community, so maybe I'll be able to snipe a reader or two at the same time.
Wednesday is also a good day to pick for a comic book theme, because as the comic-prolific know, Wednesday is the day that the new comics ship to stores across North America. And the fact that I know this still gives only the slightest inkling of the depths of comicbookery.
I've been reading comic books (I'm defining "reading" here as actually going out of my way to get the latest issue in a series; "collecting" might have conveyed this better, but it has its own connotations that I'd rather avoid.) for... God, for fourteen years now, which represents more than half my life. And I think at this point, I'm pretty much stuck with them. The appeal of comics, to me, is that there is so much about them, in combination, that you just can't get in any form of story-telling. There's the ongoing nature, a unity across a series and sometimes across dozens of series, that makes it feel like you're reading something that's unfolding in front of you. There's the simple combination of static graphic and text. There's the trope of the superhero, and its evolution and permutations. Even the current debate questioning whether the monthly titles will be replaced by graphic novels that collect a half-dozen issues in one fell swoop focuses the attention on what makes both forms different from each other. I don't think you could name another form of narrative that allows so readily for comparison between different interpretations of a classic character. John Bryne's Superman is not Geoff Johns' Superman is not Jeph Loeb's Superman--and yet, they all are, because it's the same character who appears in the same comics. When the author changes on a regular basis, what allows us to say that it's still the same work?
Comic books aren't the only place where these aspects appear, but they do form a nexus where all these issues meet and remeet in endless permutation. And that's the thing about comics: you start buying them, and suddenly you have a front row seat to watch a universe change.
Plus, there's all those people hitting each other. 'S cool.

Later Days.


The Venomous Bee said...

I scratched Mitch's beard. You scratched Mitch's beard. It was a moment. :o)

Have you read any of Neil Gaiman's Sandman stuff? That and Betty and Veronica are pretty much the extent of my comic experience.

Person of Consequence said...

Venomous bee,
I've worked my way through the Sandman. Unlike most people, my favorite stuff's the group of short stories in the "End of the World" arc. If you're looking for other comics (and especially if you're not), I'd recommend Brian Vaughan's Y the Last Man, and Warren Ellis'Transmetropolitan, as both edge less towards the "superheroey" direction. The latter is the cyber-punk adventures of journalist Spider Jerusalem and the former is the adventures of English graduate Yorick Brown as he travels through a world where every male has been killed except himself and his monkey Ampersand. Fun stuff. /end solicitation of unasked for advice.

Sidenote: I'm very put out that I need to use word verification for my own blog.

The Venomous Bee said...

I remember the old days ... before verification ... when bloggers could blog unhindered by bots, etc.

Steampunk appeals to me on every level, but have you heard of Steamfunk? :o)