Friday, January 31, 2014
Bob likes comics
I like comics.
I like big comics, and I like small comics. I like big, fancy hardbacks with glossy pages and impeccable craftwork, showing off the talents of talented people. And I like tiny, stapled mini comics with rough edges and the need to shock, created by somebody you never heard of.
I like weekly comics and their quick hits, and I like monthly comics with the regular dose, and I like the overkill of a big one-off comic.
I like black and white comics, and full colour comics, and all shades of comics.
I like comics by Bolland, Davis, Severin, Wilson, Eisner, Wagner, Colan, Abel, Gibson, Perez, Immonen, Fraser, Mignola, Kennedy, Colquhoun, Bond, Bagge, Wieringo, Yeowell, Ditko, McKean, Kirby, Byrne, Fabry, Bisley, O’Malley, Maguire, Zeck, Horrocks, Buscema, Buscema, Lloyd, Campbell, Talbot, Darrow, Crumb, Simonson, Spiegleman, Novick, Robbins, Grell, Marcos, Cockrum, Ezquerra, Clowes, Buckingham, Kurtzman, Quitely, Dillon, Sim, Winslade, Lee, Orlando, Sala, Hembeck, Burns, Woodring, Beck, Langridge, Medley, Redondo, Kristiansen, Allred, Gibbons, Kuper, Frazetta, Kubert, MacNeil, Giraud, Toth, Staton, Rogers, Matt, Dwyer, Hernandez, Hernandez, Hernandez, Hernandez, Bechdel, Hewlett, Smith, Fingerman, Brunetti, Aragones, Manara, Doran, Glanzman, Chadwick, Sacco, Langridge, Geary, D’Israeli, Templeton, Hughes, Irving, Shanower, Lutes, Cruse, Grist, Pope, McMahon, Badger, Tomine, Adams, Adams, Brown, Dorkin, Davison, Giffen, Flint, Emerson, Jason, Tezuka and a few hundred other great artists.
I like intense action comics with stylish art.
I like the feeling you get after finishing an inordinately satisfying comic. I like the fact that it still happens on a regular basis, with both new and established comic creators. The surprise satisfaction is always the best - reading a comic you don't expect much from, and finding it absorbing and entertaining, is like a drug. The best make me feel like my brain has just grown in size a tiny amount, while I can literally be stunned by the very, very best.
The last time that happened, I got a bit emotional reading one of Kevin Huizenga's Ganges comics, and then I had to go to a dinner party straight afterwards, and I was a USELESS guest all night.
But that's fairly rare, and I'm happy enough when a comic is just purely satisfying. That still doesn't happen every day, but it happens enough.
I like last issues. The whole never-ending battle thing gets a bit, well, never-ending, and I have a huge affection for the full stop. Some series end because they don't have the readership any more, and a few even get the chance to finish while still on a high.
But there is always something a little melancholic in the final issue. If a series has been well established, it sad to see it go, and if it only just got started, it's smothered with the loss of failed potential.
I like comics that make me think, and comics that make me feel, and comics that are just goddamn good looking.
One of these things is not enough for me to hold on to a comic, two of them makes a comic a keeper, and a comic with all three is a downright treasure.
I like living in a town with two viable comic shops, which means I can build loyalty at one, and use the other for surprises. After decades of missed issues, I also living in an age where I can order a comic book, and it will actually show up. If I missed a comic when I was growing up, it could be years, even decades, before I got hold of that lost issue again.
But now I can be surprised to see Bob Fingerman's excellent Minimum Wage was coming back, mentioned it to the guy at the local store, and had the first issue the very next week.
The proximity to good shops also means I don't have to rely on digital comics to get my fix, which is fantastic, because I still can't get into digital reading.
I'm not into the digital, and I don’t like some particular comics, but other people love them, and who am I to say they’re wrong? I don’t want to be the asshole who is harshing their high, I don't want to be Captain Buzzkill, moaning about how Saga isn't all that.
I don’t like a lot of things around comics culture, including some appalling sexism, outrageous entitlement, rotten business deals and plain old nastiness, but nobody is asking me to like any of that bullshit.
I especially don't like bullying, in any form, and I'll not stand for that.
I like dollar bins, and have spent a significantly measurable amount of my life crouched over them, digging for gold. I like finding rare treasures among all the unloved Brigade and X-Force comics, I like using the $1 bins to build up solid chunks of long-running series, and I like using them to complete entire runs of short-lived oddities like Hourman or Glamourpuss.
I like reading books, magazines and internet essays about comics. I love the gossip and the reading about the story behind the story, and I like soaking up astute observations about various comics.
I like reading comic reviews that prove that I was always right about absolutely everything, and I like reading comic reviews that tell me I'm wrong, wrong, wrong.
I like prestige format comics, with those glossy pages and sharp spines, even if you can never see a double-page spread properly. And I like the huge chunk of story you get in a decent omnibus edition, which might be unweildy and awkward, but can contain multitudes.
I like multi-creator anthologies, and still appreciate a smart six-page story. I like dodgy foreign reprints of US classics. I like abstract comics and I like Archie comics. I like the way reading mainstream superhero comics on the arse end of the world is a rewardingly non-linear experience.
I like sitting in the sun and reading a new Love and Rockets, and I like staying up late at night to read a new Garth Ennis comic. I like reading 2000ad on the street, on the walk back from the shop, and I like coming back from the library with piles of goodness, and I like stumbling across a pile of unknown comics in random second-hand stores.
I like the fact that comics are just words and pictures, and you can do anything with words and pictures.
I like comics. A lot.