The older I get, the more I just like the pretty pictures.
When it came to comic books, I always thought I was follower of writers - it just seemed more logical that if you liked that kind of story, the writer was likely to offer up more. But all the regular comic books I still get in 2021 have just one thing in common - I'm really just getting them for the art.
As a kid, I was gorging on the golden age of British artists, with regular Bolland, Ezquerra, McMahon, Gibbons and a dozen other brilliant people. But when I came of age in the late eighties and nineties, and started looking at the writer's name in the credit box, I was devouring everything by Alan Moore and Grant Morrison I could, getting all their regular titles, hunting down obscure limited series and side projects, eating it all up.
And it was like that for years, I would buy the vast majority of my new comics based on who the writer was, and there were a good two dozen writers who all fit the criteria. I still always appreciated good art, but there were only a few who I bought 100% for the art (and it was usually something that involved an X-men related artist like Alan Davis or Art Adams).
Hellboy was a real game-changer, the first series I followed where I cared far more about the art than the story. I got into it right at the point where the whole story was drifting into a world of glorious abstract nonsense, where the mood was more important than the plot.
The other big game changer were the dozen or so comics, all by favourite writers, that were published by Avatar with eye-gougingly bad art, and convinced me that maybe I didn't need to read everything those dudes ever wrote.
Now I've reached the point where all the regular comics I buy now are based purely on the art, because I've never cared for the writers.
So I'm getting things like Decorum, even though I've never really been a Hickman boy. And even though I've been getting it fairly regularly for the past year, I couldn't tell you much about the plot or characters or anything like.
But the art by Mike Huddleston is absolutely jaw-dropping, with alien vistas of outstanding beauty, sliced up by the hard lines of human contact. The conflict of sketchy humanity and alien worlds drenched in digital paint is outstanding.
I've already talked about the stunning work Tommy Lee Edwards is doing on Jupiter's Legacy, and while I still admire Mark Millar's eagerness to hideously murder his main characters, it's all about the Edwards. Some fill-in art in the most recent issue maintained the dayglo superhero palette, but just wasn't the same, and it's good to see Edwards is back for the next.
There's always room for more beauty in my life, and while looking for something else - anything else - to help out the good folk at my local comic book store, I went for the new Human Target. I've been deeply unmoved by almost everything Tom King has done, and some of it gets downright irritating, but none of that matters when you've got Greg Smallworld's sense of colour and design.
There's nothing really more to it than I like to look at pretty pictures, and these comics have just enough plot to hang all that beauty on, and that's all I want in life.