Monday, September 26, 2022

Finding the love for comic books ain't that hard



I never blame the comics when I start to fall out of love with them - it's always my fault. I'm getting old, I'm stuck in my ways, the new comics that all the cool kids seem to like seem strange and clumsy to me and maybe I'm just getting too old for comics, as I slide towards 50.

This has happened to me half a dozen times since I first learned to read with comics and I usually get over it fairly quickly, but have really struggled with it in the past year or so. Through the terrific local library system, I've been reading all sorts of comics - mainstream superhero nonsense, artie independent comics of heartbreaking genius and there's just been disappointment after disappointment.

Superhero sagas that go nowhere and have no grandeur or sense of wonder. Corporate clutching at tired copyrights. Desperate attempts to generate some sweet IP revenue with the lowest of high concepts. Biographical comics of historical figures that have no style or energy.

There are still the endless pleasures of the occasional Love and Rockets comic, and the few monthly US comics I still get are full of gorgeous artwork and fun stories. 2000ad still delivers, every single week.

But you can't just stay in your safe lane forever if you ever want to learn something about the world, so I do keep trying to find new stuff, and do find so much of it to be dull or derivative. I'm far too old to abide ugly art on my comics, no matter how good the writing is, and I need comics that sing to me, or at least don't try too hard.

I know it's a me problem, because these things must have some kind of an audience, and there do seem to be people out there genuinely loving a lot of things that leave me cold. They're not wrong, I'm not wrong, we're all right.

Because it's not the comics' fault, it's me. I know this, because I found the love again last week, in some wonderfully unexpected places. Hello again, old love.

In a few days, in between the latest go at a 2000ad prog slog (which is always rewarding), I read a couple of truly meaty books, and tried some new regulars that were just fucking fun, and was introduced to some new digital stuff, and read a mate's mini-comic that was unexpectedly touching, and I haven't even got to the new Kate Beaton book yet.

I'm fucking into it. I fucking love comics. I love them so fucking much.

The world of comic books has grown so much since I first stumbled into it as a toddler, and it's grown far faster than I could ever get tired of it, and I look forward to more years of unexpected discoveries and cosy delights. 

And big, fat comics that I want to read in one sitting, with no distractions, because there's nothing better than that. I'll talk more about one of them tomorrow, because sometimes it's all Arkwright on the night.