Monday, September 11, 2006

Comics For Nobody!

Comic book enthusiasts have many obsessions, but one of the most prevailing is to get more people involved in their hobby. To turn non-comic book readers into true connoisseurs of the artform, to spread the word, to turn them into one of us.

The desire for this might stem from the simple desire to have somebody to talk to about the latest issue of Genericman, or the desire to convert may come from a wider concern that unless new readers are found soon, the entire medium will roll up and die.

Unfortunately, you can expose somebody to the finest in graphic literature, show them the finest art the medium has to offer and you still won’t be able to compete with the fact that there are a lot of people out there who just won’t read them. Ever. Because they just don’t like them.

My fiancée is a fine, fine woman, and I’m not just saying that because she’s a journalist who wanders around the house in her underwear, just like Vicki Vale. She’s smart and funny and sexy as fuck, but by God, I couldn’t get her to read a comic book for anything.

She understands my passion and loves the way I can’t help doing a little happy dance whenever new comic books arrive in the mail, but she won’t ever read one for herself. Her reasons are her own and have something to do with the fact that she thinks they don’t let the reader rely on their own imagination, but no matter how much I debate this point with her, she won’t cave in.

A lot of it does have to do with the still widely-held perception that comics = super heroes and that is all there is to it, (even though I have tried with many, many, non-genre efforts). Fact is, the idea that an adult could pick up a super hero comic cold and find it fascinating is more than a little weird. Get ‘em when they’re young with that sort of thing. It’s the only way.

But that’s okay. So I can’t get her to read a comic book, big deal. It doesn’t harm my enjoyment of them. I don’t feel the overwhelming need to discuss the latest issue of All-Star Superman with anybody the instant it comes out and I figure the medium is strong enough to do without those extra sales.

And yet…

I fucking love comic books. I adore the way words and pictures go together like that. I like all kinds. I like intense autobiographical navel gazing and I adore big super-hero punch-ups. So how come I only buy, at most, half a dozen comics every month?

Every month the solicitations are released and every month it’s the same old shit, over and over again. I just can’t get excited about 99% of comics released every month, and the more insular and inward-looking they get, the less interest I have.

I don't live anywhere near a comic store, so I don't even have the option of stumbling across any independent comic that turns out to be a heart-wrenching work of genius. I don't have much money, so spending it on the sheer hope that something might be good based purely on the views of others is a hard fucking step to take.

So if there is little more than nothing for me, and nothing at all for most other people, who else is left? And what’s the fucking point? Why fucking bother?

All that you can do is ignore the vast majority, let it all slide by, let it go. Embrace the love and leave the rest. With that attitude I have little doubt that the death of the whole industry will come a little closer every day, but I just can’t be worried about that.

The industry may die, but the medium is forever.

2 Love Letters:

Blogger Apodaca said...

You've given me things to think about, Smith.

7:51 PM

Blogger Smith said...

In return you can give me money. Or comics. If you want.

10:25 PM


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