Monday, December 31, 2012

A Year In Review [2012]

It feels almost obligatory that at the end of the year everyone writes their best of lists. Instead of boring you with a long list of things I loved, that you probably loved too, I wanted to just post my "top ten" picks of 2012 along with my all ages pick and graphic novel pick.

#1 The Secret History Of DB Cooper
#2 Saga
#3 Manhattan Projects
#4 Prophet
#5 Mind MGMT
#6 Hell Yeah
#7 Hawkeye
#8 Danger Club
#9 Peter Panzerfaust
#10 Ragemoor

- Best Graphic Novel - The Underwater Welder
- Best All Ages - Cowboy

That's it. Please check out these books if you didn't read them this year, I promise that you wont be disappointed. 

Now onto what I really wanted to say:

2012 was a big year for me. I made a ton of great friends and talked A LOT of comics. I hope that 2013 brings me even more friends and even more comics. This community means so much to me, its great to have a group of people that  I can talk about my passion with who have that same passion. 2012 brought our family the start of a new addition to our super hero team, in 2013 they will be officially inducted into our justice society! I cant wait to meet them and find out what super powers they posses (I suspect super-sonic screaming and toxic poop attack). As much as I'm tempted to do a long post about all the amazing things that happened this year and how much you all mean to me I'll keep it brief. Thank you all for your friendship and I look forward to many more years of talking comics with you all!

In 2013 my wish for you is that all your comics be variants, and all your long boxes be filled to the brim!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

The New Cool

When I was in high school myself and a few other nerd refugees would take shelter on breaks and lunches behind one of the school buildings. Sun, rain, snow or hail we would gather to talk comics, sci fi, movies and all other manner of geekery. We worshiped in this church of geekdom in private, in secret, away from the main stream because we weren't the cool kids, and our religion wasn't allowed to be public. 

Times have changed! These days the passions that were secrets to be kept are almost main stream. The internet has revolutionized how people can interact, find communities and talk about their interests. No longer do people have to wonder if they are the only ones,  where the like-minded are hiding or if they are forever doomed to live a life on the fringe. 

It used to be that the bullies, the conformists, dictated what was cool and what wasn't. Those chains have been broken for so many. Even those still living in cultural wastelands can find connections to others of their kind through social media. 

Its now our job as a community to govern ourselves. Not all of us are free. With every rise to power there is the urge to marginalize those who we deem to be unworthy of the title. We will never truly be free till all of us are free to practice and enjoy our nerdiness however we want. Fake and real have no place in our new society. Real is in your heart, fake is the dark side. 

Living in a “post cool” society is the utopia that myself and my fellow refugees dreamt of on those cold days. Huddled together under the overhang, reading our comic books or playing Magic the Gathering. So, live your passions, find your communities and love being the cool that you are.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The Thrill of the Hunt

     I've come across sales of comics in non-comics places, and found some fun deals. These unexpected finds, little treasure troves that you weren't looking for, have given me some thought about what it is that is so thrilling about finding comics "deals" in places that you wouldn't expect to find them and my compulsion to search for more.

     One of the places recently discovered is a used bookstore in my town that "found" about 250,000 comics ranging from the mid 60's to late 80's, in one of their many storage units. This previously unknown treasure trove has become an obsession to me, partly because the collection is being put out for sale slowly, drawing me back to the store like a moth to the flame, and partly because you never know what will be out when you get there.

     There have been a few other places in town with hidden caches of comics you wouldn’t think were there.  The thrill I have when I find them is hard to describe. It’s more than just being able to browse through and buy comics.  If that was the case, Eugene OR already has two great comic book shops, and between Eugene and Portland there are a dozen excellent stores to spend hours looking through. For me, it’s more about being the nerd who finds comics where comics shouldn’t be.

     While looking through these comics I find myself picking up issues that I wouldn't be searching for in the normal shop, or eBay or at cons. The issues I’ve been buying take on a mythical quality to them because they have become special. They now have a back story that the issue by itself never had before. I can tell not only what the comic is about, but how it came to be in my possession. A lot of the possessions I care about most in my life aren't because of what they are, but also where they came from. The "how" is just as important as the "what". The thrill of finding comics and then sharing the find with my friends is as important to me as reading the comic I found. The hunt is as rewarding as the kill.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Sacred Cows: Time makes Gods of Men

Recently I was talking with folks on Twitter about the works of a very famous creator, and how some of his works get more praise than they deserve.  Regardless of how you feel about that, it got me thinking that there are sacred cows; creators that can’t be discussed because the mythos of their work has grown beyond the reality of it. Beyond that, time itself turns people into myth, myth into legend and legend into religion. I can see this starting to happen with comic book creators of the past. I'm guilty myself of placing reverence on deceased creators that I had no connection to because they are no long accessible, the memory of them is becoming a tale to be told rather than a reality to be explored.

I find that debating revered creator's works fails even before the discussion begins because people aren't talking about the same thing. While I may be talking about a book by someone through the eyes of a reader that doesn't know the original creator, someone else is talking about it with the full history of the work in their mind. It’s not the same debate. It’s so hard to establish the ground rules for discussion that what ends up happening is that works are considered untouchable simply because they no longer can be talked about. The weight of their work and roots in the industry are so deep they have become foundational and no longer living or vibrant.

Are there creators out there, works that are so revered that to talk ill of them will only serve to get you scorn? How do you, or do you even dare bring these up for debate and discussion? I find myself more often than not just letting the establishment have its idols and keeping my opinions to myself.

Till next time true believers...

Thursday, November 29, 2012

FF Signing Party Recap

Yesterday (11-28-12) I had the opportunity to attend a signing party of the release of FF #1 from Marvel, written by Matt Fraction Drawn by Mike Allred and colored by Laura Allred at our local comic book shop here in Eugene OR, Nostalgia Collectibles. It was a rare opportunity to have comics creators in our town doing a public event and it was a great time. I was able to talk a bit with Mr. Fraction & Jamie S. Rich who was also in attendance for signings and meet and greets.

Karaoke  took over the store as people got their comics signed and met with the creators. Mike Allred is one part artist, one part rock star and one part ringmaster. My time was short at the party, our son had reached his limit after about an hour in attendance, but I was happy to get to see these creators again and get some items signed from them, they are all such nice people and a real treat to get to see. Hopefully we will have more events like this here in the future!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Event[ually] We All Grow Up

As I'm writing this, the 20th anniversary of “The Death of Superman” event has just passed.  Through the lens of time maybe this event doesn't matter anymore, and was just another in a long line of deaths and rebirths of super hero characters. For me as an adolescent, this event was shocking and formative. I remember the anticipation I had leading up to it, the dread and the fear as the buildup to the end took place. I mourned with the nation as we had our funeral for our friend, and rejoiced when out of the ashes our hero returned.

Shortly after Superman's death, all hell broke loose in Gotham. I voraciously bought every issue of Knightfall and felt the agony of Bane's knee, myself, as the Dark Knights' back was broken before our very eyes. I was so shocked and enthralled with this run of Batman as a child; it’s forever burned into my psyche.

When people talk about great comic book events, for me these two are ingrained into my memory. I'm sure they aren't the best, or the greatest, but so many comics, music, movies that stick with you over the years are so dependent on the time of life you experienced them. This made me wonder.  Are these "major" events as powerful anymore? Will children now be talking in 20 years about the death of Professor X? As I’ve talked about in the past, I don't read many Marvel or DC super hero books these days, about 8 total on a monthly basis. But this doesn’t change the power and impact they had on me growing up. I have so much love for these characters and wonder if that same love is being fostered in youth of today. I don’t have an answer but I wonder if children will find that same power in modern comics, or if the magic and naïveté of my youth is lost on the iPad generation.