I want to tell you about a realization I had last night. My stack of new Wednesday comics had been read & I was reflecting on the stories I had just experienced. My final conscious thoughts were filled with stories of super heroes and heroines and their adventures of the week. As that final waking moment slipped away my last thought was "I have so much love for super heroes, but I think I hate super hero books". When I woke this morning, this fleeting thought had taken seed in my mind and began to grow. What did it mean? Do I hate comics? Obviously not. Do I hate super hero comics? That couldn't possibly be true. While I reflected more and more about this harsh statement, it became clear to me: I didn't hate super hero comics, they hated me.
My story of how I started reading comics again is far from unique but here is a little history before I continue. I started reading comics again after a hiatus of about seventeen years. As a child I was an avid reader of comics, but stopped reading, like so many people of my generation, in my mid teens. I came back to comics two and a half years ago after discovering books like; Ex Machina, The Walking Dead, Transmetropolitan and Fables to name a few. Discovering this world of comics was revolutionary to me. There was a whole world of writers, artists and stories I never knew existed. On top of all these wonderful books were the old favorites I had read so voraciously in my youth. It was only natural to see what my old friends were up to. It had been so long. I couldn't wait to catch up and hear about all their adventures!
It's taken me nearly three years, but last night I realized my old friends don't like me any longer. We don't have anything in common. We've been trying to make it work, trying to spend time together, but I now see that we don't have anything new to talk about. They tell me the same stories time and time again and they tell it the same way they did when I was a kid. I've told them that we need to talk about something new, but they don't seem to care. This realization isn't sad, it's freeing. These relationships ended when I stopped reading comics all those years ago. We are free to go our separate ways. My old friends are free to make new friends, with a new generation of people that will love to hear their stories. I am free to make new friends, friends I have more in common with and to hear their stories which are new to me. The lesson I learned yesterday is not to hold onto the past, take those lessons learned and look forward to the future.
Dude, I couldn't agree more.. apart from the nostalgia, I have very little love for hero books. That's why I love publishers like Oni and others who are breaking away from the assumption that heroes make the comics better. The stories seem redundant and washed out to me.. great read man, and please post often! This was awesome! -KyleLovesComicsReplyDelete
I feel your pain, Aaron. To ween yourself off superhero books slowly, I'd recommend horror/mythology-centric books like Hellboy or the batshit crazy/HILARIOUS/off-the-wall antics of The Goon, The Adventures of Dr. McNinja, Axe Cop and Bearmageddon (the last three are all FREE internet comics).Delete
The short-lived, maybe-on-hiatus, maybe-canceled Butcher Baker was a beaut, too. For the most part, all those books play up some tropes of the superhero genre while making distinct about-faces. As a child of the 80s, I'm also surprised to say I'm enjoying the rebirths of some of my favorite franchises like the Ninja Turtles, Ghostbusters and Transformers. (IDW has the nostalgia market cornered!)
For something so very unlike superhero action, do yourself the biggest favor of all and read Ed Brubaker's Criminal series, followed by his current horror/noir mash-up, Fatale. His other creator-owned piece, Incognito, was only so-so.
Thanks for checking out my post foo-gos! I'm pretty deeply immersed in non-supe books or alt supe books (like The Boys for example), have been since i started back on comics a few years ago. Really this was my first attempt at explaining my feelings about mainstream books. to distill it even further, I think i made the choice last night not to be distracted by books that ultimately leave me feeling lacking, especially when each week there are more than enough indy books to keep me busy. Trying to maximize my reading time and my money.ReplyDelete
I really like the tone of this piece. Does this mean you'll be dropping some books? Or adding others. Great start ... Now keep it up! One a week, my man, one post a week.
Thanks very much, I will plan to keep up that pace, already thinking about my next post.ReplyDelete
I enjoyed the way you expressed the (always) complicated relation with superhero comics. I look forward to reading your future posts.
Thanks very much for reading Seth! More to come soon.ReplyDelete
As I read the words here I couldn't help to reflect upon my own recent realizations of the same nature. It sounds like we had a very similar trip through the comic book universe so far... Immersed as a kid, 15+ year hiatus, only to enter back into a world wholly unfamiliar to the one we left.ReplyDelete
I completely understand how the juxtaposed feelings of sorrow and freedom can nip and tear - back and forth - shifting from an overwhelming paralysis to an exciting rush - all in the name of motivation towards something that you love.
It sounds ridiculous as I read what I am writing... like a hobby should hold such an important place in anyone's heart/mind/time, but it does, for many.
I love that your realization ends with a letting go of the past and a positive outlook for the future. That is how stories should end, comics or otherwise.
Thanks for sharing, and inspiring greatness.
Thanks very much Charles. I think for people who dont have comics in their life the deep emotion & passion that we feel for them will seem crazy and ridiculous. Im sure those same people have something in their life that they feel as strongly about too. We know comics can and for most readers, are much more than just books, they are gateways into imagination and for humans that's very powerful. I really appreciate your feedback!Delete