05 January, 2014

How Ill are Comics?

The Answer: Comic book are most ill.

As many comics as I have been buying and as many as I have been reading, my To Do List is getting higher and higher. Most of the time, when I buy one of these books-- or any book, really-- it's with the mental concession that I will either learn something about the craft or churn out a non-fiction piece of some kind on this blog. In that way it can do some actual, positive good in my life and not just entertain me, which, hey, I guess that is something. There's a lot of things out there that can't even manage that.

These are the following books that I have bought, but haven't read yet:


I'm always up for a good crime story. Supernatural stuff, though? It's about as attractive to me as a gay bar called the "Knife Wound." Even though something like Hellblazer or Hellboy will occasionally drop, you more often than not end up with the same shity paranormal investigator story ever written between 1993 and today excluding The X-Files (but not even all of The X-Files). It is a genre that has created an environment where RIPD could thrive.

Ghosted, luckily, isn't garbage. It seems very much aware of how overpopulated the genre is, as well as how underwhelming it usually is. The first two issues introduce you to a violent and vulgar world where a professional thief is tasked to steal Vincent Price a ghost. And then it gets weird. From what I have read, I liked. I'm looking forward to how this thing plays out.


I've been wanting to read a Joe Casey book for a long while and since Butcher Baker is never getting a proper release or conclusion, I figured this is going to have to do. I've heard good things about this book, which allows me to ignore how loathsome I find that "But what if Batman was like this" type of bullshit that I imagine plagues Image's submission department. Plus, when I opened it up there was a lot of boners and tits and I realized that I haven't read a book like that in a long while and I figured the time had come.


Slayground is Darwyn Cooke's next installment in his run of Parker adaptations. There isn't much else to say about it other than the only reason that I haven't touched it yet is that, like a fine wine or a bottle of whiskey, I'm saving this up for the right moment.

Nowhere Men.

I've already read up to where this trade ends, so, really this is all about me re-reading the first arc of the story. I think I've already discussed this book, but it deserves a second mention, because it might be one of the coolest books on the market. It's also the coolest book that I'm reading where I still have no idea what it is that I'm reading.

Nowhere Men has managed to somehow  tell an interesting, clever story that still seems like it's just on the edge of getting started. The seed of the book seems to be "What if The Beatles were super-scientists." Yet by the end of the first issue, that idea has exploded into a kaleidoscope of side plots and ephemera that have still yet to link up or coalesce into a central idea. It's exciting to read where it can be this coy and still be this good. As lost as I might be, this book that has a clear vision and a clear direction and I'm perfectly fine with going along with the ride.


I think 2014 is the year of me getting up the energy to finally read the graphic novel of the history of anti-Semitism. Finally.

There's a unifying theme in this list, which is that Image Comics is turning out some great work. I don't know what got into the water at Image HQ (which I imagine to be a trailer hidden away the in the mountains and when you knock on the door Erik Larsen comes to it with a shotgun and smelling of battery acid), but it's working. Whatever it is, somebody needs to pump some of it into the Marvel and DC HQs (a glittering skyscraper and a second-hand Soviet satellite, respectively).

The breadth and the quality of works that have come out of that company in the past year is astounding. Manhattan Projects. East of West. Zero. Saga. Satellite Sam. Prophet. Lazarus. Jupiter's Legacy. And those are just the comics that I'm reading. Thinks about how great those books are. Think how weird they are! Think about what this means!

They've got a wide array of books driven by talented people with a vision and that's exciting. It gives me hope. And it makes me think that maybe what's wrong with the world is that I'm just not paying enough attention. At the very least at 9.99 a pop, the price is right.

Now is an exciting time to be a comic book read. I'm glad for it. I'm glad for all of it. Because it'll be a cold day in Hell when I give a good shepherd's fuck about a Guardians of the Galaxy cross-over.