Sunday, 20 December 2009

Hey, Comic Book Reader, Put That Frappacino Down!

There is a slight concern with supply and demand existent in the world of comic books. The numbers are low, the readers are leaving, and the manner in which people can get their books out is increasing - is this the long tail?

Some people blame the lack of new readers, and the low numbers, on the seemingly impenetrable story lines that seem to run year-round in the big two's books. At present Marvel is starting a cross-over event series called Siege - something that has been seven years in the making, or basically the 7th annual all-year-long cross over. The preview, rather sadly, features a scene in which one of the villains in that universe says "well, we started the first cross over like this, maybe enough time has passed so that we can do it again?" - I'm paraphrasing slightly.

DC comics is in the middle of it's Blackest Night event - or Night of the Living This Isn't Your Daddies Justice League - or DC Zombies. Didn't Grant Morrison put the "grim, edgy evil wins" story to bed in the DC universe, and wasn't he calling for a return to good honest story telling? Maybe not...

Dark, edgy, dense and multiple - neither story is little more than a gosh! wow! headlines! gimmick, in my opinion, yet they are being lapped up (at least Blackest Night is, and the Siege probably will).

I don't like being negative though, especially at this time of year, so I would like to suggest some other stuff that you could be picking up, instead of the latest Teen Titans Cross Over Issue ("No Hoax, no lie, someone gets threatened with zombie rape!" or something).

In no particular order, perhaps you should use your money to pick up:

1. David Flora's excellent Ghost Zero - perfect, pulpy supernatural story telling.
2. Brandon Dayton's beautiful Green Monk - a really wonderfully put together book.
3. Jerzy Drozd and Mark Rudolph's Saturday Morning Cartoon-esque The Switch Runners - and remind yourselves how fun comics used to be.
4. The exquisite anthology series Mysterious Adventure Magazine by various artists.

(all available at Indy Planet)

The point here is really that there are other books out there if you look, books that are fun, enjoyable and accessible, and for all ages and tastes. So if you don't think Zombie rape or storming the gates or Asgard are for you, broaden your horizons a little, shop around, ask your local store to get some smaller press books in. There are books out there that are about good story telling in its basic form, you just have to look past Previews, Wizard and Diamond Distribution to find them.

Happy Holidays!

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