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Sunday, April 16, 2006

Comicology

For half of college and a couple of years after it, I was a big fan of comic books. I have to thank writers like Kevin Smith and Brian Michael Bendis for writing stuff that made me really interested in comics again. The inclusion of comic books in Smith's films (especially Mallrats and Chasing Amy), along with his runs on Daredevil and Green Arrow, got me fully into something I had briefly dabbled in when I was younger. Plus, Bendis' Powers was one of the best comic series I had ever read. So, why don't I read comics on a regular basis anymore?

From time to time, I read trade paperbacks or graphic novels (a full storyline in one binding). Sure, it's not the same as reading a new issue each month, but the story is the most important part of the reading experience for me. As I've said before, I'm such a slow reader, so these benefit me better.

Then there is the whole aspect of collecting comics. Since the first issue in a series is usually worth something of monetary value, there is a scramble to pick them up. Whether or not the series is any good, there is a desire to have something that may very well be worth a lot of money someday. Realizing that so few first issues are actually worth a lot of money, I felt this wasn't worth going much further with. From then on, I became focused on getting comics that I thought were interesting from the angles of quality artwork, writing and story.

Eventually I became less and less inclined to pick up new issues every Wednesday. I got more enjoyment out of reading trade paperbacks and proper novels. Though there is a wide variety of comics out there, I lost my taste in reading gritty crime noir and neverending superhero stories. I found some great comics by people like Andi Watson and Alex Robinson. Their stories were about people going through life events like being dumped, between jobs and just frustrated with one's life. Books like Breakfast After Noon and Box Office Poison were what I was looking for and I still think highly of them. However, with the exception of Robinson's recent Tricked, I haven't cracked open a comic, trade paperback or graphic novel in at least a year.

Maybe I find more enjoyment out of reading novels (fiction and non-fiction), but comics are not a regular part of my life these days. I definitely don't miss a number of things about the world comic book geeks. Though I know plenty of cool people that are into comics, it's the socially inept mongrels that ruin it for me. You know, the people that inspired the character of Comic Book Guy on the Simpsons? That's what I'm talking about: people who are incredibly cliqueish and almost completely unable to function in society by themselves. They get life out of spewing their negative opinions aloud in a comic book store and online with poorly-worded message board posts. That kind of personality is not missed with me.

Previously, I brought up a desire to doing a graphic novel following Post, but at this point, I'm not really sure. I have to finish Post and then I'll start working on something new. Comics are great, but I'm not sure if I'm one to script and/or draw one.

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