Monday, February 27, 2012

The Blank Page Before Me

Where was I last week, some may have asked, well Lee was kind enough, along with Thomm to come to my rescue as February 17, my Mom died. Obviously I had other things to deal with and the weekly column become something that I did not care about at that moment. My Mom was ninety and in declining health, so it was not a shock, but I have never lost anyone so close to me and it was still difficult. My Dad, who is 92 and was married for over 66 years, has the tough job at this point. I always debate how open to be on the blog. Still regular readers know I have lost my dog, had my first grandson, moved to Florida, now work from home and now lost my Mom. So I guess I’m pretty open. The reason why I talk about all of this is a prologue to the column title and what this post is about.

Due to my life being what it has been, I have read very little and have way too many comics to read to try and catch up. I started to think about what I was going to post and I realized I was drawing an incredible blank. I have not read a single book from this week, have hardly read any recent comics at all, nothing that I have read was screaming at me to post about it and all in all I had no clue what to write about. The proverbial blank page was starting at me.
That I realized I have become more of a casual comic book fan. Instead of being plugged into every last bit of news and following Bleeding Cool, CBR, Newsarama and all the rest I was now on the peripheral side of things and thought that perspective might be something of interest to write about.

Gosh Will Someone Die?
From my new vantage point Marvel is about to blow up everything and is betting the farm on Avengers vs X-Men. On the surface it feels like this is a “can’t miss” type of thing because the Avengers and X-Men franchise carry the line anyway and making a battle sounds great. All the books will tie in and then at the end the rumor is Bendis takes over the X-Books and Hickman is coming onto the Avengers books.  The additional mini-series will be full of useless books as usual, but they have a book devoted to the actual battles also. Of course from my view it is yet another event. The few X-Books and the four Avengers books I get will not be tied into this thing and that means yet another starting over. DC has burnt me out with starting over and this is a very tempting jumping off point for me. If I do jump off here the amount of Marvel stuff I will still get will be about eight books a month. Spider-Man is doing yet another event, but I have dropped that title and don’t care, but the Avengers vs X-Men is the event that will last a year. Of course since half of the X-Men are also Avengers it will be confusing. When you do mega events it makes it harder for me to ignore that in other books the event is ignored. Of course after Secret Invasion I think the only impact was the Wasp died. Hell the events all run together. In Civil War Spider-Man revealed his identity, but then it was magically fixed. It just has become too much in my view and I find the thrill is gone. Like I said before no matter how great Mark Waid’s take on Daredevil is and it is great, it is still just another Matt Murdock story. 

Earth 2
Over at DC they are trotting out a couple of Earth 2 books, which just reminds me that the JSA never existed in this iteration of the DCU and it makes me sad somehow. Aquaman is the midst of an epic “The Other League”, Flash is fighting Gorilla “yawn” Grodd, Batman is in the midst of “The Court of Owls” storyline that many other Bat books are jumping into in hopes that Scott Snyder story points can save the entire Bat line, GL New Guardians is a continuation from Blue Beetle which I don’t get, Justice League Dark #9 is the first part of a story that will have long lasting implications for the entire DC Universe (long lasting in comic book speak means two months in one to three books), rotating creative crews abound and the DC has more splatter effect then the old twirling paints they used to do on the Ocean City, Maryland boardwalk. A coherent universe is something that both companies have strived for and ignored at their leisure. I think it works best when each book is its own thing but you have familiar ground that all books share. Then the team books are their own thing and acknowledge major event in the regular series. DC right now is a mess and I have lost my affinity for the DCU. I still care about some characters, but what was love is now more like we are just friends.

Mind the Gap
The excitement is coming from Image who is launching new series all the time. They got Brubaker and Phillips to do Fatale at Image. Chew, Strange Talent, Bedlam, Thieve of Thieves, Dancer, Epic Kill, Grim Leaper, Mind the Gap and many other series are coming out or have been hits from Image. It also seems like Mark Millar is gobbling up a lot of talent with Dave Gibbons and Frank Quietly signed up for two new series. Millar will make me buy some of his books soon. IDW has some great series, Dark Horse has cool stuff from time to time, but the big two keep on trying to put new clothes on the emperor.

In summary the big two are trapped in amber. My continual litany against the never ending story stands and the need for the next chapter is growing within me. Perhaps it all ties together with my Mom dying. I loved her and will treasure my memories, but the next chapter to be written is now about my daughters, son-in-laws and grandson. As much as I loved my mother’s story I’m now excited to see how these new stories play out. I wish the cape and cowl set could see that there is benefit to true change.


  1. Great post, Jim. Nothing wrong with being open about things going on. Sure we like to talk about comics, but it's the relationships that really matter.

    DC is driving me away too and I have little interest in Marvel's next big event. So many other titles are being cancelled, I'm not sure how much I'll have left on my pull list either.

  2. It's about time you joined me out here in the wilderness! I loved Marvel/DC for years but there comes a time when you must move on.

    Batman, Spiderman, Superman, the X-men... they are all the toys of the younger generation. That doesn't mean I am old, it just means that we should leave those toys to the Greg's and Gwen's of the world. They haven't read the same version of the same story 20 or 30 times like we have. In another 15 yrs, they will be just like us... old bitter and maybe incapacitated from stress (you). Then they will seek out indie books like I have. And like you should.

    Why do you think I always talk about Indies... and DH... and IDW. Because I love comics and I don't think I can ever leave them. But I can leave Batman.

  3. I sadly welcome you to a club I joined in 2001. my mom died after she had complications in recovery from triple bypass surgery. During the waiting room times my comics helped me exist in the periods between visiting her, even though she was not able to interact.

    I am in the Religious Profession, most would expect that i could find comfort in my Bible. I had no ability to read those words, or any words really. It was only when I began reading novels by the English Vet James Herriot which my mom had bought for me over the years that I started to cope. Time and the most strangest of things can help you heal.

    I will say a prayer for you as you cope with losing your mom.

  4. Thanl Matthew, Lee and BDS - I can't give up Batman, but the rest I can.

  5. Sorry for your loss Jim. You have captured the ethos of seminal life events. The trapped in amber comment is apt. Polaroids in a digital photo world.