Boredom and Solutions

Well, here we are. I’ve got nothing I particularly care to blog about. I’m done with all my reviews, at least ’til I go pick up new comics this afternoon. Not that I’ve got a lot of enthusiasm about that either, because I’m really feeling burned out on reviewing comics. There just isn’t much that feels like it’d be fun to blog about. I don’t have any particularly old comics that I could scan and make jokes about. I could run a “Dose of Awesome” post, but I can’t think of much that feels awesome lately. Waffles? Strawberries? Sleeping ’til just barely late, but not late enough to get a headache, on the weekends? No, nothing that feels like a really good topic.

Part of the problem is that there’s just not much worth getting enthusiastic about in the comics biz. I’m not saying there aren’t good comics out there, both from independents and by the big companies. But I’m well past the point now where I’m able to get very excited about anything anyone is offering.

DC’s rebooted 52 is an exercise in undisguised cynicism. Even with titles that are otherwise pretty good, you just can’t escape the idea that Dan DiDio and Geoff Johns are having a laugh at our expense. And that doesn’t even get into the way they keep treating women and non-white readers as some sort of barely tolerated embarrassment, only good for drumming up outrage, not so much for telling good stories to. There’s nothing like feeling used and disrespected to make you want to skip reading comics for a few months.

Not that Marvel is a lot better. Sure, they’re not doing anything as blatantly disrespectful as the “New 52,” but any company that’s still letting hacks like Brian Michael Bendis and Mark Millar call the shots is never too far away from pulling off something that’ll make “Red Hood and the Outlaws” look like Sunday tea with your maiden aunts.

On the other hand, I really do like a lot of what I’m reading from Dark Horse, IDW, Boom, Image, and other companies. In a lot of cases, they’re the only publishers who are really working to push the comics bubble. They’re working to expand what comics can do.

I think the only way we’re going to see exciting comics again is to work at it ourselves. If you write or draw, and you want to break into comics, it’s time to take Marvel and DC out of your Future Ambitions file. More and more often, working for the Big Two is a good way to tell stories the corporation wants but no one else does. Work on your own characters and your own stories, whether it’s within comics or somewhere else. Write webcomics, novels, screenplays, short stories, videogames, roleplaying games, children’s books, you name it.

And if you can’t write or draw — and there are plenty of us who can’t — keep reading new and good stuff. Keep pestering DC and Marvel about what a bad job they’re doing — because ignoring them just sends a message that we all approve of them. But let’s keep an eye out for good stuff, and let’s make sure other people know about them. Comics as an art form — heck, storytelling as an art form — must move forward, whether or not DC and Marvel are in the lead or at the back of the pack.

There won’t be much to be enthusiastic about immediately, maybe not for a while. But it’s got to happen eventually.

1 Comment

  1. Richard Said,

    November 3, 2011 @ 6:32 pm

    I once read an interview with a Japanese creator — I think it may have been Hayao Miyazaki, but I can’t say for sure — in which he described recent Walt Disney films as being like visiting a beloved elderly relative in a rest home, and seeing a once strong and vital figure turned senile. To me this is Marvel and DC today. Every once in a while they might show some sign of the lively, vibrant people they used to be, but those brief reminders of the past just makes their decrepitude all the more tragic.