36. Comic Books – They Sort of Suck

Who doesn’t like comic books? They’re stories filled with pictures! It’s basically taking five pages of dialogue, spreading it over twenty to thirty pages, and then charging you ten bucks for something the size of a vacuum cleaner manual.

Oh yeah, they’re crazy fucking expensive. And that’s just the start of the problem with comic books. Back to the price, however, I can understand a bump up. It costs more than just writing, everything about a comic book screams hard work, drawing thirty pages of action, emotions, and backgrounds is no easy task; unless you’re Rob Liefeld, who chooses to avoid realistic proportions to make his job easier. Do I think it’s worth ten dollars, though? Hell no, that’s how much you pay for a two-hundred word novel.  But the prices I can get over, there are other problems with comics that basically make them worthless to me.

For starters, no one can keep up with the damn things. No comic run ever seems to last more than a collective five minutes. Looking at you DC, what even was New 52?

Finish reading an issue, and the comic company has already revamped their line, giving you the same background story for the millionth time, switched the good writer for someone who’s never heard dialogue before, and change the artist. Sometimes they don’t even restart the line, they just go ahead and give the writer the axe. I’m looking at you, Thunderbolts. The Punisher’s dialogue got absolutely neutered.

Or they give them the Deadpool treatment. Replace the shitty artist, keep the writer, and then throw the series to the axe. Keep the inverse ratio though, keep making better art while the writer gets shittier and shittier.

How is it that Hellblazer, a horror noir series had a run of roughly thirty years, with an interesting character, good writers, and constantly varying art to keep it fresh, yet New 52 rolls around, you restart the series, change the name, and then neuter the character? Why would you neuter John Constantine? Oh, and then they gave Justice League Dark the Thunderbolts treatment. After tying them in to a complex storyline that required you read every other shitty comic DC was writing at the time just to understand it, while resolving nothing in any of them. Yeah, that totally makes me want to spend money on your shit, DC.

Then there’re the sequels that no one asked for. Don’t take after your movies, Marvel. No one wanted Civil War 2. The writing sucks, which leads me to another point.

Finally, there’s the pandering. Some comic companies, not naming names, but Marvel and DC, which seem to think pandering politically is the way to sell their comics, instead of just making compelling plot lines, with good art, and dialogue that isn’t goofy (or at least overtly.) You don’t need to shove politics into your comics like you’re fisting a fucking turkey. If you want to write a political story, then make it subtle. World events are always a great start to write a story, but just because you have “good intentions” (not always good) doesn’t mean your story will always be good.

Don’t try to pander. Just do your fucking jobs and give us superhero stories. And clean up your acts.

Bonus: Stan Lee ripping on Rob Liefeld.

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4 thoughts on “36. Comic Books – They Sort of Suck

  1. So you’re problem isn’t comics. It’s Big Two superhero comics. You know there’s WAAAAAAY more comics than just those, right? Image, Dark Horse, IDW, Aftershock, First Second, Oni, Iron Circus . . . really, I could go on. But there’s a lot of publishers. So if what the Big Two do bothers you, there’s so much more out there to enjoy.

    As for the complaint about politics: Uh, no. Comics have ALWAYS been political. Do you know who the first Superman villains were? Corrupt businessmen and politicians. He fought a slumlord long before he fought any actual supervillains. You know, because he was a power fantasy created by a couple poor Jewish kids in the Great Depression. Then you’ve got Captain America punching Hitler, well before the US joined the war. Yeah, nothing political about that. And how about Marvel’s oh-so-subtle commentary during the Civil Rights era? Like when they had the Avengers fight the Sons of the Serpent, a white supremacy group? And let’s not forget the Captain America comic that revealed Nixon as a supervillain, which came out during the Watergate stuff. So apolitical!

    Superhero comics are political. They’re Social Justice Warrior power fantasies. Anyone who doesn’t understand that clearly doesn’t understand superhero comics.

    Oh, and as for pandering: Black Panther. Kirby created him specifically because he was bothered by Marvel not having a black superhero. Jack Kirby did not give a damn about being apolitical. He was all about injecting his politics into his stories. It’s guys like him that ruined superhero comics, eh?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Also, I never said for comics to be apolitical, but making it so hamfisted doesn’t make for good writing. Any message you want your writing to send should be subtle, in general. Isn’t it better to have a reader piece the true mening together themselves, rather than painting it in big letters for them?

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      • Sometimes. But sometimes, you just need a sledgehammer. Bitch Planet is one of my favourite comics, and it has no patience for subtlety. It’s all about creator choices. Sometimes, a creator wants to keep their message subtle and leave things up to the readers to interpret. Other times, a creator wants to make sure everyone knows exactly what they’re trying to say. Neither approach is better or worse than the other. The same applies with prose writing, poetry, TV, film, art, sculpture, or any other medium of expression.

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