Posted on: September 18th, 2012 Things I Miss (and Don’t Miss) About Reading Comics
I recently decided to get my act together and go to graduate school. I knew there would be reading. I knew there would be writing. I knew I had to keep my job. So, I figured I would have to cut down on my pull list each week. There wouldn’t be enough time to keep up with all the titles I wanted to read. And I did that. By at least 50%.
Then I actually started school and it turns out…I don’t have time to read them at all. In almost two months time, I think I have managed to get through four single issues. This is not at all what I anticipated. But, in effort to keep my priorities in line, I’ve just succumbed to the notion that comics will have to wait. Do I miss them? God, yes. However, our time apart has also made me realize that comics were causing me some grief.
Things I Don’t Miss About Comics:
-Being Told What I Should Be Excited For-
I don’t care which publishing company it is, they are forever throwing ads in your face for upcoming books. “Hold on to your butts because now we’ve got a bunch of A-listers fighting other A-listers!” “Don’t you dare think about buying your comics this week without picking up this new title by a guy that you sort of enjoyed when he wrote that one book! It also has that artist that takes forever to turn out content!” “Remember that book you really liked back in the 90s? Well this is like that…only…different!”
I just want to read books. Tell me what they’re about and let me decide if I’m excited. You don’t need to bombard me with stimuli They Live-style to get me to pay attention. I got it. Thanks.
-Waiting Forever To Get To The Point-
People complain about the price of comics. I don’t really. You get what you pay for in all things. Creators have to get paid (maybe), printers have to get paid (certainly), and someone has to pay for all this marketing. But if I’m going to shell out your price of the book without hesitation, maybe you could have the decency of editing your content?
You know when you finish a series and think, “Boy, those 16 issues could have been cut down to 6.” I hate reading filler. Why are you wasting my time? It’s not even good story-telling. You’re just milking me for my money. I’d like you to stop.
-Having My High Hopes Crushed-
I want every book I read to be good. But you know what? That can’t happen. It just isn’t possible. There’s always going to be that filler. And there will be always be varying levels of good. And your ‘good’ may not be the same as my ‘good’. But I hate to be disappointed. And then I’m back the following month with my fingers crossed saying, “Maybe this is the week it doesn’t suck.” But it isn’t. It. Isn’t.
Yes, I can clearly see the irony here. I’m casting judgment on the entire comic book industry and I don’t even make comics. I think I have a voice that matters when I clearly don’t. Any monkey can have a blog. What right do we have as passive aggressive critics in looking at someone’s creation and saying, “That’s garbage.” We don’t. God bless them for creating something and putting it out there. In what should be met by our thanks for keeping the art of storytelling alive, we throw up angry posts about how this story will never be as good as ___________. Look, I try to post about books I like. I’d rather hear your recommendations as opposed to your critique. But then again, here I am. Trust me, I know I’m part of the problem.
Things I Miss About Reading Comics:
-Actually Being Part of the Problem-
Or, for that matter, being a part of the community. I like it when I can talk about this week’s books. I like it when I can argue with my brother about why his pick of the week was far inferior to my own. I like knowing what creators have in the works. I like meeting a comic book fan and gushing over what titles we pull. It’s like a worldwide book club and I haven’t been to a meeting in two months. I miss my book club.
-Comic Book Day-
Wednesday is like a miniature Christmas right smack dab in the middle of the week. And let me tell you, it is an event in my world. I take off of work, there is food preparation, there is toy shopping, there is ice cream. It is the day when you scrape up every ounce of awesome you can muster and just chuck it in the face of the work week. And in spiteful act of courage you scream, “Screw you, reality! I’m going to read Batman.” Do you realize how many people exist in this world with genuinely *nothing* to look forward to every week? At most, they’re super pumped for The Voice to air on television. People, we have mythology to look forward to. We read. We are building vocabularies and watching good battle evil! We have books with talking bears and dinosaurs with jetpacks! And that is awesome.
-Marathon Reading Nights-
I miss taking that chunk of books home and contemplating how I’m going to ration throughout the week. Which ones do I need to read right now? Which ones should I save in case there’s a bad book and I need a palate cleanser? Which ones have the potential to be good but could be terrible? Which ones are going to be spoiled for me on Twitter if I don’t read them soon? And then, you just plow through them. One right after another. You can’t stop absorbing every panel, every page, every issue. The couch starts to stink a bit after you’ve been there for a few hours and you aren’t sure if it’s you or the couch. So you move to your bed to read some more and when you finally look at the clock you realize you should have gone to sleep a long time ago. And yet…you’ve still got three more pages to go. Then there’s a big reveal and you’re too excited to sleep.
Guys, reality sucks. You know it. I know it. That’s why I got into comics. Life within those pages is infinity cooler than life outside the panels. People die and come back. There are alternate realities where we’re all evil. Again, Dinosaurs with jetpacks! I don’t know how to coordinate a heist. Comics do! I don’t know how to build a time machine. Comics do! I don’t have superpowers. Comics do! It gets my imagination working again-a task that is near impossible when you’re staring at cells on a spreadsheet all day. But comics gives me the hope that if I just finish these reports, maybe an alien invasion will happen and somebody has to save Dolores from H.R. Don’t worry, Dolores. I’ll save you!
I miss writing for the Squid too. I appreciate you guys reading my pseudo-regular rambling. I know you’ve got opinions of your own and I really do love to hear them. I’m thankful for all the friends I’ve made here and I’m going to try my best to be back really soon. Enjoy your books this week. I’ll catch up sooner or later.