Monday, December 29, 2008

It's a hobby, folks

It's not exactly a secret that I love comic books. I have for 30-plus years and the love shows no sign of going away any time soon. Yes, I love super heroes and what with Batman, Hellboy and Iron Man, this was a pretty good year (The Incredible Hulk wasn't bad, and certainly a step up from the previous movie). But there's simply something about the combination of writing and images that appeals to me. A lot of people I meet think comic book writing must be easy, but it's not. I've never even really tried because I'm not sure I could do it.

Mark Waid, who is one of the best in the business, has been talking a bit about comic book writing over on John Roger's blog and it's worth taking a look at for those interested in the subject. It's a lot about the economy of words and showing, not telling. So it has more than a bit in common with screenplay writing, which again is not the easiest form of writing in the world.

And thanks to the sketches I got at the New York Comic Con, I've become more interested in owning some original comic book art, either pages or sketches. Although you would never say there was a recession on, judging by the way I've been constantly sniped on eBay auctions.

So yes, I love comic books. But understand, that I've never, in a million years, considered doing anything like this.

I don't know, there's something about people dressing up in costume and "fighting evil" that bring out my cringe factor. And yes, we have "Polar Man" here in town, but I consider that almost harmless. He's a mostly nice guy with a few issues. I don't even mind the people who show up to conventions in costumes. Mostly I'm impressed with the time and work they put into them and the guts in going out in public.

But these guys, dressing up in costumes, coming up with their nick names and "fighting crime" just makes me want to pound my head against something. Super heroes are fantasy. I like gaudy costumes and morality plays with big fight scenes and I'm all right with that. But running around in spandex and coming up with code names....dear God. You want to do something good to help out the world? Go and volunteer for something. But unless you've magically developed a suit of armor (in which case the US government will be knocking on your door shortly) or suddenly find yourself able to fly and deflect bullets (in which case, once again, the US government will be knocking on your door shortly), please spare me the infantile power fantasies.

To paraphrase from The Truth About Cats and Dogs - "It's ok to love your hobby, just don't love your hobby, if you know what I mean."

I shouldn't rise to the bait. Despite words like "buzz" and "growing network" there's always been this kind of thing happening. And this the media doldrums, where reporters will grasp at anything with a pulse. Given the enormous popularity of super hero movies this year, I'm surprised it took this long to get around to writing stories like this.

I love my hobby, I really do. But there are times....

Last Five
1. Sugar mountain (live) - Neil Young
2. Mesmerizing - Liz Phair
3. The swamp - Brendon Benson
4. Accelerate - REM*
5. Here it is (live) - Jenny Gear


Mireille Sampson said...

As if the minute men weren't fucked up enough.

I can understand RS having a laugh, haven't read the mag in years, but it was never particularly serious. But the Sunday Times? People are getting hacked to death in DRC, global financial meltdown, a new and historic president...there are plenty of other stories out there. Maybe the quality journalist are on Xma vacation

Rob said...

When I was a kid, I used to read war comics all the time.

Would a comic book expert such as yourself know where I could find good condition, Sgt. Rock and G.I. Combat comics. They would be fun to collect as a flashback to my youth>


towniebastard said...

I'm sure there are comic stores that could help. Just check your Yellow pages. Or even on eBay.

But I'd recommend getting the collections rather than trying to hunt down beaten up and damaged single issues. DC comics has reprinted a bunch of the old Sgt. Rock's. A quick Chapters search turned up several hits. This is a Wikipedia hit on G.I. Combat - - and while there appears to be no single collection of the series, it looks like some of the short stories in the series got their own collection, such as the Haunted Tank.

Hope that helps.