Being born in 1991 is, by far, the worst thing to happen to my cred in the comic shops I’ve visited around the US.
This became very clear last Wednesday during my weekly pull, while discussing (DC) Vertigo’s new leadership and the possible repercussions for some of our favorite titles. One of the top guys at Fantasy Comics, married with a wife and kids, starts talking about how he remembered reading Alan Moore’s run on Swamp Thing (Issues #20-64) when they were released. Although I have read the trade paperbacks, and can fully appreciate Moore’s overhaul of what was in every way a dead title, I wasn’t there for that momentous shift in the tides. It’s like that one uncle who saw Megadeth with seven other people and every thanksgiving , after a few beers, reminds you that you “Dont know jack shit about rock!”
In today’s world of mass communication and consumerism, we cling to the things that we consider ours. From that one book you picked up at a yard sale years ago no one seems to have read, to the TV show you can’t belive was canceled. We attach these things to our social identity and either, A) Guard that secret like it’s the blood line of christ or B) evangelize on it’s behalf until everyone wants to hang you from the highest tree. And when you see some middle schooler wearing a t-shirt from that band or reading “your book” you are pained with a broad range of emotions. You are happy for the artists success, but the feeling of exclusivity has been lost. The same goes for the world of comic readers and collectors, especially those who witnessed the creation and peak of the fundamental titles.
So the questions still stands; can you be too young to be a true fan of the classic comics of generations past?
Where does that leave us? In some barren wasteland of web-comics and independent strips? In conversation should we stick to the potential of Sean Murphy, as seen in Punk Rock Jesus, or the impressive expansion of Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead into the current flag runner of comics and a wildly popular TV show?
I say no on all accounts. We are not here to hijack the amazing traditions of serial stories, but rather to continue enjoying the artistry and participating in the last great venue of free speech. With trade paperback collections of most story arcs and digital copies of thousands of titles, we have an unprecedented access to the best stories of yesteryear. The whole canon timeline of Captain America and Bucky is one Google search away, for Christ’s sake! To say that just because we were not there to pick up The Watchmen issue by issue we can’t feel the social commentary resonate in our current world is nothing short of asinine. At all the shops I frequent in the Tucson area, they carry a wide variety of back issues if you’re looking for that one story segment or individual panel that really stuck with you.
In fact we are in a good position over the coming years to see a very interesting time for publishers and readers alike, with DC’s NEW 52 that began in 2011, and MARVEL NOW which has seen a reset in fundamental stories such as DEADPOOL and The Uncanny X-Men. I could spend a whole article talking about the new movie franchises, but I’ll leave it at this. Between The Avengers movie and its respective tie-ins, and the pending Justice League of America titles, the future of comics looks nothing but promising in the hands of a new and devoted consumer base.
To the young and cautious I say go ahead and pick up that first volume of Doom Patrol or Alpha Flight. Look around and really find out what your preferences are and explore this amazing medium. To older readers I ask that you be patient with us when we immediately associate V for Vendetta with Natalie Portman’s rocking body — can you really blame us though?
Readers Note: I’m going to be straight forward with you guys; like most if not all of the contributors here I work full-time on top of these articles. So what you read here might not be “BREAKING NEWS!” but I really think I will be able to bring fresh and entertaining insight on titles and the comic book community as a whole. I promise you, the reader, a fully developed article every Tuesday as well as bonus reviews or suggested pulls for both long time collectors and new readers. If at any point you have suggestions, please let me know! You can add them in the comments section, or on my twitter. I’m very excited to be part of state-lines.com, and I want to make these submissions everything they can be for you. Make sure to stop by next week when I cover the direction that the various X-men titles are heading and if it’s really ‘new’ or just more of the same.
Please consider supporting the CBLDF and your local comic shops!