A few recent things that scampered across my reading stirred similar feelings. One was MTV Geek’sThe 10 Best Comics Of September 2012 which was a reasonable sampling of pamphlet form comics from Marvel, DC Image, Dark Horse and Boom. It was by no means an embarrassingly bad list (credited author Alex Zalben reads a lot of comics) and it certainly fits what seems to be MTV Geek’s mandate of being broad. But it also showed what could charitably be termed a narrow focus (especially with the pamphlet constraint.)
The other thing that I noted (via an error message in my RSS feed) was the demise of Comic Book Galaxy, Alan David Doane’s revamped link blog. He’s made the blog private now and I won’t quote it, but the final post on September 16th was a long one where he diagnosed despair over the success of Before Watchmen, along with blowback from a particularly badly thought out post, and the demoralizing effect of trollish message board postings elsewhere as killing his interest in link-blogging…and just about killing his interest in comics. Yes, it was another “Farewell to Comics” type entry.
So September 2012…a pretty typical month in comics book terms. I began to wonder what else had been published in this month and looked back at the Publishers Weekly comics review section to see what else had come out.
Well, it turned out…quite a few things.
Love and Rockets: New Stories #5 by Los Bros Hernandez
Prophet by Brandon Graham and his merry dervishes.
Prince of Cats by Ron Wimberly, which hasn’t gotten much attention but is a fantastic work of imagination.
The Crackle of the Frost by Lorenzo Mattotti
I did a little more checking and found a few more books.
Aya: Life in Yop City
The collected Hugo Tate finally, by Nick Abadzis
Message to Adolf by Osamu Tezuka
The Odyssey by Seymour Chwast
…and that’s just a sample.
I haven’t even mentioned comic strip reprints, Artist’s Editions, Omnibii, and the dizzying churn of collections of vintage material rom Marvel. Or Manga, really. Just look at this list of books coming out this year. It’s dazzling in its variety and stunning in the number of truly great creators represented.
This is simply the best time for comics in my 30 years in the business. In terms of good old stuff in print and strong new material coming out every single week.
I’m sorry that ADD was so sickened by Before Watchmen that he threw down his glove and walked away in disgust. BeWa was a pretty shitty thing to do. But no one should let it sour him or herself on all the GOOD things that are happening. And yeah, Jack Kirby is dead and the Siegels are still fighting for Superman, and Gary Friedrich lost his case, and Ryan Kelly has no health insurance, and people at every level struggle on and off or all the time. Such issues must be addressed and redressed. All the good comics in the world doesn’t make these things right.
But a lot of good comics is a good thing.
There’s a sense of optimism in the comics industry once you get outside the increasingly joyless chart race at the Big Two. More opportunities, more respect, more readers. Maybe it’s a good time to catch the fever.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.