Saturday, March 21, 2009

Supersize me!

I've decide I like the switch to larger, $3.99 comics.

I don't mind paying more, if I'm getting more.

Now, if "more" meant just drawing out stories longer in the modern 'tradition' of decompression, I would mind very much. More happens in one episode of Batman: Brave & the Bold than in a year's worth of some comic book series.

But more is actually going to mean more, and different stories. Certain comics will have the regular 22 page main story plus a "co-feature" (what I would call a back-up story) or 8 to 10 pages. Score! I've long said we need the return of anthology comics and back-up features. Not all characters can sustain their own title, and these forms of comic books accept that fact.

There are supposed to be seven cofeatured books, with five of them being:

Teen Titans/Ravager
Booster Gold/Blue Beetle
Doom Patrol/Metal Men
Detective Comics/The Question
Streets of Gotham/Manhunter

Now, I could surely do without Ravager the One-Eyed Stabby Precog. I can't think of anything the world needs less than an X-23 for "Deathstroke the Terminator". But the others are exactly the kind of characters who thrive as back-up features. In my dreams, one of the other books is Aquaman with a Sea Devils co-feature, because that would be my Deep Blue Sea Heaven.

What comics do I remember unflaggingly from my childhood? Why, the 100 page giants, of course!

Bigger is better.

Thursday, March 19, 2009


I ask all my readers to watch "America's Got Talent" this season. I know it's rather a lot to ask, and I wouldn't ask you to subject yourself to such a thing... but it's your best chance of seeing me sing and dance!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Freed Comic Day

Yesterday I gave away 400 comic books.

My own comic books.

My driver took me to Children's Hospital, Walter Reed Veteran's Hospital, the Whitman Walker AIDS clinic, and Howard University Hospital, where we donated them for the entertainment of the infirm.

I don't regret giving them away at all, nor do I regret buying them in the first place. I'm not a collector. When people ask, "Oh, so then, you collect comics?", I always give the same answer, "No, I don't collect comics; I read them."

I have every bit of respect for the medium as a literary art form. I believe in their cultural importance as the Greek myths of today. I'm committed to wringing the most entertainment and wisdom out of them as possible. But I still think of the comics themselves as ephemeral pleasures, often to be passed on to others who might enjoy them, not as butterflies to be pinned in boards and bags.

I value them collectively, not as collectibles. I've watched other readers -- collectors, really -- nearly faint when they find out I bend back the covers, throw comics on the floor, or read them in the bathtub. "You! Of ALL people!?" Yes, me, of all people. The comic book, like any book, is just an object. It's the story the object carries that matters, not the object itself. Maybe that attitude shows my focus on the writing of a comic, rather than its art (which is, in fact, the object itself).

It's not that I don't think of comics as valuable; I do. But sitting in box, in a closet, in my study, their value to society, to me even, is pretty low. Their greater value is found on the bedside table of a wounded soldier, a sick child, or a person struggling against life-threatening illness, where they can bring amusement, comfort, and inspiration.

Don't let me fool you; I didn't give everything away. The issues of Uncle Sam and Jonah Hex didn't happen to find their way in the distribution piles (ahem!). But I still feel better for my small effort to help comics bring as much value to others as they have brought to me.

Big Monkey Comics is now serving as a clearinghouse for such efforts. Donate your old comics to us, and we'll distribute them among area hospitals (and perhaps other institutions) where they contribution will be much appreciated.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Pep 11: "Dusty"



What kind of sidekick name is "Dusty"? That more like the name you'd give Ragman's sidekick!

The Shield is not a man of imagination. There are so many cool things you could name the Shield's sidekick:

  • "Bulwark, the Human Decoy"
  • "Screen, the Kid Sieve"
  • "Carapace"
  • "Haven the Harbor Boy"
  • "Escutcheon"
  • "Buckler"
  • "Ward, the Boy Aegis"
But, no: "Dusty". Like a used rag. Or Bob Denver.

I bet the Shield didn't even bother to give the kid any superpowers. Maybe "Dusty" was the kid's real name.

Nah; what kind of star-spangled, patriotic hero would drag a non-superpower kid into battle with him and use his real name instead of code name? No one's that stupid or short-sighted.