I look at my apartment and I see stacks of Marvel and DC super-hero comics, historically my favorite kind of book, sitting in piles, unread. For a while, I thought I’d just lost the energy to get interested in comics. I thought maybe that little geek in me was withering away and that I was going to sell my comics on eBay and turn into one of those ‘cool’ guys that plays kickball and watches ‘It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia’.
But, as we all know, a geek is a geek. I can’t change my inner geek any more than Graig can stop being Canadian or Ben can stop loving Miley Cyrus. I just needed to something else to make my little geek heart flutter.
I should’ve seen it coming. For close to a year, my favorite book has been ‘The Boys’. And I’m no Garth Ennis fan, to be sure. I just know good storytelling when I see it, and ‘The Boys’ simply rocks. So when that issue of ‘Scalped’ showed up, with its sex, violence, unpredictability, and refreshing character complexity, I shouldn’t have been surprised that I was sucked in. So I got curious…
I’d been hearing good things about ‘Walking Dead’ for a long time, so I figured I’d give it a try on the side. I mean, there are eight trades out right now, so I figured I could slowly read them over time. I read them all in one week. And then I tracked down the floppies I was missing.
I didn’t need to shut my inner geek down. My inner geek just got a little cynical. Most super-hero comics sort of suck right now. Sure, there’s a lot of shameless ploys and silly short cuts designed to make us keep buying, but when is that ever NOT the case? No, my problem is that super-hero comics are just too dark, gritty, violent, and overly sexualized. At least the dark, gritty, adult comics I’m getting into now admit what they are. They don’t call a comic ‘Teen Titans’ and then fill it with torture porn and cheesecake. I feel okay about reading a dark and violent comic when I know it’s supposed to be that way, and when it’s a legitimate part of the storytelling process and not just some man-child creator getting a good page rate for shitty slash fiction.
I won’t go cold turkey. Some super-hero comics will always be in my pull-list. You will pry that last issue of ‘Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane’ from my cold dead hands. But I’m willing to drop JLA and JSA to branch out a little… to see what else the medium has to offer… to get that much needed breath of creative fresh air. And this is where YOU come in, loyal Second Printer. Help me answer this simple question:
When Marvel and DC super-hero comics leave me cold, what should I be reading instead?