There are too many comics not to talk about them. But with new comics scarce and hard to come by here in Japan and not really floating my boat, these days I'm focusing on older stuff. Comics pre-1990, but with a very few digressions to cover good things of more recent vintage. And most of those involving era-spanning characters and creators.
Mainly I want to talk about comics from the 1950s through the 1980s. Tales from the Crypt, The New Mutants. The DC and Marvel comics I love. Yeah, it's an exercise in nostalgia. Praising and mocking, discovering and deconstructing. Educating myself on comics' vast legacy of creators, characters and storylines.
Batman before he was a borderline psycho asshole, Karma and Moonstar, the Micronauts, the Fantastic Four before they became shills for Dodge and Diet Mountain Dew and Jessica Alba inexplicably became Sue Storm to the movie-going public. Those bizarre Planet of the Apes magazines. The Fourth World. Peter Parker when he was the coolest, unluckiest dork around. Jack Kirby, Alex Toth, Neal Adams, Gene Colan, Marie Severin, John Byrne, Al Williamson, Nick Cardy, Michael Golden, Frank Frazetta, Wally Wood and more. Stan Lee, Roy Thomas, Marv Wolfman, Len Wein, Chris Claremont, Alan Moore and others. And a few of today's creators who I think are keeping the true craft alive- Steve Rude, Mike Allred, Los Bros Hernandez.
The comics they created had a the feeling of newness, of discovery that today's often lack. While cheesiness knows no era, the kitsch factor of the older comics tends to render them charming. Maybe it's because these comics have achieved a status as pop culture artifacts. There's something cool and funny about Capt. Kirk shouting "Yikes!" in an old Gold Key Star Trek comic versus... I don't know... any of the post-modern quips in Mighty Avengers. I don't enjoy keeping up with this year's massive crossovers, don't really have an interest in what classic character is dying or coming back. The only character I've really enjoyed in the past 10 years has been the Cassandra Cain Batgirl... and we all know what happened to her.
But I don't want to turn this into a false dichotomy, an exercise in reductive either-or thinking. It's not about how much better yesterday's comics are than today's. There were a lot of stinkers back then, just as now. And a lot of gems around today. I just happen- perversely, no doubt- to enjoy the old stinkeroos more than today's future classics. For the most part. It's the MST3K in me. To that end, I just want to create an angst-free zone of pure enjoyment and frivolity. Make people laugh. And think. Those seeking controversy and anger will have to look elsewhere.
I mean, look at that title image. Ridiculous.
Any Japanese comics I read, you'll find reviewed on my Japan blog.
I'll probably start by posting some relevant entries from my old I Against Comics blog. Let's look back at that old stuff and see what we can find! Also, wear a respirator or at least an anti-allergen mask. If you're like me, these old dusty comics make you sneeze. They also smell kinda musty. I'll try to keep that to a minimum here in the archives.