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Comics ARE Good

It’s very easy to be down on comics.  There are so many crappy ones.  There are crappy ones made, at least in part, by people whose work you normally really admire.  Like that DC 0 thing, Jesus, what a piece of crap!  And, yeah, it’s easy to throw a dart at a shop and have it land on something lame.  But throwing darts is stupid.  If you threw a dart on the female populace of NYC you’d probably land on something less than happifying.  That doesn’t mean there isn’t anyone out there that can’t make you feel all silly.

And there’s good comics out there.  Really good comics.  You can read the painfully-funny Achewood almost any day.  Roast Beef pretty much makes up for all the other web comics nastocity by himself.  I hadn’t been to the shop in a while so I had a big stack today.  But as I was eating dinner and having some drinks, I got to read ‘Beto Hernandez, a ridiculously-fun Mighty Avengers drawn by Alex Maleev (I’m a sucker for “get the gang together” bits), Brian Wood’s Viking beauty, and an Abe Sapien book.

Listen, if, at this point, you’re down on “comics today” it’s your own fault.  Stop reading such crap.  The good stuff isn’t hard to find.

71 Comments

Did… did a comic book blogger have something positive to say about a crossover tie-in issue (Maleev’s Avengers)?

I smell a Skrull imposter.

This was short, but enjoyable. Thanks.

If your store owner won’t refund your 50 cents for DC 0, you shop at the wrong store.
If you didn’t ask for a refund, you didn’t hate it as much as “Tha Internetz” tells you to.

Oftentimes (like right now), I don’t think the problem is finding “good comics”. I think the problem is reading good comics, and then actually embracing their positivity when it looks like so much more fun to ridicule and demean what they are on the Internet (which is apparently what all the cool kids are doing these days).

When will it be trendy to not only read good comics, but also stand up and tell others that they are good? That’s what I’m waiting for. Until then, I guess I’ll be the square in the corner, saying things as negative as “this book isn’t my bag, but if you like (creator/storyline/idea X), then you might dig this.”

P.S.: if you buy Final Crisis and/or all of the associated minis advertised in DC 0, your opinion will be invalidated because you’ve somehow been convinced to buy the rest of the stuff anyway, despite calling the primer issue “what a piece of crap”.

I liked DC Universe 0 for what it was; a teaser issue. Nothing more. Much like you get an entrée to get your appetite working at a restaurant.

Craig: please explain how a crappy commercial makes the product advertised bad. I’d REALLY like to see an explanation that uses something resembling logic.

Alex Maleev? Really? I’m not a big fan of Human Xerox machines. Even Greg Land goes through the effort to trace his references. Maleev says why bother, when he can just take a picture, obscure with a Photoshop filter (Poster Edges is his filter of choice) and call that art.

While I reserve the right to call shitty comics shitty, you’re right. There are plenty of good comics out there, and they deserve all the praise we can heap upon them.

Word to the Roast Beef praise.

Hey, MDV, Maleev actually draws all those pictures! He may photoshop some of his backgrounds, though: I’m not sure.

Wow, Criag. That was a heckuva lot of wrong to fit into only four paragraphs.

Whoops. Says the guy who misspells “Craig”.

If you’re the kind of customer who demands a refund on a 50-cent product from a comic shop, the problem lies with you, not the retailer.

Beto Hernandez and Achewood, praised in the same post? Joe Rice just made my favorite bloggers list.

I still fail to see why there is so much hatred towards DCU #0. It was a teaser book, a preview book, and was solicited as such. If you listened to Didio’s hype, and thought it was going to be some ground shattering comic, then you are delussional. I do read mostly DC stuff, as anything done by Marvel that I want to read I can just borrow from a friend. I’ve learned to just tune Didio out.

Comics are good? I never would have guessed!

ACHEWOOD totally rules. SECRET INVASION is just the right amount of loopy ridiculousness. DORORO is absolutely killer classic manga. The free HELLBOY comic was delicious… three brilliant wee poems in comic form. Next week’s Amazing Spidey is drawn by Marcos Martin, and hella fun. The Bill Mauldin box set is from a heavenly place. I just re-read FUNERAL OF THE HEART, and it was something terrific.

I don’t have room to talk about all the books I love.

DC UNIVERSE 0 was so incomprehensible, I don’t know if I liked it or not. It was like reading heiroglyphs from an alien culture that celebrates gaudy tights.

Also, I just want to second that Joe is an idiotic brainless inbred Marvel Zombie.

With sexy chest-hair.

Wow. Quite a departure from Snark Free Corner, I guess.

Conor E: I’m not saying that a bad commercial is indicative of a bad product. I’m saying most people’s complaints of DC 0 (including, I presume, one that says “what a piece of crap”) are about things that are likely not going to be vastly different in Final Crisis. I’ve always advocated the “vote with your wallet” theory that seems to elude so many people in the comic industry.

Sean Whitmore: You wanna talk about it, or call my opinion “wrong”? One’s useful discussion, and the other’s just whining.

MyNameIsAlanMoore: I am buying (and enjoying) Secret Invasion, not that it was at all relevant to my first post. As for the personal attack, I hope someone cleans that up, because that’s way out of line.

I used to think CSBG was a nice place for people to positively discuss comics, what with weekly themes like Snark Free Corner and occasional installments of Snark Blocker. I didn’t realize it had become a forum with a covert agenda against anything published by Marvel or DC, just like the rest of the Internet. That’s a sad development in my book.

Brian Cronin

May 8, 2008 at 6:43 am

I used to think CSBG was a nice place for people to positively discuss comics, what with weekly themes like Snark Free Corner and occasional installments of Snark Blocker. I didn’t realize it had become a forum with a covert agenda against anything published by Marvel or DC, just like the rest of the Internet. That’s a sad development in my book.

Craig, I’m the fellow who does those bits, and even I can tell you, without any snark involved, that you’re being foolish here.

Covert agenda against anything published by Marvel or DC? The dude praises Mighty Avengers IN THE ENTRY!

“I used to think CSBG was a nice place for people to positively discuss comics”

It’s called “COMICS SHOULD BE GOOD”.

That implies a certain level of disenfranchisement with the hoardes of medirocre books out there, no?

When I think “Marvel Zombie”, the first thing that comes to mind is “Joe Rice.”

He’s right about the inbreeding, though. I mean, the man is from Kentucky.

Yeah, I’m not sure what Craig’s beef is here. I totally understand Alan Moore’s beef, and quite agree with him on most counts.

But I praised books from Marvel AND DC in my post.

I drool at the Mauldin collection. I can’t wait to read the Johnny Ryan hardback I just got. Comics are so frickin good it makes me skip along merrily, in spite of just seeing my class’ state test results . . .

I thought I was the only person left on the planet who remembered Dartman.

Anyone who’s down on comics is reading the wrong books. I got a lot of fun books yesterday, and while not all of them were as great as I would maybe like them to be, I got books I know I’ll enjoy and skip the ones I’m sure I won’t.

And what’s the big deal about DC Universe 0? Yeah, it wasn’t a great book by any stretch, but it had some good art and, more importantly, it was only fifty cents. If it was the cost of a regular issue I’d be really annoyed, but it wasn’t. But as a preview of upcoming storylines for a low price, it was fine.

Have a good day.
John Cage

Joe Rice raped my childhood.

(Well, somebody had to say it.)

I hate Achewood. I just had to say that, because everyone and their dog keeps saying how awesome Achewood is, and the strip makes me want to claw my eyes out. And I know that I’m not the only Achewood-hater out there, and I want the other people who fail to see the humour in a cartoon cat vomiting blood to know that they are not alone.

Cat and Girl is awesome, though. And I dug Mighty Avengers; most of the time I can take Bendis or leave him, and I haven’t been reading MA at all, and it’s a crossover tie-in which is normally a turn-off — but this issue is fine, fine comics.

“and I want the other people who fail to see the humour in a cartoon cat vomiting blood to know that they are not alone.”

Wow.

I hope you know that there is so much, much, much more to that strip than the completely unrepresentative single line synopsis you just boiled it down to.

Any given ACHEWOOD storyline is a master class on pacing, characterization, subtle humor, and absurdism.

Alex Cox: Should I be insulted that you assume I don’t know what I’m talking about? I read over a hundred Achewood strips before finally admitting that it wasn’t for me. I’m not saying the strip is bad, I’m saying I don’t like it. There’s a difference.

I didn’t assume anything about you.

I just said what I think about ACHEWOOD, and pointed out that your description of it is woefully inaccurate. In two separate statements.

Should I be insulted that you assume I don’t know the difference between not liking something and thinking it’s objectively bad?

I would say that for someone who read over a hundred strips, if all you took away from it was a “cartoon cat vomiting blood”, you might need to read a hundred more.

Just sayin’.

Wait a sec, didn’t Joe Rice quit posting for Vitally Important Reasons? Just like the vastly successful and prolific Listen To Us We’re Right was spun off for Vitally Important Aesthetic and Ethical Reasons and because CSBG’s lack of brow-furrowed rigour and general laxness in confronting Unforgivable Ethical Sins spelled possible doom, not just for comics, but for our culture in general?
Just kidding, I actually agree with the above column, more or less. It’s just that, both on those occasions when Joe has quit, or as with the founding of LTUWR, it seemed kind of melodramatic and overreactive.

I find “Cat and Girl” thoroughly generic. Punchlines that are obvious from the first panel, adolescent philosophy, and jokes that have already been made hundreds of times.

“I would say that for someone who read over a hundred strips, if all you took away from it was a “cartoon cat vomiting blood”, you might need to read a hundred more.

Just sayin’.”

I didn’t mean this to sound as rude as it does. It should be spoken aloud jokingly while laughing and shrugging shoulders.

On the other hand, the initial comment “…and I want the other people who fail to see the humour in a cartoon cat vomiting blood” implies that the people who do like ACHEWOOD are enjoying something vile and low and without merit other than seeing funny animals in pain.

That’s kinda lame. Which is why I felt I should respond.

“It’s just that, both on those occasions when Joe has quit, or as with the founding of LTUWR, it seemed kind of melodramatic and overreactive”

Much of it is that when reading, say, a Greg Burgas column, it just makes you wince. You feel like… “awwww, maaaaaaaan!” Like, it hurts.

It tends to bring out the operatic side. You just want the lameness to end, and sometimes that means swinging your arms and stomping your feet.

Ultimately, blogs, and the internet in general, are not worth too much exasperation, which is why they are prone to bursts of melodrama followed by a few relaxing months of ennui.

Joe, didn’t the NYPD tell you to stop throwing darts at the female populace?

I love Alex. Here I am, not doing anything, and he has to take a shot at me. It’s that kind of dickishness that makes me smile. I know I have no taste in good comics because I’m a complete idiot, but does someone who likes Secret Invasion really need to point that out?

I hope to keep causing Alex pain when he reads what I write. That is my sole mission in life.

You don’t have to take it all personal, Greg.

So I think you ruined the blog. So what?

No need to get all huffy about it.

I guess that depends on how you define “not doing anything”, Greg. Since Alex’s issues are with your posts on the blog, you’ve been doing what bothers him for quite a while now.

You’re entitled to feel however you want about the way he expressed his opinion, of course, but in terms of logic, it’s not completely out of left field.

Is it actually worth driving all the way back to the comic shop just to get a 50 cent refund on that POS called DC Universe 0? Doubtful.

[quote] Craig, I’m the fellow who does those bits, and even I can tell you, without any snark involved, that you’re being foolish here.

Covert agenda against anything published by Marvel or DC? The dude praises Mighty Avengers IN THE ENTRY![/quote]

I’m hoping quote tags work…
Brian, I do need to clarify what I said. There are a lot of people (specifically, you) that post with the understanding that comics can be good regardless of publisher, or sales numbers, or whatever. However, there are the occasional posts here (which I presume are by others; I can’t think of any off the top of my head) that say the stuff like Joe Rice said here. He praised six books: one by Marvel, one by Dark Horse, and four independents. He then makes it sound like you have to find “the good stuff” because it isn’t the high-sales stuff displayed in any store.

I remember during the end-of-year awards stuff that someone here was begrudging saying Buffy was good because it also had high sales. That’s a perfect example of the search for “good comics” purposefully excluding books that sell well.

Why hasn’t this AlanMoore spammer been cleaned up yet? His continued presence is ridiculous.

As for stealthwise, aren’t you going to drive back to the comic shop for next week’s books? Take the issue up then! It’s only 50 cents, right? You can wait seven days to address your grievances over 50 cents.

My whole point is, this is typically a positive, well-educated forum. The comments are usually well thought out, and have cohesive discussion even when I personally disagree with the subject. This thread has just exploded in a glaring spectacle of negativity and hostile, illogical arguments. You’ve got AlanMoore dropping “cunt” and other offensive words in comments, and plenty of people putting words into my original post solely for the sake of arguing. In a nutshell, it’s turned into every other comic book website out there today.

For that reason, I’m done with this thread, and I just hope this nonsense doesn’t carry forward on what is my favorite site.

“You just want the lameness to end, and sometimes that means swinging your arms and stomping your feet.”

Well, there’s always the back button, or skipping posts with his name on them altogether. Plus what I said was not about Greg; in fact, digging through the old archives, it seems that Burgas was in fact brought in after Rice stormed off, so in a way maybe you can blame Joe for Greg’s presence.

“As for stealthwise, aren’t you going to drive back to the comic shop for next week’s books? Take the issue up then! It’s only 50 cents, right? You can wait seven days to address your grievances over 50 cents.”

And I feel obligated to repeat that anyone who demands a refund from a comic shop on a 50-cent product is a bad customer and a petty person.

Craig, I’d like to point out I talked specifically about a DC book as well. Northlanders, man. Not that I needed to mention a good book from every company not to be, I don’t know, whatever it is you think I’m being. And, no, I didn’t imply that the “good stuff” wasn’t easily found. One of the books I praised was a goldurned AVENGERS book by Brian Bendis, King Marvel. Even if I hadn’t mentioned a DC book as good, how could I possibly be some kind of “ONLY OBSCURE INDY BOOKS ARE GOOD” guy when I praise goddam Avengers AND a pretty high-profile Dark Horse book?

And the last time I quit, heh, it wasn’t a big dramatic thing. I said I didn’t want to do reviews anymore and that I might be back every now and then to write something if I felt I had something to say. I’ve been back a few times since then. There’s a lot of lame things about me, but this isn’t so much one of them.

And, Craig, you might be saying this thread has become some sort of typical debacle (I honestly don’t see it) but realize that after I wrote a silly, positive post, you were the one coming in to complain about it.

And let it be known that I find AlanMoore kinda funny, at least so far.

“Since Alex’s issues are with your posts on the blog, you’ve been doing what bothers him for quite a while now.”

I don’t have issues with Greg, or his posts. I read this blog infrequently at best (and kinda cherry pick what interests me, nothing personal).

I was doing the “yanking of the chain”, but Greg’s jumped the angry gun and called me a dick. No sweat. Inflection and jokey-jokey is hard to discern online.

Well, just the first time, then.
Honestly, though, I was just trying to give you a light hard time about the quitting and coming back thing, not treat it like a major issue.

Jack: No sweat, totally. Yeah, my first “quit” was really melodramatic. No way I can deny that one! And I chuckled when I read your post, not steamed. Again, this internet isn’t good for reading tone. This was more of a “Yeah, you got me there, but, hey, just to make it clear . . .” you know?

Hey, that’s fine, Alex. I know you don’t come around here that often, but when you do, you never fail to point out how stupid I am, even when the actual post has nothing to do with me. You can see where I might take it a bit personally when you come out with stuff like I ruined the blog. I get that you and Joe don’t like my taste in comics – that’s fine. I’m not sure why, as both you and Joe like mainstream comics that aren’t written by Grant Morrison. I don’t have any problem with that, but you guys clearly do. And you went off on Katherine because she doesn’t like something you obviously do. I’m not sure why it offends you if people don’t like comics you love. Who cares? Is it really that horrible that everyone doesn’t love Achewood as much as you do?

Greg, I never “went off” on anyone (re-read my responses, please… i was barely even responding to her) and I don’t recall even mentioning your name in … months? Years? much less calling you “stupid”.

Your sensitivity levels are sky-high. Chill out.

Shit, dude.

“There are so many crappy [comics]. There are crappy ones made, at least in part, by people whose work you normally really admire. Like that DC 0 thing, Jesus, what a piece of crap! And, yeah, it’s easy to throw a dart at a shop and have it land on something lame.
. . .
Listen, if, at this point, you’re down on “comics today” it’s your own fault. Stop reading such crap. The good stuff isn’t hard to find.”

I don’t see anything that uses “Jesus, what a piece of crap!” to be a positive post. My opinion only, I guess. That, and the accusation of “so many crappy comics”, and “stop reading such crap”. Again, just my opinion, but I don’t come to Comics Should Be Good to get a hearty dose of Comics Should Be Good When Instead They Are Crap.

Sorry, sir. I just equated you calling me “lame” with calling me “stupid.” Plus, there’s the whole “you ruined the blog” thing. I apologize for misreading that.

I’m sorry, I did say I was done. Seriously, this time.

Well, to be fair, you did ruin the blog with your lameness.

That was a joke, for anyone keeping score at home.

Greg, if you get overly defensive again, Joe Rice gets a BINGO.

I wouldn’t want Joe to win, so I’ll keep my cool.

Come back tomorrow when I talk about how good Moon Knight is. It’s sure to make your head explode!

“Listen, if, at this point, you’re down on “comics today” it’s your own fault. Stop reading such crap. The good stuff isn’t hard to find.”

After a lifetime seeing lots of people reading/watching stuff just to complain about how crappy it is later, I think they actually enjoy doing this. It’s a disease that afflicts fans of any serial entertainment: comics, TV shows, book series. They find pleasure in nitpicking, complaining, mocking, thinking how better it’d be if they wrote the comic themselves, etc. It’s an outlet for frustration, actually. And also makes them feel smart.

Me? When I don’t like something, I just drop it. Actually, I even try not to think about it. Why dwell so much on stuff I dislike?

I see a lot of this in my workplace. Many times I see a group of people complaining about some reality show on TV. How the whole thing is fake, staged, the rules are manipulated, the candidates are shallow, dumb, shameless, how this TV show is the most horrible thing ever to be on TV. But they just keep watching it every night, so they can come to work next day to complain about it and show how smart they are for not liking this reality show tripe.

Comic book fans are the same way.

Most people I know who are “down on comics” are downloaders who never paid for the book to begin with, and just download the stuff to make fun of it to begin with. DCU#0 was quite popular with that crowd.

I’d love to join the “fuck yeah” brigade here, but Jesus, was an analogy that explicitly compared the value of a woman’s directly to her aesthetic attractiveness really necessary? Could you honestly think of nothing better? That’s the kind of flagrantly sexist shit you’re supposed to stop writing in freshman year of college.

(Please don’t waste your time and mine posting any defensive garbage about how you meant no harm; comparing the quality of a woman to the quality of any object, be it a painting or a fine wine, is one of the most classic and offhandedly degrading forms of “highbrow” objectification. It’s not right, it’s not okay, you should be ashamed, I hope you don’t use these kinds of analogies in front of female students in your classes.)

Jesus, if this is what passes for “smart fan” writing in comics, no wonder Ed Benes is a happy and consistently employed man.

Brian Cronin

May 9, 2008 at 2:52 am

I’d love to join the “fuck yeah” brigade here, but Jesus, was an analogy that explicitly compared the value of a woman’s directly to her aesthetic attractiveness really necessary? Could you honestly think of nothing better? That’s the kind of flagrantly sexist shit you’re supposed to stop writing in freshman year of college.

(Please don’t waste your time and mine posting any defensive garbage about how you meant no harm; comparing the quality of a woman to the quality of any object, be it a painting or a fine wine, is one of the most classic and offhandedly degrading forms of “highbrow” objectification. It’s not right, it’s not okay, you should be ashamed, I hope you don’t use these kinds of analogies in front of female students in your classes.)

Fair point.

And yeah, it’s sorta telling that Joe got all that shit for “covertly being against DC and Marvel,” but it took a whole day before anyone pointed this bit out.

I’ll admit that comment was stupid, sorry, Lynx. The only defense I can say is that I wasn’t talking about physical attractiveness. I was talking about people who make you happy when you hang out with them. Not much of a defense, I know. Sorry.

“Jesus, if this is what passes for “smart fan” writing in comics,”

I don’t think anyone mistake Rice for a “smart fan”. Let’s be honest.

“…no wonder Ed Benes is a happy and consistently employed man.”

Hey now! In Joe’s defense, he made an off-hand comment that was thoughtless in retrospect, and then apologized.

He’s not to blame for legions of upskirt shots and helium breasts and Supergirl-as-sex-object, and all the other ills of superhero culture.

Let’s not lay all the ills of humanity on his head over one bad analogy…

Re-reading the post, it seems pretty clear that Joe’s analogy is about dating in general, and not really about objectifying women.

Finding good comics amid all the junk is kinda like finding someone you really connect with amid all the people you don’t. You don’t stop looking for love after a few bad dates, and you shouldn’t stop reading comics just because many of them are terrible.

It’s a “baby and bathwater” thing. I see his point. He could have phrased it more generally, but i see where he’s coming from.

Rohan Williams

May 10, 2008 at 4:57 am

I’m not the world’s biggest Joe and Alex fan, but I can’t see anything in that post that equates a woman’s value with aesthetic attractiveness, Lynxara. Like, literally, nothing. If you take “happifying” to mean “physically hot” instead of, say, “someone who makes you happy”, isn’t that your issue?

It’s a matter of language. He talks about fine objects (in terms of works of art), and then immediately mentions the fineness of a woman as part of that dialogue. That is implying it is acceptable to view a woman as an object of aesthetic value and to compare her as such (whether physical or mental attributes has nothing to do with it).

That is really textbook sexist language and it is unacceptable in any form of essay writing (and the above is basically an essay, if a highly informal one). I attended three different colleges and every single one covered this kind of language in freshman seminar as a basic sexist mistake to be avoided. It is often not meant harmfully, but the fact of the matter is that it’s comparing an entire class of persons to objects and assuming their primary value is aesthetic.

It would be as unacceptable if it was any other gender or type of person being so objectified, but this sort of writing specifically about women is a holdover from the extremely sexist tone of the 19th and early 20th century, and there’s no excuse for modern people to be writing as such. If you choose to ignore it, that’s fine, but it doesn’t mean it’s not there.

I guess all three of those colleges left out how to accept an apology.

lynxara.

What you are saying he wrote, he did not write. The implication is not there. We are not “choosing to ignore” anything. There is nothing there. All the college lectures in all the world don’t mean a thing… You are reading into his comments something that isnt there.

Frankly. You owe Joe an apology for these repeated charges of sexism, and for questioning his professional behaviour in a public forum. Uncool.

So, um…
Hey!
I had a dream last night where I saw a trailer for a Kamandi movie. It was awesome.

Rohan Williams

May 10, 2008 at 8:45 pm

Who played Kamandi, Jack?

Some hot young star, but no name, just the knowledge that he was one, in that way that can happen in dreams.
Lots of it faded fast but the coolest thing was that someone had figured out how to convincingly do that special crackling-energy-with-Kirby-Dots thing in a live action movie.

Joe Rice, you’re an ignorant piece of shit! And that goes for the rest of u losers who support his bullshit thoeries!

I think your plan to convince people to give your MySpace blog lots of traffic probably isn’t going to work.

I don’t know. The way he bravely calls Joe out using a pseudonym and expert cursing makes me think he might have something to say that I can’t find anywhere else on the internet.

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