Axel-In-Charge: Facing the 'Divided' Marvel NOW! Future
Without even meaning to, I’ve noticed a pattern lately of enjoying my friend’s “late” adoption of comic books, science fiction, and other so-called geeky things I thought were just mine. It’s surprisingly rewarding to vicariously experience the things I love through people who are new to them. New readers’ excitement about the books I have forgotten how to be surprised by, has become a wonderful way to stop taking them for granted. There are so many amazing things to enjoy that I can get jaded and forget how incredible they seemed when they were new to me. That’s why I love newcomers and even though I understand the instinct that makes some feel wary of them, it only takes letting them in a very tiny bit to feel how much their enthusiasm brings to the genre we love. Continue Reading »
“You’re not a serious comic book reader.”
“You have too many interests to be a real comic book geek.”
“You have an outsider perspective on comic books.”
“You only think you like comic books.”
“You’re too outgoing to be a comic book nerd.”
“You read too many different types of comic books to be a real comic book fan.”
These are things friends have said to me, none of them meant as insults, simply letting me know that in their eyes, I don’t quite belong in their club. From their perspective I am not obsessed enough to fit in. Over six years ago I published my first column about comic books, writing about what had been a childhood secret obsession for me. At the time a friend suggested that I name my column “secret obsession”, but I knew that “obsession” wasn’t quite the right word to describe my approach about comic books, at least not the way it gets used now.
Your interpretation of Batman isn’t the same as mine, and neither is your idea of the Flash, Green Arrow, or John Constantine. We all read different comic books, and from those we each build our own impression of our favorite comic book characters. I’m very fond of the collage of impressions of these characters which has combined in my experience to build a complete portrait of each of them. Yet I am still expected to enjoy and become invested in the way these characters are being depicted on television and in movies.
It has only recently become obvious to me that designing for comic books has absolutely changed my life in a number of unexpected ways. While I always hoped the work would be enjoyable, I didn’t expect to find out so much about my own taste and style. I’d always thought of myself as a cautious, rule-driven designer, somewhat trapped by my visually obsessive tendencies, in fact I once met a famous graphic designer who admired tremendously, but when I showed him my sketchbook he couldn’t stop laughing. “Everything you do is in a grid, even your rough sketches. You’ve got to loosen up!” he exclaimed. It wasn’t intentional, I just couldn’t bring myself to break the grid back then…
Life is a tricky thing, it is so easy to fall into a certain way of living that we hardly need to make any choices to do so. Even the tiniest action can result in a huge life shift. In tidying up my email recently, I discovered a hidden inbox of messages from a comic book company who had offered me a job 8 years ago. I’d completely forgotten about it, but at the time I nearly took a job doing production design (i.e. I would have been designing titles, ad copy, and sound effect too). At the time I was offered a job earning twice as much in a sports and commerce advertising agency, and I elected to take that one. My logic was that graphic design was graphic design, and it didn’t really matter where I was designing, so I might as well take the job which would make me more money. Now here I am, 8 years later, happily taking on comic book graphic design work because it is infinitely more fun for me. I’ve learned a lot in the intervening years, and for all I know, the job in the comic book company might not have been much fun… Back then I didn’t know what it would be like and how it would impact my own feelings about the world. But 8 years later I can say that for me, personally, I am a much better designer in this field than I was able to be in ad agencies, and when I do create advertising designs for my clients, I am far more excited and driven, because it isn’t what I do all day, ever day. The variety of working with comic book designs has revitalized and renewed my love of design. Continue Reading »
MyPullist.com is a monthly curated comic book service where people can subscribe to receive a mystery graphic novel each month. I first heard about this when one of the four founders of Pullist, developer and designer Vincent Iadevaia, contacted me to be the curator for April. So we ate lunch together and Vincent told me more about this clever new service.
Happy new year! It’s time for the first survey of 2014 and this time I want to know if you gave or got any comic book gifts. There are only 8 questions, (and then for each “yes” there are a couple of questions about whether the gift worked or not). You’ll see, it’s pretty basic and should only take about a minute to fill out.
The survey closes at the end of the day on Tuesday the 7th of January (in 6 days) so that there is time to collect the results and design an infographic based on them. (Check out previous infographics based on reader surveys here and here.)
It’d be great to find out how many of us are spreading and getting the comic book love, so please share this with as many people as you can.
Here is a link to the survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/FB2BR37
I feel that I ought to be thinking of something to write about that I’m really worked up about over comic books, but I can’t. Comic books are fun, I like them a lot, love them even, but I don’t have it in me to get really furious up about them right now. A lot of my friends who write about comic books are vehemently arguing about something… I’m afraid I don’t know what it is all about. In general, people seem to get very worked up about comic books and I’m beginning to wonder why. After all, wasn’t this created to be a disposable medium, a bit of fun to spice up a day? And isn’t it that very disposability that makes them so open to diverse, free, unfettered creativity? Continue Reading »
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