Or maybe this post should be titled, The Sort of New, Kind of Different Fortress of Baileytude, as that would be more accurate.
Well, the week or so I took off was nice and I won’t promise daily postings, but for now it seems I have returned because this part of my life is tanned, rested and ready to talk some comics.
Actually two things brought me out, one of them being the release of not one but two episodes of Views From The Longbox last week. I got in a groove of prepping the show notes the night before and then actually posting them the next morning and it felt right. Looking at my schedule next week I believe I can do the same thing for this blog and while what I have to say may not be epic in scope I figure a little something is better than a whole lot of nothing.
The other thing that brought me back to this blog is something occurred to me while I was at work today. I am not reading a whole heck of a lot of new comics lately. I just can’t afford them at the moment and that fact doesn’t sadden me as it might have a year or so ago. It’s actually quite liberating.
Over the past year I have gone through a metamorphosis as a comic fan. At the beginning of 2007 I was collecting a fair number of comics and was still very much into being a true DC fan. I was buying Countdown and all of the Superman titles and most of the Batman titles and Amazons Attack and a whole bunch of other DC books and in all honesty I wasn’t really enjoying any of them. Green Lantern was awesome,1 but other than that I just wasn’t feeling the DCU anymore.
So I dropped Countdown and over the course of the past eighteen months or so I have narrowed my pull list down to maybe ten or so titles a month rather than ten or so a week. I’ve also come to some realizations that I am not as happy with namely I think that other than the few titles I am still reading the DC Universe is not “my universe” anymore. It’s not that comics have passed me by or that I have outgrown them or anything like that. It’s more like there was a time and place for me to really be into DC and while I can appreciate what came before, what is coming now and probably what is to come there is a set time period where I can point and say, “Yup, that’s my era.” It wasn’t easy walking away from the company save for a few titles. I spent most of my collecting life believing….strongly believing that I was never going to stop collecting the titles I was collecting and that the DC Universe was always going to be just the way I wanted it to be. Sure they’ll do a few things I disagree with, but more often than not I’ll back them.
But that just isn’t the case. Even with the handful of titles I am still buying I can see that the powers that be and I are going to have some issues. This brings up a few surprising lines of thought.
I am a DC fan first and foremost. I learned this when I tried going hardcore into the Marvel Universe. That ineffable feeling just isn’t there. On a recent episode of my podcast I compared to breaking up with your girlfriend because you aren’t getting along anymore and immediately start dating her “worst enemy” because you think she’s so different only to discover that they’re pretty much the same and you kind of miss what you had with your now ex. I like Captain America. I really like the Hulk. There are certain Marvel comics that I hold in high regard but at the end of the day they don’t hold a candle to that slight electric charge I feel when I see an old school picture of the Justice League.
Buying less comics2 is more responsible and I have gotten to the point where if I do splurge on comics I feel bad about it. Buying three or four titles a week with the occasional trade or two a month is as far as I want to go and I like that. It makes me feel like I am finally breaking out of that adolescent even in his thirties thing I had with money. Sure I was paying the bills but I could have been doing better things with my money than buying a near complete run of X-Man.3
I am so cool with not feeling tied to a universe. I like the fact that I know longer feel like I need to be a “certain type of fan.” I don’t need nor do I want to hit the hype sites every single day. I don’t need to read every single crossover to a big event. I don’t need to read every single super-hero book DC publishes “just to keep up.” I don’t have this self-imposed obligations any more and it is a rather nice feeling to have.
So all of this is percolating in my head all day in a very disorganized manner, as most thoughts in my head are until I hash them out “on paper,” which led me to ask a pretty basic question.
When was the last time I was really happy collecting comics?
I mean really happy. Can’t wait to get to the comic shop every week happy. Can’t wait to talk about all the awesome things going on happy. Proud to be a comic fan happy.
2004 into 2005.
Now I could sit here and write about how I loved Countdown to Infinite Crisis and all of the prequel mini-series4 and right into the main series with all of the crossover but that was only part of what made that time so fantastic to me as a comic fan. The other part was the fact that I was also hip deep into a really good reading project at the time.
Back in 2002 I started doing what I called reading projects where I would take a bunch of related books and read them in chronological order. It started light with my Captain America run, which was pretty epic at the time. Halfway through that I added Operation: Galactic Storm and it was a neat experience. My next project was going through my Starmanrun5 and I tossed in JSA, Stars and S.T.R.I.P.E. and other Golden Age DC hero books. By 2004 I was coming into the home stretch of my Batman project, so not only was I enjoying the new books but my back issues as well.
And that’s what I want to get back to, both in terms of reading and in terms of what I write about here and talk about on my podcast. This is not so much a bold, new direction as a getting back to what makes me happy as a fan. I tried doing a straight up Superman blog and that didn’t work. I toyed with focusing on a certain era and decided against it. I realized that my general love of comics and super-heroes combined with my serious lack of an attention span that not having a format would be the way to go. Sure there will be much Superman talk. There has to be. It’s a part of me, but there’s so much more I can and will discuss.
So that brings us up to date. If you followed the blog before and like the Superman only theme I do apologize and hope you’ll stick around to see what happens. I have some rough plans for things I want to discuss and you’ll probably be seeing more of a connection between this and Views From The Longbox, which should be fun. In any case I’m back, hopefully on a regular basis.
Let’s see what kind of trouble I can get into.
More to follow…
- Green Lantern is still awesome, actually, but then it was kind of the Obi-Wan Kenobi of my collecting; it was my only hope. Well that and Geoff Johns on Action. And Geoff Johns on Justice Society of America. Ok, Geoff Johns was my Obi-Wan, but still…Green Lantern kicked ass. ↩
- In addition to buying less back issues and trades because I really can’t afford them. ↩
- Some of you no doubt will say I could have done a plethora of better things than buying a near complete run of X-Man as I did in 2006 and you may be right. I’ll know when I finally read them. ↩
- Day of Vengeance, Omac Project, Rann/Thanagar War and Villains United ↩
- The James Robinson series, btw. ↩