What Do You REALLY Know About Comics? The Diablo Files

A column article by: Joe Mulvey

Welcome back to another instalment of "What do you REALLY know about comics?" the interview series where I attempt to change people’s preconceptions about the wonderful medium of comic books. I take non-comic readers and interview them on their ideas and thoughts about what comics really are. Then I give them some books to read and see if their original ideas of comics still hold up.

Before this week’s instalment I just want to say I'll be at the upcoming NYCC at the COMIXTRIBE booth selling my creator owned book, SCAM #1. SCAM is 42 pages of super powered conmen goodness, so come by, check it out and let me know what you think of the book and these interviews. I'm always up to talk comics and there's no better time than at this year's NEW YORK COMIC CON. Hope to see you guys there.

Lets get into the interview. Today we have Joe. He's a 27 year-old teacher from NYC. So let's find out what he REALLY knows about comics.

Joe Mulvey: Okay so let's start this off by taking care of a little problem.

Joe: Okay.

Mulvey: I'm Joe, you're Joe. This is going to get too confusing for the readers. I'm older, so I'm going by the I was here first rule. We need to give you another name for the sake of the interview. Are you good with that?

Joe: Sure.

Mulvey: What name would you like? I mean personally, I'd love T-Bone or Poodle for you. But it's your call.

Joe: How about El Diablo. It's a nickname I have from dodgeball.

Mulvey: That was a sentence I couldn't have even imagined would have come out of your mouth. But yeah, that'll work. El Diablo it is.

El Diablo: That's fine.

Mulvey: Okay El Diablo, tell me: what do you know about comics?

El Diablo: What do I know? Okay, well I know they're books with pictures, like drawings, that tell stories of super heroes. Spider-Man, Green Lantern, Batman, Green Arrow, Aquaman, are all comic books. Uh, they're all in movies and TV shows. I guess that's it.

Couldn't Resist...

Mulvey: Okay, that works. Did you ever read comics at one point in your life?

El Diablo: Yeah, I read them as a kid a little and I remember enjoying it. But then once I could watch the shows I think I just stopped.

Mulvey: That's interesting, so they were more of an introduction to the characters for you.

El Diablo: Yeah, totally. I mean it's great seeing a guy punch another guy through a mountain in a book but it's even better seeing it on TV when you watch it.

Mulvey: So then, have you been checking out all the comic movies that've been coming out lately?

El Diablo: Oh yeah. This year I saw Thor, Captain America, X-Men: First Class. X-Men was odd though, definitely not what I was expecting.

Mulvey: They were just going after a reboot for the series. Start it over from the beginning. It worked so well for Batman they figured they'd give it a try. I actually liked that movie a lot. What did you think?

El Diablo: I liked it but I was just a little thrown off. I knew it was going to be different, but no Wolverine was definitely a bummer. I mean he is the X-Men. I want to see him tearing shit up and going crazy.

You Mentioned Something About Tearing Shit Up and Going Crazy?

Mulvey: So then, did you like the Wolverine movie?

El Diablo: Yeah, that was great because it was all about him. He's definitely my favorite one.

Mulvey: I'm sure you're not alone there. And did watching the movies ever make you want to go back and pick up the books again?

El Diablo: Not really, no. I did play some games because of it. Like, I picked up the first Iron Man game after I saw that movie.

Mulvey: So you're a gamer than?

El Diablo: Yeah, I'm a pretty big gamer.

Mulvey: What kind of games?

El Diablo: You name it. There aren't many I don't play honestly. All the bigger ones you'd know and a few that snuck under some people's radar's.

Mulvey: That's cool. Would you say games are your top hobby?

El Diablo: Yeah, pretty much. That's where a good chunk of my time goes when I'm not working or with my girlfriend. But she's a gamer too so I can't really even say that.

Mulvey: Wow! That's awesome. Definitely has to be fun sharing that with her.

El Diablo: Match made in heaven. But we differ on our enjoyment of most games. Can't like all the same things I guess.

Mulvey: Okay, so if I rattled off some names of games like Halo, BioShock, Gears of War etc. you'd be a fan of all of those?

El Diablo: Yup.

Hint Hint, Nudge Nudge

Mulvey: So what other kinds of entertainment do you enjoy? Movies, TV, books?

El Diablo: I really don't read all that much. The last thing I read was The Art of War by Sun Tzu.

Mulvey: How did you like it?

El Diablo: Thought it was great! Definitely could have been shorter but very cool.

Mulvey: Okay, so you've got interests all over the place. Any other TV shows, movies, magazines, entertainment stuff you like so I can get a better gage of what kind of material interests you?

El Diablo: Breaking Bad. Like that show a lot. I really liked Rubicon, that was also on AMC, but it only lasted a season. I HATED that it was cancelled. I was so into the spy stuff and secrets on that show. Hawaii 5-0 is cool. I watch a ton of stuff on Netflix or online. I don't really even watch most TV or cable anymore. I'm thinking of just dropping it all together and just keeping my Netflix.

What Do You Mean You Don't Watch My Show on TV?!

Mulvey: I know a lot of people who've done that.

El Diablo: Yeah, I just feel like I can pretty much get whatever I want online. It's not like years ago where you're sitting in front of a TV and have to see a show Wednesday at 10 PM when it comes on. With DVR's and streaming stuff, you can make your own TV schedule. And with stuff like Mad Men and Breaking Bad, Lost I did it too, where I just waited for a show to be a few seasons in and then just caught up on DVD or online.

Mulvey: Well, let me ask you then: normally I give people books in hand but you seem to be a pretty online, digital type guy. Would you prefer that I give you mostly digital comics?

El Diablo: Um, not sure. What exactly are digital comics? I mean, I know they're comics but what's the difference?

Mulvey: They're the same comics, you just read them online, just like a digital book. You have a tablet right?

El Diablo: Yup. I have the first generation iPad and I just bought that last HP Touchpad.

Mulvey: Yeah, so it's just like reading any other book on there or even on a regular desktop, laptop whatever. I'll give you both but you just strike me as someone who may be more open to the digital.

El Diablo: Yeah, man, I'm open to try whatever you think might blow me away.

Mulvey: I welcome the challenge. Comics will surprise you.

El Diablo: That's the point right? It'd be cool if they did.

Mulvey: Trust me, at the very least when this is over you will have a different idea of what comics are.

El Diablo: Yeah, well, when you first asked me, I guess I kind of thought comics were like a childhood hobby, like baseball cards. You know, I mean even in my neighborhood, the comic book stores are all baseball card shops too. But there's money in those things if you know how to pick them and value them. Plus, I'm playing video games on my phone while I'm going to work or get bored and video games years ago were thought to be a kid’s thing. I'm 27 and LOVE games so maybe comics can go the same route.

Who You Callin' Kids' Stuff, Bub?

Mulvey: I seriously love the optimism. I’m glad you're giving them a shot. I think certain people just need a nudge in the right direction to find out what comics really deliver.

El Diablo: Yeah, well, I'm not going to say I will like them. There's also a part of me that thinks as a kid I got bored or disinterested in them enough to stop, so I'm on the fence.

Mulvey: Understood, Mr. Diablo. Well, I'm going to try and get you down from that fence and into comics.

El Diablo: Sounds good and please, call me EL.

At this point I gave El Diablo Joe his comics. He got a healthy does of digital as well as print books. In print he got the Wolverine arc "Enemy of the State" and Magneto: Testament from Marvel; Invincible Vol. 1, Pigs #1, and Nonplayer #1 from Image; Incognito Vol. 1 from Icon; Secret Six Vol.1 by DC; and The Darkness Vol. 1 from TopCow. Digitally he got Who is Jake Ellis #1 and Shinku #1 from Image; X-Men: Schism #1 from Marvel; Irredeemable #1 from Boom! Studios and The Boys #1 from Dynamite.

It's been 10 days since we last spoke, let's see what he thinks about comics.

Mulvey: Alright, we're all anxious to hear what you thought. Let me have it.

El Diablo: Okay, well, let me just say that I started off with the Wolverine book...

Mulvey: I thought you might.

El Diablo: Yup, and I really didn't like it. I LOVED IT! HA! Wolverine messing up all those other heroes was awesome. That should be a movie. I'd go to see it once a week. I never really liked Daredevil at all, I mean no offense, he's a blind super hero. He can't hang with Wolverine. Really enjoyed that book. But that was definitely not the kind of stories I read as a kid. I would've remembered stuff like that.

Mulvey: Well, I'll get into that in a bit but I'm eager to know what you read next.

El Diablo: After that was The Darkness. I'd played the game so I figured he was a cool character and that book was SICK! Really enjoyed that too. Actually I need to remind myself to get more Darkness stuff because after I was done with some of these books I started shopping on Amazon for more. I REALLY like the whole paperback editions, definitely much more than the #1's.

Note to Self: Get More Darkness Trades

Mulvey: So you want the whole story? You wouldn't be interested in getting the story given to you in monthly installments, like the issues do?

El Diablo: Okay, well here's what's odd or just weird. I don't mind it when I bought stuff on my iPad. But I do mind it when it's the books I'd buy in print. Having the issues flung together on my bookshelf is kind of crappy. Whereas on my iPad I've got a nice way to scroll through. So digitally I'm cool with it; in hand, not so much. I'm sure that's odd to a comics fan like you.

Mulvey: Not at all, space is a HUGE issue when it comes to comics. I totally get it. And let me tell you, if you get into the stories like it sounds you are, you're going to like digital more because in print they will take up a ton of space. I'm just happy you like the comics enough to even get to that problem.

El Diablo: Yeah, I already went quite overboard with my first Amazon purchase. It was almost $200. I went a bit overboard.

Mulvey: DUDE! That's awesome for the economy and comics. You know, maybe if Obama or the government just tried getting people into comics we could get out of this recession in a second.

El Diablo: HA! Yeah why not right? I may have started a trend to save the economy.

Mulvey: The history books will show that the kick start to the economy started here. Okay so what else did you like?

El Diablo: All of them really; I'd say I was hesitant to read the stuff I wasn't familiar with. Like for some reason I read Invincible last. Just something about the guy’s outfit or the bright colors didn't really grab me, but DAMN was I wrong. Loved that book. Went right out and ordered more. The evil Superman type book was CRAZY [ed.- Irredeemable]! That was my girlfriend’s favorite, next to The Boys and Secret Six.

Seriously, What's Not to Love?

Mulvey: Wait, so she read the books too?

El Diablo: Yup. After I read the Wolverine one, I told her she had to. She had read some books a while back from her cousin so she was a bit more familiar with comics than I was. She had read the Walking Dead books.

Mulvey: That's awesome, so would you say she enjoyed them too?

El Diablo: Definitely, we're starting a library. She knew I was doing this with you so she found your site and read some stuff I guess and we grabbed a bunch of books from there. We LOVE Fables now and Echoes. Both great books.

Mulvey: Let me just interrupt you for one second. What surprised you so much about comics? Like before this you would pass them up on a second and now you're really into them. So what flipped the switch?

El Diablo: Do you want me to say you?

Mulvey: HA! No No No. Thanks, but I have a healthy enough ego, I mean about the books themselves.

El Diablo: Hmm. I just guess the stories. The characters, the action, all of it. It doesn't seem formulaic to me, if that makes any sense. Just like the stuff that stands out in games or on TV is the stuff you haven't seen before. That's how I think I feel about comics now. This stuff is good. Just good storytelling.

Mulvey: Dude, I'm smiling from ear to ear.

Joe, Smiling

El Diablo: You're always smiling.

Mulvey: Yeah, but that's because I'm either sleep deprived or drunk, this is totally reactionary.

El Diablo: Yeah man, comics are just good. Don't know any other way to put it.

Mulvey: That's the best way to put it.

El Diablo: I mean the subject matter is all over the place, that Magneto story was intense. Same as Echoes was. It wasn't that comics were just people beating each other up in tights, there was so much more to it. I definitely see a divide though in a book like Echoes and a book like Schism. So there's definitely a lot to choose from in comics. I mean to say comics aren't just superheroes. I think that was the biggest shock to me.

Mulvey: Dude, you're doing all the work for me on this interview.

El Diablo: Yeah man, El DIABLO aims to please.

Mulvey: Now we've just gone off the rails. Talking about yourself in the third person. INSANITY!

El Diablo: Yeah, what can I say. I'm crazy for comics. I've actually given a few to some friends. Your books actually, hope you don't mind.

Mulvey: Not at all, just keep track.

El Diablo: Yeah, I'll suggest more digital to people. I guess it's easier for the quick fix, just pull it up on your phone and download. I did that with a co-worker. She loves Twilight and True Blood so I told her about that vampire motorcycle book....

Mulvey: Shinku...

Shinku: A Vampire Story You Can Actually Take Seriously

El Diablo: Yeah. She got it on her phone and the next day was asking me for more stuff.

Mulvey: Spread the word, dude. The more people into comics the better.

El Diablo: I know. I'm gonna try.

Mulvey: And in a few weeks there's a HUGE Comic Book Convention at the Jacob Javits Center. The New York Comic Con. I'd highly suggest checking that out. Every comic book company is there. Tons of books, creators, actors, games, shwag. You'd really like it.

El Diablo: Yeah, Lacey (Girlfriend) saw that and said we should go.

Mulvey: You totally should. You should also get yourself over to the small press section, like around the COMIXTRIBE booth and buy my book, SCAM.

El Diablo: You have a book?

Mulvey: Indeed. So you should pick it up. For an indie creator it's hard to make the books so we need EVERYONE to give it a chance and come support the book.

El Diablo: Okay then. We will.

Mulvey: Awesome! Dude, this has been great. I'm so glad you really got into the books and I hope your library just builds from here.

El Diablo: With SCAM?

Mulvey: HA! Well of course, but just with tons of other great books that people are putting out. I'd really suggest seeing the books you really respond to and see who made them, creators wise. Then search out stuff from them. So if you liked Fables, go search for more Bill Willingham stuff. Same for Shinku or Echoes. Go try some other Ron Marz or Josh Fialkov stuff. You liked the Magneto book so give Greg Pak a try. If you liked Schism and Invincible give Jason Aaron and Robert Kirkman a try. Creators drive the business of comics so check out more of what they do.

May We Suggest This Be Your Next Fialkov Purchase?

El Diablo: You sound like a spokesman.

Mulvey: It's in an unofficial capacity.

El Diablo: Cool man, I'll definitely be trying to give more books to people.

Mulvey: Much appreciated, dude, for doing this and spreading the word.

El Diablo: Hey, El Diablo does what El Diablo does.

Mulvey: HA! Awesome man. Thanks again for doing this.

El Diablo: Anytime. The EL Diablo abides.

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