More events, dear boy...A column article, Fool Britannia by: Regie Rigby
You know what? I’m sick to death of events. I’m dropping all my Spider-Man titles. Since the end of One More Day I haven’t been able to summon up any enthusiasm for the web-slinger’s antics. The current “event”, the so-called “brand new day” might well be fabulous, but I’ll never know. I have a stack of issues laying unread in my attic, and I just can’t be bothered with them. Then there’s Batman R.I.P. - something else I haven’t read yet, although in this case I actually might. The title of the event gives you some idea about what’s likely to happen, although I can’t believe they really intend to kill Bruce Wayne any more than they intended to kill Superman all those years ago*. It’s just another “event” that’ll be forgotten within the year as another “event” is hyped in its stead. These events tend to be a summer phenomenon – Spidey’s One more Day did at least buck that trend – and there have been too many to list over the years. Whether they’re great sprawling company wide crossovers, like Crisis on infinite Earths or the woeful Armageddon 2001, or more intimate affairs that concentrate on a few key characters, there’s no escape. Sometimes, of course, these big “events” are worth the effort. Batman: Officer Down springs to mind here. But most aren’t. And I wonder why this is. I mean, I understand the point of all these events. They’re marketing as much as anything else. In the summer people have holidays, which means they have more time for doing things like reading comics. Naturally everyone wants a slice of that action and so like peacocks displaying their tail feathers they all show off their big events to lure us in. Given that, you’d think they’d make more of an effort to make sure they were worth reading. Yet every year, without fail, we are “treated” to a whole bunch of over-hyped but below par “Earth Shattering” storylines. “Spidey’s Totally Teeny Adventure” anyone**? I don’t need to write you a list. These things are many, varied, and consistently bad – and we continue to fall for it. We must do, because these things sell. I’ve no real idea why***, except for that strange instinct that drives so many comics readers to purchase everything that features their favourite character with every bit as much blind urgency as a salmon forcing its way upstream****. I’m not criticizing the readership here – well, not much anyway – I confess that I’ve been guilty of this sort of thing myself on occasion*****. But, no more. Perhaps it’s a “growing up” thing. These days with a job and a house to maintain I find I have neither the time, nor the money to be spending on comics that I know will be shit (or at least disappointing) before I even buy them. It’s insane behaviour when you think about it. I don’t go to the Supermarket and buy food I know I’m going to hate. If a TV show I don’t like comes on I switch the channel******. Why have I bought so many comics I’m not really interested in? So. No more events. If they turn out to be worth reading I’ll pick them up in the Trade collection, which will not only be cheaper, but also enable me to appreciate the whole story at once. It does of course mean that I won’t have any of the original issues of a cult series to flog off on E-bay, but I’ve never been a speculator, so that doesn’t matter*******. If people want any of my over stretched comics buying budget, then they need to forget the over hyped events and just give me some good stories. What’re my chances, do you reckon? Still. This big cull of titles means my budget can be diverted in other directions – I could spend it on anything of course, but I strongly suspect that it’s still going to end up in the till at Destination Venus. But what new titles should I be buying? This is a genuine appeal – I want your recommendations – the only things I don’t want to hear about are superheroes and comics featuring girls with dental floss costumes. What’s good? Oh, and while we’re on the subject, I think it’s time to throw the spotlight back onto the creators who toil so tirelessly to make the comics we all enjoy so much. I want some new ones. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not tired of the ones we’ve already got or anything. It’s just that looking through my pile of comics last week I realised that although the stack was very big indeed (I’d been away and there were three week’s worth of titles) there were mostly all by the same four or five writers, and looking around the store it seemed to me that the comics I don’t already buy that were grabbing my attention were also by that same small group. I guess I must be missing something. Ellis and Ennis and all my other regulars just can’t be the only decent writers in print. So again – point me at some goodness! Which writers and artists that have never been published by a major company should I be seeking out? There was a time when I paid attention to this sort of thing and I knew who was at the cutting edge. I seem to be getting both old and stale. I want to get to the cutting edge again! Now that would be an event… *And the Death of Superman in Superman #75 was ages ago now! Seems hard to believe, but there you go. **I seem to remember that Marvel handed out little cards listing all the comics involved in that one so that people could keep track and not miss any of the horror – although I might well be mixing that up with a different crap comics event… ***Well, some of them sell because they’re good, obviously, but a very, very few. ****I was going to say “like lemmings off a cliff”, which captured the pointless self destructive nature of the phenomenon rather better, but it turns out that lemmings don’t throw themselves off cliffs – and accuracy is important, even in metaphors. As Terry Pratchett once remarked, if you want to argue that the pen is mightier than the sword, you have to be clear that this is only literally true of the pen is very sharp and the sword is very short… *****I bought “Totally Teeny Adventure” for a start… ******Unless my wife wants to watch it, in which case I find a book. *******I never fail to be amazed by the number of people who buy comics and expect to be able to sell them on for a massive profit. It just doesn’t work like that. You know the only way to be sure of becoming a millionaire buying and selling comics? Start with two million.