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The Good, The Bad, & This Kid: “Deep Inside The Borderline”

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The past few days I’ve been fighting trying to come up with a topic for this week’s column. Today’s the day I do it, it’s a very special day in which my third eye is squeegeed clean. I’ve been thinking and pacing within myself, and since I’m in the Soapbox, why don’t I just use it. The better part of me knows that at the conclusion of this column I will have not achieved or changed a thing and I will probably have kept myself in the Soapbox even longer, but to hell with my better half.

Media. There are few words in existence that draw such a wide array of thoughts. Many people view the media as a fair and balanced (please don’t sue me) source of information. They swallow this information the way it’s been delivered and think that’s the end of it. Once digested it allows them to see only what the blinders allow them to. That’s a very scary concept. Too many people just turn on their TV and tune out their mind. The media could care less. Their sole purpose in life is to kill any and every part of you that thinks for itself. It’ll keep on digging and killing until Fox and Ted Turner own your every last thought. Countless people have fallen victim to this, with the number on the rise.

The television media isn’t the main focal point of this essay, that’d be too easy. There is far too much evil being sent over the idiot box for me to even try to talk about. No, I’m narrowing my thesis to the reason many of us get up in the morning. I’m not talking about your significant other, I’m talking about comics. Whether you’d like to admit it or not, many of you reading this excuse of an article love comics above just a hobby (unless you’re reading this because you’re my friend and you’d feel bad if you didn’t). You want to know all about the comic industry, and you want to know all about the creators and the companies. You have this unquenchable thirst for inside information, press releases, interviews, sneak peek art samples and anything else you can sink your eyes into. Why shouldn’t you? We live in an era where all the information we could possibly want is right at our fingertips. With the click of a button we have news from Iraq to Kobe, from bombings in Israel to who’s starting quarterback next Sunday.

Back to the topic which I haven’t really established for you yet. Like the television aspect of the media, the comic book media can be just as evil. Where CNN, MSNBC, and Fox give you your news; SBC, Comic Book Resources, and Newsarama give you your comic book news. Comics are like many other forms of entertainment, where the creators and such have moved away from creating and moved into being press whores. That’s where our three comic book news providers come in. Not only do they supply you with a rich diet of sneak peeks and breaking news, but they allow creators to whore themselves out for your filthy dollars. For the longest time comic books were the last remaining true art in entertainment. Music and movies had long ago went the way of media, and now comic books are playing catch up, and they’re playing fast. It’s gotten to the point where when a creator has a new project coming out, you see that creator’s name everywhere. Every comic book site is carrying some press release, followed by an exclusive interview, followed by signing appearances. The companies don’t even try to retain the classic artistic integrity anymore. Marvel pushes ad campaigns that scream “we’ve lost sight of what art should be,” and DC signs up everyone and their brother to exclusive contracts. Once the dollar sign becomes more important than your project, you’re off the artistic role call.

Now, I understand the importance of promotion and the importance of making money, but there is a line. Too much promotion takes away from the project, and at some point people start caring more about the creator and their view points than about what their art has to say. It’s really quite sickening. I can only think of a select few creators at the moment that don’t completely whore themselves out to the comic buying public. That; again, is really sad. Out of all the professional comic book creators around, only a handful stick out in my mind as being truly artistic in the sense that their art is more important than them. Which is how it should be. If you come in to any artistic field putting yourself above your art, you’re not an artist, you’re an attention hungry slut who needs to be stopped.

That’s where all this leads. The media is anti-art. When the media wiggles and worms its way into an artistic field, it destroys it. I see this happening with comics, especially more now than ever. There are many comics being put out today that really have no artistic credibility and no purpose. The creators are either too busy trying to make a name for themselves to care about such trivial things like good stories and good art, or they are so overloaded with the copious amounts of comics they write that happen to suck as well. I think that’s why so many people are turning to Manga for their source of comic entertainment, because like always, America is losing sight of art and seeing only fame. American comic book writers; especially, are too busy dipping their greedy little fingers into as many filthy pies as possible. All that does is spread this disgusting virus to other art mediums.

I said that by this point I wouldn’t have accomplished anything and I was right. It’s not because I’m selling myself short as a writer, but because there is no cure for the disease. Media and comic books have formed a deep-rooted symbiotic relationship that cannot be altered. The media is too dependent on comics and comics are too dependent on the media. Luckily, there are a few creators around who still believe in the artistic approach, and have found a way to use the media without becoming its whore.

Before I leave I just want to say that this week was a wonderful week for democracy.

-Josh Stone


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