Monday, October 13, 2014


In the wake of the new season of COMIC BOOK MEN, I feel the need to talk about my love of comic books. Since I started reviewing comic books for the Elmhurst College LEADER in 1998, I've been considered a comic book reader. To be fair, I did this long before. I loved comics when I was a kid, and I didn't stop until Marvel's incarnation of THE TRANSFORMERS ended, much to my chagrin. Years later, CJ, a friend I'd met during my senior year of high school, got me back into comics with EVIL ERNIE, PREACHER and HITMAN. Three years later, I was writing reviews for the LEADER as the first comic book reviewer EVER on staff. My time there won me an award from the Chicago TRIBUNE. (I got two, actually, but I only got one for my comic book work.)

Still, whenever I mention my love of comic books, people assume I'm talking about superheroes. This pisses me off a great deal, because not all comic books are about superheroes. In fact, I don't like superheroes. I know, that's blasphemy in this age of Marvel movies. Let me make myself clear: I love the superhero movies, but I can't stand the superhero comic books. I'm not condemning those books. It's a matter of taste. I don't like them, but I don't hate people who like them. That's your business, not mine.

I don't really read superhero comic books. The only time I do is when a writer I respect is writing them. There are a handful of great superhero stories, I think. One of them is obviously WATCHMEN. Another is THE BOYS, which is one of the greatest comic books ever written. I loved Mark Millar's take on OLD MAN LOGAN. The same goes for David Morrell's take on SAVAGE WOLVERINE. And then there's books like Brian Azzarello's WONDER WOMAN and so on and so forth.

But ultimately, those aren't the books I'm interested in, aside from THE BOYS. I think superheroes are stupid. I find it's a fucking shame that the average person isn't aware that comic books are more than some person wearing skintight underwear facing off against criminal/evil alien villains. I want PREACHER. I want TRANSMETROPOLITAN. I want 100 BULLETS. And yes, I want LOCKE & KEY. How about AMERICAN VAMPIRE? Or DICKS? Or CROSSED? Or THE FADE OUT? Or CRIMINAL or FATALE? FBP? SAGA? SEX CRIMINALS? STRAY BULLETS? TREES? How about DORK and MILK AND CHEESE? I could go on forever, but most average people, whenever they think of comic books, will think about Superman, Batman, the X-Men, Spider-Man and whoever else wears spandex tight enough to show the shape of their genitals.

I love Tommy Monaghan, one of the few guys in the old DCU who took the piss out of superheroes on a regular basis. He puked on Batman and showed how Green Lantern was a cheapskate. Or how about THE BOYS, who policed the degenerate supes?

But . . . the loyal fans of HITMAN remember very well that there was one superhero who had earned Tommy's trust: Superman. And just like that, I can appreciate certain things about the comic book superheroes.

Whenever someone brings something cool into the Stash on COMIC BOOK MEN, I can truly appreciate it. I'm wowed. I'm very interested to see how these things turn out, because they're historical documents.

But let's be honest. Superheroes should have died out long ago. Marvel manages to keep them alive, for the most part. I don't like a lot of their methods, but they have their hearts in the right place. DC, on the other hand, has driven their titles into the ground. They don't know what the fuck they're doing. If their BATMAN/SUPERMAN movie succeeds, it will only be because people were curious enough to see it. Not because it's great, though.

Some superheroes are immortal, and that's fine. Those who aren't should have been released a while ago. The Big Two work constantly to reinvent these characters, but in all honesty, I think they should just be released. If they continue with new people behind the mask, then it's the same ol' bullshit as ever. If there's a reboot, no matter how much you change it, it's still the same ol' bullshit as ever. If you let these characters die? They can serve a narrative purpose.

Reboots only serve as commercial agents. Actually killing characters off would serve stories very well. Not like I give a shit. Just give me my non-superhero books, and I'll be satisfied.

But what the fuck do I care? You guys fuck around with your superhero comics, and I'll stay over here with the other stuff. Goodnight, fuckers.

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