Friday, September 19, 2008

my final crisis.

(i was bored and tired this morning.)

It's been a while since i read superhero comics with any sort of regularity. i vaguely remember a few years ago, when i first discovered midtown comics' web subscription service, i was reading some of the ultimate books from marvel, but once i had less disposable income, that didn't last long. while i was living in brooklyn, last year, i found a couple of comic/junk stores (time machine, a store called junk) that sold really cheap (sometimes free) comics from the 90s. the most i got out of this (besides knowledge about the inner workings of ghost rider's life, which i'm sure will be useful someday) was the sort of sad thought that mainstream books in the 90s may have looked better than most superhero books do now. something that if you had you told me it in the 90s, you would have been met with shocked disbelief as i thought the artwork was beyond terrible then.

when i went to a comic store with new releases i mostly bought whatever not-superhero stuff i actually read and enjoy. i still bought/buy godland whenever i see it though, and i realized the other day that, surprisingly i own and have read every issue of all star superman (a comic that comes out once every 8 months is sort of the perfect schedule for me). i didn't even really look at most of marvel and dc's output though. i feel sometimes that just reading about those comics on the internet is more entertaining than reading the thing itself. in my mind world war hulk was a bunch of dudes getting mad at iron man on a message board.

one of the first things i did when i moved to new jersey in february was try to find a local comic store. i am still only a 20 minute or so bus ride from the 4000 comic stores in the city, and even closer to the stores on the internet, but i wanted to find something i could walk to. i didn't see any. the weird thing about my suburban town though, as compared to new york, is that every convenience store carries mainstream comics on their magazine rack. even the local supermarket has spider-man. i started picking up random issues of x men, batman, and whatever else happened to be around.

i was never really into to x men comics, even as a kid, and after a few months of reading them, even less so now. it took me about 6 issues of a few x men titles to realize every x men comic is exactly the same and will be forever. batman too pretty much. i didn't read dc comics at all in my life, really. most of what i know about them i've also gleaned from online sources. i am, however, enjoying the batman rip story line. i like grant morrison most of the time and batman being fed a bunch of drugs and realizing he's a comic book character while arguing with bat mite is a plot i don't mind reading at all. i have no idea what's going on through most of it, but unlike a lot of the internet, i don't really care. i have no clue who the joker looking dude with the ceaser crown is, but i know he's bad and batman doesn't like him. that's more that enough information for me.

i also discovered last week that they sell pamphlet comics in borders book store too. i decided to pick up the 3rd issue of final crisis. i don't think i've ever read superhero crossovers (i did read seven soldiers a couple of years ago though) and everything i've read about final crisis online has been sort of negative. and by 'sort of negative' i mean people are drowning in their own tears and disrespecting their senior citizen mothers because of what's happening in the book. they're also talking about the flash a lot. my knowledge of the flash is essentially that he can run fast and he has a nice logo. anyway, i read the comic myself and pretty much loved it. for these reasons:

-there are dudes dressed as knights that ride giant dalmatians.
-what i left out of all the lengthy bullshit up there is that i have read jack kirby's new god run around 400,000 times. i somehow missed in my message board reading that this whole thing centers around those characters.
-knight dudes on giant dalmatians.
-there's a part where old flash is hanging out and young flash appears and yells 'run' and they start running through time to try to stop a time travelling, god bullet or something. stuff like that (and the giant dalmatians) is why i like comics to begin with.
- the art is nice, especially after reading all those weird, photoshop, x men comics.
- there's these sort of japanese hipster forever people. the original, hippy, forever people were kirby trying to (and failing) to be hip, so it's kind of funny to me that they're doing sort of the same thing here but modernized.

there's stuff i don't like; superman is crying about something, and, i've seen maybe 2 other green lantern stories in my life and he's seemingly always on space trial, but the scenes change pretty much every two pages so it's easily ignored. and like i said about batman, some of it i don't understand, and i don't know some of the characters, but i can sort of figure most of it out. i also don't really remember the original crisis as it's been maybe 20 years since i read it, so i don't even know if this is referencing that at all (i remember the plot lines revolving around it in swamp thing and animal man better). i guess essentially and uselessly what i'm trying to say is the internet needlessly complains a lot.

anyway, i don't work and i'm poor, so i read that comic 40 times. then the other day i found out there actually is a local comic book store a mile or two from where i live. i was happy to be there, though it is every stereotypical comic store that people make fun of. there were 3 dudes sitting in front of the racks yelling about judge dredd and john mccain in an attempt to make it as uncomfortable as possible for everyone. while i was there i saw the first issue of final crisis, so i bought it figuring i'd get caught up.

turns out i bought the 'director's cut', and while the dude in the store was helpful in sighing and giving me slightly dirty looks for having him ring me up, he didn't point out that this version of the comic has no dialog. it's the black and white art with no word bubbles and the script in the back of the book. not that it was his job to tell me, i should have checked it out, but i was trying to get out of there as quickly as possible before i was forced to dress as judge dredd and give everyone in the store a massage.

reading the script is alright, i guess, but obviously i wanted to read the real fucking comic. so i went and attempted to put the text back in with a sharpie, essentially ending up with final crisis: the retarded cut. it's essentially unreadable, but the bonus is i now have the dialog memorized from having to write it out. it has kamandi and cavemen and metron so i like it but now i'm wondering if i should color it. i want to get the second issue but i'm wondering if i'll end up with a version that edits out everything except the costumes. final crisis: the costume directors cut.


Stanley Lieber said...

fucking PLEASE scan this

I download all the comics every week and actually try to read some of them. Grant Morrison's X-Men comics and maybe like the first half of Joss Whedon's are okay. Aside from that I haven't really liked mutant books since approximately 1990. I was that annoying kid in everyone's neighborhood who subscribed to every X-title throughout the '80s. I have probably masturbated to John Romita JR drawings of Wolverine at some point in my life.

I've learned over time that John Byrne is right about comics fandom -- it's better to enjoy them in total isolation and create awesome false images of what "comics fans" must be like. That's certainly how it was for me growing up. Ironically, meeting John Byrne is the best proof of his theory.

It's impossible for me to know if I actually like the '70s/'80s super-hero comics I obsess over, or if I am simply a slave to nostalgia for books I never managed to acquire when I was a kid.

Probably countries in the middle east were on someone's Christmas list as a child but never made it under the tree.

pete. said...

i think most of us have jerked off to wolverine, whether by mistake or on purpose, at some point.

i liked some of morrison's x men. actually this whole post could've just been 'i forget that grant morrison's good at writing superheroes but sometimes i remember.'

i was downloading everything for a while, but it ended up just taking up space on my hard drive. it's weird; i'll read anything that i happen to pick up/ am given, but when i have a free she hulk comic on my computer i just refuse to fucking read it.

i always feel weird bringing up the 'comic fans on the internet (and everywhere) are crazy' thing. mostly because it's obviously true. but they're also really entertaining. i mean, as much as i want to stop almost all the time, i keep reading message boards.

it might be nostalgia, but i think the superhero comics from the 80s were sort of exemplary. i went through a huge part of my old comic collection from when i was a teenager recently. i have only a slight recollection of it, but apparently i bought every image comic that they published for a couple of years. i think bloodstrike (or something) made me eventually hate comics. reading tbps of 80s stuff (that i didn't happen to read when i was a kid) when i was like 19 is what got me to like them again.

Alisa said...

"i always feel weird bringing up the 'comic fans on the internet (and everywhere) are crazy' thing. mostly because it's obviously true. but they're also really entertaining."

YES THEY ARE. I have a real-life friend who is a comic fan, and boy is he strange. I think that he thinks that I'm strange. I'm pretty sure that he knows the intimate details about every superhero ever printed. So in the strange contest he wins.

pete. said...

in theory i really like comic fans. i love comic books. i just don't like when people get too serious about things.