Fox DC on Comics

The Fox 5 story on comic books is now online– it’s more nuanced than I expected, but still pretty silly.

The biggest problem (and I hinted at this in my earlier post) is that stories like this treat comics as a genre and not a media. Criticizing comics on the DC relaunch is like judging the film industry on Deuce Bigalow 2.

There’s at least one extremely fair point in there, though: The advertisements in many “mature” comics do seem to target kids. That seems like a tacit admission that the publishers intend (or at least expect) them to end up in kids hands.

But why, after establishing that these comics aren’t for children, does Sherri Ly take them to a middle school “to see what kids think”? For the same reason she shows us comparisons between the older/more innocent and new darker/adult versions of Batman, Catwoman, and Starfire: it’s a forced attempt to manufacture outrage.

 

Relaunched Comics Using Sex and Violence To Sell: MyFoxDC.com

 

Pre-debunking Fox 5’s Story on the Comics Menace, Based on the 15 Second Promo Ad that aired during Football last night

The promotional clip follows the usual local-news scare story outline : Here’s a hazy transcript:

  • [Picture of an Archie comic]  some nonsense about comics not being “what they used to be”, ignorant of history.
  • [successive shots of modern comics for adults] Sex! Violence! Some equally outrageous third thing that I can’t recall!
  • [clip of an interview of a guy in a comic shop]
  • Find out how to “K.O.” this comics menace, Wednesday at 5!

I think the report will imply that comics are somehow a uniquely harmful to kids, and worth Freaking Out about. They aren’t.

The only reason to single out comic books is that is that they’ve historically been an easy target. It’s a subculture that’s small and generally misunderstood, and there’s almost no risk to painting it as The Enemy of All That is Good and Wholesome.

The same problems exists across all media: There’s nothing (content, theme, or maturity level) you’ll find in a comic shop that you couldn’t find in a book store, library, game shop, cable TV, the multiplex, or THE INTERNET. We either live in a world where art can be made by and for adults, or we live in a world where everything must be appropriate for children.

 

 
update: Here’s the clip.

Slimming down in 2012 (but just my comics subscriptions)

I made my first trip out to Game On! Comics the other weekend. When I last posted about comics, I was thinking about quitting the “traditional” print comics world entirely. I haven’t done that, but I did cut down my subscription list.

First: the store is great– Louis and crew have created a really cool space there. There’s more room, and more color than the late, lamented Nova Comics. The location is bothersome for a number of reasons (and I don’t just mean distance-from-my-house this time), but it’s not worth getting into that.

Here’s what I was reading (Thanks to Dave at Game On for sending me my then-current list):

  • BATMAN INCORPORATED
  • DMZ
  • FABLES
  • FELL
  • GRAVEYARD OF EMPIRES
  • LIL DEPRESSED BOY
  • MEMOIR
  • NORTHLANDERS
  • SCALPED
  • SWEET TOOTH
  • UNWRITTEN

After taking a two or three month break, I found that I just didn’t miss most of them.  It’s like that moment in a book, movie, or show where you realize that you don’t really care what happens next. You aren’t invested in the characters or stories. You could keep reading (or watching), or you could get that time back and spend it in a way more productive or enjoyable.

The second path is usually best. Here is what I’m reading now:

Fell is technically on the list, as well– though it’s currently on something of a hiatus due to events in Ben Templesmith’s life.

Game On! Comics

If you aren’t familiar with comic book stores, most let you “subscribe” to the titles you like– You provide a list of comics you like, and they’ll be put aside every week. You can generally walk in and give them your box number, name, or (if you’ve been there a while), they’ll just know which comics are yours. It’s kind of nice.

Since moving to DC at the end of 2005,  I’ve been a subscriber of several fine comics shops.

So, here are the shops where I’ve kept my subscriptions:

  • Aftertime Comics (Old Town, Alexandria)
  • Alliance Comics (Silver Spring)
  • Big Planet (Vienna, VA)
  • NOVA Comics (Springfield, VA)

I’d settled in with NOVA comics, and was looking forward to being a customer for a long time. Then, news came that the store was shutting down on October 23rd. I asked what had happened and was told that, after the passing of the owner in February (Gary A Johns), his daughter had been trying to sell the shop. A buyer stepped forward, but has failed on several attempts to secure a loan. The date when she would have to choose whether to renew the store’s lease for 3 more years was approaching, and she chose to shut the operation down.

NOVA Comics closed it’s doors on 10/23, as scheduled, but then a really cool thing happened: Louis Meyer (A NOVA customer) decided to start up a new shop, and even hire some of the NOVA staff. Game On! Comics will be open for business on December 1st.

Screen Shot 2011 11 11 at 4 43 42 PM

The bad news (for me), is that the Game On! will be in Vienna– which is a bit of a hike from Lorton. The reason I went to NOVA Comics in the first place was that I really didn’t like trudging all the way out to Big Planet (Vienna) to get my comic fix.

I’m still deciding what this all means for my future as a comics reader. I’m about halfway to deciding that I’m done with traditional print comics– that it’d be better to support online comics, and comics-related Kickstarter projects, than to keep doing the comic-book-store-dance.

On the other hand, I haven’t told Game On! to delete my subscriptions yet, either.