Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Caffeine, indigestion and Bill Willingham's FABLES

Just got MARCH OF THE WOODEN SOLDIERS by Bill Willingham and the criminally under-rated Mark Buckingham. It was feckin' fantastic. Another reminder of why I've stopped waiting for various VERTIGO titles to reach bi-annual (or worse) TPB publication. The fact is, 100 BULLETS, HUMAN TARGET, FABLES, THE LOSERS and Y THE LAST MAN are all too good as monthlies to wait for collection.

So, when I hear various nostalgic twats writing off VERTIGO as a ghetto, I tend to think "fuckin' idiots - put some thought into your damn craft".
The big bollox. Really, what would you rather have - a dozen Marvel titles giving you washed-out versions of other stuff you've read before (taking a six issue arc to retell a story that Stan and Jack told in an eight pager in the back of TALES TO ASTONISH or some such), or a few good folks pushing the boundaries.

Oh shit. I like Ed Brubaker and Mark Millar as much as the next guy, but do yerself a favour - buy Y by Brian Vaughan rather than CAPTAIN AMERICA. Buy an issue of LOSERS by Andy Diggle instead of WOLVERINE. Go on. You won't regret it. Then ween yourself off spandex. You'll never look back.

"I'm buying sixteen MARVEL titles in January". Yeah, right - catch a grip, fanboy.

(Preachy mode on) If there's a ghetto that needs to be escaped in comics, it's superheroes. They have a place n'all, but look at the comics in France, look at Japan: these countries have a huge variety of mainstream entertainment comicbooks, and they sell not in their thousands, not in their hundreds of thousands, but in their millions. All kinds of genres, all kinds of target ages. Meanwhile in the anglophone world, its just superhero comics aimed at forty year old guys who've been reading superhero comics since they were five, and can't bring themselves to let go. A Vertigo comic may not sell more than 20-25 thousand copies a month, compared to, say, ASTONISHING X-MEN selling 200 thousand. But damned if anyone who hasn't been reading X-MEN comics for the last twenty years has a clue what's actually going on in that book. Stick that in the hands of your average guy in the street, and he'll be totally bemused. Maybe he's seen the two movies. These guys in the comic don't look familiar to him. He doesn't have a clue what the hell they're gibbering about. Hand the same dude FIRST SHOT, LAST CALL and he's in familiar territory. He's seen movies like this, he's seen TV shows like this. The characters sound like they listen to the same music as he does. He's hooked. He heads down to Waterstone's and orders the next one. Bada-bing.
(preachy mode: off)