Friday, May 20, 2005

Professor Xavier's Comic for Gifted Writers

I have been genuflecting to Joss Whedon (Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Firefly. etc...)too much lately. But here's one more:

First, a generous heaping of backstory:

When I was a wee young thing in the 70s I stopped at the local 7-Eleven and picked up an issue of The Uncanny X-Men (issue #126 to be exact) and began descending into comic madness immediately thereafter. Each month felt like Christmas morning, opening up the pages to see what adventure, threat, personal drama, or battle awaited Nightcrawler, Kitty Pryde, Storm, Colossus, Cyclops, Dazzler, The Beast, etc...

Many years later I stopped reading because the comics just didn't do it for me any more. Some say it's an age thing. But I don't know... See, I love the medium itself. Still. I think it's just as valid as any other for storytelling and aesthetic possibility. But I just can't get into the actual comic books anymore. I try, maybe twice a year. I walk into comic shops, flip through a few things, maybe buy a few. And then immediately lose interest again. So maybe it's both age and a creative drought in comics? Maybe I just don't like the art anymore? I hated the Jim Lee (?) years of everyone drawn with the same gargantuan muscle look, which was not the case in the 70s/80s when superheros actually did have different body types, always fit of course but they weren't all injecting steroids and implanting silicone monthly. Anime is cool but I also hated when that became the standard look. I don't like every artist's work to look the same. Maybe I'm just picking up the wrong books? At any rate I lost a lot of joy in comic book reading. And I never got it back.

About Last Night:
A few months ago I started picking up issues of Astonishing X-Men when I heard that Joss Whedon was doing a one year writing stint. Color me impressed. After four issues now, I'm getting close to youthful obsession again. This last issue was a doozy. I really love what he's doing with these iconic characters, and I can't wait for the next issue when Professor Xavier attempts to put the smack-down on the Danger Room, which is now sentient and in humanoid form. Ouch. Now, I don't want to oversell this. But it's possible that last night when I closed the comic I was, for a fleeting millisecond, shocked to find myself in my 30s, on a subway in Manhattan, surrounded by strangers instead of in my parent's living room with the green carpeting and exposed brick wall, all giddy and pre-adolescent.

Are there any comic book readers reading? And if so, what else am I missing in the comics world? Or was I correct to stay away for many years?

4 comments:

darkcypherlad said...

Nathaniel,

Glad to see another film/Joss Whedon fan who likes comic books. :)

As for the comics you've missed since you last collected, well, there's just too many too list. At Marvel, Whedon's X-Men, Mark Waid's Fantastic Four and Peter David's Multiple Man series are the cream of a sadly depleted crop. Stay away from the other X-titles, Avengers, and Spidey comics; tehy're wretched things.

Over at DC, Geoff Johns' Flash and JSA are great superhero titles, while Brian K. Vaughn's Y: The Last Man is a superb sci-fi take for the mature set. The latter book is abouta mysterious virus that wipes out every male in every species on earth--except for an unemployed English major who longs to meet up with his girlfriend in Australia. Throw in some deadly Amazons, mysterious government agents, butch lesbians, and a monkey named Ampersand, and you've got one hell of a book.

But I've only scratched the surface. I can send you a more deatiled list if you want.

NATHANIEL R said...

send away! filmbitch (without the "i"s) at hotmail dot com

anyone else have suggestions

Owen Craig said...

There's actually some great stuff out there right now. Particularily by the wondrous Brian K. Vaughan (probably my favourite working comics writer right now). Y: The Last Man, Ex Machina and Runaways are all great. As well, Bill Willingham's Fables is a great read.

I don't know how much of the 90s' comics you missed, but if you haven't read these they are most certainly worth your time:
- Grant Morrison's Animal Man run.
- Batman: The Long Halloween
- James Robinson's Starman

Anonymous said...

Best regards from NY! »