Often, comic books can seem rather unremarkable or uninteresting. Sticking to genre conventions can make them too conventional, but staying with what works makes sense. Consistent plot lines and habitual repetition without deviation from the formula are some things that comfort the audience as these behaviors come naturally to those that consume comic books, too. Villains just seem to grow into more villainous shoes with time. Culture finds more things acceptable and titillating and then literature follows suit. The Joker goes from unfurling a sign in Times Square about Batman being a “Rumbumptious Shabbaroon,” to crippling Barbara Gordon and even that is not a big change for the character. It’s more like he is wearing a different set of clothes. Heroes change very little on a character level from their inception, even if that was decades ago. Even with the growth of the medium, the stories aren’t all that different. Comic books are formulaic and the comic book readers who consume them are creatures of habit as well .
I am a comic book reader. I find satisfaction in the medium that allows me a taste of the joys of reading, but includes vivid artwork in the storytelling to keep my attention. I find it significant that comic books are now feeding the entertainment industry, often becoming the plots of many films. But, even these movies are somewhat formulaic. I’ve always been an advocate of comic books trying new things or new authors, but in my personal life, I am very hesitant and not even a little bit bold. I stick to well-worn paths between work, church, and home. Even my recreational time is scheduled. I live life very much like the comic book reader that I am…in established plots. But, recently that seems to have changed.
My life seems to be in a transitional phase and that transition seems to be to something better. This is not at all as entropic as I would expect. I typically work in a job for at least four years at a time, but over the last year, I have changed jobs twice between three jobs…and today I am happier. It seems like my new employment situation is going to work. I stopped eating sugar and carbohydrates, regularly. This is completely different than my previous epicurean, food philosophies. I have lost 25 pounds in a few weeks and it has actually become easy and almost enjoyable. Living with chemical depression in my brain has always been something to endure, but recently I have been much more focused on the positive things that life is giving me. I am looking forward to all kinds of events and milestones, rather than dreading them. All of this is a deviation from all that I have ever been and for the most part it all seems to be working out great. Side effects include smiling, self-respect, and enjoyment of my children. It’s taken a lot to get me here, but here we are. It feels like the author of my life has changed. It is like the darkness of Alan Moore has given way to the delightful style of Jim Zub. Like Jae Lee’s dark and brooding atmosphere has been pushed out by the bright, colorful narrative that Cliff Chiang’s art tells. It is like my life has had a tonal shift.
It is in this vein that I write to encourage the rest of you. Life can be a bummer and things can be hard, but maybe all you need is a change of artistic style and a different story. Like, your historical character continuity will always be there, but maybe you would benefit from a change in creative teams…I certainly have. I might even have time and means to write blogs sometimes. I don’t know how frequently I will post, but I am glad to be back here. Writing, critiquing, sharing. These are all things that I love to do and even though I may be more out of touch than the last time we talked, I am still here. To those of you who are here too, “good to see you.”
~ Scottdeaux ~