Archive for category Comics

Life of a Comic (book)

[post originally started on 3/10/08]

I used to be a comic book kid. I wasn’t a raging, had-to-have-every-issue-I-could-get-my-hands-on type (but I was probably pretty close). There were only a handfull of titles that I “had” to get (X-Men, and the spin-offs – 2099, Unlinited, Uncanny, etc. – Wolverine, Spawn – once I got into it, starting at about issue 5, I think… And Transformers, and even GI Joe for a little while…). Okay, like I said, I was pretty close to crazy about some titles. Then there were others that I added to my subscription (you know, those things that local shops will provide, sometimes even throwing in the backer-board and clear polybag to help protect the book) simply based on the story line.

When I was growing up, there was a shop called “Comic Book Zone”, and the owner closed up shop and moved right as I was starting to get into comics. The next closest shop was in the next town, about 15 miles away, and was not a place I could normally get taken to (usually, it would be asked on the random trips over there… but not enough to warrant a subscription – although I did ask!)

A few years later, there was a used book shop that opened up in an older house, called the “Book Swap”, and I began to be a frequent visitor. It didn’t hurt that the shop was not that far from my house, and also along one of my paper routes, but I digress. She expanded from being just a used book shop and started carrying gaming supplies and comics (she even had a room upstairs that we could use for gaming, but that’s another story). When she started offering subscriptions, she also included copies of a quarterly magazine that included information on titles and story lines that would be “coming soon” – so I could add those to my subscription, especially if it was a “cross-title” story arc.

Such was the case with Spiderman. I will admit it – I’m not a die-hard fan of the web-slinger. At least, not when I was fifteen. I got the entire “Maximum Carnage” story arc when it first came out. I read through it way back, but it has been sitting idle in a box, plotting ways to spawn symbiotes to cause mass destruction.

But it has been years since I really “read” comics, and I’m still not about to go out and get into new subscriptions. I’ve picked up a few titles recently, mostly graphic novels or trade books, sort of playing catch-up in some ways (I finally discovered Sandman last year, nice way to be behind the curve). Mostly, though, it been in context of thinking as a writer, to look at different books to see how the layouts work, in a writing context. To see how the scripts might flow.

And I’m tired of having so many comics, with no plans to read them (geez, most of them have been in the box for over 10-12 years), so I decided to pass them on. I went through my comic collection (all of 1 long-box, but still), and sifted through the titles, putting together a stack of titles to give to my nephews – through my sister (so she can use them as incentives, etc. instead of just plain giving them to the kids). My oldest is almost 10, and has started getting into some regular books and comics.

I used to collect the comics, partly for story, but more for possible future value. I wasn’t planning on being able to buy a house with them, but expected some increase in financial value. I’ve gotten past that thought, and have gone to the point that it has to be something I am really interested in, in order to warrant keeping it. Or something I might want to try to use as a writing experiment. It’s not the financial value of a book that is the key, is the enjoyment that can be gotten from sharing them. I’ll probably pass on a lot more of my comics over time… but not until the kids get older…

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More Comics….

The above strip was online for yesterday (apparently late in the day, since I didn’t see it until just a few minutes ago… and I was busy in the afternoon to go back and look…), and this next one is the one listed for today – 30 Nov…

I personally know the feeling… pretty much that all of the sentiments presented in the NaNo related strips this month – although in different circumstances… I expect there to be a couple more strips next week… mostly about the “post-NaNo” experience, so we’ll see what pops up…

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Dork does NaNo…

Another good one… and the month is drawing to a close. There is yet time for a few more… but I digress…

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Comics… Online

Okay, so my inner childhood geek could be getting very happy. While I was going through my daily routine this morning, I followed a few references that led me to this: Marvel Comics are bringing their archives online. Now, it doesn’t look like all of the titles are going to be going live (at least, no time soon) – they are mainly sticking to bringing the biggest guns out first.

Like famous first episodes from the beginning of the fmaous series (Spideman, X-Men, Fantastic Four, Hulk, etc.) – you don’t get much bigger than those. Years ago, when I actively collected comics and consulting price guides, some of those were considered some of the Holy Grails for a collector, easily fetching price tags over $1,000 in good condition.

I’ve scanned some of the initial offerings, and many of the series that are listed are newer lines, or related to popular/famous characters. There are some “classics” (read: short, niche runs, or lines that rights have since been sold to other publishers) that I would love to have access to, to actually follow the entire series… like Transformers, GI Joe, Forgotten Realms – ones that hold a significant portion of my youth with them (not from reading the comics, per se, but my other interests as a kid as well).

I have picked up some graphic novel versions from the new publishers (for Transformers & GI Joe), and while I like the stories, and the art is incredibly sharper than the issues I grew up with, I grew up with them coming from Marvel.

Now, here’s part of my dilema… there are only a few lines that I can see sinking into (at the moment) from Marvel… at least, there are holes in the lines (hey, it IS a new service, so it can’t be to perfect off the bat, right?). Second, the only real time I can see myself spending a lot of time reading would be while at work (hehehe, but not that great of an environment). Third, there are other series and publisher lines I would like to see as well (Image’s Spawn and WildCATS, to name a few)…

But the writer in me would love to explore the site, to explore the lines as “research” for possible techniques… how to build a story for a comic format.

But the options are there… to ponder the possibilities… to Marvel at the past, present, and possible future…

(Corny, I know, but I couldn’t resist…)

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Dork Tower

A classic for the moment…
And for the record, this is also one of my regular stops on the tubes… Since I have been far from an active gamer for many years, it allows me those moments to reflect and remember the good times…
And the subject matter just couldn’t be more hilarious, considering the fact that I can soooooo relate (last year, a stalled out at about 10 pages, or so, and I have another project that I was working on that stalled at about 12 pages…)
I’m trying very hard to embrace aspects of the NaNo ideal of “forget editing, just write”… and I fully understand (logically & intuitively) the point there… but damn if it’s not the hardest thing – getting the “internal editor” to just sit down and shut up…
Ah, the joys of being a writer…
Oh, I would highly encourage anyone (even the non-gamers) to check out the Dork Tower on a regular basis… A word of warning for non-gamers, though: if you find something you don’t quite get… find a gamer…

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