What do you want from your comics?

I know my columns are not hard-hitting journalism, or filled with hard-headed opinion.  I write about what I feel and what I like.  I like comics, movies and toys so that’s what I write about.

I’m not going to come up with earth shattering stuff.  I try to write a weekly column that will entertain.  It’s like throwing darts at the dartboard at a pub.  When you’re not very good at it (or drunk), you are ecstatic when you hit the dartboard, let alone the bullseye.

So this past week has been pretty crazy around Comic Book Daily.  There were two columns that really grabbed my interest.  One being Andrew Ardizzi’s column and my own about Kids and Comics.  What grabbed my interest was the feedback from you, our readers, in the comments section (it reminded me of the heavy debates that would happen in the comments section before I started writing for CBD).  Andrew and I wrote about two different subjects, but the comments had a common theme, we all expect something different from our comics.

Some of us comic book fans want every issue to be something new and different.  New ideas and new directions for our favourite characters.  These fans want something that has never happened before.

There is also a group of fans that want to maintain the status-quo.  They don’t want to rock the boat too much.  They are quite happy keeping the respective comic universes the same, with not too many changes.

Other fans want value for their money.  It doesn’t matter what the content is.  It could be a capes & tights story, or a gritty crime drama.  As long as they get their money’s worth for their comic, they are happy.

I am a mixture of all these examples.  And I know there are many more examples than that.

I look at comics as a form of entertainment.  I do believe that comics can be educational (depending on content) and they help promote reading to everybody (not just young people).  Not every book is a literary masterpiece, but it shouldn’t be dismissed as mindless garbage as well.

I want value from my comics.  I spend my hard-earned money every week on comics.  They are a luxury.  I don’t need to buy them.  I could easily save my money for other things.  But if I am being entertained on a weekly basis (and in the future with re-reads) I feel I am getting my money’s worth.  I don’t expect the creators to be accountable for their work.  It is what it is, and I don’t have to buy them.

One of my favourite descriptions for comics came from fellow CBD’er Brent Chittenden.  He has often compared comics to professional wrestling.  I agree with him.

Professional wrestling tells a story that has been carried on for a long time.  The main characters are strong, athletic people who wear wild costumes.  The good guy fights the bad guy on a weekly basis.  And the industry is dominated by two large competitors (WWE and TNA/Impact).  That pretty much sums up the world of comic books.

My interest in comics is like my interest in professional wrestling.  Sometimes I am very passionate about it, and sometimes I have no interest in it.  But if I am uninterested it doesn’t mean I don’t love my comics anymore.  I need something to make me interested again.

We all expect something different from our comic books.  I think that is why comics are such a strange animal.  It is a hobby, but it is also entertainment.  We collect comics, much like we’d collect action figures, stamps or Coca-Cola bottles.  We have them sitting in little boxes in our closet (or where ever).  They may be framed and on display on our walls.  But is it also our source of entertainment like a movie or television show.  We read them.  Look at them.  And follow our favourite heroes monthly on their adventures, where anything is possible.

That may be the source of so much negativity at times towards comics, because everybody sees it differently.  While some people search for that perfect 9.8 graded “whatever” there are other people who would be happy to buy a 18th reprint of that same issue just so they could read the story and see the artwork.  If everybody expects something different from you, how can you please everybody?

Since this column was inspired by you, what are your thoughts?  What do you want from your comics?

Ed Campbell Written by:

Ed Campbell is a collector of comics and action figures, primarily G.I. Joe. He is also a Cosplayer with Thor and Captain America as just a few of the characters in his arsenal. When not fulfilling his Comic Book Daily duties, he's "working for a living", volunteering his time for his local Fall Fair, and spending as much time with his family as possible. Use the links below to get in contact with him.

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6 Comments

  1. March 6, 2012

    Like anyone else, I want to be entertained. That’s why I go out every month and buy my Green Lantern books. Are they the best? That’s debatable. What they do offer though are fantastic superheroics spanning across the crevices of space, and for the last eight years they have been very good. At the same time, eating white bread all the time gets dull.

    I have eclectic tastes in comics, and what I’ve found is that I really have begun to gravitate more towards deeply personal stories, or ideas that are big in concept, or maybe something that’s a little more political like an “Orchid” or “Scarlet.” I like to be challenged by my books, at least in a way that it presents a commentary on the world I live in and paints it in a way that I perhaps hadn’t looked at it before. That’s the heart of this medium’s creativity.

    While there are characters I love, they don’t always make for the best books necessarily, much less the ones I get most excited about.

  2. Charlie
    March 7, 2012

    I guess this is the a post mortem write up. I hope you don’t take offense to anything I say Ed. I’m just another voice in the cloud. I only called you out because your statement was so absolute without any real evidence. Part of the problem is selective reading… one of the many shortcomings of blogs in general.

    I’m curious… do you guys have any stats on your write ups? Does or has controversy been generating more traffic? Keep pitching ’em Ed. We don’t have to agree but we can continue to hash it out.

    What do I expect from comics? Like anything else… I expect everyone to be on top of their game so that consumers get the best possible stuff. I once hung out with some of the Marvel crew and it was kind of a disappointing dinner. What guys like Jimmy Palmiotti says in public is very different compared to what he says off the record but I guess that’s to be expected. His comments seemed very self serving but I’m of the belief “… if you build it, they will come.”

  3. Ed Campbell
    March 7, 2012

    Charlie, I don’t take any offense on your comments. I find them interesting. I actually wish you could write a column for CBD so I could read more of your thoughts and opinions.

    I mainly write about my opinions and views on stuff in general, I am prepared to take any criticism (and praise) that comes my way.

  4. BeautifulDreamer
    March 7, 2012

    Hold on, lets not get carried away Ed….LOL…wanting this guy to write a column is crazy..let him stick to comments! I am a regular and every time charlie put’s his two cents in, I start swearing at the screen..lol It’s bad enough seeing him talk down to everyone… kind of entertaining, but that’s where it ends. He is simply trolling for attention, don’t encourage him! Megalomaniacs crave that shit!

  5. Charlie
    March 8, 2012

    You’re a regular who hardly (if ever) contributes, despite the daily efforts of the crew, and when you finally decide to comment it’s about me? Hmm… how flattering…

    ^_^

    Keep dreaming beautiful.

  6. BEAUTIFULDREAMER
    March 8, 2012

    oookaaayy…um…what?lol
    Yes I am a regular visitor to the site, I don’t comment that often, but why does that matter? You seem like your on here for attention, just saying…and whats with the name dropping? What does Palmiotti have to do with what people want from their comics?lol

Make It Good.