Thursday, January 6, 2011
By Matthew Craig, Jack Davies, and Donato Esposito
I'm sick, tired, don't really want to update this right now, and people are complaining about me on another website. After a year I'm thinking about changing how this site will be done. But that'll have to wait until next week, and so we charge headlong into another ill-thought out review.
I'm not as a big a fan of superhero comics as I once was, but I still enjoy reading some of them. They're such a large part of the market it's kind of hard to pay attention to "mainstream" comics and not have any idea about them. However, this leads to a couple of points.
If I'm going to read about superheroes I'm probably going to read about ones in the Marvel/DC universes. I've known those characters for most of my life, and, sometimes surprisingly, I still "care" about some of them.
Actually, the above isn't necessarily true. I end up reading a lot of mainstream superhero comics cause that's what's around. Four comics for a pound including the first issue of that recent Image series that's supposed to be pretty good? I guess I'll end up reading Daredevil spinoffs and issues of Supergirl when they are, more or less, free. Mainstream superhero comics are everywhere, and if I don't desperately need to read the newest issue right now you can pick most of them up pretty cheaply.
I'd _actually_ rather read well produced, creator owned superhero comics. I mean, I do have a soft spot for Spider-Man 2099, or whoever, but given the choice between buying an issue of that or Invincible, I'd go with Invincible hands down. However, I'm also like four volumes behind on Invincible, and there are countless other superhero comics out there that are well written and well drawn, meaning that yours has to be really good, or have a clever hook, in order to attract my attention.
The hook in this one is that its set in the Midlands, and it's cute enough seeing monsters smash up Birmingham (I've been there!), but no more or less than seeing Kuala Lumpur be destroyed (actually, I've spent more time in KL...). Rather, the setting of Birmingham really just drives home the sort of weirdness of the UK comics retail industry. Birmingham has over a million people and two comic book shops. The town I grew up in (St. John's, Newfoundland, Canada), has a population of 100,000 people, and yet had (last I was there) something like 2 and a half comic shops. Do more people in North America just read comics? Do people in the UK get their comics from somewhere else? (There is a long tradition of newstand comics here, many of which reprint North American comics.) I just don't know.
Another problem I have with superhero comics is that after reading Tom Strong, and having him talk to his enemeies instead of just punching them, sometimes I wonder why people are fighting giant monsters? Isn't there a better way? Of course, I like monsters punching things as much as the anxiety ridden person who wishes he could punch his way through all of his problems, but I know that in real life it's not like that.
This is long and rambly, and doesn't really tell you much about the comic (it's a labour of love for the genre!). I'm gonna blame the sickness.