My heart and my brain are arguing. Part of me feels reenergized by comics lately, but at the same time the world around their creation remains frustrating as ever. A lot of excellent stuff has been coming out recently, stories with new things to say and exciting, gorgeous artwork. On the whole, I'd say I am more excited by the books I'm following right now than I have been in a while. There aren't a lot of "I'm hanging in there and hoping this gets better" titles anymore, because there's less and less room for them on a list that gets increasingly more reliable in its quality. Part of that is the constant gradual growth in my own ability to discern what appeals to me before it comes out, but I also have a strong sense that right now is a time where an exceptionally large number of strange, singular, and beautiful books exist. If you look across all the innumerable publishers out there, you can find a surprisingly large number of gems, unique and dazzling and worth the hunt.
But wow, there's still a lot to be bummed out about when it comes to the industry side of things. I guess it's just that the very fact that Marvel and DC are such corporate, factory publishers only gets more depressing and aggravating with time. It never goes away or gets better in noticeable ways. For every apparent step forward, there's at least one back. And for all the excellent series out there, there are countless examples of dreck. I've only got three DC titles left that I'm reading, one of which just got canceled and the other lost its writer, so...we'll see. Marvel seems to be of higher quality overall, but based on what I've read, that's partially because I've given up entirely on events, so I'm not touching anything related to Age of Ultron. It's just an underwhelming, infuriating time to look at the comicbook world at large, because it is dominated by this pair of monstrous companies that do more to baffle, deceive, and piss of their readership than to deliver stories with heart or merit.
I am, obviously, speaking in vague terms here, avoiding examples or lengthy rants. Those are everywhere. Search for articles on gender in superhero comics or comics in general, the recent creative turnover at DC, reviews of Marvel's last several events, or comments on the industry as a whole. They're out there, written by people more in the thick of things than I. And I read them, and they get my blood boiling sometimes, and I even take action when possible, donating or otherwise backing something when it seems worthwhile. I do not engage in the comments section arguments because I don't have the energy, but I read them sometimes, too, and it never does anything but make my mood worse.
Then Wednesday rolls around, and I go to my local shop's new location, which is huge and impressive and I'm very happy for them to have had the opportunity to grow in this market. And they give me my folder full of new issues, which I get a great discount on, and I take them home and stack them from least to most anticipated. And more often than not, I have an excellent time, reading a short, sweet stack of books that starts out fine and finishes off great.
I wish there were more great series, read by more people. I wish The Big Two would get their heads in the game, think long-term, focus on stories and creators instead of sales bumps and stunts, respect women, abandon continuity and comics that "matter," give new ideas more support and room to grow, etc., etc., etc. There is no end of change to hope for, and work toward, by supporting the good titles and spreading the word. But I think maybe it's time to make my peace with a certain underlying level of frustration in exchange for the buzz I get when reading a truly great comicbook. It's possible to live in a world of mostly awesome comics, even if you've got to live in this world, too.