If life was like comic books…

From Hub_137, April 2011

“If life was like comic books then people would repeatedly come back from the dead. And die again. Then come back again…”

Ever thought about it? Obviously, life is a bit different to the worlds we read about on a daily/weekly/monthly basis in comic books. It’d be bonkers otherwise.

Comics still, I think, get looked down on too much. They’re supposed to be anathema in the adult world. Rejected at 13+ and resigned to a life in a box in an attic somewhere. I was in a show recently and was reading a copy of Warren Ellis’ “Do Anything” backstage. An old friend and fellow thesp had a look and caught the subtitle “Thoughts on Comics and Things” and began to recount tales of when we did a show in San Francisco years ago and I scoured the city for comic book stores. I travel in “weird” circles, apparently. I
take it on the chin nowadays and choose my battles. Some folk will never be won over.

On a personal level, when I pick it apart at the seams, reading comics was the one thing that I shared with my Dad and wasn’t hassled about. That’s not to say that’s the only reason I did it. I’ve loved comics since being about 4 when I got into Transformers toys and was bought the Marvel UK reprint of the US Transformers comics. It was a way in, for me. Something I could talk to my Dad about, and he told me about the stuff he used to read in the US comics when he was younger. We really didn’t have these conversations much but it was something. Surprisingly, not many of my school chums read comics so in a reversal of the norm it was accepted at home and derided on the playground…

Anyway, bla bla artform bla bla literary relevance, it’s all been said before and put far more eloquently than I. The fact is that there are, right now, some bloody brilliant stories going on in the medium of the sequential artform. I’ll randomly point at Mike Carey’s work on “The Unwritten”, Antony Johnston’s “Wasteland”, Paul Cornell’s “Knight & Squire” (recently finished a 6 issue run but worth hunting down) and Nate Simpson’s “Nonplayer”. That’s without even looking at the ‘big guns’.

Wednesday & Thursday, every week, newborn baby comics come out to play at your friendly neighbourhood comic store. Go and adopt a couple. Give them a try. And if you’re already a convert then pick up something new, take a risk. You might be glad you did.