Thursday, August 30, 2007

Amy Reads the Year (on August 31st, 2007)

I should tell you, Gentle Reader, that this post was, originally, to speak out against the suggestion that they are “Just Comics.” As in, why do we Speak Out So Articulately against injustice in comics when they are, so They Say, nothing more than comic books? And by “we” I mean, of course, any number of combinations of persons who reasonably object to injustice in our favorite pop culture medium, but for the purposes of my month-long retrospective, I refer, at this juncture, to Women, Specifically.

But in truth, this is a subject near and dear to my heart as I have Sung It Long and Often. In fact, I have sung it So Long and So Often that I fear Constant Readers to This Humble Blog might grow weary of my bellyaching and look to more moderate climes for reading and enjoyment.

That is to say, Friends, that you know How I Feel about the importance of comic books, and popular culture at large, and that to say so, again, would be a tad bit repetitive.

So, then, faced with the dilemma as to what subject best to offer to you, Gentlest of Readers, I was Rather Uncertain. This is a retrospective, is it not? A display of a year’s worth of comic blogging by This Humble Author in order to capture, to the Best of my Abilities, the flavor of the year, comic-book-wise. But retrospectives do not look to the past alone. Rather, they look forward, and offer a view of the future through the comfort and solidity of the past.

What is past is past, no? We have Come Through The Dark and entered, if I may be so bold as to say, The Light. That is, we *know* what is to be done in comics. We *know* what is to be done in our pop cultures.

More women in positive, leading roles. More superheroes of various racial, economic, class, and diverse backgrounds. More positive portrayals of alternative relationships. Remember the Ladies, yes (gratitude, Mrs. Adams), but Remember, too, the Girls. Protect the female characters so that they are not reduced to stereotypes, Refrigerated or Otherwise (gratitude, Ms. Simone) but do not tiptoe around them, either.

I could go on, Gentle Reader, but there are those who have said this before me, and said better than This Humble Author ever could. I point to my sidebar and draw your attention to the brutally honest and wonderful critics there. This year has, more than anything else internet-wise, introduced me to a coterie of well-read, critically thinking, diverse bloggers who are devoted to the betterment of comic books (Gratitude, When Fangirls Attack, Girl-Wonder.Org). And they are devoted *precisely* because They Love Comics.

I, too, Love Comics, and rather than repeat myself once more, rather than offer a response that dulls in comparison to Those Bloggers I Respect, Admire, and above all else, Read On A Daily Basis, I offer you a list of the best things comics have brought to me over the past year. No surprise to you, I’m sure, Gentle Reader, as we are all Well Aware of This Humble Author’s affinity for lists! Without further ado, then?

August 2006-August 2007: The Best of the Comic Book Universe
as viewed by This Humble Author

Welcome to Tranquility – Constant Readers of Arrogant Self-Reliance are Well Aware of the Reads’ adoration for All Things Simone, but Ms. Gail Simone truly has Outdone Herself with this title. Smart, ruthless, funny, poignant, it offers an interesting dichotomy to her other new title this year, Gen-13, but, in my humble opinion outshines its Sister in Every Way.

52 – While I am No Fan of Countdown, I believe it is because I am Overwhelmed by the ingenuity of 52. Bringing forward characters like Booster Gold—and paving the way for his Own Title!—was a stroke of genius on the parts of Mr. Rucka, Mr. Waid, Mr. Johns, and Mr. Morrison. While the title begins slightly before my self-imposed time frame of August 2006-August 2007, it peaks during this time.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season #8 – I came to Buffy Rather Late, I’m ashamed to admit, although I remember trying to watch it during the original airing of Season 2. Alas, lack of funds and of television prevented me from doing so, and I caught on to the phenomenon much later. To bring forth new ideas in such an innovative way—and what is more innovative than the marriage of image-and-text?—is not mere fan fodder but *true* innovation.

DC’s Minx Line – There has been some skepticism regarding the Minx line, and while I believe that some of the skepticism is Much Deserved, I also believe that it is, in No Small Part, a Step in the Right Direction. These are fun and smart stories that may function as bridges for younger readers, introducing them to the comic book universe. Personally, I would love to see more diversity of author and artist in this series.

The New New Avengers – I miss Cap, Friends, and I am Quite Angry at both Tony Stark and Reed Richards. But more importantly, I am Intrigued and Fascinated by the New New Avengers, and as one of the few Marvel lines I am reading, this title is encouraging me to explore further options, Marvel-wise.

Manhunter – While not confined to the timeframe to which I’ve confined myself, Manhunter is new to This Humble Author, at least, and I’m Quite Happy for it. Kate Spencer is, without a doubt, one of the most fascinating female comic book characters being written today. DC, don’t lose this title. I Beg Of You. Just Don’t.

The Justice Society of America: One Year Later – Friends, I’ve chastised myself enough for this, but I will do it again, for sake of argument. Why, o Why was I not reading This Title Sooner? The art! The writing! The characterization! Power Girl! Liberty Belle! I am sometimes, indeed, Almost Ridiculous, and in this case, certainly, The Fool (gratitude, Mr. Eliot, Mr. Prufrock). I regret my earlier disavowal, and promise to be consistent with my readings, forthwith.

Thank you, Friends, for a Wonderful Year Of Blogging. Here is to Many More To Come!

2 comments:

Dark Orpheus said...

Ah, I agree with your list of Best of Comic Universe.

52 - it's really starting to build-up. Waiting for Volume 3. I enjoy the banter between The Question and Renee Montoya the most. These two have chemistry. To bad it has to end.

Yes to Buffy. Waiting for the Faith storyline. (Guess who's my favourite Slayer?)

Joss Whedon and Gail Simone -- the only two writers I trust to write a Wonder Woman worthy of awe. (My boss thinks Jodi Picoult will bring new fans to the Amazon Princess. I however, am trying hard not to hyperventilate.) I am ignoring anything Wonder Woman until Gail Simone takes over.

Ah, I notice the absence of Birds of Prey -- good for retrospect, I guess. I'm still resisting JSA.

How do you feel about Greg Rucka's Checkmate?

Amy Reads said...

Hi Dark Orpheus,
Ah, I agree with your list of Best of Comic Universe.
52 - it's really starting to build-up. Waiting for Volume 3. I enjoy the banter between The Question and Renee Montoya the most. These two have chemistry. To bad it has to end.


Indeed. Mr. Reads's birthday present was $3 every week so he could buy 52 in sequence (a very expensive birthday present, added to our current pop culture expenses!), and so he was Very Grateful to read it as it came out. Renee has become one of my favorite characters.

Yes to Buffy. Waiting for the Faith storyline. (Guess who's my favourite Slayer?)

Buffy for me, but I am a wee bit fascinated by Faith :)

Joss Whedon and Gail Simone -- the only two writers I trust to write a Wonder Woman worthy of awe. (My boss thinks Jodi Picoult will bring new fans to the Amazon Princess. I however, am trying hard not to hyperventilate.) I am ignoring anything Wonder Woman until Gail Simone takes over.

I was not a fan of Ms. Picoult's WW run, personally, although some liked it. But then, I didn't like the Amazons Attack! storyline, either. Ms. Simone, however, cannot take over soon enough!

Ah, I notice the absence of Birds of Prey -- good for retrospect, I guess. I'm still resisting JSA.

JSA is Utterly Amazing. I also love the Birds, and miss Ms. Simone dearly.

How do you feel about Greg Rucka's Checkmate?

I've only read the first few issues, sadly enough. I am planning on getting caught up soon. Are you a fan?
Ciao,
Amy