Monday, 24 March 2014

Atoll Comics Round 13

Or changes to my Top-Ten comics

Due to poverty and an urge to buy better comics, I have decided to be super-selective about which superhero comics I read. Harnessing the Awesome Power of Maths, I have determined that I can afford to read 10 ongoing titles. So I get to read 10, and only 10, titles published by either Marvel or DC as well as one trade paperback a week of my choosing.

A complication of this is that I am forced to drop an on-going title if I want to try reading a new on-going title, an act of very tough love. Being financially responsible is the worst.

I will be adding Moon Knight and dropping Avengers.

Why Moon Knight: Sometimes you read a comic because you have some great interest or affinity for the leading character. You are just soooo into Batman that pretty much any comic with Batman in it is something you want to read. Other times you read a comic because the creative team making the thing demands your attention. Moon Knight by Warren Ellis, Declan Shalvey, and Jordie Bellaire is exactly that kind of comic. Warren Ellis has written some of my favourite comics, and its a joy to see him back writing more. Declan Shalvey is a great noiry artist and Jordie Bellaire is a reliable awesome colourist and together they are doing some really interesting things. It's maybe an especially interesting collaboration as, I've gathered, Shalvey and Bellaire live together, and that kind of geographically close collaboration between a penciller and colourist is pretty rare and potentially special. If the first issue of Moon Knight is any indication, the book looks poised to be pretty good: a fascinating trip into the mind of the supernaturalish-insane person that is Moon Knight rendered in this fantastic style that sees Mooney stark, flat white in a sumptuously rendered, coloured world. The first issue is a comic worth picking up for quality of the overall story but also just for the daring artwork. You ought to at least give it a try.

Why not Avengers: Avengers is the flagship, tentpole comic for one of Marvel's main publishing lines. It's a comic that draws Marvel's biggest characters and puts them into the biggest storylines, those linewide Events! that change the very nature of the Marvel Universe. Avengers plays for all of the marbles all of the time! OMG!

And... I'm kind of bored of it. The constant smashy crises, even with the best creators, tends to get a little repetitive: the world is ending and the heroes save it. Even worse, from my perspective, Avengers has a nasty habit of setting up and then interweaving with the Event! de jour which means the comic can seem like its either in a holding pattern, set up period, or a tie-in. Add to that a very large (and pleasantly diverse) cast, and there isn't much room for character development. I find I am more interested in reading character driven comics that have enough editorial freedom to tell stories without too much interference from Event! cycles. So, yeah, Avengers is out.

The thing is, I don't think Avengers should change! There is completely a place for this kind of Event! driven, character heavy, comic in Marvel's line. I used to love Events! and the interlocking stories with New Avengers, and I suspect that there is still a large block of readers that buy into this kind of storytelling. And the wonderful thing about a healthy comics publishing line is that there can be comics for everyone. Marvel publishes a lot of other comics that are more my speed, more than I can actually afford to read, so my comic tastes are being still being satisfied. Not every comic is for everyone, live and let live and find what comics work for you.


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