Oh, right, the rotting corpse that is corporate superhero mediocrity!
It started with a Tucker/Nina Stone the other day:
Watchmen, Chris Ware, Daniel Clowes, Criminal, Carl Barks, Darwyn Cooke, David B, Lynda Barry, Charles Burns, Krazy Kat—those comics, those creators get real serious writing because they earned it, because they did something that’s worth talking about, that’s worth taking seriously. If you’re not getting really brilliant reviews, really incisive, intelligent response—it’s because you don’t deserve it. It’s because you’re a waste of time to the people who might write those reviews. Not because “it’s comics.” It’s because that thing you did was just middle of the road, and you can’t say anything smart about middle of the road. Because you didn’t earn it, and no sour apples begging will get it for you.
Dick Hyacinth built upon the above here, pissed about the celebration of mediocrity in comics culture. No, it isn't just comics. That's good old fashion American anti-intellectualism. I live in Alberta, Canada, which does a pretty good job of trying to pursue that end goal as well, so I am well aware of the celebration that circles KINGDOM COME and NIGHTWING while I have the works of Charles Burns, Daniel Clowes, and Chris Ware on the shelf discarded because of format and expectation.
Speaking of NIGHTWING, I think what made me compile these fragments all getting at the undercurrent of frustration was Laura Hudson's piece here.
Coming directly off of my weekend at SPX, as well as recently reading a string of excellent, engrossing graphic novels like Skim, Swallow Me Whole, and Alan's War, picking up a comic book like Nightwing #149 feels a lot like shutting my hand in a car door. And I'm thinking -- I'm thinking I should stop doing that.
Yeah, that crashing back to reality is a fucking bummer. This was what I was dancing around and about with discussing BATMAN #680. Like I said there, after reading Woodring's absolutely-holy-shit-this-is-great-comics-why-did-I-take-so-long-to-read-this THE COMPLETE FRANK, and Jason's not-as-holy-shit-good-but-still-pretty-amazing POCKET FULL OF RAIN... going to read the so-called best superhero comics on Wednesday night is such a disappointment. The crap just keeps adding up in long boxes and piles. I'm still reading monthly whatever Geoff Johns, Grant Morrison, Ed Brubaker, Matt Fraction, Garth Ennis, Peter David, and Greg Pak are writing...and that can be a wildly varying experience (see: Fraction IRON FIST, CASANOVA, and PUNISHER WAR JOURNAL). These are the best DC and Marvel have working for them....and it is all just alright. "It's alright for what it sets out to do" is not a great defense.
For the most part, I am kind of just counting down the issues until these writers move onto something I'd find more interesting so I can drop things like UNCANNY X-MEN, NEW AVENGERS, SHE-HULK, INCREDIBLY HERCULES, and GREEN LANTERN CORPS. Oh yeah, I am even worse than people who accept mediocrity: I know it is what it is, but I continue buying. I really do blame that on the fact I work at the comic store and I find it unavoidable to buy this stuff, especially when I want to keep up to date on everything that is coming out beyond just a knowledge of solicitation. Or maybe that's just what I tell myself. "I buy it to see what happens next." Oh God.
Hell, even some of the creator owned stuff isn't all that great. THE BOYS and CRIMINAL? The mediocre of the 'art comics' scene. What else are you suppose to do for the next year waiting for TALES DESIGNED TO THRIZZLE, and LOVE AND ROCKETS, and (soon) another ACME NOVELTY LIBRARY? You've got to fill that peculiar comic collector void somehow...