Friday, April 23, 2004

So Tim at The Hurting manages to stir up the comics blogosphere with his recent posts, one in which he painstakingly relived the godawful 1980s DC Comics crossover series "Millennium" and used it as a satirical examination of comics fans' obsessive geekiness and compulsions, making some fairly spicy statements in the process.

Perhaps it was this quote that stirred 'em up: Comic books are the playground of the retarded. Whether your particular retardation is social, physical, sexual or mental, if you care enough to read this you are a retard. Reading “Millennia” brings this truth painfully alive for me. As un-PC as it may seem, it’s the diggedy-dang truth.

Heck, I chuckled a bit when I read that, though I didn't think it was the least bit truer than it is of any other hobby. Now, I dig Tim's writing, and I think his eviseration of some of these ungodly comics crossovers of the '80s (he did "Secret Wars II" a few weeks ago, which caused horrible flexographic flashbacks to bounce madly through my brain) are top-notch stuff. How can you not love a quote like I love reading crappy old comics like “Millennium.” It cleanses my soul, kind of like the self-inflicted scouring that medieval monks put themselves through?

I think in this post that fired some up, Tim did forget that sarcasm is much more of an oral medium than a written one. It's a phenomenon I see a lot as a newspaper editor too.

This blogosphere is a funny place. Although I've only posted in it a few weeks, I've been a reader for a year or so as it's developed, and seen a lot of great stuff. But one common theme in comics blogs seems to be this self-loathing, I-love-comics-but-I-hate-comics bag lots of folks have going. There's a lot of sort of ashamed-to-admit-I-love-comics rants going on. For myself, I went through that whole "Oh god, I don't want the world to know I read comics" thing years ago, then settled into my thirties with a healthy acceptance of one of my life's many obsessions. It's just not worth the effort to worry about what others think of it -- there's hobbies out there equally obsessive, from NASCAR to collecting china dolls to watching reality TV.

It's good to see the blogosphere focusing so seriously on the future of comics and whether we all are obsessive morons or not, although in the end I wonder how much of this sound and fury really matters? Yours truly and his meanderings included, of course. I've read comics for 20+ years now and weathered the good and bad, and long ago accepted that, like any medium, as the famous saying goes, 90 percent of everything is junk. But heck, I like to eat junk food, too. I just don't eat it every day.

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