The events swirling around the major comic producers swirling around the drain have inspired me to jump on board the MACGA (Make American Comics Great Again) Train. Thanks to the tireless efforts of men like Vox Day and Ya Boi Zack and Jon Del Arroz, I’ve found a wealth of fun and exciting new fiction to enjoy. But as I’ve shifted my entertainment resources away from video and toward sequential art, the analytical side of my brain has churned away at the question of, “why comics?”
My initial shift away from mainstream producers and towards small and independent publishers was as a happy consumer of OSR material written to recapture the D&D spirit of my youth. Heady times, those were, filled with the exploration of imaginative spaces that most mainstream publishers had turned their back on in favor of recycling and repackaging the mess of influences of the rulebook’s semi-official implied setting.
Over the last three to four years, my focus has been on supporting the alternative media culture by producing long form fiction of my own (ahem) and lending my vocal talents to the works of other fine authors (again I say to you ahem, ahem). But over the last couple of years, it’s hard not to notice that some of the biggest waves are hitting the world of comic books. The old gray publishers in lit-ra-chure are hemorrhaging readers, but they’ve got a pile of snooty answers as to why the unwashed and grubby flyover folk don’t cotton to know book reading. With the smash success of Marvel movies, which should be driving readers to Marvel comics in droves, there’s no such hiding from the evidence that when you get woke you go broke.
And the medium of comics is perfect for the sort of analysis and discussion and criticism that drives changes in the market. You can read a title in 20 minutes rather than the five hours it takes to read (or listen to) a novel. That means everyone can read and comment in the same day or two. That’s a much easier method to build a culture and find likeminded souls than long fiction. It also means a chance to expand your circles and encounter new names and new faces with new ideas instead of the usual Commentariat approved and appointed spokeslizards.
From a content producer’s standpoint, talking about comics makes a lot of sense as well. The turnover rate allows for easy daily content, and the reduced cost – from a time perspective if not money – also makes spotting trends, analyzing them, and reporting back to your friends so much easier as well. They also make for a nice and easy break from diving deep into prose. When the kids act up or the wife needs a hand, you can drop it and come back without losing that deep fugue state that makes prose reading so much fun.
With all this in mind, expect more comics content here at my blog, but don’t worry about the usual pulpy goodness and authorial analysis and cultural critique. We’ll be getting into that as always. We’ve just added a piquant new comic spice to the stew. I hope you’ll stick around and enjoy the new recipe.