Why am I doing this?

My current reading list.

I’ve never really blogged before. Never really thought I had anything particularly novel or wildly entertaining to say. There aren’t many subjects I’d consider myself to be an expert on. Maybe reggae, but I don’t think I’d read a reggae blog, much less write one. I do have a lot of interests, and I like learning about stuff. Wikipedia practically gives me a boner. I just don’t consider myself an expert on much – comics included.

So why start a comics blog? Well, I do love comic books, or graphic novels, or whatever you want to call them. By the way, I don’t care what you call them – I don’t really have a dog in that fight. I imagine we’ll examine that debate at some point in the future. Anyway, I love comics. They have single-handedly rekindled my love for reading. In my opinion a great book with great pictures beats a great book with no pictures, hands down.

Like a lot of kids, I used to read comic books in high school. Superheroes, stuff like that. And, like a lot of kids, at some point I kind of quit. I’m not really sure why. Probably reading comics got deprioritized as I focused my time and resources on getting messed up and chasing girls. Sacrifices had to be made, you see. Fast-forward 15 years and I’ve done plenty of that stuff. Now I’ve got a good job, a nice family, and spending quality time with a book again starts to sound real nice…

I don’t remember exactly how I got back into comics. It was only a few years ago. I think it was around the time I was hearing about some big blockbuster movie that was coming out, a little film called “Watchmen“, which was apparently an adaptation of one of the most important comics of all time? Ok, so I didn’t know what Watchmen was. Do you know who Haile Selassie was? Alright, we’re even.

Well the Watchmen trailer looked pretty damn cool, and I decided I was going to see this movie. I started doing some research (again, Wikipedia), and it sounded like this Alan Moore fellow had really created a comic masterpiece. I like reading a book right before I see the movie adaptation – sometimes the movie does the book justice (Lord of the Rings); sometimes Hollywood shits all over something you love (The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen). But when they do a good job, it’s great to see that world brought to life while it’s still fresh in your imagination. So I decided I should read Watchmen first. My wife was frequenting the library at that time, and I was surprised to discover they had comics – pardon me – graphic novels there. I put in my order.

Watchmen finally came, and it was pretty much all they had built it up to be. I really enjoyed reading it. Really. I devoured it. I couldn’t set it down. I sacrificed sleep to read. I don’t think I realized it then, but I was pretty much back in at that point. I wanted more of that good sequential art stuff.

I found some “best graphic novels” lists online and started working my way through them. Sin City, From Hell, Bone, Y: The Last Man, Persepolis, Preacher. When you start with the best, it’s not hard to fall head over heels in love. And I was surprised to discover that all types of story came in this format, addressing every subject matter. Crime stories, love stories, coming-of-age stories, horror, religion, history, politics. Fiction & non-fiction. These are grown-up stories, with grown-up themes and situations. Rarely do I see a cape or spandex in the comics I read.

There was one problem. Once again I had gotten really excited about something that none of my friends or family or coworkers or anyone I know are into. I tend to do that. Remember the reggae thing? I also bought my first skateboard at the age of 30. I really wish I had a banjo. I swear I don’t do these things just to be different.

So for a couple years now I’ve been suffering in silence, reading these great stories, experiencing epic adventures, meeting funny and witty and inspiring and troubled characters, and no one to share my excitement with. Believe me, I’ve advocated for comics to anyone who’d listen. Some have kindly humored me – at my insistance, my wife read Maus, and agreed it was good. I think most people just can’t get over their preconceived notions of comics and really give them a chance. I can understand that. I don’t like ankle socks, and I don’t think anything will ever change that.

So I guess that brings us to this blog. This blog will be my outlet for my comic book enthusiasm. What am I going to do here? I’m going to talk about the comics I read. I’m going to review the comics I read. Maybe come up with some kind of rating system. Maybe I’ll help some comics fan discover a really great book they hadn’t heard of. Maybe convince someone else to pick up a comic for the first time. Maybe they’ll fall in love with these books the way I did. That would be really cool. Maybe I’ll end up talking to myself on the internet, and that’s OK too – I’m kind of a dork and I like to document things. I may just end up doing this for a few weeks and then forget all about it. That’s probably the most likely scenario, but we’ll see.

In addition to reviewing the comics I read, I’ll write about related topics that come to mind, like whether or not the Scott Pilgrim movie is any good (haven’t seen it yet – still working on the books), or the fact that I got to hear Stan Lee speak a few months ago (he was hilarious). I invite you to comment, to argue, agree, disagree, share. Just don’t be a douche.

So I guess that’s my intro. I’m reading a Hellboy comic right now, and when I finish it, I’ll tell you all about it. Welcome to First Panel. 🙂

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2 Responses to Why am I doing this?

  1. Pingback: My Favorite Comics | First Panel

  2. Brian says:

    You Rock Joe. The Watchmen graphic novel is fracking awesome. You will someday play reggae on a banjo and sing about comic book stories.

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