Axel-In-Charge: Navigating the "Civil War II" Landscape, Bringing DMC to Marvel
Did you know that there is a U.S. government website to help you complete common New Year’s resolutions? Seriously, take a look; it’s the “U.S. Government’s Official Web Portal” and there’s a lot of benign but helpful info about getting a passport or a story about a wedding dress made out of a parachute, but yeah, in the middle of that is a helpful list of the most common New Year’s resolutions with links to a website or brochure that could offer helpful information and suggestions.
Last year, when I carved my own New Year’s resolutions into internet stone, I was incredibly thankful for the comments left with the list. Helpful and commiserating readers shared ideas on how to succeed, suggestions on what to read and joined in fist-shaking at the lure of Apple products. So while I may not know how much your savings bond has gained interest, I can help out with some simple comic book reading resolutions and hopefully can inspire others to make their own. I also have a kick ass cosplay pic in lieu of a touching WWII wedding tale. So there’s that.
Want to know which resolution I miserably failed at last year? Keep reading, true believers!
Old Resolution: Give Fear a Chance
I had some serious misgivings about Fear Itself last year. There was no way someone offering me a “nice Hawaiian Punch” wasn’t going to end without a big sock to my face, so there was very little chance of another event book not spinning out into a bajillion titles, leave me feeling empty, and promising the moon only to find readers holding little of substance. Especially after Siege, the event book as a genre seemed so futile, and Fear Itself could have been just more doom and gloom situations for readers and characters alike. But I promised that I would give the book a fair shake and leave my judgments for when I had something to judge, rather than the grudges of yesteryear.
This was the right thing to do. Did you read our Top Ten lists this year? I love Fear Itself. I love it more than is probably reasonable and will defend it with my own Uru-enhanced hammer at all opportunities. Rather than focusing on fear, it focused more on how our heroes respond to fear, whether that’s with bravery, abandon or loss. There are still some vestiges of the storyline affecting out comics today and while I can’t know if they’ll stick around, I know the emotional impact that I read will linger.
New Resolution: Ease Up on Continuity
The hardest part about new ideas is that they are different, and I fear them. Let’s put it this way, when I heard that Moira MacTaggart wasn’t going to be a scientist or Scottish or have been Xavier’s college sweatheart or help Xavier discover the X-Gene or be the best example of how humans can come to understand and aid mutants on a personal level without having to be a mutant herself- okay, I’m reaching and could write a whole different article on how important Moira MacTaggart is in the X-Men legacy (2012!), but that’s my point. With a little thought and honesty, we all have an OTP or a classic element of our comics we’ve come to know and love since reading. It’s healthy for comics to stretch our imaginations and push the borders of our understanding, but those borders are there for a reason. Keeping to the traditional elements of our heroes and villains makes them long-lasting established icons of popular culture. On the other hand, challenging our conceits and providing new ideas are what make those icons interesting. So, for my part, I’m going to work as hard as I can to give changes a fair shake. I’m not going to judge the Avengers movie on what isn’t in it or AvX by House of M; it’s time to take things as they come and show no fear.
Old Resolution: Pick and Stick
Seeing the incoming deluge of Captain America and Captain American-accessory comics planned to hit the shelves ahead of the movie for the highest amount of market saturation, there was an inclination to try and get everything, or perhaps even be frustrated by so many tie-ins and features–enough to revolt and stubbornly buy nothing. The idea to combat this was to find a title I liked out of the incredible variety and stick with that one rather than be distracted by different reprints or mini-series and feel overwhelmed by the amount of choice. I was going to pick a title I liked and stick with it instead of having four #1 issues of Fear Itself events and feel like nothing was gained.
Again, can’t say this one failed me, but it didn’t work really well either. My heart was in the right place, but I’m going to be honest and admit that Captain America got away from me once we split to the new #1 and the Captain America & Bucky ongoing. I had picked and stuck with Fear Itself when it came to my “what is Captain America doing now” question and missed out on Brubaker’s ongoing narrative for the new hotness. On the other hand, I didn’t get a lot of Fear Itself side stories and enjoyed the the ones I did read. So it’s a 50/50. Now, how do I catch up on all the issues of Captain America I missed?
New Resolution: Read All the Comics
Take a moment and decide for yourself if you bought a comic in 2011 that you didn’t read. At any time have you looked at your weekly stash and thought, well, I’ll wait until I have three or four to read at once, only to forget which was the last issue you bought and then there’s suddenly holes in the story so why bother reading them anyway? Or have you ever (gasp!) bought doubles? As per above, Yours Truly eschewed the (probably) more important Captain America storylines for the larger picture of Fear Itself. I continued to get issues and still have them, right over there, waiting for me. It’s a hard thing to picture in today’s wrathful economy that one might have comics that weren’t immediately consumed upon purchase, but it’s something I’ve seen over the years with pull customers and more dedicated readers. The more you love a character, the more you want to know everything they’re doing and the next thing you know, Deadpool is in ever book. If there’s a book on my pull list that I’m just not reading but buying out of habit or a hope that it “gets good again” (you know what I’m talking about), maybe it’s even time to let go. Sometimes you might want a break from the drama of it all and that’s reasonable. Trades are fairly common by now for all the major titles, at least, so it’s easy to catch back up and get back in the game.
Old Resolution: Read Something New
This was a resolution mostly to get me out of my comfort zone. There are so many comics out there in the wide world that to simply draw a 5×5 square around Marvel’s 616 just doesn’t give the best understanding of what comics can do. So I vowed to read a wider variety of comics than I had the year before and I suppose I did. I can’t say much stuck out for me, nor can I say that I really went all that far away from my home stomping grounds. I found Batwing, previously thought to be doomed in the nu52, to be fantastic and Echo, despite some complications towards the end of the series, to be a marvelous example of how profound Terry Moore can be as a creator when handling his own self-published stories. I never did get around to Powers or Omega the Unknown, though, and I regret not taking some of your advice (and plugs!) for new comics to read in the coming year.
New Resolution: Jump Out Of Genre
Did you know that right here, on this very incredible news blog, are comics I have no understanding of in the slightest? The top ten list from 2011 is a Smorgasbord of creativity in a cornucopia of topics ranging from the esoteric to the intellectual. Some of them don’t even have superheroes in them! And while I normally eschew the hardcover, black-and-white, navel-gazing tropes of the indie comic, that’s just a bad bias to have as the world of comics gets larger and larger. It’s time to make time for one out of genre piece and see how it goes; luckily, I know a great place to start for recommendations.
Old Resolution: Keep Up My Pull List
I resolved to make sure I was direct and forthcoming with my own comics establishment and revise and review my pull list for added titles and changes as Marvel rolls me along. It wasn’t easy, but oh man. My pull list is tight as a drum, with only the comics I have dedicated my hard earned dollar towards. I have gotten caught off guard a couple times by a spare trade or a release that slipped my eye, but the diligence of ordering has left me room to squeak a copy into the mix or know that I’m going to have to wait. It takes a lot of paper and some clean fresh starts but keeping up a pull list is easy and fun, so I cannot recommend this brushing and flossing routine enough. Since my phone runs on Android, I found a helpful app that keeps track of what’s coming out when, will offer to track favorite titles and authors plus give you and handy dandy comic shop locator if you’re on the road. Living at my store takes care of most check-ups, but I found this kind of cool so I thought I’d pass it along.
New Resolution: Keep It Up!
To a toned and lean comic pull list in 2012!
Old Resolution: Read a Digital Comic
More honesty: This is my ‘lose weight’ resolution. The resolution that seems like such a good idea and you psych yourself up for, then it gets to be hard, it’s not fun, you give up and resent the institution of resolutions afterwards. My brother owns the iPad I thought I’d be able to read my first full digital comic on, and for some reason, we couldn’t get it to load. At Marvel.com there’s a web browser application that gives you access to their collection but it’s a clunky interface that I’ll feel awkward using. Reader Matt Duarte couldn’t have made it simpler for me and even wrote a review for the free comics available through comicxology.com! But despite some weak attempts, this is the resolution that just never got off the ground.
New Resolution: READ A DIGITAL COMIC
So this time, I’m going to do it! On the whole, this list helped me out a lot to give me some clear goals and an idea of what I want out of my comic reading experience. If I’m a smarter reader, I can be a smart shopper and this can only be a better experience for everyone. Sure, I missed my chance in 2011 but digital comics aren’t going anywhere in the new year. With day-and-date comics hitting comic stands and the interwebs all at the same time, it’s starting to get competitive and that’s going to make sure that the digital comic itself will get stronger and more refined so that even dunderheads like me can take advantage of their availability and convenience. I may not like them, but it’s only fair to give them a chance.
Like I said last year, these are just mine, but you may want to come up with your own Comics Resolutions for the New Year. When we get better as readers, open ourselves up to this new evolving world of comics, and we can understand it all in more detail when we hate things that don’t speak to us or a story turns out to be an utter sham. We can also appreciate what we like more and receive it readily. Feel free to face front and list your own resolutions below in the comments.