Hank McCoy (Before the Fur)

I hate Christmas. Really, I do. I mean, I know some of you out there are saying “Oh, I get it, I have a stressful family too buddy.” But I mean I’ve begun to hate Christmas on it's own merits as well. It's just been this slow burn where I hate Christmas more and more every year. But then I thought to myself- why should I be the only one with all this angst on Christmas? Like any good scrooge, I should share the misery, right? So I present to you the laundry list of comic books that I hate. For years I have walked through comic book stores and sneered at these titles and their many (nowadays, very many) brethren. You can think of this column as “The ghost of comic books past, present, and future that I can’t stand” if that helps. Let the pain begin! (Blank): The Movie: The Comic Book Adaptation - …I don’t get it. Who buys this? Why do they buy it? Can they not afford to go see the movie? Or maybe they feel like they need to slow stuff down? More likely they’re one of those OCD-esque collectors who has every piece of material goods ever made for a single licensed concept, like Star Wars, or Transformers, or whatever, shoved in some storage bin outside of their house. Rest assured, if they manage to form some kind of personal, satisfying relationship they will insist to their spouse that they have a “theme wedding” in keeping with their licensed obsession. This may range from the blushing bride wearing an authentic piece of clothing worn by Carrie Fisher or Natalie Portman and sold on ebay, to inviting the voice-actors from 80s cartoon shows to conduct the wedding. At least, I suspect as much. I’ve never been. I’m going to school for psychology and I look forward to working with the children of such couples. (Blank): The Movie Prequel - Okay, DON’T be that guy. The guy who goes out and reads this comic, and then when you’re in the movie theater with your friends and you see one character or another say something, you turn to them in the middle of the movie and you’re all like: “OOOHHH, see, you gotta read the comic, because the character who just said that met with expanded universe character X, Y, and Z just before this movie got started….” and so on. Do you really think the director of this movie was corresponding with whatever Jack-Kirby-school-intern got the assignment to write or draw this comic? Like do you think the director is sitting there with Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt or something, saying “okay, I just had my face-to-face conference with the comic book writer of the prequel, so really, we need to make the following script changes…” The Wachowski brothers, George Lucas- maybe. Other than that? Please. T and A books - Oh, you know the ones I’m talking about. There are so many these days. I’m not going to name names, lest I insult the delicate sensibilities of many companies. Usually, comic books and sexual frustration go together hand in hand. There are, however, gross limits within which such phenomenon should occur. Here are a couple of things I’ve learned from T and A books, though-
  1. Men are either sadistic predators, or total losers. There is no in-between.
  2. All women, everywhere, dress and act like pornstars. Literally, all of them. Also, all women, everywhere, have an amazing rack and wear clothing that emphasizes cleavage.
  3. Ultimately, women are not attracted to men because women are all bi-curious. Women are ten times more likely to survive a combat situation than men are.
Generic Depressing Independent Graphic Novel (GDIGN for short) - It isn’t that I don’t like independent writers. There are quite a few I enjoy and it’s a great time to get yourself published right now. Blankets is a pretty brilliant story, for example, and Strangers in Paradise runs dangerously close to depressing me, often, but I think the storytelling is redeemable. Its just that most comic book writers (especially those that don’t have a big publishing company giving them a modest paycheck) tend to be a pretty isolated, depressed, angsty, angry and unhappy lot. So forgive me if I’m not always chomping at the bit to relive the high school and college memories of a writer and his frequent unrequited, miserable love life. [Character group from publishing company X] vs/meets [Character group from publishing company Y] - As a rule, these are trivial, meaningless exercises in idiocy. There are a few rare exceptions to this rule. VERY VERY few, however. These sorts of comics are, of course, the fare of those types who wrote the novel X-Men/ Star Trek (yes you heard me right. This exists. A novel. It’s bad. Really, really bad.) Oh, and the amalgam stuff? For DC and Marvel? You have got to be kidding me. Generic not-quite-manga-not-quite-comic-book comic book - What is the deal with this? I’m not talking about the manga-ed version of the Marvel Universe, which I think is a really cool rewrite, actually. I mean those comic books out there that kind of look like someone was drawing an anime, but they just took the animation cells and put them on the page? There are a gazillion of these now. I don’t even mind comic books based on anime or manga. I can’t quite put it into words what irks me about this, and in time, I may find some of these that turn me around. But still, there’s something subversive going on here. Manga should be manga. Superheroes should be superheroes. Experiments mixing the two are cool, but the total domination of one pop culture movement by the other, let alone subversively, doesn’t sit well with me. The misleading cover - Every comic book company, everywhere, is guilty of this. You know what I mean. That comic that’s cover says something like “Spider-man and the Hulk- TO THE DEATH”. And on the inside, they’re like having tea or something? You know what I mean. Well, this laundry list is really only a small compilation of transgressions. And I’m sure all of you playing along at home could tailor your own. Ultimately, we love our comics- flaws and all. There are plenty of really bad comics that I still love to read. But this lump of coal is all I can leave you with this time of the year. I’ll try to find something uplifting for next week.