Friday, 29 June 2012

SO WHAT?! SERIES PART 1: So what I like comics?!

"I'm Batman", "You've got me! Whose got you!?"  and "With great power comes great responsibility". These examples of famous movie lines became dialogue, then quotes and finally phases which we use from time to time. We not only use them but also hold the films in which these pharses came from as classics.

Batman (1989), Superman(1979) and Spiderman (2001) are not only classics but were also fianacial successes when they were first released in cinemas. Those bums on seats, which made money for these films, were not comic fans or even movie fans, it was everyone. Fan and none fan alike. Last year, Marvel's Thor flew to the top of the movie charts in the USA and here in the UK.

For those of us who  like comics it's a joy to see a superhero come on the big screen and more than glad that such a film with a B list superhero gets big recognition. Espeacially by none comic fans. However when we go anywhere with a comic book there is a scorn in the air from critics who think comics are just for kids. There are times when we even mention we are into comics we get the same treatment. What an ironic twist that these critics most probably fell in love with 300 which most know was adapted from a comic book/graphic novel. These people who  think comics are just for geeks and kids do not understand how rich the stories and characters are. A comic book is just as involving as a novel with relatable characters and compelling stories.


Yes, most comics are made for children but the themes,stories and characters can be relatable to ANY adult. Male or   female, 25 or 55.  This is of course  any adult who understand the format of the the story told. That understanding these critics must grasp is each panel, each cover, each sentence is a captured moment like a art painting or photography. This is not to dress comics up in the clothes of an Oxford professor, but to explain the realistic value of comics. There  is a lot of intelligence behind the scenes of a comic book. Think of the writers, the staff, the artists who everyday have to think of ideas to keep thier comic title successful. Some of these active thinkers as the public will know, produced some ground breakers in print. Even the critics had to admit it.

"They're still trash" they might say about the standard comics that never got such high praise, but it does not mean these standard comics have little or no value. Look behind the cartoonish colours and the cool or farfetched superpowers, they get impactful concise storylines and characters who have believible personalites. These qualities made the superheroes who they are to the fans. Icons, role models, inspirations and even friends. It may may sound silly that people see these outlandish superheroes this way, but when a common comic book can be so compelling, its no surprise. Just like the James Bond movies and the Harry Potter books, comic book heroes have appealing chartacters that the public can relate to. Captain America is one such character.  Eventhough the decision makers at Marvel killed him off few years ago, he was brought back because there was still a connection to the public. Captain America Steve Rogers had personality traits of patriotism which anyone can identify with. He may may be 'boy scout' but his character has solid development.

Captain America suspends Fabian
For instance, take this single panel from Captain America issue 372 of The Streets of Poison series in 1990. After ending an investigation for the day, Captain America returns to his HQ and a maintenance worker tells him Fabian, one of the mechanics, was acting strange. CA finds Fabian and sees Fabian is behaving more oddly then before. CA also finds it bizarre, Fabian had lost a lot of weight in a too short amont of time. He qusestions Fabian to see if he is o.k then Fabian overreacts as if he is being interregated. After CA calms him down Fabian opens up  and says he was on the new street drug to cope with his life demands. CA tells Fabian he has to taketime out in rehab.

 This may be a typical heroic act by Captain America, even a simplistic one, but it does not mean it doesnt have a good impact. Stories similer to this panel are in use throughout books, movies, cartoons etc. An example like this explains why people can become a comic fan in an instant. Generally people enjoy stories it's just in our culture most adults feel a bit a guilt when trying to explain why they are interested in books with pictures, colours and short sentences. It need not be from the reasons mentioned before; comics are just another medium of storytelling. No less meaningful  compared to a novel or even the artistery of TV and film. If Hollywood actor Nicholas Cage could take the 'Cage' name from Marvel superhero Luke Cage, an average citizen can definately enjoy a comic or two or even be a hardcore fan.
Comic Geeks to the extreme! Series hit Big Bang Theory

Comic Book Guy from the Simpsons

Now, the hardcore fan has the most misunderstood image which helped critics stand their ground against comic readers. For years, the image of the hardcore comic fan is a lonely, geeky, unassaming, childish and timid person. True to say, there are people like that who maybe tick one description or all of them. However, one does not have to be like any. You can be an Editor-in-chief, a successful lawyer, a police officer or a politian and still be a hardcore fan of comics. You do not need to be Comic book Guy from the Simpsons of the cast from the American sitcom Big Bang Theory to have a passion for comics. There are always those who take their passion to the extreme with costumes and piles of memorobila wither it be footballers, popstars or a TV soap. Yet a comic fan does the same thing it's a ton of ridicule. Hardcore comic fan should enjoy life doing what interests them(as long as it's not plain weird obviously).

So there is a lot more to be a comic fan then what it percieves to be. There is a value in it. There is no question comics as a medium can be powerful if desired. Comics like other forms of entertainment have different categories, so it should not matter if you are reading a comic. What matters is which one you're reading.

PART 2: So what I like 'bad' movies!

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