Every week there’s a stack of comics that I’ve gotta got through. Some to read for my own personal pleasure, some to see if I’m gonna wanna ever read em’ again, and some that I’ve gotta go through to see if I can steal some talent for IDW Publishing. It’s also a good idea for me to keep up with who’s doin’ what and what other publishers are puttin’ out. Hell, some of these comics I even pay for? in more ways than one.

As I was goin’ through em’ the other day I got to wondering. Does anyone ever really read the comics they buy anymore? I mean REALLY read em’?

I like to lie and say that I’m a pretty open-minded guy. It’s not true. There are a handful of things in life that I really don’t like. Most of em’ I can sort out…through acts of kindness and if that fails? with my fists. That’s not me tryin’ to impress ya with my pugilistic blood lust? it’s just a fact that’s gotten me through life when things weren’t as PC as they are today.

I’ve found that when you’re in some sorta tussle of words and possible violent, verbal volleyball with some little turd that needs flushed… that ya just gotta cut to the chase at some point and say to yourself, “Can I knuckle dance this knot head into the land of lost teeth?” If the answer is yes, then you don’t have to worry about the outcome. You know that when that special moment comes and he crosses that line that only you can see…Then you know it’s time to push this donkey off the porch. Time for him to file your name under his Rolodex of pain.

Now, if ya don’t think you can make this guy’s face all lumpy, then you better work on your people skills and talk this possible axe murderer off the ledge. That’s when ya lie real good and also look for something blunt to chance a knock out blow with.

Sorry to get off track? but I can’t resist givin’ ya a little life lesson when I can. It’s just my helpful nature.

Gettin’ back to the question of do folks really read these comics that are comin’ out today. I gotta say there’s a slim chance that they’re really readin’ em’ and gettin’ that good ol’ funny feelin’ out of em’. I think most of us skim through it? go through the motions? ya know? like sex with someone you’re bored with. “Yeah, baby? You’re a princess? Yeah? of course I…l-l-l (cough) love ya.” That is usually followed up with, “Will ya make me a sandwich while you’re up?”

Don’t lie? You’ve done it. Or wish ya had.

Oh, yeah… comics? I tried to wade through a few mainstream books the other day. I got about 7 pages into this 22-page sleepin’ pill called a story and found that If the writer was on fire I wouldn’t waste the piss it took to put him out. Nothing happened in 7 pages! I ‘m not sayin’ there has to be some punch out or some story twist revealed? I’m sayin’ NOTHIN’ happened at all. Characters standin’ around wastin’ four color space. This wasn’t even a bad Vertigo book!

These were characters that have been around for a long time. Characters with history. Ya think they’d have somethin’ to say. Nope. Just more bad air than eatin’ a bowl of ranch beans.

Take some of these super hero team books. Ya got all these amazing characters with even more amazing powers and personalities. Ya’d think that there would be this incredible interaction between em’, but nope. All ya get is standard 1985 stock dialogue. It doesn’t stop there. Every month these characters have to fight some huge supernatural or galactic menace. It might not be bad, but the action is stilted and filled with characters talkin’ out loud to themselves. First off, if the action was any good or interesting, I wouldn’t need this super hero tellin’ me what he was doin’. As it ends up? I didn’t care. I just wanted the issue to end and everyone to get a dirt nap.

Is somebody just collectin’ a check here?

I want writers to take some pride in what their doin’. I want editors to guide em’, but also keep their frustrated writer side out of the kitchen. In close to 20 years in this business I’ve found that everybody in comics thinks they can write. Editors, colorist, artists, inkers, the CEO? and on and on. People like that are just beggin’ for my “Two Fingers Of Death”.

These guys don’t wanna hone any writin’ skills. They don’t wanna put the time into learnin’ anything about how to write. They sure as hell don’t wanna practice. They think just because they worked within five yards of a comic book that they are ready to boot Alan Moore off his next project.

Well? I’ve gotta a boot for em’.

Amigos, I’m not sayin’ that there aren’t some really good writers out there. Nope. There are some really great writers out there. Thing is, like a good BBQ joint, ya gotta really look for em’.

Look at Alan Moore. That guy has proven that he can write anything and it’s always interesting. He gives a donkey dump about what his name is attached to.

Neil Gaiman. A hell of a writer and a very, very nice person. A real gentleman. I’ve never seen better manners. Here at the ranch? I see none. Trust me, I hate sayin’ good things about British writers. I guess Neil has been over here long enough to have clouded my mind. He’s like a great boxer? and I mean a smart one. He picks his punches. He sets stuff up and always lands more than he takes. Granted? I never have understood his Sandman stuff and most of his other writings, but then is a stump jumper like me supposed to?

Frank Miller. A ground breaker. He was one of the guys to tear comics a new poop chute. Thing is, Frank only has one punch. It’s a knock out punch if he gets the chance to land it, but still just one punch. It might be ’cause Frank can afford to be a one trick pony. Maybe that’s all he wants to give us.

Ya got guys like Geoff Johns, Bendis, Loeb, Ennis, Millar, and Waid. They’re all craftsmen. They know their stuff and use it like a great counter puncher.

Geoff is one of my favorites right now. The guy makes his characters interact and say interesting and funny things? like real people do. ‘Sides, he is the only guy outside of me that knows how to write the character Wildcat.

Bendis is one that I thought was gonna be like Frank? a one punch fighter, but he proved with his work on Ultimate Spider-Man that he can do more than noir. He has a fun sense of humor that he uses really well like a well placed left hook? from a really short guy.

Loeb has become a much better writer because he now takes his time. He no longer seems to spread himself too thin. Jeph is smart in the fact that he always sides up with really A-list artists.

Millar is really sharp as long as he isn’t tryin’ to be too cute. Mark is like a fast , showboat boxer that sometimes is caught listenin’ to the crowd clappin’ when he should be lookin’ out for an uppercut. When he is focusing on his job he will cut you into little sandwiches and feed your ass to the fish. Mark has a lot of passion for the characters as well. Sometimes it’s a bit perverted, but then again? he’s not American.

Ennis is always a hard worker, but if he does the 5 book spread his work suffers. I think when he’s jugglin’ his plates he loses that wicked sense of dark humor that’s made him a real winner.

J. Michael Straczynski and Chuck Dixon are writers that never turn in half ass work. Those boys always entertain and never do anything without a knock out plan. They know how to write page-turners and develop characters with good dialogue. Real pros.

I could go on and on, but why piss everyone off all at once?

I gotta say I have no love in my heart for any nut-ridin’ editors or publishers that have done everything short of pud thumpin’ to wine and dine anyone that has ever written a bad novel, screenplay, or embarrassed themselves on TV. They get these guys that couldn’t get work in their own backyard and give em’ the keys to the comic book kingdom. They use the line that they are tryin’ to “Bring new and exciting outside sources and ideas” into comics.

Naw, they just wanna lick the pop culture lollypop that these guys are pullin’ out of their pants. These editors and publishers should be takin’ the time to read the scripts and proposals that proven vets in the business have tossed at em’. They should be out lookin’ for new talent at the conventions, like I look for any woman that’ll keep her eyes open for more than a minute when I talk to her.

Again? I hear someone yellin’ “sour grapes”. Well? the only thing sour grapes are good for is makin’ wine. And we all know that only women and fancy lads drink wine. So there are no grapes or wine here? sour or otherwise. Only cold beer and hard liquor? hard liquor always gets me naked.

What I’d like ya to do is to start really readin’ the comics that ya buy. I don’t care if ya tell anyone about it or not. What’s important is to ask yourself if you really think it was any good. Or did ya just buy it ’cause it was hyped as hot by some jobless moron on an internet news site or in some glitzed up fan magazine written by guys that act like they are Maxim frat boys, but in reality were too busy gettin’ their lunch money taken away from em’ in college? by the chess team!

Ya see and hear folks quoting great dialogue from movies all the time. You see folks on the forums place those quotes under their names in their signature. (I also think that’s diaper wearin’ sad.) Do ya ever see folks quotin’ comic book dialogue?

Nope.

Unless it’s me beatin’ people over the head with my own until they submit.

Get serious about your readin’. You’re the guy chuckin’ down almost $4.00 a book in some cases. Get your money’s worth, If ya find ya don’t really like it, take that money and try one that you might enjoy. Lick it a little around the edges and see if ya like it.

Just don’t take that same money and spend it outside of comics. Ya do that, we’re all out of a job. I like my job. You put me out of a job. I come to live with you. That’s not a good thing? for you.

As always, if ya got something to send me or got something to say…I’m not hard to find.

Your new favorite writer that doesn’t suck,

Beau Smith
The Flying Fist Ranch
P.O. Box 706
Ceredo, WV. 25507


About The Author

Beau Smith

Beau Smith is a writer for Comics Bulletin