Welcome to SBC’s The Panel, a chance for you to put your burning questions – comics-related or otherwise – to a group of comics professionals.
The Panel lives or dies by your contributions; please email them to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll add them to the list…
This week’s question comes from Freddy Nunez and is as follows:-
“Why do you read comics? Are you a collector, is it for the entertainment value, is it the literary aspect?”
Yes. To all of the above. Man, this was too easy a question. Where’s the hard stuff? Like who would win in a fight, Thor or Cerebus? My money’s on the aardvark.
Vince Moore is the writer of Platinum Publishing’s upcoming book, Kid Victory & The Funky Hammer.
My housebound grandmother taught me to read, aged 3, using The Beano and The Dandy as her reference works. I’ve been hooked on comics ever since.
I was a teenage collector, until a sequence of events involving eviction by my girlfriend, a tab of acid and a thunderstorm rewired my brain.
Many comics don’t entertain me, but I read them anyway.
Alan Grant, writer of Dredd, Batman, and the slightly mad Doomlord, can be seen currently with Arthur Ranson on Judge Anderson in the Judge Dredd Megazine, and the superb Com.X trade collection of The Last American.
Why do I read comics?
Because they’re there.
It’s like watching films, listening to music or reading prose and newspapers. You just do, don’t you? They’re fucking fantastic.
I used to be a collector – issue numbers on a cover do that to you. If you have #12, 15, 72 or even 172 you start to salivate after the others, if only to find out what happened to whom and when, and how they all got into the unsavoury state you discovered them in.
These days I’m an even more voracious reader, but no longer a collector. I’ve seen everything that’s come out over the last thirteen years as it’s arrived in cardboard boxes, so I’ve been able to read whatever I want as it’s published (there are perks in being a humble retailer, you see).
Gradually I’ve become accustomed to buying only the comics I know I’ll want to read again, or I think my friends would be interested in. Most of those I pick up as collected editions, except for those with cripplingly funny letter columns (“Powers”, “Fred The Clown”), those which are works of hand-crafted art in themselves, unlikely to see the light of day again (“All Flee!” by Gavin Burrows & Simon Gane) or can’t wait any longer to have and to hold (anything by Simone Lia – you all need copies of “Fluffy” #1 and 2, trust me).
Why do I read comics?
Well, you know, it’s my job!
Not bad work, if you can get it… 😉
Stephen L. Holland runs Page 45, a comic shop in Nottingham UK, with Mark Simpson and Tom Rosin. He also appears monthly in Comics International. All the titles above have been recently reviewed in the Page 45 Mailshots, which can be received directly from Page 45 through signing up via their website, or read elsewhere on this very website.
Because people hand me copies at the shows. Or send me copies.
I read anything I get in the mail…
To me a book is a book is a book is a book.
I read comics for the same reason I read books. All of them.
(ALERT!!! Why you should call them “drawn books” and not “comics” — the US Postal Services considers “comic” to be BOUND MATTER with ADVERTISING. You may not send them by the cheaper “media mail.”
If you don’t want to pay the higher prices, start using the term “drawn books.”)
Donna Barr has books and original art at www.stinz.com, webcomics at www.moderntales.com, www.girlamatic.com, and has POD at www.booksurge.com Nothing she won’t try, at least once.
Comics are great escapist entertainment for me, and many are most literate, too. If I were in school and studying the Trojan War, for example, I’d be getting tons of literary value from AGE OF BRONZE. Were I a conspiracy theorist (which I’m not, too lazy), I’d be all over some of Alan Moore’s books to add fuel to the fire. The historical value of Tim Truman’s WILDERNESS is valuable beyond measure. And, at the same time, these books are highly entertaining.
I’ve never been a collector. I just collected what I read because I didn’t want to throw them away. I gave some away, sold some, traded some, but still had a ceiling-high, triple-row stack of white boxes. Then I got married to a comic retailer, and the problem was solved–she took them and is selling them. Now, I just collect trades, and we have a nice library in our home.
I also read comics that I might not ordinarily read to review in my wife’s Comics Unlimited weekly newsletter (you can sign up for it at www.comicsunlimited.com.) Since I’ve been doing this, my horizons have been broadened again, and I’m reading as many titles now as I did when I was Product Manager for Diamond Comics ten years ago.
Jesse Leon McCann is a New York Times Best-selling Author. He’s currently editing the fourth Simpsons TV Episode Guide for Bongo Comics/Harper Perennial, and writing stories for DC Comics’ Looney Tunes and Cartoon Cartoons.
The CHEAP answer is all of the above, however I stopped being a collector of comics years ago…DVDs are my thing now. I think if I were to really round up all of the different aspects that make up the reasons of why I read comics, it would all boil down to one thing…sentimentality and religion.
I’ve grown very fond of comics over the past 31 years, and while I wasn’t introduced to them until I was about 4, the culture invaded every aspect of my upbringing…from the educational shows I watched (Electric Company) to the cartoons; from playing with my cousins and our action figures to my dad calling his car “the Batmobile” for my benefit. I grew up on comics, and like some folks have been “born” Dallas Cowboy fans (the audacity!), some of us have been born comic fans.
Which leads to the religion. I don’t mean it in a spiritual context, although for some, it may have merit. I mean the fact that I was reading Uncanny X-Men as if it were a bible to how to live life and going, RELIGIOUSLY, to the corner candy store or news-stand…eventually to one of the first comic stores in my area (thank you, direct market!)…and knowing when the new books would be out and making it a habit. Moving to a new city (one with less selection due lack of demand and to the size of said Pennsylvania town), I still found a way to get comics from the local HALLMARK store.
Find a way to love what you love.
Vito Delsante’s creator owned mini-series, “The Mercury Chronicles”, with artist Jim Muniz, is now in development with Image Comics and will hit stands late this year. “Batman Adventures Vol 2: Shadows and Masks” (DC Comics) is out now! He will next be seen in Reflux Comics #3 (August) and in X-Men Unlimited #5 (October).
This is likely going to be my shortest Panel response ever, but I read comics because of the pure visceral rush that comes from the perfect marriage of words and pictures. It’s corny as all Hell, but I read comics for the love. Seriously, what other answer is there to this question?
Brandon Thomas is one of the writers of Spider-Man Unlimited #3, scripter of Youngblood, creator of Cross and long-time Ambidextrous columnist.
I read them for escape and enjoyment mostly. When I immerse myself into a comic world, the visuals and worlds are able to pull me from whatever stresses exist in my real life. I enjoy both the storytelling and artistic aspects and the unique way that a story can be told in the comic book format. While the collectability is a nice after-affect, I find that I am far less obsessive about the collectability and potential future market value of a given comic than I am about the entertainment value. As for literary aspect, while it is absolutely wonderful to find a comic work that seems to have true and real literate value (as many do), just as in movies or books, sometimes you just want a good mindless romp with fast action and hot women!
j.hues is the creator of the daily webstrip “Rolling With The Punches Volume 2”, he has at various times in the past been a columnist, news editor, and manager of Missouri’s largest comics shop. His current shop is available online at his link.