Saturday, October 20, 2007

Trailer Reel/PSA/Clip Show

Well, I can quibble all I want about how late is late, and whether this post counts as last week’s or this week’s or next week’s, but the unavoidable fact is I missed a week. I think consistency is an important characteristic of a blog, and even though I set the bar for myself pretty darn low, it is irksome when I don't meet it. (On the other hand, RAB posts only sporadically on Estoreal, and I think he has one of the finest blogs going, so go figure.)

I think part of the problem is an identity issue (not to be confused with an Identity Crisis). I still haven’t decided what I really want to do here. I do know for sure what’s not on the list: I don’t want snark or irony or smug hipness (hip smugness?) to be what this blog is about. I think from the beginning , I wanted to stake out the territory articulated by our dear pal Squirrel Girl here:

At its best, this approach is fun; at its worst, it turns into wallowing in nostalgia and yelling at those kids to get off your lawn. (For some of the best, check out the Keeper in the Fortress of Fortitude.) There’s charm in looking back at old school features like Cap’s Hobby Shop

…and wondering what it says about how the audience for comics and their place in our broader popular culture have changed. (It's also just fun to wonder why they were called “Turkish Towels” and if anyone still calls them that and whether this cunning plan merely delays the dripping until the towels become saturated, but that’s a horse of a different color.)

Sometimes I worry about merely living in the past, however, and I want to talk about new and exciting comics, especially the ones that aren't trying to be The Sopranos in spandex. Things like the American launch of The Ninety-nine

… the Islamic-themed superhero adventure series (which has potential) from Teshkeel Comics. That would be fun to do, but I am so slow on the draw that most people will have already read the comic and several reviews before I get around to posting about it. And my new and evolving policy of waiting for the trades (notice that The 99 preview was free) gets in the way of this plan as well.

I am also interested, particularly in light of my the recent additions to my prose library (and you can add Soon I Will Be Invincible by Austin Grossman to that list), in exploring the connections between traditional literature and comics. For example, this excerpt from Bill Bryson’s The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid

…led me right to these images from the Grand Comic Book Database

..and to the knowledge that first title actually pre-dates Bryson’s comic reading heyday, making me wonder if he actually remembers it from reading back issues or if he inserted it into the narrative after some research.

I guess what it comes down to, in the end, is time. We all only have so much of it, and we have to choose carefully what we spend it on. With my new full-time faculty position, I am still sorting out just how much time I have available to me; on top of that, I would be wise to devote some, if not most, of my comics-related writing energy to scholarly articles, the kind of stuff I might present somewhere like this conference, and I doubt that stuff would make compelling blog reading, at least not in this context. But in another – maybe. And that possibility is there.

So, this has turned into a kind of apology for erratic posting, a self-exploration of motives, a plug for some other blogs, and fair warning that there might be some major changes coming down the pike.

Thank you. We now return you to your regular programming.


The Fortress Keeper said...

Thanks for the compliment.

Sometimes I fear the blog is wandering into "get off my lawn" territory, so it's nice to hear that someone feels differently.

Don't apologize for frequency.

I've actually thought of cutting back a bit to keep things fresh, but then I pick up a comic where Tigra gets ravaged or Marvel Nazis start dissing Stever Gerber's desire to receive creator credit and the ol' juices get flowing again ...

RAB said...

Aw shucks, you big galoot! Now I feel even worse about posting so sporadically.

And if I may, the feeling is likewise for your good self...not to mention The Fortress Keeper for making coherent statements in the cause of justice while I'm left sputtering with incoherent rage.

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