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Thursday, May 17, 2007

My "funny book" history Pt. 1

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It's over. Mark Millar and Bryan Hitch's brilliant run on Marvel Comics' The Ultimates has finally come to and end and I'm a bit saddened. With this book, these guys reinvented comics and injected the often misunderstood world of comics with a dose of gritty storytelling, artwork and reality based credibility and will forever live , in my book, as one of the greatest series I've ever read. Always viewed as kiddie material, comics these days are far beyond that. Quite frankly, I'm not sure if I would of been able to understand today's comics back in the days and it's almost as if the industry has grown up right along with me. I started reading comics back in the early 90's when I was at a Madera Johnny Quik on my way home from a visit to the hospital (I can't quite remember for what, though). On the rack there I saw it and it jumped out at me. I remember thinking, this has to be the stupidest thing I had ever seen up to that point in my life: NFL Superpro #1. Yup, that was my first comic book, or "funny book" as my dad used to call them. I bought it and I laughed my ass off for all the wrong reasons. That shit was absolutely horrible. But, it was that book that lead my to start reading comics and the more I read them, the more I was pulled in by the Marvel Universe and it's many inhabitants. As the audience and creators got older and became bored with this universe, they began to create comics aimed at an older audience. A revolution was started and the mid-90's brought us the Image Universe, a creator owned imprint that would let artists work on characters spawned from their own imaginations and not have to worry about decades of back story and continuity issues. As good as it sounded, the end result wasn't what everyone thought it was going to be. The creative freedom didn't do much but create second rate characters with female sidekicks adorned with giant boobs and wraped around with shiny chromium hologram covers. Anything to sell books to my adolescent demographic and sometimes it worked, but I quickly lost faith. As did most people, it seemed. In turn, the industry was almost killed. Marvel was in shambles. DC was worse. And besides the brand name artists, Image was sucking big time. I went back and read my Superpro and thought "Geez, we haven't progress that much further than this, have we?" I flat out stopped reading comics.

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