March 26th, 2008

The Zombie

Missed Misconceptions

March 25 -  Heya!  Well, my chopped-up finger is OK, more or less.  It was numb for a day, then tingly the next.  Now, even though the cut was oddly shaped and pretty deep, the healing seems to be going well.  I wish I could say that my lack of any sort of creative production over the last few days could be blamed on an inability to use my drawing hand, but, well...no.  Ergh.  I'm just starting to fall behind on my commissions schedule.  Nothing irreversible or insurmountable...I'm just not where I'd hoped to be by now.  I have a "soft" deadline for one project on the 28th (they'd just like to see what all I've done so far), and hard deadlines for two others by the end of the month.  I think I'll be OK, even with my sliced-up pinky, but I can't have too much else go wrong between now and then or something will be late.  Toward that end, I had better get right back to some more backlogged Comic Book Misconceptions.  These are some more that I held at one point or another...

"March 22" - Marvel and DC hate each other.  Well, of course corporate entities can't "hate," per se, so I probably should have said that the misconception is that each company has some sort of official policy of enmity toward the other.  While it is undeniably true that "The Big Two" are aggressive business rivals, and that some individuals employed by one company have hated certain individuals from the other, it turns out that there is no real hate between them.  In fact, they are something like - and I can't believe that I'm really going to use this term - "frienemies."  Like feuding clans who must fight together against invaders, Marvel and DC have for years stood shoulder to shoulder on the frontlines of defending the medium of comic books.  Starting with informal, behind the scenes get-togethers decades ago, even the business aspects of these, ugh...frienemies have worked together over the years.  Starting with the Superman/Spider-Man team-up in 1976, they've now co-published dozens and dozens of amalgamated titles (including, of course, the so-called Amalgam comics).  On a more personal level, the people behind the scenes, from artists and writers to editors and publishers, often socialize with each other, especially while attending comic book conventions.  That, and so few creators are exclusive to one company or the other anyway.

"March 23" - Archie comics are for girls.  They just are, right?  That's what I believed as I was growing up, and "Archie" publishers did little to dissuade me.  My little sister's Archies were not much more than fantasy fashion mags, and the perpetual Archie/Betty/Veronica triangle seemed way too "girly" for my tastes...but I still read them in secret anyway.  That was a grade school sin on par with bedwetting and having a crush on the teacher, any public exposure of which would result in eternal ostracization.  It was worth the risk, though.  How else would I have come to know the devious dealings of Reggie, the dry, indifferent humor of Jughead, or the tribulations of Mr. Weatherby?  Heck, how else would I have come to realize that these comics are basically about a nerdy teenager who is sexually tormented by two well-developed beauties?  It was like someone had made a comic book of my life...except that the girls in the comic liked Archie.  Hmm.  Who would have suspected that these stories, the overwhelming majority of which were written by men, would speak to me?

"March 24" - War comics are for boys.  Even though I read my sister's Archies - with permission, mind you - I went ballistic (pun intended) when I found out that she had, in turn, been reading my Sgt. Rock comic books!  How could she?  Didn't she know that war comics are just for boys?  Well, they aren't, as it turns out.  War comics are usually about greater issues, placed in the pressure cooker of ultimate conflict.  That such themes as faith, duty, patriotism, survival, and idealism should strike a chord with girls should come as no surprise.

Which brings us to tonight's Comic Book Misconception of The Day - Golden Age comic books were great.  Some were.  As for the other ninety-nine percent?  They ranged from "OK" to "godawfulcrap."  Oh, there is often something sweet or even naively charming about even the worst of them, but "great?"  Nope.  They may have been entertaining back in the day, and they may be quite valuable now.  They may even be touted by some as being "great" anyway, but anyone who believes that the Golden Age of Comic Books is so called purely because of quality, rather than because of the remarkable and inventive foundations that were laid for all comics since, well...I think that they are suffering from a Golden Misconception.  See ya later!