-Least likely development of the last week: furor over Wizard. It's hard to believe anyone can get worked up about a magazine whose relevance is nil for anyone with an internet connection. It's never been the periodical of record for North American comics, simply because it's never approached (or even aspired to) comprehensive coverage of North American comics. It's not event the voice of Fanboy Nation anymore--the internet has allowed for the dissemination of wildly divergent, frequently unhinged opinions about superhero comics, so Wizard's voice is easily lost in the cacophony. Not only that, Wizard's take on superhero comics (from what I remember) is rather meek by today's standards. Flocks of bloggers and message board posters take their opinions to extremes, drowning out Wizard with unearthly shrieks and screeches. And with Marvel/DC resorting to a variety of shock tactics to make their voices stand out from this murderous racket, Wizard's various "whose boobs are these?" features are rather quaint and humble. It almost reminds one of a simpler time, when the Big Two superhero publishers provided the cheesecake, and the socially retarded fan culture did the rest. Oh, for those halcyon days of yore....
I just can't get worked up about Wizard unless viewing them from a historical context. When the magazine was at its peak of influence, it was inimical to the entire comics industry--not just the superhero publishers or their devoted fans, but everyone from the shop owner to the comics creator. It helped fuel the speculator boom, instilled the zero-attention span mentality which still applies to comics fans today, and helped forge the Image founders' self-image (PUN INTENDED!), which led to them basically abandoning a movement which might have revolutionized the industry.* And that's not even getting into the issues raised by this contemporary piece of vitriol (via Dirk Deppey). Viewed from this historical context, the "magazine for men" blurb is like a footnote to a footnote.
*Though to be fair, this probably had more to do with the obscene amounts of money the Image founders raked in. The number of toy manufacturers and Hollywood studios interested in exploiting their intellectual properties may have been just as important.
-That manga reviewer at Comics Should Be Good is really something, huh? Really puts that Tezuka in his place.
-Speaking of reviews, Abhay Khosla's roundup of Zuda's current offerings covers a lot of what I find annoying not just about the Zuda stuff (which I hadn't bothered to look at until following the links in his review), but many independent comics in general. I'm so sick of lower primates, ninjas, pirates, robots, various monsters, and cynical-yet-infallible nerds (oh wait, that last one is a webcomics thing). Which serves to remind me that the effectiveness of these hackneyed cultural touchstones largely depends on the skill of those manipulating them. That kind of goes without saying, but it's still worth repeating. At this point in my life, if I see some new comic which depends on ape-based comedy (or whatever), my first inclination is to dismiss it out of hand. So the cartoonist(s) have to work extra hard to win me back over, just because they're relying on archetypes I associate with the worst kind of hackwork. I would say that using played out shit like cowboys and zombies is counterproductive, but maybe comics featuring cowboys fighting zombies sell better than the kind of shit I actually want to read.
Anyway, the real reason I brought this up is this one particular comment in reaction to the review:
If you dona.t [sic] want to like anything a big company does, that's your perogative [sic]. But, at least be honest about it.
This, my friends, is the state of online comics discourse. I'm not sure how much we can blame Wizard for this state of affairs, though I wish we could. Also irritating, from Brian Wood's Lucca Festival guest blog:
This trip is the perfect balm to the last several weeks of horrible deadlines, endless (and pointless) online conversations/arguments about Vertigo sales numbers, stresses related to launching a new series, etc.
Jesus, dude, leak some numbers if you're not satisfied with the way these discussions are going. Although you might not be happy to find that the current discourse seems to be moving away from systemic distribution/marketing problems and towards "their comics suck now." Or, since nobody's really singling out DMZ for condemnation, maybe it passes muster. Anyway, sorry to contribute towards making your trip to Italy necessary, Mr. Wood. If you see Gipi again anytime soon, tell him I liked Notes For a War Story.
EDIT: WAIT WAIT WAIT! J. Longo, creator of the universally-panned (and, trust me, genuinely bad) This American Strife shows up to defend his good name:
Thanks for your detailed hatred regarding my comic. I wish I could tell you that it bothered me. . .but it didnt [sic]. Instead, I'll thank you for the extra added attention you've helped my comic receive. Couldn't have done it without your help.
I look forward to seeing your comic being posted on Zuda. Thanks, buddy.
J. Longo thus sets a torrid pace for Asshole of the Month. Who will match this incredible effort? More importantly, who will admit to actually liking his terrible comic?