-Once again, the standard apologies about another stretch of not blogging. This time it's not that I've been busy, but more that I've been distracted. And not (entirely) by things as goofy as video games and MMA--more like politics. Instead of posting here, I find myself checking polls, spin, and whatnot. It's not like I actually have anything interesting or intelligent to say about any of this: you're either relishing Sarah Palin's public collapse or you're sweating it out, hoping that John McCain thinks of some new cockeyed plan to distract the press. Or, if you're like the people sitting behind us at the restaurant today, you're impressed by the paper Israeli flag stuck in the window somewhere in the Alaska Governor's Mansion.
-It's not that there haven't been things to talk about in comics, though, as the blogosphere has been dominated by two conversations: the very different endings of All Star Superman and the Minx line.
As to the former: I still don't quite get all the fanfare. ASS was certainly a good, entertaining book, but it was signficantly less interesting than what I expected from the Grant Morrison who wrote Seven Soldiers, the Grant Morrison whose involvement led me to read All-Star Superman in the first place. I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop, something that would dramatically ramp up my enthusiasm for the book. In the end I was entertained, but not amazed.
WHICH IS FINE, but some of the reaction to this book...whew. The Lex Luthor in prison issue was very, very good, deserving of some of the praise I've seen for the work as a whole. The rest, I felt, was more like something you file away, maybe re-read a few years later for a chuckle, maybe forget forever. Still, given the circumstances, I'm half-planning to re-read all 12 issues to make sure I'm actually right, and not just cranky that All-Star Superman will quite possibly be the #1 book on the 2008 Meta-List. There's just no way in hell that will be justified if it happens; those who are already pencilling it in at #1 on your end-of-year lists, I beg you to reconsider, to deny it the nostalgia/superhero curve which made it the third best reviewed comic of 2007. I'm already prepared to see it place higher than most of the books on my own, highly idiosyncratic list, but there are probably at least two or three dozen books substantially more deserving of the top spot. And that's way, way, way more than enough politicking from the person who compiles these polls.
(For those interested, if I had to handicap the most likely books to place in the top five this year, I'd probably go with (in no particular order): What It Is, Bottomless Bellybutton, All-Star Superman...and that's pretty much as far as I can go. Breakdowns, maybe, assuming it doesn't come out too late in the year, so as to miss those who draw up their lists ridiculously early, like in October. Black Jack has a strong chance to consolidate the literary manga vote, barring a big showing for the (totally worthy of top 10 status) Disappearance Diary, which might be a bit too obscure to make much of a showing. Other possibilities: The Amazing Remarkable Monsieur Leotard, Kramers Ergot vol. 7 (I'm really dying to see how it does on these lists), Criminal (popular enough last year to come in at #6, and it's way better this year), Three Shadows (just a hunch, but I think it shows up on a lot of mainstream-type lists--wasn't it mentioned by name in that recent Washington Post piece?). And it's possible that Achewood: The Great Outdoor Fight will reprise the success of the first Perry Bible Fellowship collection. Any other possibilities I'm missing?)
-As for the Minx line: uh, too bad, I guess? My main interest in Minx was based on pure hypothosis/blind hope, in that maybe exposing young readers to western comics in addition to manga would convince them that they liked comics in general, and would thus gravitate towards the comics I liked, thereby making them more popular and easier for me to obtain in the the only bookstore in town which carries a decent selection of new comics which don't involve Superman crying. This was not, mind you, a reasonable expectation, but it was the only way for me to get interested in a line which (a) was obviously not intended for me, (b) featured a bunch of creators who I might call modest talents (with the exception of Jim Rugg, who's pretty good, and of course Derek Kirk Kim, who is very good), and (c) didn't have a publishing strategy which struck me as especially noteworthy.
So I guess I don't have too many strong opinions on Minx' passing, all things considered. I do regret that it's passing takes a paycheck away for some folks whose work I don't normally follow. I feel worse, however, about the possible impact on Hope Larson's excellent Chiggers, which by all accounts did what Minx set out to do exponentially better. As noted above, I'm not the audience for a book like Chiggers, but any idiot can appreciate Larson's impressive cartooning and writing, even if he's a 31 year old dude. It really is the sort of book you want to share with young people, and I'd hate to see it affected by the demise of Minx.
As for why Minx failed, I liked Katherine Farmar's and Christopher Butcher's explanations the best. I'd like to find out some day exactly why the books couldn't get stocked in the YA section of Borders/Barnes and Noble; it seems like it's either an indictment of byzantine book trade politics or a tremendous failure on some specific person's part. Not that stocking it in the right section would have helped if DC wasn't committed to the line beyond a year and a half, for whatever reason. Yes, Brian Wood, I guess I'm not really surprised that Minx didn't take off, though I hoped it would. For the totally selfish reasons outlined above, but still.
And now it's back to reading about politics. Will McCain stick to a more conventional strategy by talking primarily about Wookies during tonight's debate? Or will he really shake things up by having Kimbo Slice punch him repeatedly in the stomach? Only one way to find out for sure, true believers!