To start with, I have a confession: My name is Matthew Lazorwitz, and I love comic books. Not graphic novels (although, in point of fact, I love them too), but comic books. Comic Books with gaudily dressed men and women fighting. Comic Books with guys in trench coats trying to find out who is after the femme fatale. Comic Books with shambling zombies. Comic books where people sit down and talk about their feelings. Every kind of comic book.
I’ve been reading comics regularly since I was 9 years old. That’s 22 years of reading. I have worked in comic shop at least one day a week for twelve plus years. Comics are more than a hobby for me; they are a passion. My wife may be my great love, but comics are my oldest, and I intend to read them until the day I can’t read anymore.
I’m starting out by saying this to make a point: there’s a lot to love about comics. I admit there are problems in the industry. There are problems of equality, problems of creator’s rights, problems with distribution. And that is the first, and hopefully only, time you will hear me address those problems on this blog.
You see, as you might imagine, I read a lot on the comics’ internet. I read all the news sites, many other blogs, tons of creator’s twitter feeds, and I see one thing that depresses me endlessly. We are mired in a culture of anger and snark. I don’t understand when fandom began rewarding people for being downright mean. This is not to say everyone is; there are plenty of genuinely nice people who write about and create comics. But there are so many people, especially those who spend time on message boards and posting replies to articles, who seem to do nothing but complain and spew hate. And we spend so much time focusing on the ills of the industry, something I feel has gotten actively worse in the past year or so that we forget what it felt like to pick up that first comic and get swept away.
So, what I propose here is this: a blog that is snark free. A blog that is not about what’s wrong with the comics of today, yesterday, and tomorrow, but about what is right with them. Something where I can share the wonder I feel every Wednesday when I pick up my new books.
Starting next Friday, I intend to update this blog at least twice a week. Monday nights will see an overview of what I bought the previous Wednesday. Sometimes it might be one comic that really stuck out, and sometimes it might be a quick discussion of the whole stack. And on Fridays, I’ll put up a “Comics you should read” post, discussing a series or issue that is something special, and hopefully something you haven’t read or heard about in a long time.
I expect to post plenty in between as well, with theories, comments, or other little things that might occur to me. I also intend to do my best to remember this is a comics blog and try to steer clear of other pop culture things. I know I won’t be able to resist entirely, so there might be some Star Wars or some scifi/fantasy/horror books or movie talk (especially around the time each year’s new Dresden Files novel), but I want to stick to the comics.
Down the line, I’m also hoping to get some of my friends to contribute pieces, or talk to some creators I might meet at cons or doing appearances at the store I work at. And for each of them, I will pose these questions, and so I’ll end this first post with me asking them to myself. As you read the questions, please picture James Lipton asking them. Thanks, and I hope you’ll stick around for some of our regularly scheduled blogging.
1) What is the first comic you remember reading?
Well, Matt, thanks for asking. That would be Who’s Who in the DC Universe #2. I know, I know, that’s a handbook and not really a comic, but I remembered loving that thing, from Azrael (the winged one from New Teen Titans) to Baron Winter, Big Sir and Blackbriar Thorn. But mostly the Batman stuff. Batman of Earth 1, Batman of Earth 2, Batgirl, Batwoman, the Batcave, the Batmobile, Batman’s utility belt. It was so cool. I think reading those entries is when my lifelong love affair with the Caped Crusader began. And by the by, expect tons of posts about Batman and his allies and enemies on here. I just can’t resist the joy of the Bat.
2) What is your favorite comic/series of all time?
I don’t know if I could narrow it down to one. I mean, Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman is a seminal work, one I’ve read and reread, bought and rebought, numerous times over the years, so I suppose that could be it. I also adore Batman: The Long Halloween. I know people focus mostly on the flaws in the story now, but boy, if you were reading it as it came out, there was no way you weren’t drawn into the mystery.
3) What is it about comics that you love?
Other than the scope and the characters, you mean? I think there’s a way of telling stories that you can only do in comics, a way that fires the imagination. And, hey, it’s got Batman. What more can you ask for?