Hey, no one start eating yet! Timmy, get away from the pie and Evan, go wake up Uncle Mike. Everyone join hands. Yes, I know grandma’s hands feel like pretzel sticks rapped in room temperature sandwich meat but she is family and this is thanksgiving.
Okay, now everyone bow your heads.
Dear Thor, God of Thunder, we thank you for so many things. We live in what may end up being considered as a true renaissance of comic books. The comic book characters we love have infested the worlds of movies, videogames, and television.
Some of the best storytellers of this generation have chosen comic books as the mechanism of delivery for their stories, giving us the most energized and varied creative community that comic books have ever seen.
The idea of being a comic book nerd has never been sexier, never been cooler, and never been easier. So on this day of thanks, oh mighty bringer of lightning, we thank you for so some of the best things in all of comics.
We are thankful for: Comixology
Our comic book forefathers are forsaken by the longbox. Backboards and cellophane were the coffins that littered our bedrooms and were stacked as high as was structurally sound, consuming floor space and causing us to exile furniture, family, and friends to make more room for more and more comics.
They suffered so that we might be enlightened.
Right now, in my hand, I hold a smart phone that lets me access a Comixology account with over 1600 books on it. No longboxes, no cramped bedroom, no monthly storage container payments. Just instant access to any comic book in the universe (except Darkhorse books…*cough*).
We are constantly bludgeoned with sales, customer feedback, and a bunch of other things that make this section sound like a paid advertisement.
The app is my best friend while also being an engine for my addiction and a malignancy for my bank account. It has awakened me to books I never would have known about without it and I have impulse-bought my way to some true gems.
We are thankful for: The Image Revolution
Dude, Image is killing it. Every week a new number one launches that is good enough to stick on your pull list. Books like Saga, East of West, The Walking Dead and The Manhattan Projects have been amazing for what feels like forever.
Image’s flexible release schedule and void of editorial oversight allow creative minds a place to play with no rules and no walls. Where else are creative people allowed to do whatever the hell they want and not only be left alone, but be given a budget and a platform to market their work? It’s the creative wild west, and its product has the potential to change the industry.
The flow of new and great titles is almost abusive: Birthright, Low, Copperhead, Dark Engine, Spread, Wytches, Nailbiter, Roche Limit, and Tooth and Claw all just came out this year and all should be considerations for your pull list.
Image has already passed the big two publishers in its depth of quality titles, and with more and more new comic book readers coalescing every day, Image might become the foundation for the next generation of comic book readers.
We are thankful for: Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo’s Batman
Zero Year was better than Year One and Death of the Family was better than Death in the Family. Yeah, I said it.
They were bigger in concept, braver in narrative scope and had more lasting impact on what “being Batman” means to the reader, and to Bruce Wayne.
Batman is a character that is fun for writers to play with, so that is what they often do; they play with him like they would an action figure. Moving his rogues around a stage. Building scenarios that they may have been dreaming of since adolescence. They dally his universe without adding to it.
Rare is the writer who is not intimidated by the scope of the Batman ideal, and even rarer is one brave enough to add to or change that ideal.
Scott Snyder is utterly without fear. With every new story arc he adds characters that feel at home in the culturally monolithic world of Batman. He plays with origins and meanings. He pushes and manipulates the idea of what it means to be Batman, and what role being Batman plays in Bruce Wayne’s healing.
After his run has come to an end it may be considered not only the best Batman run ever, but one of the best runs by any writer on any comic.
Artist Greg Capullo’s style was made for Batman. The way he brings Gotham to life makes it feel familiar and real. The tone is dark and gothic, yet tangible. It feels like Batman: The Animated Series grew up and was flattened onto a page.
Everything is framed and delivered so cinematically it would make Christopher Nolan blush. It makes you wish he could draw this book forever.
We, as fans, are lucky to witness what might be the pairing of the best Batman writer ever with the best Batman artist ever. Sorry Jim Lee.
We are thankful for: The Incursion Saga
Writer Jonathan Hickman might be trying to tell the most ambitious story ever told in the history of super hero comics.
Spanning three different Avenger’s titles, multiple event books, and even more uncertain places in the future, Hickman’s Incursion Saga has taken Marvel’s army of heroes through an intergalactic war, across an infinite number of universes, and over 51,000 years into the future.
It can all be taxing to follow and unpack, but those of us that are Avengers addicts, or just Hickamaniacs, have been rewarded with an amazing and grown up super hero tale.
The Marvel super hero pantheon is facing a threat that dwarfs any other they have faced. The machine is broken and the multiverse is collapsing. Parallel earths have started to collide and as the two earths draw near, one must be destroyed or both universes will end. This ongoing threat can play out over an infinite number of universes.
Giant threats are not new in the Marvel U. The world is ending? Whatever – It’s just another day at the office. Hickman manages to make the end of the world interesting again. Heroes are forced out of their confront zones. They must reevaluate what and who is important to them. They must become generals, monsters, murders, and kings. The saga is stripping the gloss away from being a hero and shows the torturous grey area you must exist in in order to save the world.
Hickman is a brave man to even try something this….big. So far he has pulled it off, and we still can’t even see the end from here. If the payoff here is anywhere near as good as the payoff was in his Fantastic Four run, it will all be more than worth it.
So thank you Thor. Thank you Marvel and DC. Thank you to the comic book stores and the people that populate them. Thank you message boards, fan communities, cosplayers, and the army of humans that set up and run our favorite cons.
Thank you to the friend that said, “Dude, you need to read this…” and was totally right.
Thank you comic books, for being exciting and special and something worth having a passion for. Thank you for being rude and shocking and touching and heart breaking. Thank you for giving me heroes and hope.
But thank you most of all for always just being there, and for being a hell of a lot of fun.