Comics as Team Sport
Comics don't happen in a vacuum. I'm willing to bet dollars to donuts (you're on!) few people read a comic book and think: 'Well, I don't want to talk to anyone about that! (emphasis me). Sure, there are blogs, social media and the beloved 'comments section' to share opinions, likes and dislikes, but it's not the same as meeting face-to-face.
I'm jealous of my more 'con' adjacent friends and colleagues who tell tales of exotic locales like Stumptown and San Diego. So, Rafiki-like I decided, 'It is time!' and ventured across Canada to Toronto to attend TCAF, the Toronto Comic and Arts Festival.
What I did, who I met and where I (almost) slept are chronicled at Comics Bulletin in TCAF 2013: Pure Comics.
This week Comics Bulletin also ran an advance review I co-wrote with Jason Sacks about The Massive #12. It dawned on me, while I was at TCAF, I read very few on-going series. Besides Conan (which, as planned, is set to end next year) and Prophet, the only other on-going I read is The Massive. I have no good reason why this is, only that it is. I'm sure it has something to do with my let's call it 'selectiveness' when it comes to Marvel and DC titles.
ANYWAY The Massive is a series I continue to champion because it gets better with every new issue. Even an issue I am lukewarm about, The Massive #10, has turned out to be one of the most important issues, plot-wise, in the series so far. The art in issue #10 was a miss for me, but Brian Wood's plotting was perfect because it allows the series to get bigger by going smaller. What Wood pulls off in issue #10 is to make a change to the story which is organic i.e. it makes sense because it honors the narrative and pushes it forward where it needs to go. Sometime you've just got to trust a creator.
I'm perhaps biased, but one of the aspects that sets Comics Bulletin apart from other comic book related sites is how writers collaborate on reviews, essays and articles. Criticism doesn't always work as a team sport. What every (any?) collaboration strives to create is something new, something different. It's like Pete Townsend says in The Who's 'Bargain:' 'In life, one and one don't make two / one and one make one.' When two writers (critics) work together what occurs is a third opinion, call it, 'the work' or 'the text' if you're more academically inclined.
The phrase to come out of our article was ''perpetual progress.'' I wrote it as a way to sum up my feelings about how The Massive continues to get better with each issue. Jason picks up on my idea and turns it into this beautiful metaphor about the art, the writing and the series itself. It's this kind of 'discovery' that makes comic books more than paper and staples and a bunch of cliches about man-children and playing dress-up. Comics are a team sport, be it face-to-face or through words and pictures. I'm glad to be part of the tribe.
In case you missed the embeds, here are the links to my TCAF article and the review Jason and I wrote for The Massive #12:
TACF 2013: Pure Comics and Advance Review of The Massive #12