The Nine Faces of Dave
2004-07-11 06:56:48 (UTC)

damned if you're in and damned if you're out

Figure this one out: I went bowling the other day with some
of my fellow interns, including the non-emo dude who seemed
to have some sort of problem with me. And things went quite
smoothly, got no grief whatsoever. This inconsistency is a
little weird, but what the hell, I'm willing to figure all's
good. Oddly enough the only other person I've ever received
this sort of response from is a girl at my college, who I'm
still pretty sure has something against me, but that's more
because she's batshit insane. Hey, maybe that's true here!

But for what it's worth, I bowled pretty well, broke 110 on
all three games. I think I'm getting my technique back, and
it helps to be rolling 15 or 16 pounds down the lane. This
whole "upper-body strength" thing is really paying off.

And more in the random news department, I finished watching
"Spider-Man" today. It had some sound moments, but overall
I'd say it was pretty bad. My rating: uninspired.

It kind of bugs me when comics are made into movies. Often
those movies are a person's only exposure to anything that's
even remotely close to comics, and that's problematic. For
starters, most of the comics that become movies are the sort
of superhero junk that prevent comics from being treated as
a serious artistic and literary medium. And second, movies
made from comics are generally quite bad, giving a negative
impression of comics overall. Now granted, those movies are
based on bad comics, so it's hard to expect much. But tell
me this: how many people are going to see some crappy movie
based on a comic and still be particularly open to something
like "American Splendor" or anything by Bob Crumb?

I could blame the media for giving us people like Comic Book
Guy on The Simpsons, or I could blame American culture with
its tendency to be narrow and closed-off from new ideas, or
I could blame comics collectors themselves for holding to a
negative stereotype. But I think the blame lies mostly with
the comics industry for creating franchise characters at the
expense of telling a decent story.

It's a little like James Bond; after a while, all the stuff
starts to sound the same, and you just get sick of it. For
any character, there comes a time when someone has to stand
up and say, "Enough of this. Enough fake technology, enough
contrived plotlines, enough leading ladies with more exposed
cleavage than an entire pro football cheerleading squad." A
good character cannot last forever if meant to be human, or
even so much as mortal. And the decision to end the run of
a character must be timed properly, for if it comes too soon
the fans will be angry, and if it comes too late, it may not
happen until years after the character should have been put
on the shelf. The factory can keep cranking out stories of
crime and intrigue, but they can't breathe life back into a
character, and eventually most people stop caring.

So now the question becomes, what do we do about mainstream
acceptance of comics? Well, I don't know. To some extent,
I'd rather it not be in the mainstream. With all the major
productions of stuff like X-Men and The Hulk, those are just
about as close to mainstream as comics will ever be. Stuff
like what I'm into is still way out though, and in a lot of
ways I like that. Being on a fringe carries a certain edge,
and I think I'd miss that feeling, that sense of "I'm hip to
something very cool that less than 5% of the populace knows
about." And it makes it that much cooler to meet people who
are in the know, people who understand all the in-jokes and
bizarre references you have at your disposal.

Of course I don't want anyone to run screaming, or think of
me like Comic Book Guy. I guess what's needed is tolerance,
for lack of a better term. When gay people started getting
accepted in the mainstream, along came the metrosexual. I'd
just as soon the same thing didn't happen to comics. I have
a hard time imagining what the equivalent would even be for
comics; maybe collecting but never reading. Acceptance can
degrade a subculture as much as it can help it. So what do
we do? Who knows. Maybe it's a no-win game.

So that's my long-winded rant on comics. Thanks for playing
along, folks, and we'll be back next week with a rant on the
economic policies of the first Nixon administration.

This is Dave, signing off.