TIME MAGAZINE CITES WATCHMEN IN TOP 100 NOVELS
Time Magazine ran a feature on their website highlighting the Top 100 Novels of all time, Watchmen featured on the list. Long cited as one of the best graphic novels of our time, it's nice to see a comicbook being featured up there with the true literary giants.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY EXAMINES WATCHMEN
Entertainment Weekly dedicates five pages of its October 28 issue to WATCHMEN, comparing it to Citizen Kane, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band and The Sopranos as "a masterwork representing the apex of artistry in its respective medium."
It's no big news that comics are picking up media attention still, what is impressive is the level of acclaim they are recieving. Watchmen is currently voted 6th on the Time 100 list (and that's voted by the readers, not by the magazine). As well as big magazines, we also have websites trying to bring comic series to the masses.
It's not just the powerhouses like Watchmen and Transmetropolitan getting reviews either, Stephen Holland of Page 45 utilised his entire column in this months "Comics International" to bring the attention of Strangehaven to peoples attention.
It seems to me the only people not paying attention to whats really happening in the industry are the comic fans.
Sorry guys, but I am calling you out.
Is it me or are us lot some of the most negative, bitter people involved with any "fan" base? every time a comic gets noticed, or something different comes along, people seem to start setting up the storm barriers: "It's our industry, we don't weant new readers coming in challenging our opinions". It's the mentality of "I'm alienated by my peers for reading comics, therefore I must be a true fan".
Case in point: Time Magazine's Top 100 novels, there were quite a few people online coming out with crap like "...but it's not a novel", or "Technically, it's a Tpb, not a Graphic Novel" or worst yet: "Isn't Time owned by Warner Bros. who own DC? Isn't that suspicious?" Fuck off. Fucking twat's. One, yes, its literature, therefore its a novel by proxy. Two, does it really matter if they got the terminology wrong? Oh, excuse me, it makes such a big difference, I was going to read something refreshing and expand my consciousness and facility with language but they called it a graphic novel not a tpb so I won't fucking read it, or anything which doesn't have a red "M" in the top left corner. And 3, yes, Time Warner does indeed own Time magazine and DC, but for fucks sake, think about it, even if they are forcing the inclusion of Watchmen onto the list, is it really a bad thing? Besides, they named Art Speigalman in the Top 100 People poll earlier this year, as written by Marjane Satrapi, that's hardly going to turn a profit for DC or Time is it? Some comic fans piss me off.
Don't get me wrong, the majority of my customers are great. They listen to recomendations, they talk intelligently about the things they don't like, and even more eloquently about the things they do like. They have hobbies and interests outside of Cap and Bucky, they go out, watch interesting movies, listen to diverse movies, and even recommend fresh comics to me that I have never even heard off. There are a few comics shops like this up and down the country; obviously I don't know all of them, but two of the best I have heard off are Nottingham's Page 45 and Leed's OK Comics. But unfortunately, most of them have gone the other way, unclean, unfriendly, unapprocahable and unorganised, basically a whole lot of "un". Hopefully, with time, more comic shops will follow suit with the stellar exaples listed above, we might even see the gradual fazing out of Star Wars toys and Magic the Gathering.
There are two types of comic books at the moment (as with most genres actually): commercially acclaimed and critically acclaimed. Stuff like House of M and All-Star Batman and Robin are commercially acclaimed because of the level of advertising that has gone into making them the best-sellers that they are, we hear they are hot books, Wizard run a six page article and we all check them out. Which is fine, because they certainly are not bad comics, by any sense of the word.
Then there are the critically acclaimed books; stuff like Ex Machina, Finder and Battle Hymn. These are the books that the people working in the industry buy / read. You think Warren Ellis reads New Avengers because he wants to (if at all)? No, he reads it because he cares about the industry and wants to see what the top sellers are doing, as a professional its in his best interest to analyse the industry (something which very few creator's seem to do).
These titles, which sell no where near the 248,000 units of the top sellers, are the titles really driving the industry forward. These are the titles that make Marvel and DC take notice, the breeding ground for future talent, Bendis! didn't just get handed Ultimate Spider-man on a plate, it was the sweat, blood, tears and arrests his put into the making of Torso, Jinx and Fortune and Glory which got him noticed as an industry professional.
Yet most comic readers would be hard pushed to identify the names of Criag Thompson, Dan Schaffer, Carla Speed Mcneil, Dan Clowes, Art Speigalman, Marjane Satrapi, Andi Rutton, Andi Watson, Alex Robinson, Rich Koslowski, Scott Morse, Scott Mcloud, Jeffrey Brown and countless others. Heck, some comic readers wouldn't be able to tell me who Will Eisner is.
But this is where the real progression is being made. These are the books which are getting noticed outside of our very blinkered, spandex only genre-within-a-medium-which-defines-a-medium.
I'm not saying don't read New Thunderbolts, Spawn or Teen Titans, as I love my superhero comics more than most (and if I did have a problem with superheroes, that would make me all negative and hypocritical), they just don't define my reading. All I'm saying is; next time you feel dissolusioned by an 8 issue crossover, next time you finish reading two superhero's punching each other in the face and think "it's all a bit samey", just remember, you are the only person limiting your exposure.