The Plurality of Monthly Comics...

"Anyway, I think my point was I want there to be good books one shelves every month.
There are so many amazing creators just making graphic novels now and yeah sales and shit
but I want some fucking comics. And the idea that people wait for the trade to come out is
crazy to me. If there's a book I'm really hyped about there is no waiting you want it so bad you can taste it like acid in your mouth.

It's important to note that I don't think most creators should be making comics monthly.
Just drawing them slow and steady far ahead of time and then getting them out close together.
That's the theory anyway, I'll see how well it works for me in practice."
So, I left the comics shop today, with three things in-hand: Strange Tales #1, Starr the Slayer #1, and Sweet Tooth #1. The point is, LOOK AT THESE THREE, TOTALLY WEIRD, AND AWESOME BOOKS THAT DROPPED THIS WEEK. If I had a friend who only read trades or flat-out, didn't read comics at all, I'd hand them the tiny stack of Strange Tales, Starr the Slayer, and Sweet Tooth and hope they'll at least consider monthlies. Actually, it's inarguable proof of the plurality of monthly comics--something totally lost when it becomes a trade on a shelf of your Barnes & Noble.

Both of the major companies are represented in my purchases, though certainly in less conventional ways, but that sorta proves my point too. The savvy of even the big dogs can't be ignored, even when they soak you for crossover titles and raised price points.

Let's begin with Strange Tales, a mini-series where Marvel hands over any and all their characters to a bunch of "indie"--mind the quotes--big shots who do whatever they hell they want with them. For the record, it's what Wednesday Comics should've been (FUN)--it's also a sign of the savvy and fun Marvel forgets. I mean really, this comic would blow minds! Paradoxically, it has a great deal more weight than the "comix" all these dudes are (rightfully) celebrated for and it ends up really subversive, more so because it's put out by the very dudes it's kinda sorta parodying. And Marvel knew that going in. Strange Tales makes obsolete those unofficial, pamphlet comics in which some snarky art-school comics dude shows Wolverine smoking crack. It also acknowledges the big reality of comics, especially in the 2000s: Everyone's reading everything, no reason why Dash Shaw can't do a Dr. Strange story.

Then, there's Starr the Slayer put out by Marvel's "for adults" imprint MAX Comics and drawn by comics legend Richard Corben. The idea that a dude like Corben's given this kind of fun and freedom is itself exciting and the series is a clever re-up of an old-ish sword and sorcery character and essentially about how so many of those old-school comics dudes got pretty fucked. Again, Marvel with the savvy and disinterest in strictly upholding their image.

And lastly, there's Sweet Tooth, an auteur series put out by DC's "place for weird comics" imprint, VERTIGO and brilliantly priced at $1.00. Really, think about that! There's plenty of reasons to hate on the hustle that monthly comics can be, but let's not forget details like this. One could be cynical and call it a marketing gimmick and it is, but it's one that's kind to the buyer too and basically, exposes the comic to plenty of people that'd never touch it at a normal price.

As trades, which is unfortunately, how more and more supposed "comics fans" are reading stuff, a lot of this context and the minor nerd joys of leaving a store with three books this weird and only ten dollars (which is still a lot, yeah) less in my wallet, is completely lost. Just sayin' guys...


Unknown said...

I agree on the point about monthlies. maybe the old school in me, just something about reading a good issue and having to wait another month . That is a wonderful fix to have. Trades just don't make me crave them as much, only exception is Walking Dead, purchase this in trade because I got on the bandwagon late in the game, still want to go monthly with it. Then there would be a jarring in my collection of it.
Love monthlies always will.

samuel rules said...


I definitely agree about the fear of collection inconsistencies, I hate going into issues after starting with volumes, I like to stick with one format.

This week I got Batman Confidential, Marvel Zombies Returns, Sweeth Tooth, Star Wars Invasion, and Strange Tales. There is no sense to the comics I buy.

Unknown said...

Sadly I an living vicariously thru several web sites , due to my current lack of employment, but when I was making the payroll I purchased across the board. Like DC for their writing, Marvel was where I went for my drawing fix, Love the small indies or less known creators.

samuel rules said...

when I got laid off I just chose comics over food. there's no joke here, just a bag a rice and a stack of comics. also, bad nutrition.