Hey everyone, hope you had an awesome Thanksgiving, and are getting ready for Xmas and the New Year in proper fashion. I took a couple weeks off to recover from a nasty ear infection, and I also tried to enjoy a little bit of the holiday myself. With working and yada, yada (you know the hustle) sometimes you just gotta take some time to rebound and regather your thoughts, so for this week instead of just diving back into discussing a specific comic, I actually wanted to talk about some things that have been happening in the comic industry as a whole. I have a few things that have bothered me lately that I want to talk about, and I also have a few lesser known Independent comics I would like to spot light. So now I give you Why You Should Be Reading…..The Industry/ Spotlights…..
Truth be told Ive been doing most of my comic purchasing online this past month, firstly due to the fact that going into a store has just been too emotionally taxing to deal with lately, and secondly its been a little over a month but things haven’t really been the same since I found out news that Ales Kot’s Material had been cancelled. Also everything I’ve currently enjoyed has either taken a hiatus or has ended ,thus making my choices for comics that keep me interested and excited for each coming Wednesday limited. It just seems like unless your into the overly commercialized super hero stuff, we seem to be in a slow point. Now I know if you continue to dig and not count on the shop you can still find massive amounts of amazing stuff, plus retracing steps through history is also a good plan, but there is something to be said about the atmosphere inside a store when there are things to be excited for, however if there isn’t, it can be a bland and disappointing place. Don’t get me wrong, I love Batman as much as the next person, but seriously it gets old people, and all the super hero jargon (And Star Wars too) is really tiring, and all I see is recycled content taking up space from profound works like Material.
As Ales stated
“The facts are simple: the current comics marketplace, and the current comics business, do not support the type of work I predominantly want to create, nor do they support the type of ethical conduct I want to perpetuate. Nor do they pay enough.” – Ales Kot
There is something massively wrong with mainstream America, we are the land of free, yet any work of art that tries to break down some of the negative cultural problems plaguing this country gets stifled and held down by an industry, or its simply not supported by said industry, or the so called “fans”. So apparently people will pass up a comic like Material (which discusses what is really happening in this world, like the destruction of this country due to capitalism, racism, politics and police brutality towards blacks) and walk right over to the massive Marvel shelf and buy another Star Wars rendition, or Captain America comic for that matter, to continue practicing what is known as escapism. As a human being this is your right, but are we really celebrating creativity or are we pigeon holding ourselves and continuing to uplift the same old successors, while ignoring the new leaders trying to create a new world, and when I say we I mostly mean YOU. I for one take the time to find the true gems, because Art imitates life, and it seems lately life has been imitating art. I personally look for realism VS escapism, I just don’t understand how something as deep and heart felt as Material can suffer due to the industry and market place, and I had personally hoped people would come around to the idea of finally using their thinking caps and acknowledging the world we live in, VS continuing to analyze Gotham city, but I think I’m asking too much. Now I know the kids are mostly marketed for Super hero comics but let’s face it, anyone collecting hard copies is older, and also for the record I do know that well written works do have qualities of real life represented in super hero comics, but its just not direct enough for our current times. I have yet to read super man discussing Police Brutality, or the fact that our justice system is crumbling before our eyes, and until that happens we need to re think the work we continue to put on pedestals, and I hope one day there will be a change for the better.
If Material being cancelled wasn’t enough, the salt in the wound came from seeing Strange Fruit return to comic shelves, this massively pissed me off and honestly I am actually going through a bit of a boy cot right now, and any comic book shop stocking that disgusting comic will not receive any of my business going forward. Only in America a thoughtful comic discussing and trying to make sense of the mess in this world, can get pulled, yet a racist and disrespectful comic like Strange Fruit WHICH IS THE NAME THEY GAVE BLACK PEOPLE HUNG BY WHITES during slavery times, can sit plainly on a comic book shelve, regardless of the uproar it caused. So to put this plainly Ales can’t take chances but 2 white guys can appropriate an offend an entire race yet that is OK? Does anyone not see the madness in this???? For the record I actually wrote a Why You Shouldn’t be reading Strange fruit but I ended up not sending it out for publishing for 2 reasons. 1 I was emotionally pissed off and as a newer column I didn’t feel it was the time to go there, and 2 because I wanted to keep my column positive, after all this is Why You SHOULD be reading VS shouldn’t and I wanted to keep things on the up and up. Now fast forward a few months and its time to acknowledge that in life not everything isn’t bunnies and kittens so sometimes you gotta call it like it is, and as an African American continuing to see Strange Fruit on shelves, again the name they called hung blacks on trees is just a massive F you to my people. So why am I spending the money for an industry that has no care in the world for what I think and feel? I can’t really answer that question but I will continue to support the work I feel deserves it, and as for everything else I’ll just download it like most Americans do anyway.
As you can see some of the luster has faded , and lately I have been spending my time reading older comics I either missed, or like to re enjoy again, so look forward to me taking a more classic approach with the column, until things pick up again for the better.
The first comic I would like to Spotlight is the BotherMan Revelation. Its actually the return of the Cult Classic Botherman The Disciple of Discipline. This time Big City Comics is telling the origin story of the Botherman and I couldn’t be more excited. It doesn’t get much better than Botherman when it comes to African American comics and I am quite proud they have returned with a graphic novel idea, ready to tell the story on how Brotherman came to be. In case you aren’t familiar, Brotherman was comic released in the 90’s and became a cult classic among the black community, showing us in a positive light Vs the alternative which perpetuated stereotypes. The story follows and African American lawyer, who realized that upholding the law in the court room wasn’t enough, that he needed to take it to the streets as The Brotherman, I would go more in depth but I plan on doing a column on the Brotherman series in itself.
Is being marketed as a visual mixtape. It is clear the team has a true plan of tackling the diversity problem in comics, and do so with class and dignity. The guys were on the hustle promoting and trying to crowd fun this project to help with its inception, even without making their goal they still managed to manifest this project, and that deserves respect! Definitely pick up a copy and order it online to show support.
Well everyone that is all for now, and thank you for baring with me the last couple weeks, plan on things being business as usual going forward!
Cheers, and keep on keepin on…..
– Grainbelt Jones
Tags: Why You Should Be Reading