The Last Sermon - “I’ve Lost That Loving Feeling”
October 23, 2006
I’ve finally lost it.
Not in a postal sense. And not in the sense of losing it like New York’s going out with her verbal guns a-blazin’ when she got bounced by Flavor Flav in the “The Flavor of Love 2” finale. I would say that she should save that drama for her mama but it seems like that’s where she got it from in the first place. That girl has more baggage than Samsonite.
Actually, I think that I’ve hit some sort of mental wall and in the process, I’ve lost my passion for writing about comics. Well, at least for the time being.
To get a better grip on why I lost this drive, I went through some personal inventory. Obviously, some of the blame has to do reside me and I’ll own up to that fact. While I often derive a sense of accomplishment from bringing a “different” view on the world of comics while not trying to be serious about the whole industry, it is no longer as fun as it used to be in recent months. That has never more apparent than by the recent delays in the posting of the PftL columns; normally they were posted on a bi-weekly schedule but now have slid into an almost once a month-ish, when I have something to say kind of pattern. That’s not good. Also, while I’ve always claimed that I’m an unabashed hypocrite in most respects, I’m finding it more and more difficult to constantly bitch about some comic books that are always delayed when my own columns miss multiple deadline dates.
I also seem to have lost my, for lack of better words, comic book radar. I pride myself in trying to unearth comic book nuggets and offer them to you, the reader, on a four-color platter. But within the past few months, I’ve missed writing about a couple of topical things:
“Aquaman” pilot on iTunes – How could this slipped past me? I found out about this from Entertainment Weekly and after verifying that it was there, I couldn’t look myself in the mirror for a couple of days. How can I call myself a comic book columnist if I didn’t know that this Smallville spin-off was in existence? It is almost inexcusable.
“Space Sentinels: The Complete Series & Freedom Force: The Complete Series” – Again, how long have I been asleep at the wheel? This set was released back at the end of August and I just found out about it yesterday night. I’m so about the old Filmation superhero junk. I would’ve pimped this stuff at least a full month before it came out. For no other reason other than to make sure that there will be more of this classic 70s-80s Saturday Morning cartoon stuff out on DVD. At least, I can mark a December date in my calendar for the release of “Dungeon & Dragons: The Complete Series”.
Alright, back to the subject at hand. Typically, I should be able to write a column about comic books with my eyes closed (and if you read some of my older columns, it may literally be the case). But the fault is not all at my feet. The books themselves have left me, for the lack of better words – speechless or for the problem for the continuation of this column, wordless. And obviously, that’s not a good thing.
Currently, the mission of both Big Two in the comic book industry is hopelessly devoted to one thing, which is that money-grabbing and decompression-abusing practice that is also known as company-wide crossovers.
Now, before any of you out there rightly say that there are many more genres to comic books for people to read other than an overindulgence of the Big Two’s superhero comic books, I can only say two things:
One – Despite the emergence of Image, Dark Horse, Oni Press, IDW, Boom Studios, Viper, and the rest of the smaller publishers, the comic book industry rises and falls on the weekly output that transpires from the Big Two. I wish that it wasn’t the case because there really are some inspired books being created and sold. But as Bruce Hornsby sang all those years ago, “That’s just the way it is. Some things will never change.”
Two – I was “made” into this business as a tights-and-cape guy over twenty years ago and I can’t seem to shake it. Trust me; I know that I’m not the only one who still feels that way.
Trying to keep up with these 100-plus inter-connected monthly titles (plus stand alone title) is mentally, not to mention physically, exhausting. You can’t swing a dead cat in a comic book shop without hitting at least ten books that don’t have somewhere on the cover bearing either Identity Crisis, Infinite Crisis, Year One, House of M, DeciMation, or Civil War logo. That’s too prevalent; especially for my liking.
All of this stuff is so in my something-to-bitch-about wheelhouse; just in case you didn’t know. And yet, I don’t have the impetus to transcribe my feelings into words. It’s as if I have this feeling that I haven’t had since I took that Home Economics class back in seventh grade, which is the same one I have for the lame 80s parity, Totally Awesome. That feeling is one of the seven deadly sins that scared Billy Batson into becoming Captain Marvel all those years ago – Apathy.
Once I finally realized that I’ve turned apathetic toward the world of comic books (actually, the industry itself, to be specific), I went through my options and went with what would be best for everyone involved. It wasn’t an easy decision to make and it has been something that I’ve been wrestling with for a couple of months. But, I’ve decided that a break from writing about the subject would be probably the best thing that I could do.
But, dry those eyes; the end of this column doesn’t mean that I’ll be leaving this cyber plane any time in the near future. As time permits, I plan on still posting (albeit a little more frequently) on my official site and also on my page on MySpace. So, hopefully, you all can come by and say “Hi” when the urge strikes you.
So, to put a black ribbon on this closing ceremony, let me send some gratitude to the following people/groups/organizations/etc.:
To Mr. Kevin Smith – for sinking some of his vast fortune into a site that was a running gag in one of his movies just so schlubs like me can feel better about writing utter nonsense and have it treated like a respectable piece of quasi-journalism.
To Ryall – the one who “made” me. Seriously, thanks for giving me the initial opportunity to come here to the bastard offspring of the View Askewinverse and to still keep in touch even as he’s beginning his second stage of dominating the comic book landscape (which will still be denied until his master plan removes variant covers from the face of the Earth).
To Ming – for being rock solid and helping out whenever I asked a stupid question, which was more times than I care to remember.
To UncaScroogeMcD – for keeping the home fires burning with QSE. Keep the faith, man.
To the MPS/QSE board members (Ozchick, JJ, Fanny, JK, Zens, By-Tor, Robbo, TK, DbleA, Phit, Ratm, Bamms, RB, Jason B, and the gang) – thanks for welcoming me in without too many reservations and for allowing me to hang out on the best board on the Internets.
To all of the pros (like Keith Giffen, Ross Ritchie from Boom Studios, Larry Young from AiT/Planet Lar, Wes Molebash, Steve Rolston, Chris Pitzer from AdHouse Books) that I’ve met through this column – thanks for the free merch and for the words of encouragement.
To my lifers, Eddie C and Chet K – thanks for hanging in there when no one else did. I’ll always remember that.
To the readers of Preachin’ from the Longbox – words can’t totally express the gratefulness that I have for each and everyone of y’all out there in the sea of the Net so I won’t even try other than say, “Thanks”.
Finally, to my wife, Teresa, and my two kids, Brady and Chloe - being in my corner during this two-year, non-paying, stay-up-real-late-at-night run at being a pontificator of all things comics for a pop-culture website. Sure, it wasn’t all that easy. But not one of you voiced your complaints. Well, at least not about this stuff. I’ll make it up to you all. Promise.
So, with all that being said, it’s time to close up shop and bid adieu for now. With a heavy sigh, here, for the last time at this residence, are my parting words:
Don’t forget to keep your bags and boards together and your continuity straight.
Hope to see you around,
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