Tuesday, November 14, 2006
A brief emerald narrative, a.k.a., Dawn, you've created a monster
The fabled motto of the drug dealer is "first hit's free." Yes, that is how they suck you in to their vortex of doom.
I frequently visit the lovely Dawn in Ottawa, and while staying with her she gives me stacks of comics to read. Yay, comics. Thanks to her, I've read Chester Brown's I never liked you, Scott McLeod's Understanding Comics, and other classics -- but mostly, mostly, mostly I have read heaps of X-men.
It was so great to learn more about these characters, whom I had enjoyed in the movies, but who had so much more going on in the comics. Of course I loved Wolverine, but also Angel, Rogue (so much cooler in the comics than her shy movieverse self), Cannonball, Jamie Madrox (especially in Peter David's Madrox and X-Factor), etc., etc...
Thanks to Dawn, not only did I discover the soap-opera-fantasticosity of the Dark Phoenix saga, and the Morlock Massacre, and the Trial of Gambit, etc., but I also began to understand the difference between different writers and artists. I began to know my Chris Claremont from my Grant Morrison. Useful! Crucial!
Furthermore, Dawn pointed me toward the X-axis, a wonderfully snarky X-book review site. It was thoroughly entertaining and well-written, and I found myself diving into its archives to get a sense of the history of the X-books.
However, occasionally the reviewer would also review non-X-books. His review of All-star Superman 1 led me to figure that it would be worthwhile to check the series out. The series was already up to issue #5, but fortunately Midtown Comics had all five issues conveniently available in-store, so I just picked them all up.
I fell in love. The Grant Morrison & Frank Quitely team is the same as in the run of New X-men that I had read (again, thanks to Dawn), and really enjoyed, but the story was clean, economical, and Super-satisfying.
I wanted more. Who was this Superman, man of myth and legend, but whom I'd never really cared much about before? Furthermore, what was this DC, to be putting out such an excellent product?
Back in high school, thanks to another comic-book-pusher, Caitlyn, I had read a lot of DC's Vertigo line of comics. Everyone who knows me knows my love of Neil Gaiman's Sandman series, but I'd also read some Hellblazer and other Vertigo stuff. Mostly good, but it hadn't led me to explore the DC universe as a whole.
My exploration of the X-men had, on the other hand, led into a wholesale exploration of the Marvel universe. Possibly because of all the tie-ins and cross-overs and Events (it doesn't hurt that Dawn lent me House of M and this summer the Civil War event started). But in going around the internet and looking at what was out there, I found myself drawn to the types of elements discussed in this blogger's post about why she loves Marvel. If what Marvel was about was flawed heroes who are hated but fight back anyway, and DC was about iconic heroes revered by their society, well, then, hey -- that's a pretty obvious choice. Marvel for me!
Anyway. During all this, I read Alan Moore's The Watchmen, and mostly dug it, but realized that I couldn't totally get into its cynicism about its heroes. They were a little too flawed. I want to be a little more hopeful about my heroes.
Now, I forget how this all happened, exactly, but basically this is the next step in the story. Obviously, in poking around the internet, looking for information on superhero comics, and being the type of person I am, it didn't take me long to find Karen Healey's blog, Girls Read Comics (and They're Pissed) or, more to the point, Ragnell and Kalinara's When Fangirls Attack!.
Fun! Hours of procrastination! Feminist insights into comics and superheroes! Smart women talking about comics! YAY! Fun fun fun. (This, of course, was right around the time I started getting excited about possibly teaching a "Philosophical Themes in Comics" course.)
Now, both Ragnell and Kalinara are fans of a comic book character that, as I had been immersed in Marvel and beginning to dip my toe into DC via Superman, I had not yet really encountered: Green Lantern. (Note - at this early stage I wasn't even really aware that there were MULTIPLE Green Lanterns. Oh, the fun!) I began poking through the website Zamaron: A Green Lantern Femme-site and saw the enthusiasm they had for the Green Lantern Corps.
Around this time, my roommate had a party and a (cute) boy was wearing a Green Lantern T-shirt. We had a fun chat about comics in general, and I felt bad that I had no real idea about Green Lantern.
Shortly thereafter, I visited a friend in DC (the city, not the company) and stopped into Big Monkey Comics in Georgetown. The staff was really friendly, and I asked where a good place to begin reading Green Lantern would be. I had heard of the various Hal-vs-Kyle debates and didn't know where to wander in. They recommended Rebirth as a good new-reader-friendly start, and so I bought it, and read it on the train ride home.
LOVE! LOVE! LOVE!
Heroes that weren't perfect, but still trying! Heroes with decades of mythology behind them that I could get wrapped up in! Heroes with really adorable asses! (Which get a fair amount of attention, and deservedly so. Of course, also note Ragnell's warning post about crushes on Green Lanterns. This might be a problem, given that I've decided that Kyle Rayner is my new boyfriend. That said, since I'm not a comic book character, I doubt I'll end up dead because of it. See, by the way, Kalinara's blog post describing Kyle as "fangirl bait". Yup, sigh, yup. Oh well. Hey Dawn, she lists Gambit as also being "fangirl bait.")
I don't know. Something about the idealism of the Green Lantern Corps just sucked me in (and sucked in my wallet... I now own a pile of Green Lantern trade paperbacks and individual issues... and this all since October!).
I'm in love. Not just with Kyle Rayner. With the whole concept. And I can't stop wanting to share that love, much to the sadness of some of my friends around the office (fortunately, through careful Lending O' Comics, I am beginning to recruit my friend Rosa into Green Lantern Love. Excellent!)
Anyway, I just needed to share. Thanks for indulging me.
jane 1:23 PM [+]