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Saturday, July 02, 2005

Teen Angst. It Sells Comics.

As I’ve trimmed my pull-list at the comic shop once more, I am now down to one regular monthly title; Spider-Girl. That’s right.

That surprises some of the people who know me. But, besides Ultimate Spider-Man, it’s the only book doing the Spider-Man character the right way, even if it is a female character. Now, let it be known that "the right way" is subjective, to me, to you, my wife, your grandma, etc., etc. So, don’t go off half-cocked, saying that I claim to know the RIGHT way Spidey should be done.

But, think about it: you’ve got tremendous super hero action, plus that wonderful teen angst that always made reading the Lee/Ditko era of Spidey so enjoyable. And, though there is a lot of carry over from Spider-Man’s day, in the way of heroes and villains, the series is not without it’s own brand of creativity.

I also can’t think of a better example of characterization in the aging of classic Marvel heroes than that found in the Spider-Girl-related miniseries, Last Hero Standing. It is presently giving readers a very interesting look at Captain America coming to terms with his age, as slowing reflexes and a scarred and battered body force him to finally contemplate retirement. I don’t think readers have EVER seen that, before.

Of course, something else I don’t think readers have ever seen is fan feedback saving a Marvel book from cancelation TWICE. That, in and of itself, is amazing. I only wish Marvel would do trade paperback collections of Spider-Girl. Trades are why I’m not picking up Ultimate Spidey on a monthly basis. I have all 12, and am awaiting number 13. Is it me, or are they starting to slow down, a bit?

Getting back to teen angst, I’ve finally told my retailer to begin ordering the Runaways digest collections for me. My wife and I both read the first couple of issues of that series, and liked it. In fact, she’s an avid reader of USM, and is anxiously awaiting our Runaways volumes. And she wasn’t even a comic reader when we got married a little over five years ago! Eat your heart out, true believers! I’ve converted my wife! I’m living the dream!!

Oh, and one other thing, ALSO related to the afore-mentioned angst; my comics connection also informed me that he read and enjoyed Marvel’s Mary Jane. Mary Jane?!? Are you kidding me? This from a guy who reads 15th-century poetry for fun, and has read The Illiad and The Odyssey so many times he probably has them memorized! Mary Jane?!!? The guy obviously LOVES teen angst.

With a recommendation from someone like that, how can I not give it a try?
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