Friday, October 06, 2006

On comic books.

Me mum, Peej, has a post today about comic books. Well, it's kind of about comic books. It's more about being attacked as a child while reading a comic book. It's uberfunny. Go read it.

I must confess: I'm a comic book geek. Yes, I know, add that to my being a computer geek and a Star Wars geek and a Tolkein geek and a theater geek and that makes me, well, an ubergeek. I'm comfortable with that.

I grew up with comics. My dad read them when he was a kid, so he would give me his old comics. Most of them were the old Marvel superheroes: Spider Man, X-Men, Avengers, Fantastic Four and the like when I was really young. When I got a bit older, I discovered the DC world of Batman, Superman and the link. Then I expanded my horizons beyond superheroes and discovered horror comics. Then funny comics. Then indy comics. I loved the combination of story and art. Still do.

In the early 90s, I discovered Neil Gaiman. Mr. Gaiman doesn't really do comics anymore, as he's become a surefire legitimate author, but he started out in comics. Thing is, unless you really know comics and have read comics by the likes of Alan Moore and Neil Gaiman, you're most likely thinking of funnybooks, as they've been called. Like long-form versions of what you see in the newspaper on Sundays.

Neil Gaiman couldn't be further from that. He writes do intelligently, so thought-provokingly, and so interestingly that you absolutely believe in the fantastic and supernatural stories he's telling. At least, you believe in their plausibility. Gaiman's Sandman series, to me, stands as one of the greatest storylines of all time. It lasted about 75 issues, I think, and turned the world of dreams into a real place with a real master (named Morpheus, btw, well before the Matrix movies ever came out). It blew me away, starting with the cover art and continuing until the last page.

The greatest of the individual story arcs with the Sandmanseries was easily Season of Mists. Basic plotline: Lucifer quits and closes hell. He'd been there 10 million years or so, and was just plain tired of it, so he quit, kicked everyone out, and gave the key to hell to Morpheus. And the comedy ensues. In the world of the Sandman, all deities exist, and many of them pay a visit to Morpheus to plead their case for why they deserve to take over hell. Great shit.

Forget whatever preconceived notions you may have about comics. Check out Neil Gaiman, specifically Sandman. You won't be sorry. Unless you are, in which case I refuse to be held liable.


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