In the early 2010s, Image Comics launched a plethora of kick-ass, hype-generating monthly comics series, written by a murderers’ row of writers pulled from Marvel and DC. Those series, including but not limited to East of West, Lazarus, Sex Criminals, The Wicked + The Divine, and Bitch Planet, quickly became the books I was most excited to buy each month (or every six months, for those I bought in trades).
At the time of this writing, most of those early 2010s Image hits have either ended, gone on hiatus, or shifted to irregular release schedules. And while I love plenty of Image’s current output, as a whole, those series are not generating the same amount of hype or sales (maybe arguable, but I looked – compare Image’s market share from 2014 and 2019) as Image’s early 2010s line-up.
So where did that heat Image Comics had at the start of last decade go? Well, in the 2020s, there’s another indie publisher that’s pumping out hit after hit written by some of Marvel and DC’s current top writers – and that’s BOOM! Studios.
When we lived in South Korea, it seemed like every couple there was matchy-matchy. That is, they wore coordinated or straight-up matching outfits whenever they went out together. Matchy-matchy is not and never has been Kat and my’s style. The closest we’ve come to purposely wearing matching outfits has been at weddings (coordinated dresses and ties) and mud runs (where there is often a theme).
Over the course of the past two months, most of the comic shops near me have reopened. Despite my intense desire to scope out the Twin Cities nerd scene, I did not immediately rush out to buy print comics when shops began reopening. I was jobless for three months this spring, and my wife and I still have a few big purchases to make as a result of our cross-country move. While we are doing absolutely fine and are quite well-off considering others’ situations, rushing back into a just-reopened comic shop and buying all the things felt irresponsible to me.
So I waited, until I’d received enough paychecks that I figured I could drop some money on comics. And while I waited, I thought about what I was going to buy. A lot of trades and series and OGNs floated through my mind, but as the day I was actually, finally going to get to go to a comic shop, have a look around, and buy some comics approached, only one title felt right to purchase:
When I told my wife I was planning to buy a mess of Batman comics, she rolled her eyes at me and said, “Of course you are.” This statement both does not give me enough credit for expanding my comics palette over the last eleven years, and is also extremely correct. Because when given the chance to actually enter a comic shop for the first time since we moved to Minnesota, I decided that what I really wanted was some comfort food. Something that would make the next few hours spent reading at home feel normal, exciting, and wonderful in a way that most things don’t right now. If you’ve been binging old favorites on Netflix or from your bookshelf to get through the tougher days of this pandemic, then you know why I bought Batman.
I had planned to read just the first couple of the ten issues I bought and save the rest for a camping trip I have coming up. I read all ten issues within a few hours. I will read them again on the camping trip, to catch the things I missed because I was reading too quickly. I may have started reading them again while I was writing this paragraph. I can tell you without hestitation that Batman is good right now. Which makes at least one thing that is good right now.
That feeling, that at least something is good right now, is all I wanted out of my first visit to a Twin Cities comic shop. So I consider my first mid-pandemic comics run to be a success. Next time, I likely won’t buy just Batman – but I most certainly will still be buying Batman.
Forvariousreasons, it’s been tough to enjoy reading or talking about comic books recently. So this week – little to no comics talk. Instead, here are some non-comics-reading ways you can spend your free time, if you’re looking to step away from comics for a while. (For those looking for comics talk, I’ll hopefully have some for you in a couple weeks.)
Excuse me as I indulge in a bit of self-promotion! The wonderful Kathryn Prince (a.k.a Red Phacelia) and I just put out a new zine, and if you like this blog, I think you’ll dig our zine, too. Especially if you are a fan of “Marvel’s” “Thanos” (an entirely new character who is obviously legally distinct from Marvel’s Thanos):
Want to learn why Thanos should have paid attention in biology class? Then click this link to purchase the first issue of Extra Crunchy Fun from Gumroad for just $1. You’ll not only get Kat’s three-page Thanos comic, but also a couple short prose stories, an excellent no-bake cookie recipe, a Star Wars-themed crossword, and more! Which is actually quite the bargain.
If you purchase the zine, definitely come back here afterward and leave a comment letting us know what you thought of it. We’re already planning our next issue, and we’d love to use your feedback to make it even crunchier.