I interviewed Tom Spurgeon earlier this week for the column, but I’m way behind on transcribing our talk, so you’ll just have to put up with more of my meandering ditherings for another Sunday. The interview will be up next week for sure though.
One of the things Tom and I talked about was how a lot of the online comics critics/bloggers currently in production come from the same background or entry point. In other words, most of us got introduced to comics through Marvel or DC via our local newsstand, drifted over to our local comic book shop and, as we got older, branched out into other genres and styles (or didn’t as the case may be).
As a result, I think we tend to do the sort of Monday-morning quarterbacking that Jeff Lester talked about recently. That is to say, we all end up discussing and reviewing about the same “hot” comics the day after they come out, offering endless contemplations on whether they worked or not. That’s not inherently a bad thing. In fact, it can be a healthy discussion, as well as a useful tool to gage trends and mores within the comics community. But there’s a lot of other material that gets pushed to the side as a result, and I’m not necessarily talking about the latest graphic novel from Fantagraphics or D&Q.
One of the things that Tom does that I like a lot is he’ll frequently post reviews of older comics, either from his collection or that he’s picked up at your local book sale. He’s not the only one of course. Jog’s been going gangbusters with his Choked With Comics column, Shaenon Garrity’s got her Overlooked Manga Festival, and Dick Hyacinth has been offering a great critical re appreciation of Rob Liefeld of all people. And then there’s the great Dave’s Long Box.
Still, it seems as though many comics critics/bloggers (croggers?) are stuck in the now, and not providing enough of a critical reasessment of past artists and books. I’d like to see more of the latter. I want someone to make me jump out of my chair, into my car and go pouring through the back bins of my local shop. I want an excuse to go vainly searching through Alibris.
With that in mind, I have a proposal. Sometime within the month of October, I want you, assuming you blog about comics regularly, or hell, even if you don’t, to write about a long-lost comic book, series, graphic novel, artist, writer or whatever that you feel is criminally underrated or ignored (preferably the latter). The more obscure the better. Genre doesn’t matter, nor does if the book comes from your collection or not, though I would like to see folks pick something a little out of their comfort zones for this.
No prizes will be awarded, though I will link to any and all who decide to rise to the challenge. No, you just have the satisfaction that comes with providing the Internet with some intelligent critical discourse. Oh, all right, I’ll see if I can dig up a prize of some sort. Don’t get your hopes up too high though.