After I wrote that headline, I instantly thought, “Well, that’s a qualified ‘Thank Jeebus*‘!”
Let’s get serious and face some facts here: There are plenty of really, really shitty independent comics out there. And I’m not talking about the usual suspects– like Zenescope’s Grimm Fairy Tales or [Insert Licensed Comic Book Series Here]. Nope. I’m talking about comic books published by respectable companies like Image Comics or Dark Horse… Companies you routinely see lauded in the IMJ Comic Book Reviews™ column.
Sure, these companies (including Oni Press, Drawn & Quarterly, 1st Second, IDW, Top Shelf, Dynamite and Archaia, etc) all print some great books… But some (more than others) print some real drek too… And OMG!!! The pretentiousness of some of this drivel. You can almost see some clueless editors looking at these series proposals and thinking, “It doesn’t look anything like a mainstream comic book, it doesn’t read anything like a mainstream comic book… Heck, it doesn’t even make sense! MUST BUY NOW!!!“
And much to my shame, I have bought, read (and wanted to destroy) a shit load of it. Way more than my fair share. Given that, I will now freely admit something: I would rather read a seriously bad, nonsensical superhero (or other) mainstream book than an overly pretentious, nonsensical indie comic any day. Yes, you read that right– I prefer crappy commercial pabulum or pretentious bullshit.
But what happens when I get a double whammy— an Indie Superhero Comic stuffed with insufferable tripe? MY HEAD WANTS TO EXPLODE. I suffered this exact happenstance just the other night… And it so disturbed me, I honestly wondered why I was even bothering with the medium. The experience was so disconcerting and mentally destabilizing, I immediately started writing about it… When I realized what I was typing was far too wordy for this column. Expect my blow-by-blow encounter in a future Insideman’s Piece of Mind™ column… If I can summon the stomach to revisit my Late Night of Terror.
Current odds are 50-50 on that ever happening. Somebody pass the whiskey.
*”Thank Jeebus” gleefully stolen from IMJ Contributor Locusmortis.
’68 Vol 3 Jungle Jim – Didn’t like the first volume…
ACG Collected Works Adventures Into The Unknown Vol 3 Slipcase HC
ACG Collected Works Adventures Into The Unknown Vol 4 Slipcase HC
ACG Collected Works Forbidden Worlds Vol 4 HC
Adventure Time With Fionna And Cake – Recommended
Amulet Books Vol 1-3 Box Set
Art Of Charlie Adlard HC – It was heavily discounted…
Avengers Vol 3 Prelude To Infinity HC
Betty Blues HC
Black Beetle Vol 1 No Way Out HC – Recommended
Bloodshot Vol 3 Harbinger Wars
Buck Rogers In The 25th Century The Dailies Vol 8 1940-1941 HC
Catwoman Vol 3 Death Of The Family
Courtney Crumrin Vol 4 Monstrous Holiday Special Edition HC
Dingo Vol 1 Deluxe Edition – Recommended
Epic Chronicles Of Hagar The Horrible Vol 5 1979-80 HC
Essential Thor Vol 7
Gene Simmons Comics Anthology Vol 3 – Oh no!
Green Lantern Vol 2 Revenge Of The Black Hand – Own the Hardcover
Green Lantern Vol 3 The End HC
Haruhi Suzumiya Illustrations Spring And Summer
Harvey Horrors Collected Works Tomb Of Terror Vol 3 HC
Harvey Horrors Collected Works Witches Tales Softie Vol 2
Hatsune Miku Graphics Character Collection Vol 3
Incredible Cuteness of Being
Joker Death Of The Family HC
Largo Winch Vol 4 The Hour Of The Tiger
Law Of The Desert Born
Love In Hell Vol 1
Marvel Zombies The Complete Collection Vol 1 – Hell no!
Marvel Masterworks The Mighty Thor Vol 12 HC
Marvel’s Thor The Dark World Prelude – Just go to the movie!
Mind The Gap Vol 3 Out Of Bodies
Nemesis The Warlock Deviant Edition HC
Ninjago Volume 8 Destiny Of Doom
Ninjago Volume 8 Destiny Of Doom HC
Phantom The Complete Dailies Volume 6 1944-1946 HC
Pre-Code Classics Weird Mysteries Vol 1 HC
Roy Thomas Presents Captain Video Slipcase Edition
Sandman Endless Nights (New Edition) – Own some form of it
Smallville Season 11 Vol 3 Haunted
Spectral Engine HC
Spider Double Novel Vol 2
Superman Dark Knight Over Metropolis
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles The Works Vol 2 HC
Thrilling Adventure Hour – Based on the Nerdist Podcast?!
TMNT Works Vol 2 HC
Transformers Prime Beast Hunters Vol 1
Treasury of Mini Comics HC
Uber Enhanced Vol 1 HC
Uber Enhanced Vol 1 Remarqued HC
Unemployment Adventures Of Aqualung
Wallace And Gromit Newspaper Strips Vol 1 HC
Walt Disney’s Donald Duck Vol 4 Christmas On Bear Mountain HC – Recommended
Who’s 50 – 50 Dr Who Stories To Watch Before You Die
Wolverine Max Vol 2 Escape To LA
Woman Rebel Margaret Sanger Story HC – Thought about it…
X-Files Classics Vol 2 HC
Alice In The Country Of Joker Circus And The Liar’s Game Vol 3
Animal Land Vol 8
Dive In The Vampire Bund Vol 1
Dive In The Vampire Bund Vol 2
Flowers Of Evil Vol 7
Haganai I Have No Friends Vol 4
Jack The Ripper Hell Blade Vol 5
Knights Of Sidonia Vol 5
Love In Hell Vol 1
Monster Musume Vol 1
Negima Omnibus Vol 8 – Buy the single volumes
Uzumaki 3-in-1 Deluxe Edition HC – Own the single volumes
Witch Buster Vol 3
I never look at a Hardcover or Trade Paperback’s cover price while I’m considering whether or not to buy the item. I look at the title, I read the description– I try to draw on my history of likes and dislikes for the character and the creators… And then I look at the price. If a book seems like a rip off or, more gently, ridiculously overpriced– I usually run far, far away from it. It doesn’t matter how much I like something, I will not allow myself to be taken advantage of– no matter how much a collection tweaks my Geek Meter.
So, upfront… I am 100% in love with Tara McPherson’s art. I just love, love, love it. And despite what you may think of me and my unapologetic love for women in general, it has zero relation to how gorgeous the artist is in real life. (In truth, I had no idea what McPherson looked like, until I “googled” her for this column.) I mention all this “love of women stuff” for only one reason: I did not buy this collection so I could gush upon meeting her one day, “I bought your Limited Edition Box Set from Dark Horse!” in hopes I might solicit a smile.
I bought it because I love Tara McPherson’s art.
Factually, I can’t tell you of a piece she’s created that I don’t like… And to be even more precise, I can’t think of any another artist whose oeuvre I admire quite so much. Not Sean Murphy. Not Neal Adams. Or Geoff Darrow. Not anybody. Still, when I saw the price for this set, $250.00 USD, I let out an audible gasp. That’s a hefty grocery bill or gasoline for a month.
The set had a lot going for it, certainly– a special magnetic-seal case, all three of her Dark Horse art books (Lonely Heart, Lost Constellations and Bunny in the Moon) with special limited edition covers… And there were only 200 sets made– for the entire world. But even with all that, I rationalized that I couldn’t possibly buy this collection. After all, I already owned all three books! What on Earth could make this collection worth Two Hundred and Fifty dollars?
Then I read a little further. The case “…folds out to reveal a limited-edition silkscreen print created for this offering, signed and numbered by the artist.”
What?!? So I bought it.
Maybe I won’t eat as much as I normally would this month. Or drive as far. Robbing a bank is out of the question… But I have it now and there’s no turning back. My inner geek (coupled with a bit of collectible speculator– which is really ridiculous, because I would never sell this) won out again, no matter how much I’ve said I would never pay this kind of money for any book or set. Period.
But now that I have… Allow me to make this deal with you, fellow comic book fans. When we’ve finally polluted this world to the point where we are at the end of days… When power plants no longer function as anything other than vast vats of spewing contamination… When I need to build a fire just to keep me and mine warm… I promise I’ll throw this gorgeous art book collection on the fire first.
If I can’t enjoy my Art of Tara McPherson Limited Edition Boxed Set, then no future looters of Planet Earth will either. Sorry, Ms. McPherson…
I’m selfish about the things I love.
Adventures in Cartooning Characters in Action
Art of Archie The Covers HC – Too pricey!
Art of Tara McPherson Limited Edition Box Set – Hot Pick of the Week!
Avengers Kree Skrull War (New Edition) – Read it
Batman Vol 2 The City Of Owls – Own the Hardcover
Battling Boy Vol 1
Battling Boy Vol 1 HC
Best American Comics 2013 HC
Buffy The Vampire Slayer Season 9 Vol 4 Welcome To The Team
Chronicles Of King Conan Vol 6 A Death In Stygia And Other Stories
Colder – Just seems gross…
Colonized – Read the 1st issue… Really disliked it!
Complete Crumb Comics Vol 17 Cave Wimp (New Print)
Complete Golden Age Airboy And Valkyrie HC
Creepy Archives Vol 17 HC – Recommended
Danger Girl Trinity – Nope!
Dark Tower Gunslinger Man In Black – Own the Hardcover
G.I. Joe Special Missions Vol 1
God Hates Astronauts Vol 1
Grimm Fairy Tales Presents Vampires And Werewolves
Grimm Fairy Tales Vol 14 – Not with YOUR money!
I Vampire Vol 3 Wave Of Mutilation
Intensely Dumb Mad
Iron Man Armored Vengeance
Jinnrise Vol 1
Kill Shakespeare Vol 3 Tide Of Blood
Lazarus Vol 1 – Recommended
Love And Rockets New Stories Vol 6
Love Is The Law (Prose)
Lucifer Book 2 – Read it… It’s okay
Marvel Comics The Untold Story SC – Own the Hardback. Recommended
Mind MGMT Vol 2 The Futurist HC
My Little Pony Vol 1 The Magic Begins
Palookaville Vol 21 HC
Rookie Yearbook Two
Sirens The Pin-Up Art Of David Wright HC
Sketching Guantanamo Court Sketches Of The Military Tribunals 2006 – 2013 HC
Star Wars Ewoks Shadows Of Endor
Star Wars Omnibus Wild Space Vol 2
Tales Of The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Vol 3
Thanos Rising – Recommended
Thor An Origin Story HC (New Edition)
Thor God Of Thunder Vol 2 Godbomb HC
Transformers Classics Vol 6
Walking Dead Vol 3 Fall of the Governor HC (Prose) – No more
Wizard Of Id Dailies And Sundays Volume 3 1973 HC
X-Men Storm by Warren Ellis And Terry Dodson
Zombie Tramp (New Print)
ase Closed Vol 48
Magi The Labyrinth Of Magic Vol 2
Tiger And Bunny The Beginning Vol 1 Side A
Tiger And Bunny The Beginning Vol 2 Side B
Tiger And Bunny Volume 3
Trigun Omnibus Vol 1
Triton Of The Sea Vol 1
– Looks cool…
Tyrant Falls In Love Vol 8