When I was a girl, I’d spend New Years Eve watching my parents get dressed up to go out. My sister and I would be in our pajamas, and my mom would put on her make-up with extra care. Lipstick and perfume. We’d wave as they went away, and then try to get the baby-sitter to let us have extra popcorn, or stay up until midnight. In the morning, we’d go downstairs to breakfast and find noise-makers and gilded hats made out of cardboard, souvenirs of the party. It seemed so glamorous. At my parents’ suggestion, my sister and I would make New Year resolutions. I’m not sure if this was to better ourselves, or to keep us quiet on a hung-over morning, but it was fun.
When I was a teenager, I was miserable on New Years Eve. I would be home from school, hundreds of miles away from my friends, usually alone. My parents would still go out, but I wasn’t so interested in watching them get dressed. I’d stay up, watching people on television having fun. In the morning, I’d resolve to kill myself before I’d ever be so miserable again.
As an adult, I’ve gone to some fabulous New Years Eve parties. One year, John and I went to five parties. After all, we live in New York City, the center of the known universe, and we know Very Important People. You, a mere reader, cannot possible imagine the things I’ve seen at these veritable happenings. (Okay, that’s not in any way true. You can imagine what I’ve seen. I’ve seen adults – some of whom are dressed in very expensive but unflattering clothes — having a few drinks, eating and talking, usually about real estate prices.) For a few years, I’d make resolutions, if only to please my therapist. Lipstick and perfume? Not so much.
Lately, I don’t plan to go out for New Years Eve. The streets are full of drunks. It’s hard to get a cab. If you go to a restaurant or a club, the prices are jacked up beyond belief. Those of our friends who would reliably throw parties have moved out of town. We stay in, have a bottle of champagne, and, with luck, are asleep before midnight. The only successful resolution I’ve made in the last decade has been to drink more water.
The problem with New Years resolutions is you make them for yourself. I’m so much better at telling other people what to do. So here are my resolutions for other people in 2008:
* It’s great that Gail Simone is writing Wonder Woman. Not only is she funny and smart, but she might also be able to imagine what it’s like to be in a fight while having breasts. Also, just because Julie Rottenberg used to work for Karen Berger, who once edited Wonder Woman, that doesn’t mean Diana Prince would wear Manolo Blahniks.
* While we’re at it, all male artists who draw female characters should have to spend at least two weeks wearing breast implants. I don’t mean they should have surgery, but they wear them in a bra (yes, they will have your size at transvestite boutiques, conveniently and anonymously available online, and see what it feels like to run and jump and move with them. This would immeasurably improve the way women are drawn in comics.
* There’s an important election this year. We can’t count on the news media to discuss the issues. We can count on them to talk about polls, and sex, and money. A lot is at stake – the war, the economy, the constitution, the planet – and we should use art to talk about it. Comics are not a bad place to tell storiesabout these topics. Shake up my assumptions. Change my mind.
* Every one of you should buy at least one comic in a genre that’s not part of your usual fare. If you only read classy, literary black-and-white, try a superhero. If you only read superhero slugfests, try somethingwith a story. In fact, Kyle Baker may be the cure for what’s ailing the comics industry.
It’s a new year. Find some new joy. And drink more water.
Martha Thomases, Media Goddess of ComicMix, will not dehydrate until 2009 at the earliest.
Martha Thomases brought more comics to the attention of more people than anyone else in the industry. Her work promoting The Death of Superman made an entire nation share in the tragedy of one of our most iconic American heroes. As a freelance journalist, she has been published in the Village Voice, High Times, Spy, the National Lampoon, Metropolitan Home, and more. For Marvel comics she created the series Dakota North. Martha worked as a researcher and assistant for the author Norman Mailer on several of his books, including the Pulitzer-Prize-winning Executioner's Song, On Women and Their Elegance, Ancient Evenings, and Harlot's Ghost.