Much like several of my mates here on the ‘Mix, I hit the wall of inspiration. What fell off the top of that wall? Seasonally appropriate random thoughts! So, without further adieu, allow me to waste a bit of your time with all the things I’m thankful for this year!
The Unshaven Comics Fanbase
OK, I know. Pander much, Fishface? Well, suck it, haters. At the top of my comic-centric list of things I’m thankful for are the group of folks who have chosen to flock to my li’l studio make every line I draw worth making. I’ve said it before, and Rao knows I’ll say it again: when a complete stranger is willing to stop and listen to your pitch and see your product and proclaim a positive retort as to the quality of the story and/or visuals, well then, there is little else professionally I find more invigorating. Behind many of those tables in Artist Alley lay men and women still a little bit scared no one will appreciate their wares. And to see that over the last six years or so we’ve raised a small group of loyal fans across Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, and over to New York? Well, it means I have plenty of reasons to be glad I spend as much time as I do at the drawing board (er… computer).
Comic Books on TV
How could I not be thankful that my DVR now overflows with the highest quality comic book adaptations on the small(er) screen? They’re not perfect, but Gotham, The Flash, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., and their brethren are delivering far beyond my expectations. Back in the spring when the words “Hail Hydra” were whispered on air, my jaw dropped. Suddenly a decent show became appointment-worthy. And with a few shifts in the team dynamics, some more intrigue, and a little bit o’ Patton, the show continues to be a fancy feast of Marvelous content whilst we wait for the next blockbuster (put a pin in that). Over on the DC side, it’s hard not to smile and geek out over this current iteration of the scarlet speedster. Sure, there’s some similar team-building and freak-of-the-week tropes that were trotted out on the progenitor Arrow, but it was clear from even the pilot that this show was doing it’s damnedest to do it right. And here, almost half a dozen episodes in, and I’m excited to see where The Flash will run to when it’s running at full speed. Natch. Suffice to say, I could go on, but I think it’d be better if I finally type those words Mike Gold was afraid I’d belch out a few months prior:
It’s equally a shame and wonderful when the comic books on TV are higher quality than the ones on the shelf. And for that hypocrisy, I’m very thankful.
Good lord. The Winter Soldier. Days of Future Past. Guardians of the Galaxy. And, heck, Big Hero Six. What more can I say, that hasn’t already been said? How about this: Thank you, Universe*.
* 616, for those who want to be completest. Prove me wrong in 2015, Superman v. Batman: Dawn of Angst.
Giving Up Printed Comics from the Big Two
After my beloved piece from a few weeks back (I mean seriously, it got over 50 likes, kiddos!), I think I made my case for why I’m done with DC and Marvel’s printed fare for the time being. As much as I want to like both of them, frankly, they’ve become too predictable, too bloated, and to prone to too-predictable-too-bloated epic crossovers that I have to read. Well? I’m damn thankful that I don’t have to, and I choose instead to spend my shekels on Image, Boom!, Avatar, and the independent comic book creators who choose to push the boundaries of the medium we all love… and love to criticize.
Not Running Afoul of Michael Davis
I mean seriously, do you read his column? That dude can seek justice, retribution, and vengeance all before breakfast. Don’t get me wrong, I look forward to when Unshaven Comics gets out to the San Diego Comic Con so we can see the Black Panel for ourselves… and inevitably say something wrong. It’s gonna happen. But for now, I’m totally in the clear. Except I stopped writing reviews for MichaelDavisWorld this year, and uhh… is it too late to take this back? Screw it. Lean into wave, my pappy used to say.
I’m still super duper behind, kiddos. But rest assured, it only took four episodes of Series 8 to assure me two things: Peter Capaldi is my Doctor, and I really do like Doctor Who. I won’t lie. I watched every episode of House so many times I truly wanted the universe to give me Doctor House. Capaldi is as close as I’m gonna get to that, and it’s enough to make me excited to dive into the remaining episodes buried away before the Christmas Special I’m told I’ll need to see. No humbugs needed.
A Bright Present… A Brighter Future
There was so much good in 2014, for us nerds. But the biggest thing I’m most thankful for is that if you’ve read this far? You know that there’s so much more on the horizon. Marvel will continue to dominate the box office. DC will attempt to compete (and competition breeds better products). Once the epic-crossovers are done doing whatever they are doing? The Big Two might even return to telling good stories confined to single books that don’t feel compelled to be unnecessarily gritty, grim, or modern for the sake of a quick sale. OK, that might be a little too optimistic, but I’m in a good mood. Beyond that, I know Unshaven Comics will be launching a major kickstarter when our first graphic novel is complete, and with that will come a new set of problems, solutions, and ultimately fans. It brings everything back full circle, don’t it? Don’t it?
It does. Happy Turkey Day, ComicMixers.