Martha Thomases: So This Is Thanksgiving
“When I’m worried and I can’t sleep
I count my blessings instead of sheep
And I fall asleep counting my blessings”
“Count Your Blessings” by Irving Berlin
Next week is Thanksgiving, and so I’m trying to remind myself that I have many reasons to be thankful. First, of course, I am grateful for my family and my friends (human and otherwise) who make my life so entertaining.
But you didn’t come here to read about how fabulous my life is. You want to read about comics. And so, I present to you, Constant Reader, those things about comics for which I am most grateful.
- Image Comics. Back in the 1990s, I agreed with the founding principles of Image (creator ownership and control) but didn’t really like what they published, which to me looked like a lot of scratchy drawings of women with gigantic tits and tiny little ankles. Now, however, I find myself buying a few Image titles every week. Was I wrong in my original impression? Maybe. Are they publishing a more diverse list now? Definitely. In any case, they provide me with more joy.
- Boom! Studios. I confess that I originally mostly picked up the Boom! titles when Mark Waid worked there, because I strive to be loyal. He is no longer editing their books, but they publish a lot of things I like. I told you how much I like Americatown. I started Last Sons of America and that looks promising, too. They publish lots of cool stuff, including Last Sons of America, Adventure Time, Lumberjanes, and Mouse Guard. You could do worse.
- Forbidden Planet. I am fortunate enough to live in a place where there are many different comic book stores near my home, and a high percentage of them are excellent. However, for more than three decades, Forbidden Planet has been the one I go to most often. A lot of that is location (they are near the subway station that goes where I need to go on Wednesdays), but I also like the vibe. When I go, I’m greeted by name. The folks at the check-out know I want a paper bag, not plastic. They recommend books they think I’ll like. Some people have a favorite bar where everybody knows their names. I have Forbidden Planet. I hope you have a local comic shop that makes you feel just as special.
- Kids. Every day, there are opportunities to turn kids on to the fun of comic books. After I get my stack on Wednesdays, I go to the hospital where I volunteer on the pediatric floor. I’m there to teach knitting, but there are some kids who don’t want to knit. If I have a Simpsons comic or another age-appropriate title with single-issue story, I’ll often give it away. Every child, even those without hair or with a port in his chest, lights up in beauty with a glorious smile at the sight of a new comic.
- The revenge of the nerds. Sometimes I wonder if comics are really mainstream now, or if I simply live a life in which that can pass for truth. But, really, there is at least one television show based on a comic book on prime time just about every day. “Superhero” is now a movie genre, one taken (mostly) seriously by respected film critics. The New York Times Book Review publishes best-seller lists for graphic novels in hardcover, paperback and manga formats. Comics are now so respectable that parents try to make their kids read them.
- Comics! Let’s not forget how great they are. Even when I’m irked by some current controversy and what it means about our sociopolitical climate, I still love the feeling of sitting down to a fresh stack of comics, with my cat purring next to me on the armrest.
And, as always, I’m thankful for you and your indulgent attention. Happy holidays, folks.