Sunday, 30 January 2011

Comics are for teenagers!

As an old (42 years and getting older by the minute) comic fan my mind is often focused on the future of the industry.  I worry that the hobby I have spent so much of my life obsessing over will soon be gone.  Anyone who cares for the medium probably feels the same.  The numbers seem to be falling every year and even a slew of bad to reasonable movies don’t seem to be helping.

This blog in particular was started for two reasons.  The first being my son Ross who is becoming a comics monster like his father.  At first I was worried that he was reading them because it’s just something that we do when we have our weekends together (it is worthy of note that none of his friends enjoy the hobby).  But recently his enthusiasm for them seems to have grown on it’s own.  He has his own pull list at our LCS.  He has his own long boxes stacked and a shelf for trade paperbacks.

The second reason is that I was going through the loft space trying to clear out some boxes when I came across a folder that contained lists I made when I was 13 years old.  Lists meticulously made every week of my favourite top three comics, heroes and creators.  I would even write little reviews of a comic saying why I liked it and trying to say why the art was good (never ever bad).

The list was full of Hawkeye and Shang-Chi.  The Avengers, Teen Titans the Uncanny X-Men.

It was clear that my enthusiasm for the medium was a huge focus of my teenage life and I began to wonder how kids think.  And having a 13 year old son who I can ask I decided to explore what he likes and dislikes in comics.

Here are his answers.

Question 1 – Who are your favourite characters.

  1. Deadpool.
  2. Blue Beetle  
  3. Original Question.

Deadpool is kind of a given in this category.  He has the kind of humour that appeals to the 13 year old in us all.  My son and I had seen Wolverine and loved the Deadpool character.  Ross often tells me all about his powers and the storylines in his various titles (I am not a Deadpool reader).  He loves the humour and the outrageous action.

Blue Beetle is a character he started reading with the introduction of the new character and he loves the appearance he made on The Brave and Bold cartoon.  We are desperate to see what treatment he gets in the new season of Smallville when it comes to UK television.

The original Question was a bit of a surprise to me. I felt sure that a member of the Green Lantern posse would make an appearance.  My son has read the old Dennis O’Neil and Denys Cowan issues and we
talk about him a lot on our journeys. 
(Deadpool by PJ Holden.). 

Question 2 – What are your favourite comics series.

  1. Deadpool Team-Up.
  2. Generation Lost.
  3. Exiles.

The anarchic humour in the team up pits Deadpool with/against heroes from the Marvel Universe who are often new to my son.  He really liked the Iron Fist issue.

Generation Lost is new to him (I bought him the up to date run on the series at a sale at the LCS) and gave them to him all in one lump.  He loves the ‘slightly crap’ characters and enjoys the interplay between them all.  He pretty much devoured fifteen issues in one sitting.

Exiles has always been one of his favourites and he often talks about Mimic (who I am surprised didn’t make it on the list somewhere).  It was one of the first comics that he latched on to and would often ask me when the next trade is out.

Question 3 – Top three supporting characters.

  1. Warpath.
  2. The Indigo Tribe.
  3. Sinestro.

The X-Men space opera aspect is a favourite of his and the ‘cool knives’ are as well (slightly worrying?  Not at all he is a sensible kid).  Maybe Marvel should start looking at Warpath as a new Wolverine style character for the new generation of comics readers (if there is one).

The indigo Tribe and Sinestro are interesting in that Ross finds the supporting characters in Green Lantern as more notable than the heroes (Guy, Kyle and Hal didn’t even chart).  My son devours all three GL books and loved Blackest Night.  He loves Doug Mahke's and Christian Alamy's art especially.

In Conclusion.

I think much of what I have shown is a matter of interpretation by the proffessionals. I won't labour the point that the industry is in decline and we need to build up the younger audience.  As a perting shot below is my son's pull list so you can make of that what you wish.

1.  All Green Lantern comics.
2.  All Deadpool comics.
3.  Generation Lost.
4.  Teen Titans.
5.  Anything Blue Beetle.
6.  Walking Dead in trade paperback.
7.  Exiles (if we ever see it again).

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