Nothing’s Happening, Thank God

Close your eyes. Concentrate on yourself. Focus on your breathing.

Breathe in. Breathe out. Remember how it used to be, not so long ago. Dwell in that feeling, my brothers and sisters.

Join me in meditation for a moment or two. It will all be better soon.

Not so long ago– mere minutes ago for those of us who have been around the block a time or two– there was a time when It was All Happening.

Do you remember how it felt, just a couple of short years back? Maybe a Secret Invasion was about to take place. Maybe the Blackest of Nights was in the process of falling.

Creators were declaring exclusive contracts. Companies were declaring themselves creator-friendly. Black was Warner, White was Disney.

Dwell on that feeling for a moment, then take some deep breaths and join me in The Now. Let us all (who have not been bitten in the legs by crocodiles lately)  take a fond look back at how relatively little has happened in the field of comic bookery in the last several months.

Oh, I know how contradictory the notion is, my jolly old chaps. I know what they’ve been saying to you, the old rotters. “Things will never be the same after this!” the old refrain has gone. “Everything you thought you knew was wrong, though in the end everything was remarkably close to what you thought you knew, yet with minor characters being bitten in the legs by crocodiles across a series of collectible covers.” “Everything in the world will be different after this, in a way that you will find relaxingly familiar.”

Across the New 52, they have prepared a series of revelations and 0 issues that have made the new(ish) user say, “Egad! This has shaken to its very foundation the new status quo. Also, what is the current status quo? I’m asking for a friend. I’m totally a geek, which is cool in 2012. Observe this t-shirt. Ahem, and so on. They tell me the new universe is a year old, so what is a Batgirl…?”

Meanwhile, at Marvel, something even less explicable is taking place. “We are restarting everything!” they say, “except nothing is restarting in the actual, strictest sense. If that neighbor of yours with the suspicious moonshine still and the apparent eighth-grade education sees a Wolverine comic in the checkout aisle at the corner Walgreens in a few months, he can expect an entirely new narrative experience. If your friend who has loved the X-Men since 1987 buys the same issue, he will have virtually an identical experience. Both can be true at the same time. ”

Everyone is trying to have it both ways. If you’re a lifelong fan, these are the books for you. If you’re the Elusive New Reader, these issues are the perfect Jumping On Point.

“I’ve loved Supergirl for the last thirty years”? These are the perfect comics for you.

“What exactly is a ‘Supergirl'”? These are the perfect comics for you.

The end result of this complete and total change that is entirely new while at the same time wrapping around the lifetime fan like a warm blanket is the feeling that nothing is actually “news.”

Not so long ago? Egad, anyone could be a Skrull! Zounds, the Black Lanterns are bringing the dead back to torment their loved ones!

Now? You can change the entire universe and make it feel like not all that much is going on.

Around these here parts, we traffic in comic book discussion, so I thought I would take a look at the landscape and weigh in on the major issues people are buzzing about today. As I surveyed said landscape and asked myself, “What’s in the zeitgeist that’s got everybody talking?” I realized, “Wow, not… not a whole lot.”

And that’s great.

From where I’m sitting, we appear at the moment to be focused on the stories. We’re not talking about the contracts strangers have signed, and we’re largely not chattering about a given book’s sales figures or a given crossover’s financial machinations destroying our favorite series. Did you hear what This Creator said about That Creator?

Me neither.

Nope.

Everybody’s just… using sequential art to tell stories.

Good stories, too.

Of course, it is worth noting that this “no ‘news’ is good news” period has coincided neatly with my decision to unfollow about 60% of the comics news sites I used to track on a daily basis. If there is anything to that then, by cracky, I heartily encourage you to unfollow about 60% of the comics news sites you track on a daily basis. What do you really need to know that you don’t find out about in conversation here? The latest Twitterfight between [Image writer] and [talented person minding his own business]?

2012 is a pretty great time to be reading comics. The b.s. has largely fallen away in favor of talented people making interesting stories. We’re having 90% fewer arguments about tentacles and many more debates about whether a given book’s art is good enough to relaunch with. Or, at the very least, that’s all I have been seeing. If you’re thinking, “What industry are you looking at? This summer has been miserable,” give some thought to letting go of some “news.” All you have to lose is your Tums habit.

 


Jim Mroczkowski puts the “me” in “social media.”

Comments

  1. I never thought this would happen on here but, Almost Famous is MY favourite film, too!

    Also, slightly more related to the whole article: I, too, love the lack of ‘news’ occurring currently. I pretty instantly got overtaken by ‘Event Fatigue’ and though I have worked my way through some of them over the past (near) decade, I much prefer a story and not an event. I do love the ability comic characters have to ‘guest star’ in each others books, but when those possible connections become required reading, but unfortunately not in the sense that it is a great book that shouldn’t be missed, but more often you have to read far more so-so titles just to be able to read the whole story.

    It is a huge part of my enthusiasm for the New 52 and Marvel NOW! that HOPEFULLY there won’t be Universe spanning events that I’m gonna be sucked into. The events, especially in Marvel, have actually inhibited my reading of many of their titles. They seem to feel it will attract more people into reading the titles intertwined within the larger story, but for me it makes me feel that I need to read the X amount of trades leading up to now, in order to know what’s really going on. With Marvel though, every other trade in a title is part of an event! Making it just feel daunting for me, to jump in on many of their larger titles.

    I know, I probably should just jump in somewhere, but I can’t help but feel (which I don’t think is that crazy) that I’m gonna get the whole story. It’s like a TV show. I wouldn’t start watching a series in the middle of its third season. I would go and check out the first season. I would like to do this with comics, although I’m not going to go back and starting reading 40+ years of something, I do like to go back to a point where it feels like a new start.

    A lengthy, barely related comment, I know… but I really think there is so much going on around the surface of comics. Just like Jim stated; contracts, events, etc. that takes the bulk of the attention, when truly the stories (both writing and art) are what SHOULD be the focus. I don’t care what creator disagrees with another creator, all I care about is what creator has made a great book.

  2. Mt first thought upon reading this was that I wish the election coverage was less”news focused”.

    I think rumors and conjecture on the directions on titles are good things but just endless debates over creator rights or “destroying my childhood” get old fast.

    I’d rather read about the relative merits of specific artists, stories and arcs. That’s why we read these books. No one got into comics by saying, ” Boy I can’t wait to get into heated debates online about the legal status of a character created in the 1930s.”

  3. filippod (@filippodee) says:

    Well said. I totally agree.

  4. I can’t drop 60% of the comic sites I go to, as iFanboy is the only comic site I ever go to. 🙂

  5. iFanboy is already the only site I go to for my comix articles and reviews,pull list, comment threads and love the weekly columns, the occasional or monthlies from Molly Isaac’s,Ryan Haupt and Mike Romo, and ones like this from Jim.I get all the info I need from here and never got into any other comic sites for discussion or articles like this one, I think it was the more of a positive, open minded and knowledgeable community that kept me here since 1st checking it out maybe only 2years ago, where as a few of the others I’ve only checked out once or twice or here from my friend Rich who argues with people on em sounded like a bunch of pessimists and downers, the occasional debate getting heated is fine but some of these wankers act like babies. Anyway, this article hits a spot as well for me as it makes sense as when “Its all happening” is when I got back into comix from a few year hiatus. Secret Invasion,Blackest Night…etc…and really do think this is one of the best times ever to be into comix as the big two are making lots of moves and shuffling, some good some bad but interesting and there is a relative familiarity still with they’re changes and was thinking this having just read the last cpl GL issues cause of the Black Hand’s return and it mentions Blackest Night. I haven’t read GL since before the New52 and really like these two issues but if “everything you know will change in a flash” happened then New52 was a reboot, the Blackest Night and numerous other things I’ve noticed that trickled into the New52 changed everything, they really didn’t, they changed a lot but not everything and I’m glad cause I like the DCU prior New52, so the keeping somethings familiar or direct continuity but shuffled is comforting for me and still accessible to a new reader…I like to think Flashpoint was more relevant than New52 in terms of where all these characters are cause some things stayed the same and some changed, I also noticed quite a few of the obscure characters who they used from the end of Brightest Day and the Flashpoint story lines (particularly the Resistance faction) have they’re own series in the New52..Grifter,The Demon, Frankenstein…..Swamp Thing (Brightest Day:Aftermath) and I’m sure there are a few others. In any case, good stories are being told by every publisher out there and can’t remember a time when the diversity of good titles and sheer number of talent were available at once. So, good times and more to come, looking forward to a couple Marvel Now! books and some zero issues and Image,IDW and Dark Horse have some truly great titles coming and going…not to mention Archaia,Dynamite, BOOM! and whoever else. Love VERTIGO titles too, point here is theres something for every one from all of em and it is the best time to be in comix. Great article JIm!

  6. I do agree it’s nice in a way to not have the comic industry exploding with new weirdness, and it is nice to just kick back and enjoy some long runs.

    That said, that’s never fully the case with Marvel and DC. Plus I noticed you used the upcoming X-Men book as an example, personally for me that is the opposite of “nothing’s happening”, the new direction of that title is mindbogglingly bad and unappealing to me. So, they killed Uncanny X-Men. For me anyway, ha for now anyway.

    But other than that, agreed it’s been quiet.