Friday, March 06, 2009

Attempting Comic Books

I've never been someone who reads comics, really. I don't have anything against them, I just never really went through "let's buy superhero comics" phase when I was younger. I think it's partially a function of growing up where I did, where the only way I'd have been able to get anywhere was to bike, and the hills of Western Pennsylvania made that more difficult than I was willing to bother with in my adolescence. Actually, I'm not sure I'd bike as much as I do now if I lived somewhere that wasn't as completely flat as Chicago, but that's a subject for another post. As I got older, I read the standard books (Maus, Watchmen, V for Vendetta) and was kind of on the periphery, enjoying comic-book movies, but still never really got into them.

Anyway, I'm back again to experimenting with the idea of reading comics. Mostly, I think, it stems from this weird tendency I have to become moderately curious about a mythology, then read everything I can about the mythology, then sort of move on. I did that with Piers Anthony's Incarnations of Immortality books and The Dark Tower series (which I should probably re-read at some point), as well as with Lost and Doctor Who. With the last two, particularly, there was a definite progression from mild interest ("I wonder what all the fuss is about? Perhaps I'll netflix it" and "Oh, hey. I liked Simon Pegg in a few movies. Perhaps I'll watch this episode of Doctor Who he's in.") to reading everything I could about the mythologies of the series ("I should probably watch Pierre Chang's warning to the future." "What is the significance of the Valeyard, and will he reappear after the Doctor's twelfth regeneration?") It's been a while since I've really done that with a mythology, so I think it's probably time to do it again.

Enter Green Lantern.


Again, this probably is rooted in the fact that I never really read comics as a kid, but I've never known much about Green Lantern. Batman and Superman are both such huge cultural icons that you can't really help but know what the deal is there. For the rest of the (original lineup of the) Justice League, Green Lantern seemed the most intriguing. Wonder Woman's fine and all, but the magical bracelets and invisible plane seem strange. The Flash is there, but he's just a fast guy. It's very straight-forward, but that's not really something I can get into. Aquaman exudes uselessness, to the point where I forgot he existed when watching a Justice League movie, until he showed up in the final three minutes to say hello. There's probably a wealth of interesting psychology behind Martian Manhunter, but then he seems to be a green Superman, and Superman never really appealed to me because he's got too much power.

So there we are, left with Green Lantern. I've purchased a collection of "landmark" Green Lantern comics chosen by the guy that wrote two recent storylines ("Rebirth" and "Sinestro Corps War") and is responsible for this summer's crossover storyline ("Blackest Night"), and so far I've been enjoying it, even if the stuff from the sixties is a bit campy. Generally, there have been some interesting views on power, jealousy and order (specifically in the I, Lantern and What Price Honor? short stories.) I'm interested to actually read about the rise, fall and redemption of Hal Jordan outside of Wikipedia summaries, so I've got Emerald Twilight and Green Lantern: Rebirth on the way from Amazon.

So we'll see. Maybe I'll actually succumb to the call of geekdom and start reading Green Lantern comics. At the very least, I'll read a few storylines before getting bored and watching Star Wars again.

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