Friday, February 18, 2022

Quick Sips 02/18/2022

There’s a lot going on here despite not feeling like I have a lot to show for it. Which, I mean, is kind of my life in a nutshell a lot of the time. My work as a reviewer keeps right on moving along, and I’m about ready to turn in my third column for Locus Magazine. As I settle into my rhythm on the team I’m starting to figure out timing and everything. Though I cover less than I used to, it’s still a lot to get to, and timing can sometimes be an issue with a mix of releases that I get in advance and some that I get when they’re released publicly. I’m working on getting a schedule that works for me, but am still definitely settling in.

Meanwhile, there’s plenty of other things that I’m excited about and working on. I did see the preliminary cover for the second We’re Here and wow, it’s another absolutely stunning piece of original artwork. Definitely becoming one of my favorite parts of this because fuck yes art! I can’t give you a preview but it’s so good. You all will just have to bask in my reflected excitement.

I’ve also been rather busy in my role on the board of my local queer non-profit. My husband and I have been working on a number of projects (Matt, my husband, runs the queer library edits the yearly zine and has launched a number of really excellent projects), including the first ever local queer census, which will help the organization better focus its time and resources. There’s also plans for some panel discussions that we’ll put together ahead of our Pride celebration, and I’m helping to digitize some artwork for that, as well as for the Zine cover and, well, just basically everything. It’s when I’m working there that I really wish I could do this sort of work instead of dayjob stuff, but then I guess I’d have to pay for the Adobe creative suite myself and, well, ew.

I’m still working on my X-Men comics read/re-read and it’s there I want to linger a bit this week because it’s a rather ambitious project, really. This is vaguely separate from my Drun-X Reading Comi-X project (though I am running a patron poll right now to decide what I’ll be covering for that after I finish up Wolverine Origins), in that I’m doing this mostly sober and at my own pace. I’ve been at it for a while now, moving through a lot of work that I never got a chance to read or never had access to. In the past you had to rely on trade paperbacks and especially the Essential books in order to catch up on a lot of older works. Now with Marvel Unlimited it’s a lot easier to sail through a lot of that same material.

Alas, it’s far from perfect, and a lot of stuff is absent. But, a lot of stuff is also present, and I can celebrate that plenty. I started off with a read of New Mutants, then shifted to Excalibur, then moved to X-Factor, before also moving back to Uncanny X-Men, X-Men, and Wolverine. At this point I’ve read almost all of the major X-books through to the early 90s. That is, I fear, where a lot of the holes in the runs start. Which, I mean, shrug. The 90s have a lot of holes but starting in the 00s almost everything was digitized anyway to make trade paperbacks so once I get to that point there will be A Lot to really sink into, including a lot that I never read myself. I’m almost to the point where I started really reading comic books, though, and it’s an interesting moment of nostalgia and critical engagement.

Nostalgia-wise, I remember ordering comic books from a catalog, and being very excited about it, picking out issues to read in a way that wasn’t always…the most wise or sensical. This was the peak of speculation in comics, with their variants and their holograms and foils and…all that. I’m going through the Fatal Attractions crossover now and it’s a pretty objectively bad story, but it did have those hologram covers that were *cool*. And that’s sort of how some of my comic book reading would go until I found where I could buy the comics. There were no comic book stories in the small town where I’d spend my summers as a kid, but the local book store sold some and I’d always save up my allowance for them. In the suburbs of Chicago, it was more that my parents didn’t want to take me to the comic shop so I’d get what I could from the local Walgreens, which had a comic rack. This meant that there were issues that I missed, that I’d fill in where I could but mostly remained missing for a long time.

I stopped reading comics in high school. Got more into books, things like that. This was just before the Apocalypse: The Twelve story arc I think. It wasn’t that I didn’t like them, or like collecting them. It was just too difficult, my family really didn’t share the interest, and it was easier to move on to other things that wouldn’t get my teased as much. In college, thanks to my roommate freshman year, I got back into comics. This coincided with Astonishing X-Men launching and X-Men in general going through an interesting time. I started collected again, and because of mail subscriptions and a comic shop within walking distance, this time it was easier to stick with it. Also, well, I had a job, and comics were never the most expensive. Sadly, they were too expensive once I was out of college for a while, got married, and the recession lasted a long time.

I finally dropped comics right before the big relaunch at Marvel. I haven’t exactly gone back, though I do plan to eventually work my way back up to current. Right now I’m more enjoying what I can, reconnecting with the stories and noticing a lot more than I did at the time. Comic books are so interesting, because they try to take themselves seriously but not always. Because they’re aware of themselves as “low” entertainment but also not. They are for children but also adults. They’re fascinating in how they’ve changed and grown and evolved.

And, of course, I’m a very different person than I was when I first started reading comics. I’ve come to terms with myself, though not completely. And I still just like comics, especially X-Men comics. I really am excited to write more about them, just as I hope to finish up my Goosebumps project. Because it does allow me to appreciate the art there more, even as I can see the flaws and faults. Even as I see it through new eyes, I still remember the love, the wonder.

Anyway, I’m sure to be annoying about comic books for a long while yet so please bear with me. Cheers!


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