10: A Superhero
I don’t remember ever being REALLY into superheroes. I mean, I had comics, and I liked comic book heroes, but I was never a big fan. I was always more interested in video-game style heroes, or less conventional heroes like the Ninja Turtles. As I grew up this only compounded. I grew to really resent, even hate Superman. I consider him cheap and naive. The only superhero I could ever say I am interested in is Batman in the hands of a good writer. He’s dark and flawed, and that’s what I’m interested in the most. One-dimensional characters like Superman can’t do it for me. Heroes with chiseled jaws and idiotic spandex suits always seemed silly to me. They can’t be comfortable. I grew to find mainstream American comics full of cliches and the same regurgitated stories over and over. The nightmare continuities didn’t help anything. I started gravitating towards underground comics and shorter one-shot series. JTHM, Watchmen, V for Vendetta, and less apparent titles. I got sick of watered-down stories meant to appeal to all age groups. The more people you try to please, the greater risk you run of pleasing nobody.
I also got into anime over this dissatisfaction with American comics, that had no problems getting dark and violent but had these other invisible boundaries they weren’t allowed to cross because of some kind of unwritten code. As I grow up, I want my comics to grow as well, not always be stuck in this “too mature for PG-13, not offensive enough for R” gray area. Anime is also full of horrible cliches and bad writing and design, but for every Superman clone there is something of quality like MAUS waiting to be discovered, and for every vomit-inducing Naruto there is Akira, Ayako, and This Drifting Life.
All I’m saying is, you can read whatever you want, but you’ll never grow as a creative, or a reader, if you don’t keep finding something new to challenge you in new directions .
So today’s illustration is everything that I see when I read Mainstream American Comics. And I apologize that it’s a physical drawing, I didn’t have time this morning to do the art on my Cintiq.