Star Wars for Perverts: Saga and the End of the Binge

Yep, it’s another post about comics. I told you I’ve been reading a lot of them lately. I went through the entire Hellboy-B.P.R.D line, up until the In Hell/Hell on Earth titles. Things are looking good (by looking bad).

Now, I have a problem with currently running titles. I prefer the trades, I can sit down and read an entire story arc in one sitting. I haven’t got the patience to sit down and wait for 24 pages each month. I’m sure many of you feel that way, especially knowing that binge watching TV series is becoming the norm. And that’s a case where you only have one week to wait for the next episode.

With smaller presses things can be worse. Image comics, perhaps the most exciting place in the business right now, regularly holds back titles for six months. That is done to avoid splitting up the creative team by bringing in filler artists, and I can certainly appreciate that, though it is one of the ways I find out new artists.

So what is a fan to do, when faced with a comic book like Saga? Yes, I will hype it and it still won’t be enough. If you don’t know by now: Saga is a monthly comic book written by Brian K. Vaughan and illustrated by Fiona Staples. Two worlds are locked in a never ending war and two soldiers from opposite sides fall in love. Oh, they also have a baby.

How good is Saga? Saga is so good that I had to do a pull list after a long time. I just have to know what happens next. The wait is killing me. And I love it.

See, the thing is, we are spoiled. I know I am. Our media are handed to us as fast as we can consume them and that’s a problem. I remember the outrage when Breaking Bad’s last season was broken into two. Did we appreciate it less? More? I don’t know but that build up towards the last episodes made it feel like an event.

Same goes for books and comics. George R.R. Martin is not a slow writer. His books are ready when they are ready and there is no point for us to bitch and moan about them. There are always other books and you can never read all of them. So when a new one comes out, it should feel special.

Notice that these are all examples of creators slowing down to make sure they have the best final product to show. Valve is still not doing Half Life 3 (shakes fist).

Anyway, comics like Saga and Sex Criminals made me become a monthly reader again. Every issue feels special, every cover is done by the artists, every beat of the story feels natural. In Brian K. Vaughan’s “Y” for example I felt that the story took side turns when they needed to slow things down. That is normal in a monthly run, but still, it’s refreshing to see titles that take their time to build up.

I wouldn’t want to run out of Suzie and Jon anytime soon anyway.


P.S. I figured I should put other titles in my pull list, since I’m making the trip anyway. Here they are: Saga, Sex Criminals, Hawkeye (Fraction is on a roll), Moon Knight, Pretty Deadly, Black Science, Hellboy in Hell, Witchfinder and I’m thinking Trees starting this month. Sandman:Overture will have to wait though.



ComicdomCon 2014

Last weekend I attended ComicdomCon, for the first time in maybe three years. Could be less, but it certainly felt like a long time. The last couple of years I wasn’t able to attend, for various reasons that we won’t discuss right now. The changes caught me off balance, in a good way.

Very quickly, for the international readers (hey Fred!). ComicdomCon is a -you guessed it- a comic book convention, held annually in Athens. It is the largest, if not the only convention of its kind here in Greece. It started in 2007, runs for three days each year, and so far has held exhibitions, workshops and Q&As with people like Marv Wolfman, Mike Carey, David Lloyd, Mark Buckingham and John Romita Jr. (Who I got to meet and is a really cool guy. Ain’t that nice?)

Now, the first year I went, it was the ground floor for vendors and whatever little presses existed back then, a room for an exhibition and another room, a little one, for fanzines. Of course other rooms and auditoriums were available for workshops etc. But you get the picture. It was a small convention.

And it still is. But, having said that, and taking into account that comics are not a major form of entertainment here as in the rest of the world, it has grown. I saw more vendors, more Greek publishers, and AN ENTIRE FLOOR dedicated to fanzines.

How did that happen? When did it happen. Obviously superhero blockbusters have something to do with it, bringing more outsiders in, but that doesn’t explain the surge of new talent. Most Greek comics in the convention were either humorous or autobiographical.

I sense your alarm. “Am I going to read about ALTERNATIVE comics?” Well, first of all, shut up. Everything from Sandman to Scott Pilgrim were once considered alternative. Secondly, don’t worry, I’m as much suspicious as you when it comes to Art School hipsters drawing “experimental” comics. To me, story is king. It can be any kind of story, as long as it is well told. That’s what I was looking for this weekend, after making a decision to only buy Greek comics (Ultimately I snatched a copy of Abe Sapien: The Drowning because, hey, it was Hellboy Day).

My purchases were a mixed bag, but for people who only now are starting to get published, the level of craftsmanship was excellent. I am terribly excited about the future of the scene here in Greece. And yes, it is a scene still and not an industry. In fact I’ve been binge reading comics all week and breaking down structure, pace and format. I started a couple of scripts too, and it’s been really interesting having to visualise the page and organise every single detail. I am also looking for artists to collaborate so feel free to contact me if you are looking for a writer to carry the burden of writing, leaving you free to draw to your heart’s content.

One last thing. Ilias Kyriazis made a wonderful comic called “Falling for Lionheart”. It was published in English by IDW. Do yourselves a favour and pick it up. It bridges superhero action and alternative introspection with a very meta approach. It also has plenty of explosions, dick jokes and a love story that will have you reaching for your hankies. Links below.

That’s it for now. Leave a comment with any tips on writing for comics, what you are working on and any weird gem of a comic you may have found. Short stories should be up soon for your harsh criticism. I have to edit them some more, and I hate editing.