think we all need at least one really nice positive thing about the
entertainment business every single day of the year, including weekends.
Sometimes it may be something simple, like a video that showcases
something fun and sometimes it may be a movie poster that embraces the
aesthetic we all want Hollywood to aspire to. Sometimes it may be a
long-winded diatribe. Sometimes it’ll be from the staff and extended
family of CHUD.com. Maybe even you readers can get in on it. So, take
this to the bank. Every day, you will get a little bit of positivity
from one column a day here. Take it with you. Maybe it’ll help you
through a bad day or give folks some fun things to hunt down in their
busy celluloid digesting day.
By Joshua Miller (Facebook Page)
What I’m Thankful For:
Jeff Smith’s Bone.
This past Saturday I was thankful for Stephen King’s It, the first adult novel I ever read. In the piece I passingly mentioned that I used to buy comic books largely for their artwork when I was younger. That got me thinking about the uneven relationship I’ve had with “comics” in my life.
I didn’t read comic books when I was a little kid. I liked newspaper comic strips, but I never seemed to come into contact with actual comic books. My first real foray into the medium was reading Carl Barks’ Uncle Scrooge comics, which I was turned onto by TV’s Ducktales. Then Tim Burton’s Batman fostered an interest with superheroes. By this time I had become a zealous and burgeoning artist, and being a boy, superhero artwork obviously appealed to me. The first superhero comic I ever bought was issue #1 of the 90’s Ghost Rider relaunch, which I spotted in a gas station during a family road trip. I began gobbling up superhero comics, but making my selections entirely based on which had the coolest art.
I enjoyed the lifestyle too. Riding my bike to Shinder’s (the local comics chain in my Minneapolis suburban area back then) once a week, and attending the random comic convention at the Thunderbird Hotel. But this period ultimately lasted for only four years before I completely stopped collecting/reading comic books. Aside from becoming increasingly more expensive due to price bumps and constant Special Embossed Gold-Foil Bagged Multi-Series-Cross-Over Collector’s Editions, I determined that comic books just weren’t very good storytelling. They were interesting drawings without true substance.
During the entirety of high school and college I read one comic book, DC’s Kingdom Come, which, surprise surprise, I was attracted to because of Alex Ross’s amazing artwork.
Then something happened.
I was visiting friends in Boston. While the guy whose floor I was crashing on was at class, I noticed he had a whole bookshelf of comics. One in particular caught my eye – Jeff Smith’s Bone. As usual, it was the artwork that pulled me in. But once I started reading it I couldn’t stop. For those unfamiliar with Bone, it is basically what Lord of the Rings would have been if Carl Barks had created it (in fact, Jeff Smith cites Barks as one of his major creative influences). I excitedly told my buddy about my “discovery” and he began plying me with more and more of his collections. Johnny the Homicidal Maniac. Alan Moore’s Swamp Thing. The Dark Knight Returns (which I had ignored in my younger dumber days because – you guessed it – I didn’t like the art). After I left Boston I began seeking things out myself. Watchmen. From Hell. Sandman. Scott Pilgrim. Y The Last Man. Hellboy.
As it turned out, comic books weren’t the problem, my previous selections were (Dale Keown may create vibrant splash pages, but Images’ Pitt will turn anyone off the medium).
So for showing me the way back to the road – by revealing that there are amazing comic books out there – I am thankful for Bone.