Over the year writing for Comics Should be Good I've received a fair amount of questions from people. I thought I'd share five random reader's questions with you so that you can add your input too. And if you have any of your own questions, get in touch and I'll take a crack at answering them.)
William asks: My brother is an artist with a strong interest in politics. A few years back I got him Safe Area Gorazde, and I'm pretty sure I later got him Palestine, both by Joe Sacco; he liked both. Just off the top of your head, can you think of anything that might suit him?
Answer:I haven't read the two you mention, but I've heard of them. Here are the political comic books I can name off the top of my head. Hopefully one might fit for him:
TransmetropolitanPolitical in a ranty way. A science fiction, futuristic book, reads like Hunter S. Thompson in that funny, vitriolic bitter way. (There are many volumes but you can start at 1.)
V for VendettaThe now classic political comic, the best there is in some ways. Very '80's, very British. Different from the film in some very important ways that I won't bore you with by going into here.
Ex MachinaAbout a very left wing mayor of NY. Backstory: He was an engineer. An accident enabled him to talk to machines. Became superhero and averted one of the planes in 9-11. Was then elected, which is where comic starts. (There are many volumes but you can start at 1.)
Burma ChroniclesFrench illustrator goes to Burma following his wife who is a doctor working for Doctor's Without Borders. There he experiences the weirdnesses of a country operating under a dictatorship.
PersepolisA first person narrative of a young girl living in oppressive Iran during the Islamic Revolution. Sweet and strange.
Brought to Light: Thirty Years of Drug Smuggling, Arms Deals, and Covert ActionLots of exposey, explainey stuff about the creepy actions of the US govt. Very interesting, great, weird art. (This may be out of print, but if you find it on ebay or something, it will be absolutely worth it.)
Keith asks:My parents are emptying out their garage, and have sent me all the comics that have been living there the past 20, 25 years. As I don't really have the space for any of it, I'm thinking about 'thinning the herd' and selling large parts of my collection. I'm starting to look around online to get some ideas... Anyways, I'm just wondering if you have any experience or helpful anecdotes as far as reselling goes... if you happen to have some thoughts or recommendations I'd be most appreciative!
Answer:Sadly I have zero personal experience with selling comic books - I love them far too much to let them go - but when I worked in a comic store they would sometimes buy by weight (so if you have anything good, it won't work for you.) If your local comic store doesn't buy back issues, they might be tell you about a local store which does.
In the last few years I've heard about people who are doing quite well by selling complete storyline runs on ebay. I'm not sure how valuable individual comic books are nowadays, as after the '80's a lot of people overbought for collecting, so it's worth doing some research to see what they might be worth before you start selling.
Van GoghX asks: Just wondering, but what do you think of the Alice character in [the Tim Burton film] Alice in Wonderland?
As a male, I found the story of a female lead who eschews the typical female need for a man refreshing. Knight in shining armor? Pfooey! She looks far better in the armor and is just as capable of swinging a sword as a man.
Just wondering about your opinion.
Answer:It was visually fun, but I found the story frustratingly insubstantial. I'd have preferred it if they simply enjoyed the visual prettiness instead of attempting some half-hearted, heavy-handed message. I appreciate that they were trying to convey something about a strong woman, but firstly, she wasn't strong, and secondly, it was totally invalidated by the ending. She is able to simply get what she wants, suddenly everyone values her opinion and she doesn't have to get married. There is no reason why the sexist society she lived in would change, it made no sense to me.
wil asks:Have you read Stray Toasters? My dad, who knows nothing about comics, got it for me for Christmas, and he said he just went into the comic shop and bought the thing that looked the most insane. It’s literally blown my mind, I don’t really know exactly whats going on in it but it’s still an absolute joy to read, and I normally hate painted art.
Answer:Yes! I read it as it was coming out and it deeply confused me. I loved it so much back then... Re-reading it recently, it made a little more sense, and I could appreciate the whole thing more, without being quite as shocked by the style of it. You're lucky to have a dad who buys you such interesting comic books.
Rob III asks:Who defines what the essence of a character is? Is it the creator? or is it the writer /artists that embellishes/ignores what has gone before?
Answer:Personally, I think this is definitely a case of whoever does it better. I know that isn't fair or reasonable, but such is life. The one who handles the character best is going to be making the memories.
That's all the letters I've got space for here. I hope you all have a very happy xmas (or whatever it is that you celebrate on the 25th), and I'll see you next week for the last Committed of 2010. We'll have to figure out a way to make it memorable...