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Nut In The Shell:
Life Is Not Fair
By Keith Giles

11/14/02


First of all, let me say a huge “THANK YOU” to all of you who took the time to write fan-mail to me regarding last week’s NUT IN THE SHELL.

I really appreciate what you guys had to say.

Both of you.

Now, on to this week’s column!!


LIFE IS NOT FAIR!

I don’t know why, but in today’s society someone who appreciates and collects art is regarded as refined and discerning. Someone who reads and collects novels is reputed as an intelligent and learned individual. But, a person who enjoys comic books (art and story combinations) is considered to be a stupid and immature loser worthy of ridicule and scorn.

It’s a constant struggle to be taken seriously in today’s society if you’re a grown man or woman who actively reads and enjoys comics as a form of entertainment.

Sure, every now and again a comic title comes along like Watchmen or Dark Knight Returns that gives us a glimmer of hope. Hope that maybe, just maybe, this is a comic book that will change people’s minds. Make them see the grandeur of comics, the power of art and narrative blending together to create a story more gripping than a David Fincher film, more addictive than a Stephen King novel.

Sadly, the best we’ve ever heard from the critics of the world is, “Not bad, for a comic book.”

Oh sure, Hollywood currently has a love affair with the medium of sequential storytelling, but for how long?

I can guarantee you that a year or two from now the biggest money-making Hollywood properties will NOT be those based on comic books. It will more likely be something based on a television re-make, a best-selling novel, a true story or…God forbid, an actual “original concept” (which for Hollywood would be no small miracle).

In a perfect world guys like Moebius and Paul Pope and Alan Moore would be regarded as super stars, placed on the cover of TIME, interviewed by David Letterman and be featured on Celebrity Justice alongside other beautiful people.

But, in case you haven’t noticed, this is not a perfect world.

GET OVER IT!

In the world we live in, guys like Pope and Moore and Moebius are not even blips on the collective radar map of the American psyche.

So, I hope we can all agree that the average non-comic-buying individual judges the comic book form unfairly. They assume that comics must be as shallow as Archie or as hokey as Adam West’s “Batman,” simply because these are the closest things they’ve ever experienced to a comic book.

This is the same as you or I saying that we hate movies because we once saw Ishtar and it was shallow and it sucked and anyone who liked movies must be stupid.

Still, somehow, deep inside we all “just know” that if we could just put comic books in the shopping malls and the dry cleaners and the gas stations, that more people would pick up Sandman or Kabuki or Planetary and become instantly addicted to the exceptional art and intelligent storylines.

My question is, “Why?”


Article continued below advertisement


Why do we believe that comics have some universal appeal that an un-tapped audience is just waiting to discover?

Isn’t it possible that there are just as many people to whom comics will always be something they are indifferent to?

Of course.

With the incredible world-wide success of films like Spider-Man and X-Men, you’d think that this mythical group of potential comic fans would have made their way to the comics shops if this were the case.

But it’s not.

I mean, even a campaign to give away FREE COMICS to anyone who just walks into a comics shop didn’t do squat to improve sales or gain new readers.

Why?

Because everyone is different.

REMEMBER: YOU’RE UNIQUE…JUST LIKE EVERYONE ELSE.

Let’s face it. Some people who enjoy videogames don’t enjoy HK Action films. Some people who watch Buffy The Vampire Slayer do not have any desire to watch Anime. Some people who read comics have never once decided to purchase an action figure.

People have different tastes and for many, many consumers out there Comic Books will NEVER be an option for them.

Ever.

Sure, comic books get a bad rap. They’re seen as “kiddie books” and shows like The Simpsons and Malcolm In The Middle will continue to get big laughs by making fun of adults who still enjoy reading them.

So, live with it.

The world may never take comic books seriously.

So what?

Does that change the way you perceive comics? Does that make you love your favorite artist or writer or character any less?

Probably not.

It’s time to take a big gulp of espresso, slap ourselves in the face with a wet towel and realize that the world we live in will never embrace us. It will never think comics are cool. It will never do full-page magazine spreads on guys like Brian Bendis or Travis Charest.

When Hollywood is finished raiding the last creative element from the vaults of comic book lore, they will toss us aside and move on.

That’s the way it is folks.

And that’s ok with me.

Until next time, I’m the NUT IN THE SHELL.


Keith Giles is one of the world's greatest enigmas. Ruggedly handsome, and yet surprisingly gentle and compassionate with small animals, Keith actually has a very weak grasp of reality and often talks to himself in the bathroom mirror. He’s currently writing his own original sci-fi novels and putting together a few comic books of his own in his spare time.

 

 
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