One Fan's Opinion: Issue #68

Fri, December 29th, 2006 at 12:00am PST

Comic Books
Erik Larsen, Columnist

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I had an e-mail exchange with Gerard Duggan in regard to Brian Posehn's appearance on Conan O'Brien the other day.

Now, you may have seen it. Brian Posehn was there to promote "The Last Christmas," a trade paperback that collected the miniseries of the same name. Brian Posehn wrote it along with Gerry Duggan and it was penciled by Rick Remender and inked by Hilary Barta with color by Michelle Marsen - a real first class production all around. Brian was his usual charming self and he was funny and it was a nice plug for a terrific book (that Image happened to publish, I'll have you know). I know, I know - you were watching to see Martha Stewart - that's okay, we all have our obsessions. Yours are just a lot sicker than most of ours.

But I digress…

The point I was trying to make (the one from Gerard's e-mail) is that, as he put it, "Conan really knew his comic stuff" and that "He lamented the passing of Dave Cockrum."

Not that any of that was on the air, mind you.

And that's kind of where I'm going with this.

The point is, there are a lot of really famous people that are really into comics (or who were really into comics). Hell, Nicholas Cage ditched his original moniker (Coppola) to take one inspired by the Marvel Comics character Luke Cage.

Famous folks love comics! I've ran into a mess of them at comic book shows - some wearing deceptive name tags to avoid attention - but few of them, ever, mention comics when they're interviewed on TV.

Nicolas Cage, a comic fan himself, will play Johnny Blaze in the upcoming "Ghost Rider" film.
And then, only when they're plugging something, like when Kevin Smith went out and flogged his run on Daredevil a few years back.

I love comics - they love comics - and yet I can't shut up about them and they don't tell a soul about their secret passion (and you mention Martha Stewart again and I'll pop you one - those are sick thoughts, my friend, sick).

Why is this?

When Hollywood makes a superhero movie these guys tumble all over each other as they scramble to get the role. Who doesn't want to be Batman or Superman or even Ghost Rider? These guys love comics!

So, why not tell people?

Why is it that comics are closeted away like that? Why can't people scream it from the rooftops?

I don't get it.

The thing is, I really think it would do all of us a world of good if people would simply talk about it. I think that the fans of celebrities might get turned on to the comic book field if some of these guys would fess up about their reading habits.

I love comics. You know that. You're probably tired of hearing about it, but frankly I could write this column for fifty years and still find something to say about it.

I want to share the love.

But I look at what comics are selling now and compare them to what comics were selling a few years ago (okay, a decade or more) and I can't help but wince. Compared to how many units were being snapped up in the '40s, we're in sorry shape - and compared to the number of stores that used to carry comics, we hardly make a blip. There are towns in the Midwest that don't have a single source for contemporary pictorial literature (or, if you prefer, "funnybooks").

And that ain't right.

Samuel L. Jackson isn't just a comic fan, his likeness has been used in comics. Here he's pictured as Nick Fury in Marvel's "The Ultimates."
These guys can help. Hell, we all can help. If everybody would start reading comics in public and telling their pals about comics and loaning their friends comics, we could grow this industry. If reviewers, talking about movies would mention that they came from comic books and talk about the source material in glowing terms -that might just help. And if celebrities - real live celebrities - would just get out there and scream at the top of their lungs that they love comics, it might just open up a few eyes to a different world - our world.

I know, I know - similar rants have been ranted, but just imagine - a regular nighttime show like "Late Night with Conan O'Brien" actively featuring and plugging comics and their creators.

Jerry Seinfeld had a Superman magnet on his refrigerator and mentioned him from time to time on his show, but what if he had a long box of comics instead or was seen paging through an issue from time to time?

Superman is kind of a tough one 'cause he's such a cultural icon. Many people don't even know that he was from comics - they just remember the cartoons and TV shows and Christopher Reeve and that new guy that's playing the part whose name escapes me.

Savage Dragon was mentioned on Malcolm in the Middle. What if other shows dropped in comics and comic book related items like T-shirts and posters and whatnot?

Seriously, if everybody who's into comics just started inserting them into their work and their lives, just imagine the kind of noise we could make! If everybody went to work thinking, "How could I get out the word about comics?" Just imagine what could happen!

I mean, how many of you have bitched and moaned about a favorite book getting cancelled because of low sales? Plenty! Now imagine all those readers pestering their friends or dropping comics into the mail addressed to Conan or Letterman or Leno. Hell, tell Martha Stewart! That way you could confess your undying love and promote your favorite funnybook - and save yourself a stamp. There's no reason we can't all get out there and do something. You'd never have to say goodbye to a favorite book again (just watch it degenerate as successive creative teams gut the hell out of it and piss on everything you cared about instead).

Heh.

But seriously, would it hurt to have Nicolas Cage tell more people where he pinched his last name from? And if you're some big name celebrity, wouldn't you like to help keep this field growing and thriving? You love this stuff, right?

End of sermon.

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