Get those idiots off of my lawn!

The odd lots box store Ollie’s had a sale. Massive amounts of trade paperback collections. Mainstream Marvel and DC and Zenescope ( An interesting juxtaposition of companies if I do say so myself – as both of these entities have huge over stocks for almost exactly opposite reasons). I walked out of Ollie’s proudly with a BIG box full of sharply discounted collections, most of them just a couple bucks apiece, thinking that I’ll get a good sampling of just how bad modern comics have become for the big 2. I spent a hundred bucks on what was probably 3 Grand worth, cover price, of various books.


I have fallen asleep now TWICE trying to read a Captain Marvel collection. I can’t get three pages into a Ms. Marvel collection to save my life. Who speaks dialog like this? Is this new dead brained “youth-speak” or, just horribly crappy writing? I won’t even approach what I felt about the art except to say it all looked alike, and it left me yawning.  
I grew up in comics. I attended my first convention right out of high school in the late 70 ’s here in Detroit when Ray Harryhausen was a guest of honor. I produced all sorts of independent comics, in about every genre that you can imagine, worked for many independent companies in almost every capacity and printed myself independently a number of times. I’ve read more comics than most of you, and I’ve worked for years in about every aspect of comics retailing and con circuits (except for distributing- I have standards after all), so I KNOW what I’m talking about here.
I tried to “break into” the big 2, with my last attempt leaving me with nothing but contempt for most of the editors who didn’t even know their own product, let alone their own properties, let alone know an original story if it bit them. There were still one or two editors that were willing to listen and tweak and offer advice and do the great things that older editors did. All those guys are gone now. Long gone, because that was fifteen or more years ago.  I look at modern comics and I stand ashamed of the art form.



Now, get snarky and tell me that they’re “not writing comics for me anymore” because I’m “past their demographic”. and or that “I have no clue how the new young hipsters write and tell their stories”. I’ve heard more than once the sad quote that it’s a “young man’s game” now. Every time I hear that I keep thinking Kirby was in his forties when he created the FF, in his fifties when he created the New Gods, in his 70s or 80s when he did Captain Victory, how can Comics be a “young man’s game” when it’s obviously ANYONE’S game?



Are any of these people embarrassed by the product quality that they’re doing nowadays? In the immortal words of Chicago “Does anybody really care?” Has this Market sank so low that quality isn’t an afterthought, it’s a lost whim. Get these people off of my lawn. I want to read COMICS again! I want to read GOOD Comics that I haven’t read before. I want to read opinions and art and be amazed and have that sense of wonder and Imagination and awe that used to be in these books! You can keep your politics, you can keep your warmongering, you can keep your trolling. It serves no purpose and in the end just ads to the sad stagnation this art form suffers from.  


Get these idiots off of my lawn! Sad editors who blame “lack of diversity” and then “too much diversity”, then “over-saturation” for their own lack of ability. This market should be thriving and not dying. This should be unstoppable with a sense of diversity and quality that would rival any other form of Industry or entertainment genre.


 Anywhere else but in America, comics are looked at as a high art form with their creators treated as fine artists. Here, especially in the mainstream, we get bottom-of-the-barrel editors, writers who can’t write, artist who can’t (or won’t) create in a unique and individual style, and a lot of people making excuses for lack of sales, lack of enthusiasm, lack of imagination, and lack of entertainment.


Let’s make GOOD comics again. Make them diverse, put some propaganda in it sure, just make them entertaining. Create new characters absolutely, make them modern, make them as diverse as the audience that you want to find, but please stop raping the icons that were already here. If they don’t serve your purpose leave them in the past and sell the reprints. Mainstream Comics doesn’t even want to do that because they’re afraid people will see quality work and wonder why that’s not being done today.
If you’re with me, it’s way past time we took this art form back.  It’s past time we did something to make comics vibrant, entertaining, and FUN again.  If we don’t do it, if we don’t care, quite honestly, who will?  Comics are quickly going the way of the pulp magazine, the big little book, even the newspaper.  If it’s going to survive the substandard crap HAS to stop, or at least the quality bar needs to be raised back to former levels.



There’s SO much wrong with this industry that I can’t cover it all in one column, but I now look forward to getting off of my ass and paying more attention to what’s going on and calling it out here. But I WON’T turn this into your standard “bitch and moan” troll-blog or column.  Instead, I will raise a problem and pitch solutions, things WE can do to make comics what they were, what they SHOULD be, and that’s a FUN and entertaining medium that I personally KNOW everyone would enjoy if only they gave it a chance.
I’ve given away most of those graphic novels that I bought at Ollie’s. There’s still a few that I hung on to, but I passed most of them out as door prizes at my last convention, but you know what?  In those same boxes, I passed out some really QUALITY reprint volumes as well.  Classic stuff, much better than the garbage I had tried to read.  I’m hoping the lucky winner of those boxes will read ALL the books and see the shit from the gems.


I plan on handing out quality collections whenever I can find them cheap. They’re out there in almost every discount GN box at shows.  I can spend 5 bucks on a Showcase Presents or Marvel Essentials and brighten some fans LOVE of this art form, I’m doing it.  Xmas gifts, door prizes, even Halloween treats.  Money well spent.
I LOVE this art form.  I grew up in this art form, I maintained my sanity with this art form, and quite frankly all these idiots currently in the mainstream of the art form that I love need to get the hell off my lawn!
Talk to you SOON.  Thanks for being here.

Randy Zimmerman

About Author

For more than four decades Randy Zimmerman has lived and breathed every aspect of sequential art and independent comics that you can imagine. From fan to retailer, to producer, instructor, and publisher, Randy has held just about every job this industry has. He currently produces Flint Comix & Entertainment, a local Comics & Entertainment paper with a 10,000 monthly circulation in the Genesee County Michigan area.

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