My name is Harry Harris and I don’t like comic books, and I never really have. I say this in the style of a depressive at Alcoholics Anonymous simply because I do feel at times like this is my secret shame, the fact that no matter how hard I try, I just can’t get excited about anything to do with comics, or graphic novels, or superheroes, or whatever.
The thing is, when I was growing up in the back end of bumblefuck (read: Builth Wells, mid-Wales) my dislike, or disinterest, in comics really wasn’t an issue. Nobody liked comic books. Only nerds. And who likes nerds? Nobody liked nerds when I was between the ages of 7 and 16. They had LAN parties and went LARPing, the fucking goons. This isn’t to say I was a particularly sporty kid, but I sure as shit wasn’t a fucking comic book reading nerdlinger.
University though, that was a different matter. Turns out when you do a Film Studies degree, or probably any arts and humanities subject, everyone fucking likes comic books. Everyone fucking LOVES comic books. They also like video games, but not video games like Fifa and Football Manager, ones where you actually have to think about stuff, and I’m just not having that.
I just can’t get excited about anything to do with comics
They also get really excited about comic book movies, and not just good ones like Christopher Nolan’s Batman films, shit ones like Thor and Iron Man 2 and, yes, The Avengers Assemble. These were the same people who, like me, were getting excited about who would win the Palme D’or and were creaming themselves over Michel Haneke’s filmography. I just couldn't put my finger on it.
When I brought up this point drunkenly and incoherently to another drunk and incoherent friend, albeit a drunk and incoherent comic book loving friend, he loaded both his nerdy barrels with titles like Maus, A History Of Violence and The Road To Perdition, the former an excellent Pulitzer prize winning graphic novel about the Holocaust, the latter being two pretty great movies adapted from graphic novels. I had to concede. He then started telling me how excited he was about Captain Americunt, and all my rage returned.
For you see, to my untrained eye, an eye that sought to avoid comic books during my formative years for fear of chastisement from my peers, all these films seem like the same wash of bullshit. Someone puts on a suit and saves someone else, there’s a villain, he nearly wins but then he doesn’t win, and there’s loads of flying and explosions, and a soft rock band like Dashboard Confessional or The Spill Canvas have been drafted in to sing the theme tune, which is called something like “Stars Turn To Ash” or “Blowing Up In Life” or “Flying With My Arse on Fire”.
All these films seem like the same wash of bullshit
Call me a square from the past, but wouldn’t it be cool for the most hyped film of the year to be a well acted, well written and well directed piece of drama, rather than some arbitrary mix of lights, colours, shapes and sounds? Independent cinemas are struggling as it is, principally because the glut of 3D films is forcing their hand to undergo expensive work to convert to digital projection, and superhero movies, which always tend to be the biggest movies in whatever year they come out, are always invariably in 3D – apart from good ones like Christopher Nolan’s Batman films.
Maybe The Avengers Assemble will surprise me, like The Hunger Games surprised me by being actually quite good when all signs pointed to it being gash-tacular, and I will reserve most of my judgement until I’ve actually seen it, but until that day I’m going to be that guy. That luddite curmudgeon in the corner of the pub, struggling to understand what’s popular these days, awkwardly asking whether anyone still listens to Wheatus, or whether Ross and Rachel will get back together, secretly wishing that maybe I didn’t instantly change the channel when The Simpsons finished at 6.30 on BBC2, preventing me from ever watching and therefore investing in Buffy The Vampire Slayer. Who knows, had I given myself that extra half hour a day, maybe I’d have got into Firefly, and then maybe now I’d be rooting around in Forbidden Planet like a prize pig hunting for a truffle, and getting excited about whatever Joss Whedon does.
Ah, there but for the grace of God go I.
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