Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Bittersweet Comic Book Love

Bittersweet: sweet with a bitter aftertaste.

This is actually the best word I can think of when I read comic books. I thoroughly love the feeling of getting my hands on a comic that is rich in visual images, flawless in storytelling, and the gutters that pull me even deeper into the story.  

Then - it happens.  The last panel, the last image, the last word balloon...and then the three words I hate: TO BE CONTINUED!

I am suddenly jerked back into reality- and if I am reading a current issue - I momentarily spasm with anticipation for the story to continue.  Being a research fanatic, I immediately scour for updates and issue news all the while mentally willing the next issue to be available.  The feeling of sorrow usually sets in when I realize I have to wait a week, a couple of weeks, or god forbid a MONTH! 

The question I want to pose is WHY?  Why do we do this to ourself?  What is this magical allurement that comic books can have over us?  

For a while I decided to wait for story arcs to play out and then buy the trades as soon as they were available.  Then I would binge read until my eyes were bleary and panels and gutters turned into one full page.

Although this was satisfying my "everything or nothing", "fight or flight" emotions - I still had the same aftertaste of  - really, no more?  

I have come to finally accept that comic books just do it for me.  I love the stories.  Especially the background tales of how subjects came into fruition, the interactions between characters, and how the hero may or may not save the day.  I love the art and how colors can play an impact on an emotion in the story.  I love the idea of lettering and placement of word balloons and how they subtly make or break a comic books flow.  In general, I love the world I get pulled into through a comic book.

We have all experienced that magical feeling as a child when we knew Christmas or a birthday was just around the corner.  The anticipation was relentless.  As an adult, I have like many others, lost that humble innocence of excitement and anticipation during these events.  That feeling of waking up everyday and thinking, "YES only X amount of days left."  I guess in a way, when I read comic books it taps into these long lost emotions.  Because of this, I actually really enjoy the bittersweet words - "to be continued". 

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