Saturday, September 26, 2009

In Praise of the Comic Book!

I write a lot about DVDs. Why shouldn’t I? The DVD, particularly the TV Series Set on DVD, may be the single invention of the last two decades that has given me the most pleasure and joy!
But, mirroring a plot that has been “done to death” in many a medium, sometimes you put too much stock in the “new innovation” until it (A) becomes unavailable, (B) breaks down or malfunctions, or (C) becomes evil, turning on the very persons that elevated it to its “lofty-come-lately” position – and, in melodramatic desperation, said persons turn to the old, tried-and-true, original method, device, or object of affection.
Now, DVDs could NEVER “turn evil”… No, they’re much too round, bright, and shiny to do THAT! Your DVD player COULD break down but, in this day and age, your household probably has a computer or other device that could take up the slack… but, as today proved, the DVD (or, more accurately, your ability to view a DVD) CAN “become unavailable”. …In the unexpected form of an extended power failure!

And, during this period, in true poetic fashion, I turned to the COMIC BOOK to get me through!
The Comic Book was not judgmental. It did not ask me what had happened to the DVD. Or if we’d gone through a “DV-Divorce”. It did not turn a “cold shoulder (…or would that be a “cold cover”?) to my advances.

Nor did it extract its deserved pound of flesh for all the attention and praise I’ve heaped upon the DVD of late, demanding that I produce several weeks of exclusive Blog postings devoted to Comic Book virtues – and banishing any and all commentary on the DVD from this Blog for a commensurate amount of time.

No, the Comic Book did exactly what it always did. What it always WILL DO! It provided imaginative entertainment, the exact likes of which is an experience unavailable in any other medium.

Back in 1994, in my VERY FIRST installment of my long running APA column The Issue At Hand, forerunner of this Blog, I wrote the following in praise of the Comic Book – and it bears repeating this day:

The Comic Book has always been a special form of entertainment to me. It does not require any costly or complex electronic receiving or playback equipment, nor is it subject to the vagaries of changing technology. All that’s required is your God-given eyesight and an open mind!”
…And the Comic Book is pretty darned useful during a power outage, too!So, I opened a few windows, taking full advantage of the sunlight and mild temperatures, and enjoyed the best of the new followed by the best of the old.

That is to say GREEN LANTERN (Current Series) # 25 (January, 2008) – the final chapter of the epic “Sinestro Corps War”,

And DELL FOUR COLOR # 238 – “Donald Duck in Voodoo Hoodoo” (1949). A classic by the great writer/artist Carl Barks.

Each perfectly representative of its own time and each taking its reader to its own individual worlds of wonder.

When the power came back, I resisted the lure of electronics (at least until composing this Blog post), and continued to read more Carl Barks duck material for a while longer.
I owed it to the Comic Book, for coming through for me!
…And hope it’ll understand when next I do a DVD post!


Chris Barat said...


Your '94 comment is STILL one of the best comments about the allure of the comic book that I've ever read. Technology is fine, but, as the bumper sticker on my Toyota reads, anytime is a good time to "enjoy the art of reading!".


Joe Torcivia said...

And, Chris, as the allure of the beloved DVD becomes further eroded by Blu-Ray, and even i-Pod downloads (neither of which I’m ready for just yet), my words about the Comic Book ring all the more true!

You may also recall that, in that same 1994 passage, I was wary of the day that the VHS Tape (which the DVD has replaced SO WELL!) would become as outmoded as the 8-Track! No need to wonder how THAT turned out!

Two things will always be true: Technology will never stand still leaving its various temporary forms behind as scrap and relics, and the printed page will always have something to offer!