Tuesday, 30 October 2007

Reading the Reads

There seems to be an opinion at large – evident in the comments section of Heidi MacDonald’s infamous “whither storytelling?” post at The Beat - that anglophone comics are split into the polar opposites of superheroes and autobiographical art comics. But looking at the list of the ten most recent comics I’d read which I posted yesterday, I see that none of them falls into either category (except possibly Nick Fury, Agent of SHIELD, depending on how you define “superhero”). The dominant genre, if there is one, is social comedy.

As it happens, that list was atypically light on periodicals. If I expand the list to include the floppies I bought and read last week, that adds one fully fledged superhero title (X-Men First Class), but also horror (Hellblazer), TV sci-fi spin-off (Doctor Who Adventures), rude adult comedy (Viz) and satire (the comic strips in Private Eye).

Limp conclusions? First, that there’s a wide diversity of comics material available, even if it doesn’t always get the sales or recognition it deserves (though Doctor Who Adventures and Viz are, I think, in first and third places in the UK comics sales charts). Second, that I’m lucky, at least from a comics-reading perspective, to live in the UK, where I can get almost everything published in North America and domestic products as well. Third, that I buy far too many comics.

Posy Simmonds True Love, Jonathan Cape, 1981

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