I've found myself rediscovering my love for comics again, and this is bringing me a great deal of pleasure in both an entertainment sense and also a creative sense. I've had a bit of a creative drought recently, in which I've written a ton of non-fiction but very little in the way of new material of a fictional nature. Taking stacks of comics out of storage and returning them to pride of place on one of the many bookcases that fills my home has got me flicking through pages that delighted me for so long. They still have that power to amuse and thrill me, and have really helped get me back into a good routine with fiction.
How? because they're punchy, fat-free and get to the point quickly without losing the ability to be subtle. Nuance, light and shade are very much a part of comic book storytelling as well as the graphic aspect of the medium. Together, the whole package still excites me on a creative level. Comics are one medium where literally anything is possible.
I've got into some more recent titles too of late, including things like the marvellous Planetary, written by Warren Ellis, the indie joys of Box Office Poison and Too Cool To Be Forgotten by Alex Robinson, the Kevin Smith Green Hornet miniseries, the new comic series based on the web series The Guild and a load of others besides. Going back to the old titles, the X-Men and Spider-man titles and so on, has also helped me gain more appreciation for those old issues, and helped me get my mind back into characters and action rather than facts and opinions.
My own graphic novel continues at a slow pace due to other commitments, but there's something new on the horizon too as I've come up with some awesome new characters that I want to put into a comic. Character sketches are being passed to an artist friend to see if he has any interest in joining in for it, and I'll keep you posted if anything develops. The thing is, reading and enjoying comics actively once again instead of being the occasional reader I had lapsed into, is a huge amount of fun and great practice.
I want to write a comic. I want to enjoy the practice of drawing, if only to do the layouts, and I want to be able to tell some stories that are fantastical yet grounded in reality. The comic book is one of the finest places for that to be done right, and I am so very pleased that I've opened my eyes to these things again. If you were a comics fan and have lapsed, crack out those classic issues and enjoy them again. If you don't have them any more, track down the trade paperbacks and dive in. Get that imagination fired up. There's energy in those panels, just waiting to be tapped.