"KARTEL KAKIKOMIK AKU YANG FIRST... "







































My Guilty Pleasure
( tribute buat seorang kawan )



- untuk kaki-kaki komik ajer -



I read comic books.

There. I've said it.

I've revealed my ONLY guilty pleasure which would unwittingly draw upturned eyebrows of surprise (some even of derision) when spoken about in a crowd of adults.


If you, the reader, are in the same group of people who think lowly of comic books as simple 4-colored periodicals worthy only of notice by children under the age of 12, then have I got news for you, baby....


*Adopts prissy queer guy pose while slapping your arm in a playful manner*


"Where have you been all this while, dah-ling? Don't you know it's currently HIP to be SQUARE!"


Every ten year cycle or so, comic books resurfaces into the cultural consiousness or becomes hip and mainstream again.


It was true during the 1989-1995 period when Tim Burton's Batman (1989) film resulted in reading comic books being cool. Comics distribution went up into hundred thousand copies per issue and the euphoria felt like the bull run at the stock market. A comic book that you bought on Friday would double or even triple its value by the next Friday in those good old days of 1992-1994.


This period was known as the Age of Artistes as 7 of the best comic pencillers (Jim Lee, Todd McFarlane, Rob Liefeld, Erik Larsen, Marc Silvestri,Jim Valentino, and Whilce Potracio) broke away from Marvel Comics (one of the big comic giant publishing company along with DC Comics) and made their own comics company : Image Comics.


They had a certain energy conveyed in their artwork which resulted in fanboys like me going giddy and wet with excitement ( I know, I know, I was a SAD teenager ;-p). The comic book film exposure also meant everyone and their grandmother started jumping onto the bandwagon of what comic of the month was hot and started buying the same issue of a comic in multiples (in speculation that the price would go up). Comics books in the early '90s era like Jim Lee's X-Men #1 and Tood McFarlane's Spiderman #1, heck even the Death of Superman fetched prices that was 5-20 times the cover price of the comic book.


However, life is a cycle and logic prevailed.


What goes up MUST also eventually come down.


All the speculation was hurting the actual comic book book market because big companies like Marvel,DC and even Image kept pumping out hundred thousands of comics with gatefold covers, shiny hologram covers, even pre-packaged polybagged comics (with surprise trading card inside) which at the end of the day had little to no content of worth.


What's the use of buying a comic if you don't even enjoy reading it and hoard it in mylar-plastic covers instead in the hopes it will pay your children's college tuition fee ? (believe me, some wacko Americans did this). ;-p


And so 1995-1998 was the dark days of comic-book reading.



Joel Schumacher (the DEVIL to most Batman-comic book reading fans) had also just directed the George Clooney stinker Batman Forever (which also starred Arnie and Uma Thurman).


Comic book films had ran away from its roots set up by Tim Burton initially (which respected the core material and made a homage of it in film form). Joel Schumacher had taken eveything cool about the Batman comics and instead turned it into a parody of itself.


Villains wore multi-coloured hues of costumes and were always featured in gaudy lighting. Characters always thought in black and white and it was always good versus evil with no grey area in between. Batman had turned into the campy '60s TV series, instead of being based on the '80s brooding avenger archetype.


-------------



From the ashes of the Age of Artistes arised the comic book writers.


In the 1998-2000 period, great comic books started to surface.


The Writer's Revolution has started, ladies and gentleman.



People that had been brought up on quality comic book writing during the '80s (i.e. Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns and Alan Moore's The Watchmen) such as Warren Ellis, Garth Ennis, Brian Michael Bendis and Garth Morrison started writing comics that broke the rules of the previous decade.


Comis didn't NEED to be just about good versus evil; it became more realistic and adapted to the current world environment. Character's motivation were now logical and methodical. Stories were more technologically fantastic yet at the same time realistic.


Plus, Hollywood was also starting to be invaded by creative people who grew up on those same era of comic books.


1998 brought the Wesley Snipes helmed Blade. A comic book movie about the first human-vampire hybrid who can walk in sunlight (thus named the Daywalker) and slays vampires for a living. The amount of homage and realism given to Blade (which is an obscure '70s comic book from Marvel) gave hope to comic book fans that comics would soon rise into the mainstream again.


Sure enough, Hollywood saw Blade's good response from both the comic book community and also the regular moviegoing public and soon, more and more comic book films started to be greenlighted.


2000's X-Men by Bryan Singer further put comic books into the spotlight as Hugh Jackman's Wolverine brought females into cinemas in droves and reading X-Men comic books became cool again. More and more hits such as X-2 in 2003, Sam Raimi's Spiderman in 2002 and of course, the current uber- comic book film masterpiece Spiderman 2 in 2004 meant comic books have FINALLY arrived back into the mainstream.


Comic books were no longer the hobby of the juvenile, socially inadequate geeks as it was in those dark days of the late '90s. More and more mainstream, audiences have been exposed to the power of graphic novel storytelling and more and more are starting to pick them up based on the successes of the films. Other forms of comic books like Japanese Manga have been translated into English and is also currently selling in millions of copies in America.


Heck, even bookstores like Barnes & Noble, Kinokuniya, WH Smith and MPH are starting to stock comic books in their stores. Try looking under the graphic novels section next time you're in a bookstore!


Beautiful Hollywood stars such as Jude Law, Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner have come out of the closet and admitted to being comic book geeks. (hahahaha...I like the weird analogy b/w being gay & comic book readers here...I wonder whether there's more to it..hhhmmmm)


Of course, with the good, there also exists the bad.


Comic book film stinkers such as Daredevil, the Hulk and Punisher are soon going to be the death of comic book films as a medium.


What Hollywood needs to realise is that they have to be TRUE to the source materials. The comic book fans have to be appeased while at the same time the film shouldn't be TOO faithful to the source lest the mainstream audiences don't 'get it'.


That ladies and gentleman...is a hard line to toe.


So I'm grateful for talented individuals like Bryan SInger, Guillermo Del Toro and Sam Raimi who have a love and appreciation for the original comic books yet have the incredible ability to include only what's relevant and make it interesting to the mainstream audience.


I'm currently a giddy fanboy, regaling in the 'mainstream-ness' of comic books. Here's to another 3-4 good years of comic books being in the spotlight until they must again fade away (which is only logical) and be resurrected in a Lazarus-like manner in 10 years time by the next generation influenced by the current crop of good comic book exposure.


Hahahaha...after all, that is LIFE....just ONE huge cycle of events. Going round and round.


We are but bit players in the cycle. Specks of dust on a universal tableu.


They who haven't learned from History are doomed to repeat it!


;-p

posted by NiK!




( petikan dari tulisan blog 'partner-in-crime' aku masa time sekolah dulu... sama-sama kakikomik, sama-sama gilakomik, sama-sama hantukomik. Nyaris jadi doktor atas paksaan rejim abah dia. Tapi biasak la, kalau dah rebel tu... rebel jugak. LONG LIVE FANBOY, eh Nik?! Aku nak confess satu benda ajer kat sini dan ini agak personal jugak la: Kalau aku story pasal komik ajer kat dia - memang dia sorang jer yang paham 100% apa yang aku bebelkan. Sekarang ni agak sedih sikit laaa. Masing-masing dah sibuk nak jadi 'ORANG'. Tak tau bila nak jumpa dia balik, lots'a catching up to do. )


INI SATU TRIBUTE BUAT BEST BUDDY AKU DALAM INDUSTRI... itu pun kalau boleh dipanggil industri(?)




p/s: Aku selalu describe si Nik ni macam a mix between Afdlin Shauki + Kevin Smith + Jack Black. Betul. Tak caya tanya dia sendiri.

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