BEAUOLOGY 101: THE walking DEAD OR THE always READ?

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Beau Smith: “Don’t question my grammar.”

by beau Smith.

I work for my money that pays for my entertainment. When I throw down $3.00 or much more for comic books or graphic novels, I’ve earned that money. I expect to be entertained.

Sometimes I am much more than entertained by what I buy. Those are really good days. other times I am let down by my purchase. Those are disappointing days. we all have them. It’s the way things go. The only difference is that in the last two decades of purchasing comics , it’s become much more of a roulette wheel of complete satisfaction for me. I either lose or I win big. In my youth, I could depend on being entertained on a regular, monthly basis. You’d think with modern technology what it is, I would be better informed of what to spend my money on. Well, it doesn’t quite work that way. Not today.

Marvel Checklist: “Easy to check out, easy to read.”

Back in the day, I had a small marvel checklist in the issues that told me of maybe 12 issues I had to choose from. DC Comics gave me a direct Currents page where I could learn of what to expect. Yes, I got info from those pages, but where I really got my hardcore information was within the monthly issues themselves—The stories—The characters.

Direct Currents: “A shocking handful of comics.”

You had a pace, you had a trail that the creators led you through. It didn’t matter if it was a single issue story or a three story arc, the storytelling was good enough that you knew if you were going to purchase the issue the next month or if you were going to shed it and look for something else to take its place. It’s hard to do these days, not impossible, but harder.

I do know that when I find a comic book or series that I really like, I do my best to tell others, through this column, through social media and believe it or not, thought real human conversations. It really works and I’ve been lucky enough to have others give me heads up on stuff that I had missed. Word of mouth is wonderful. It’s still the best form of advertising there is. social media networks like Facebook and Twitter love to tout that they do that, but in reality they just do it okay.

I’d like to add that the current film studios that have produced films like Iron Man, The Avengers, and Batman films have done a fantastic job in getting the characters out there. They have found a way to practically perfectly mix the best of history and tradition with the best of what has currently been written in comics to make very entertaining films. The publishers of comics haven’t found a way to make that translate into sales yet, but I keep hoping they’ll find a way to get those movie-goers to read comics.

“Good question, Superman. I ask that all the time.”

In my personal opinion, I believe that marvel and DC Comics, as well as other publishers that wish to produce company owned characters, need to seriously hire true creative directors. people with experience in both storytelling and marketing to be able to develop long standing characters into likeable characters, to create new characters, and to steer these characters into an exciting, readable world that will be inviting to new readers and captivate long time readers.

Stunts, events, and gimmicks are not the way. The way is producing characters readers know, care about, and want to see in exciting situations. readers want those characters to be friends and feel like family. They want to care.

“Reading comics will rot your brain, kid!”

I’m not saying that all current comic books are digging graves for themselves. No, there are some really, really great comics out there, but every month there are also much more and much more comic books that resemble zombies from The walking Dead. Month after month, they keep dragging their dying bodies over the four color landscape waiting for someone to purchase them so they can eat their brains or take them out of their misery and blow their brains out. I got enough zombies in my life, I don’t need to read any more.

This column isn’t getting down on comics, it’s praising them. I’m letting you know that with a few changes, comic books could be worthy of the high-end cash you’re putting down for them.

Buy smart. read smart.

Your amigo,

Beau Smith

The flying Fist Ranch

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