Monday, June 2, 2014

Behold, a Geeky Horse or Ponies and Demons

Well, I took some time off. The publication of my first story was a big deal, and I celebrated by slacking off for a bit. Actually, if you account for all the time I've been slacking lately, I was celebrating that particular victory long before I earned it. But now I'm back and writing again. I'm back on the horse, as it were.
Yup, it's that kind of horse. (From Hark! A Vagrant)

In the interval I spent not writing I got back to my nerdy roots. I attended Motor City Comic Con. I started Playing Magic: The Gathering again, a game I've not played since I was fourteen. I even purchased a few comics at the local comics store, Nerdageddon. Now granted, this is a thing I've been wanting to do for myself for awhile. Get back to basics. Embrace the geek in me. But I also did it for my son, an indoor kid in the making.

We drove all over our local area hunting for a comics store. Unfortunately, there seem to have been several that opened and closed, and searching online in my phone didn't always yield the most up-to-date results. When we found the aptly named Nerdageddon, it was the fourth place we had driven to looking for a comics store. It's a great store, but seems like it's fairly new. I hope it has legs and will be around for some time.

I let my son pick out a comic book for himself. He's expressed interest in them, and we have such a hard time getting him to read, that if there is something he actually wants to read, we're all about it. He settled on an issue of his favorite superhero, (and I have no idea how he even knows about him) everyone's favorite merc with a mouth, Deadpool.

Yup. That Deadpool.

Now, my son is ten. I don't want to be a prude and stifle my son's interests, nor do I want him saying and doing inappropriate things (especially in front of his mother). So I leafed through the issue he had, and it seemed all right. I got it for him, and I even got one for myself. I picked up the second issue of a comic title that I read back when I read comics. I got the reboot of Ghost Rider.

Now it's been a number of years since I actually read comics. The Deadpool one was enjoyable. It was violent, sure, but in a fun campy kind of way. Deadpool is the consummate wise-ass, and he's metatextual and breaks the fourth wall. I get it, and it's great. The Ghost Rider reboot however, eh... not so much. Now I need to go to my mom's house and dig out my old collection to be sure, but I don't remember it being so dry, so formulaic.

I didn't intend for this to be a comic review, but I guess that's what it is.

The Ghost Rider that I read was the Spirit of Vengeance. He went after despicable, depraved human beings and dispensed lethal justice. He tangled with a few other Marvel heroes who take exception to homicide no matter what the cause. He's the antihero writ large. I mean come on, he's an actual demon who reaps evil souls. He's a supernatural Punisher. Plus his head is a flaming skull. How cool is that?

The new Ghost Rider seems to have a beef with the local drug cartel. Plus the villain in the issue I read was some sort of pharmaceutical engineer who developed a Jekyll/Hyde drug that turns people into bloodthirsty monsters. He actually called himself Hyde.

I was not engaged in this story right away. It would take a couple more issues to hook me, I think, storywise. What really turned me off though was the artwork. The Ghost Rider I remember was gritty and dark. This new incarnation is almost cartoony in its use of color and exaggerated anatomy. I just... it didn't do anything for me. Take a look at a comparison.

The Ghost Rider I remember and love.


Some kind of... Robot... Skeleton?

He drives a muscle car now. Ok, I guess I can live with that. The motorcycle is a standard of the character, but whatever, we're trying to break new ground here, I get it. Cars are still cool. But what is he? Is he a robot? Is he a ghost? Is he somehow both? I don't... He's totally torching the interior of that car by the way. No way that upholstery is original.

If he is a ghost that looks like a bare human skull, it's a pretty messed up skull. Then again, take a look at the people in this thing.

AHGAD a monster! Oh... wait no, that's just his little brother.

The people look all rubbery and cartoony. It's just... maybe comics have passed me by. Maybe I'm a dinosaur. I don't know. Maybe this is a torch I need to pass on to my son and leave well enough alone. I'll go back to my mom's and get my old books and read them again, and rage all over again when they split the story arc into half a dozen new titles that you have to follow or you have no damn idea what' happening. Yeah. That's what made me quit reading them in the first place.

Or maybe I'll just keep writing my own stories.