Beauology 101: The Password Is….Comic Books

"Obey Beau! Buy More Comics!"

“Obey Beau! Buy More Comics!”

by Beau Smith

I used to be able to keep up with what was going on with various comic book characters, mostly mainstream. In my youth, independent comic books were pretty rare, so it wasn’t a hard task. Back then, any comic book that wasn’t Marvel or DC Comics was considered an Indy comic.

I usually knew what was going on in Spider-Man, Batman, even Doctor Strange, but in the last few years, it’s gotten to be pretty hard. A part of it is because not as many storylines interest me as they used to. That’s a natural thing and has been going on since the 1960s. Let’s face it, not every comic book is going to always interest you. Unlike my youth, you don’t feel that you NEED to collect every comic that comes out. These days it’s just too costly, and in reality, that was never a very good way to base a collection.

"Research Your Purchases."

“Research Your Purchases.”

In these modern times, I depend on the word of mouth from my trusted friends to steer me towards a comic book or series that I am not currently reading. I still make it a choice to browse through both Worlds of Westfield as well as Diamond Previews. I like to see if there is anything odd that I may be missing. I will be honest, I don’t pay much attention to cover art for the simple fact that it may not be the art that lies within the book. Recently I saw a great Darwyn Cooke cover to Flash Gordon, and then looked at the interior art, that was not by Cooke, and decided that this wasn’t something I was going to chance money on.

Flash Gordon Cover By Darwyn Cooke

Flash Gordon Cover By Darwyn Cooke

I’m still a firm believer in doing a little research on a comic book before you buy it. My days of having to have every issue of Iron Man or Sgt. Rock are long over. I have to enjoy a comic book before I buy it or recommend it to a friend.

Hawkeye By Matt Fraction

Hawkeye By Matt Fraction

I’ve been reading /collecting comic books since 1961. I’ve been writing them for the last 25 years. My tastes have changed and being in the comic book business has also altered the way I look upon comics. Not a bad change, just different. I appreciate more and at the same time, I don’t live in the past and wish Captain America was the same one that I grew up on in the ‘60s. If anything, I respect the tradition of what has come before and that alone has made my collection and trade paperback buying even more enjoyable. Back issues are more of a pleasure to hunt for than ever, and when a new series or a new writer is tossed upon my radar screen, then I am truly stoked. I’ve found that any creative team can surprise you and that you have to be aware of them and what they are working on. Writer Matt Fraction is a prime example for me. I’ve enjoyed some of his work in the past, more so his columns than his comic book writing, but then he comes and does Hawkeye and it has become one of my personal favorites. Did I expect it? No. Am I stoked that he was able to do this? Oh, yeah!

Daredevil By Mark Waid

Daredevil By Mark Waid

Mark Waid has entertained me many times through the years, both in print and in person, but when he brought Daredevil back to life, I was amped up. It’s one of the most consistently best books in comics. It respects tradition and at the same time breaks new ground. Comic books are more wide open now than they’ve been since in the 1980s.

My point is that the landscape of comic books is broad and you, as a reader, will reap the rewards of discovery. Get out there and hunt, listen and pay attention closely to what’s being offered. Don’t waste your time crying about what’s bad, any nit-wit with too much time can do that. Get out there and tell folks what’s good. Help them support and enjoy comic books with the better material that’s available to them.

If you think something is good, then pass the word. If there’s something that’s bad, then just don’t buy it again. It’s that simple, my friends.

Let me know what you think is good and that I might enjoy. I’d appreciate it.

Your amigo,

Beau Smith

The Flying Fist Ranch



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