2011 must have been a heady, dreamy time at Rhubarb Bomb. In the sheer name of journalism, I ‘invested’ in buying every #1 issue of the re-launched DC Comics range, then wrote an article about the experience.
I’ve no idea how I suddenly had £150 spare to pull this off. I had just invested my cashed-in pension on creating Long Division festival, so maybe I had some spare change leftover.
I’m glad I did though – that first, weird leap has now me led to this point where I’ve been reading comics for five years. The early buzz has indeed passed; the slow and inevitable realisation that it is the same as any other creative industry in that it is 90% mass produced dross and you really have to dig for the great stuff.
When it works it is a powerful medium. DC and Marvel may be the biggest things in the universe right now, their movies possibly the last gasp of an industry sure to collapse as Art, Theatre and Music have. And it may be easy to mock the more mainstream works but – as is the case on those aforementioned mediums – those obvious works are needed to draw in the newbies, as I was by the DC New 52 re-launch.
Of the 52 Comic lines, I kept on with some (Action Comics, Batman, Justice League, Deathstroke, Green Lantern Corps) for a time with the latter two dropped after their initial arcs were done. The Batman run, which has just completed was sheer brilliance from start to finish, a vast story that simply could not exist as a film or a novel.
That hook led me to some great experiences, with The Manhattan Project, From Hell, Multiversity, The Filth and The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen now taking up part of two full bookshelves in the front room.
As a musician and former self-appointed music journo working daily in the music industry, music as a whole struggles to maintain its mystique – the strings have long been revealed, the tricks too obvious, the game too clear. Comics were something new.
Five years later, DC have re-launched their line again, practically wiping much of the last five years from the continuity which makes it feel like a good time to jump off, even though the new approach may produce better results across the line as a whole.
I’ve looked around online to see if those 52 issues could possibly be worth their original value, or more. They are so mass produced now that the idea of a first issue being worth a fortune is just crazy, though Batman #1 has been going for around $100 to gullible people on eBay.
But it does make me wonder; if I can make my money back, what strange new world could I explore with a bit of cash in my back pocket?
(Here is the eBay listing, if you are interested)