I’m a big believer in variety in my reading. Yes, I buy a lot of superhero comics, but I’m also fascinated by mysteries, crime stories and other kinds of storytelling. I wish I could tell you what I’m going to like, but I often don’t know until I see it.
One of my favorite comics companies is AfterShock, and they’ve declared 2019 “The Year of Reading Dangerously.”
WHAT’S THAT ALL ABOUT?
If you go to this link, you’ll be able to check out the news release from AfterShock as they describe this new focus for a new year.
Here’s an important paragraph or two from that release:
AfterShock Comics, the industry’s fastest growing independent publishing company, is prompting both new and established comics audiences to “Read Dangerously,” claiming 2019 as The Year of Reading Dangerously. Supported by a robust advertising and marketing campaign, this call to action will serve as the rallying cry behind all AfterShock brand activities and initiatives over the course of the year.
As publisher of many of the most talked about independent titles of the past few years – including ANIMOSITY, A WALK THROUGH HELL, DARK ARK and BABYTEETH, AfterShock will push the envelope even further in 2019 with new releases and ongoing series that continue to thrill, chill and challenge – both imaginations and sensibilities.
“’Read Dangerously’ emphasizes the caliber of our content,” said Steve Rotterdam, SVP of Sales and Marketing. “It’s an open invitation to readers looking to break away from the more conventional choices available to them and can also be embraced by retailers in their efforts to reach out and connect to new audiences. And we’re prepared to help them do that.”
And one last quote:
Working with top writers, artists and some of the brightest new stars in the creative community, soon-to-debut 2019 titles STRONGHOLD, OBERON, DARK RED, OUT OF THE BLUE and HORDE, to name only a few, will cut across all genres to take readers far beyond their comfort zones.
I’ve always enjoyed AfterShock’s product because it is something different. Currently, my favorite is Animosity, the tale of what could happen if animals developed the ability to talk and reason. It’s gripping stuff!
Science fiction and, in many ways, comics, are designed to answer the question, “What if?”
I applaud AfterShock’s efforts to expand the boundaries of comics storytelling. I know it’s easy to stick with what has worked in the past, but it’s more satisfying when people at least try to go “where no comic has gone before.”
IT’S GREAT TO BE SURPRISED
What’s really tough these days is to find new, quality stories. There is simply so much product hitting the stands and stores that many folks selling the books simply don’t have the time to peruse all the comics that come in each week.
I know of at least one local comic shop that requires employees to read new books each week. That way they can recommend titles people might enjoy depending on a customer’s tastes. I love to go there because, when I have a little extra cash on hand, I’d love to try out something new. And I often have there.
Granted, not many stores can do that. I went to one store in which the one employee sat glued to his computer screen, never looking up to engage customers in any way. I had some money to spend there, but since I had no way to know what I would like, I saved my shekels for a place where I could at least ask about books. He’s probably still staring at that computer screen today… that is, if the store is still open.
‘A LITTLE DOG’S BREAKFAST’
My Mom used to have an expression when she thought something was “all over the place.” She called it “a little dog’s breakfast” for obvious reasons.
As I’ve said before, I’m often going to cons to find creators I can interview for my podcast. I have to at least like what they’re making, though. I have often passed on stuff I thought wasn’t worth it.
As I look at my bookshelf, I see a lot of different comics I love, including (in no particular order) Mouse Guard, The Stuff of Legend, Rust, Amulet, Batman, Hawkman, Hilo, Guerillas, Justice League, ElfQuest, the Parker series of books by Darwyn Cooke, Rest, All-Star Superman, Gotham Central, Replica, You Have Killed Me, Locke & Key, and Vietnamerica, just to name a few.
Honestly, if I feel like all we’re getting from a comic is “safe” storytelling, I’m out! I’ll invest my time and money in something more interesting and challenging!
Now I have some friends who demand stories that they know what the ending is before they read it. One person even reads the last page of a novel to make sure it’s going to be a happy ending before she’ll invest any time in it. I gather some of them feel smarter when they can figure out what a writer has in store. Me, I’m bored with that!
So for me, I’m all in with “reading dangerously!” Challenge me, perplex me, surprise me! Take me where I haven’t been before! No “standard stuff” for me! Been there, read that! I’m going to check out what AfterShock is offering this year!
If you’d like to hear my interview with the aforementioned Mr. Rotterdam, please go to this link!