Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Do you ever catch yourself...

Caught in a repetition? Not so much with how each day unfolds. I understand the basic "Get up, have breakfast, go to work..." blab blah blahsense, I'm speaking more about how we speak and act. The banal stuff. The same jokes we repeat until they're not funny anymore, but occasionally still are so we keep with them. The same greetings, the same little clever responses to the same questions people ask us day in and day out.

"How are you doing?"

- Oh, I'm here.

"What's going on?"

- Oh, y'know. Another day in paradise.

And if someone actually has the gall to say "Sounds like someone has a case of the Mondays" you have my permission to decapitate them with a shovel. But still, you get my meaning right? It's so easy to fall into a routine. Even when you think you're being witty or clever, you're still probably reciting bits that either someone else popularized via the old cathode-tube box or some movie or song, or you have that little piece of you, that little thing you invented all so long ago and that you keep on keeping on with it no matter how little a response it gets anymore because, let's face it, no one is really listening to you anyway after a while because they generally know what to expect by now it's so easy to fall into a bit of complacency.

Have you ever tried to get out?

Easy to fall into, hard to get out. Like a Tiger Pit in a rain storm. It's so easy to become set in your ways, even when you blatantly are trying not to. What you eat, how you dress, little habits like what order you do the morning three S's in and so on, and we're just talking simple every day things like that.

What about what you read, or watch, or listen to? See where I'm going now? I said I wanted this blog to be mostly about media and that didn't I? Weren't you paying attention?

Of course not, no one reads this bloody thing. But the point still remains. Everything becomes a routine at some point. Whether we snap ourselves out of it or not is up to us. And as simple as it sounds it really is a dedicated effort because we humans more than ever tend to get easily distracted. There's just so much stuff out there, it's overwhelming, and thus the idea of falling into a comfort zone becomes much more reliable proposition, and how our eyes, ears, and brains can become much more tuned to stuff a little on the generic side. Sure, sometimes something genuinely original, or most likely unique, will come our way and we'll embrace it, but for the most part is seems these kinds of ideas or creations get passed over for something more familiar. Something safer.

I've always wondered what happens when, how, or if a creator, a writer, a musician whatever realizes they too are in this zone. For I like many am just a common lay person, as uninspiring as the next person as I'm showing right now with such riveting prose, and I wonder how the minds of those that we look to for our entertainment and our catchy phrases. Thing is, like I said it's so hard to be original as is, I've noticed that a lot of these artists tend to just take somewhat familiar archetypes and genres and just perform the shit out of them. There's a lot to be said for something familiar yet FRESH. Execution is always key, though as I'm noticing you can always keep a good sized audience enthralled with just something just plain catchy.

To bring this to comic books, which again is really what I'm trying to talk about here, I think that's how you have an industry in the state that it is. That's how you get certain books selling at obscene quantities definitely not in proportion to the quality therein. But they're safe. They're familiar. We know the characters, we know what to expect. You know what you're getting with a Spider-Man book. Superman. Batman. Not even talking superheroes (though obviously that's where this diatribe is mostly going to make its point) look at something like the top selling Dark Horse book, Buffy. Or even FABLES from Vertigo. Sure, the storytelling might be new and working on a larger scale than we've seen in comics since maybe even the SANDMAN was in print, but it's still a book about characters we grew up reading about, or more apt being read to about as we were tucked in at night.

Why is there an X-FORCE book selling in the Top 20 considering the memories of the 90's it should be invoking? The Top 20 is your basic assortment of Batman, X-Men, Superman, Spider-Man etc titles, some of which may in fact have a quality score justifying its placement sure, but most likely not. "Run of the mill" I think is too strong a term here, but "Complacently average" I think does the trick. Why don't people even know FEAR AGENT exists? Why did a mini-series written by the front man for arguably the most popular band on the planet (THE UMBRELLA ACADEMY and MY CHEMICAL ROMANCE respectively) get outsold by something like 70+ books a month when it was rolling? Sure, you've got your SCOTT PILGRIM catching on like wildfire, but why does a book from the same company like WASTELAND struggle to find new readers?

And it's not like any of those books I just mentioned are terribly original, but they are unique in a medium lopsidedly dominated by one particular genre. But even books wholeheartedly in that genre tend to get overlooked simply because they lack familiarity. THE UMBRELLA ACADEMY doesn't have Spider-Man. THE ORDER didn't have Wolverine. GODLAND doesn't sport the Fantastic Four and so on. Instead of finding books like these, we just instead have a readership that buys what they buy, reads what they read, and bitches about half of all of it, yet continues to support it with their dollar.


I just don't get it, and yet I too tend to fall prey to it. I like teh punk rock. Apparently, I really like teh punk rock because it's a huge percentage of my 5000 songs on my iPod. But I catch myself enough I think to branch out and find new stuff. To find some Folk music Rocky Votolato style. To sample some random Metalcore like Bullet For My Valentine. To hear the odd instrumental sounds of Battles. But is it enough?

Well, is it? How much do you really care about your music? Your movies? Your comics? What do you plan to do about it, because I would genuinely like some new pursuits.

And while I think upon this, I believe it's time for some major Pwnage Warhawk style. Because I am a simple man, with simple needs, and a desire to blow things to fucking Valhalla and back with my trust Tank and Proximity Mines.


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