The conversation surrounding DC Rebirth is irritating me to no end. This comic appears to address the failings of the DC Comics of the past decades by actively refusing to do any sort of introspection. It fixes problems by creating more and misunderstanding the core appeal of their own comics. It's done by the same people who did the wrecking in the first place. It seems wrong-headed, mean-spirited and just unwelcoming. I see it in the same way I see the Star Wars Prequels. Maybe Shazam will have midichlorians now, Alfred is Jar Jar...
I also saw this particularly grating comment by Tom Spurgeon on the Comics Reporter to the effect that a comic book store employee recommended he buy the comic because it was cheap: “Should you buy it? I guess. It's like 80 pages for three bucks. You might as well”. That just seems wrong to me, I understand that comic book shop benefits from selling this comic and getting it out there is good for their business, but if the quality of the product is lacking and the story being told is problematic, why would you as a consumer purchase it at all. Are we bound by the need to read a comic simply because of value or does quality has a higher value than simple cost? If as a reader, you've felt betrayed before, why trust that this will be any different?
So I thought to move the conversation towards actual good comics you can buy for three bucks RIGHT NOW that are of good and for which you’ll be supporting artists directly rather than a corporate publishers who, by any indications, seems to actively hate you. There are so much good comics, let's see what three bucks can get you.
Over at Ray Ray Books, Club Queen Rat King by Emma Louthan, a small comic from the artist behind Three Fates, a comic I really enjoyed. This one is about Club Queen, finding "her rightful place as the object of worship for the denizens of a surreal frenzied night club". Next up is Consumption by Jensine Eckwall, Here's the description from the author: "This winter I got sick, sick in a way I’d ever been before. In my desperate search for answers, I came across a group of people whose desires had shifted from self-preservation to quite the opposite". There's also the extremely talented Laura Knetzger's Flowering Vine (I reviewed her latest comic Sea Urchin here). Flowering Vine is a comic I have yet to read described as follow: "Wonders blossom in the inner-most thoughts of a young girl’s mind. I'm looking forward to reading this"
Over at Czap Book, Rising, comic superstar Cathy G. Johnson & Kevin Czapiewski's newsprint comic He Fought Like a Little Tiger in a Trap loosely based on a novel by Carson McCullers I've never heard of. It's a comic about identity and expression. They also have Rind by MJ Robinson, a comic poem about frustration.
Speaking of poetry, if you want to try something truly different, InkBrick has a bunch of experimental poetry comics for three bucks or less over at the InkBrick Store
Over at Radiator Comics, the sci-fi comedy comic by Miranda Harmon Intergalactic Dance Party will lighten your mood and make you want to dance. Any issues of the series Frankie by Rachel Dukes (about a bizarre cat adopted by a family) are available for two or three bucks. There's an interesting looking comic AND a guide on useful things you should know about by Isabella Rotman called Good to Know . All the issues of Madtown High by Whit Taylor are available as well.
Over at 2Dcloud, an avant-garde publisher of quality materials from interesting authors, a few comics of note are available for under three bucks: A Rudy mini comic by Mark Connery, a poetry comic called Easter Island by Christopher Adams of which I know nothing about, Looking Good by Will Dinski on office gadgets; No Title by Ellen Redshaw, and the talented Anna Bongiovanni's mini comic Cavities & Crevices, same with MariNaomi's Great Heights, and a comic by Nicholas Breutzman called Harvest based on Jailhouse stories.
BUT WHAT ABOUT MY ELECTRONIC MULTIMEDIA READING DEVICE?
Digital Retrofit comics: I’m cheating a bit here since I’m suggesting digital comics rather than print comics, but with such a good selection of solid titles, it would be a shame not to point them out. Retrofit Comics have been releasing extremely interesting comic from phenomenal talents for the last few years. Most of those are available as .PDF on their website for just $2.99. The 2014 Ignatz Award winner for Outstanding Comic Wicked Chicken Queen by Sam Alden, Debbie’s Inferno by Anne Emond, Number One by Box Brown, Ikebana by Yumi Sakugawa, Bowman by Pat Aulisio, The Monkey in the Basement and Other Delusions by Corrine Mucha. And a personal favourite, the newly released The Experts by Sophie Franz (reviewed here). Take a serious look at their digital catalog, any of these $2.99 comics will be an impeccable read. That Sam Alden comic and the Sophie Franz comic will change how you think about comics.
Speaking of good digital comics, over at Youth in Decline, you can get the first issue of Lovers Only, an romance anthology by Cathy G. Jonhson, Sophia Foster-Dimino and Mickey Zacchilli for under two bucks.
You can also get any of Sarah Horrocks comics on digital for two or three bucks.
So there you have it, options of comics for three bucks. None of these comics are mean-spirited, confusing, unwelcoming, angry or filled with pointless decapitation (don't quote me on that last one though, but I'm pretty sure there is no decapitation in those). They don’t require you buy more comics to understand it, nor do they require you to have read 15 to 20 years of comics before it to understand it. It's importance will not be wiped away in 3 months. They will stand as artifacts, intemporal pieces of art, of comics well executed by caring artists, and hopefully will be well-liked by you as a reader.
Comic book doesn't have to be a spiteful place. You don't have to buy something out of nostalgia alone, you don't have to buy a comic out of habit. You don't have to buy a comic you don't like. It's not fun to "anger-read" books and comics. You are your own person. You can make your own choices. Be the comic reader you want to be. If after looking at all of those suggestions, DC Rebirth still appeals to you, that's fine too. But do let me know, I'll send you the exact location of Alan Moore's grave and we can all go dancing on it while burning money and talking about how good the Batman V Superman 2: Electric Superman Blue is going to be. That scene where Mongul rips Lois Lane in half with her intestines splattered all over the floor. Just the gore movie I think of when I think of a Batman/Superman team-up movie.