Fuck off, they're comic books, and I'm proud to read 'em. I've been a comic book dork ever since I first saw Captain America go undercover inside a prison as an inmate to unmask corruption there, and then go to England to help Captain Britain defeat his evil relative (I forget the relation, I was young) Baron Blood. Cap got the drop on the Baron when his vampire teeth couldn't get through the chainmail Cap wore under his costume. That comic is where I first learned that to really kill a vampire, you have to cut off the head, stuff the mouth full of garlic, burn the body and head separately and bury them in two separate graves, while never taking the stake out of the body. These things are important when you're in elementary school.
I got back into comics with the awesome imagery of Todd McFarlane's Spiderman comics, and followed that winding road through the entire Sandman series, about 37 different permutations of X-Men, picking up back issues of Hellblazer and Watchmen along the way. I dumped all my comics a few years ago, hanging onto my Hellblazer collection and my Sandman hardcovers, but letting everything else go.
But every once in a while I get a hankering to pick up a glossy, bright-colored fix, so I wander back into the "forgotten corner" of the Barnes & Noble, or even pop into a comic shop, and see what's going on in the Marvel or DC Universe.
WE INTERRUPT THIS FOR A RANDOM PHRASE FROM THE OTHER OFFICE - my project managers are in the other room talking about "seeping ass juice." I have no context, just a vile phrase. WE NOW RETURN YOU TO YOUR REGULARLY SCHEDULED NAVEL-GAZING
So this week I picked up the trade paperback (which is the only way I buy comics now, since I have neither the time nor the patience to keep up with a series) of a mini-series called Identity Crisis, from DC. Truly one of the best reads in years. I know to real geeks this is old news, but Identity Crisis takes some of the older Justice League of America characters like Elongated Man and makes them relevant and central again. It's full of love, loss and really well-written character pain. It talks about how heroes deal with their secret identities, what lengths they go to to protect those identities, and what happens when their real lives and real partners get caught up in their other world. I recommend it to anyone who likes a good story, whether you give a shit about comic books or not. And I dare you not to tear up, just a little, at the last page.
So go buy a comic book, and fuck the snobs who won't call them comic books.