In my review of MidNight Tiger by Ray-Anthony Height I thought, based upon his comic, that Height would be the kind of guy I’d like to hang and shoot the breeze with. Well, at New York Comic Con 2016, I found out that I was right. Ray is a great guy who is fun to hang out with.
Like me, he has a deep love of comics and feels that they should be fun. The first comic that he bought with his own money was the West Coast Avengers. “Great stories, they didn’t talk down to me, and everyone could enjoy them.” We agreed that while Frank Miller has done some great things, not every comic needs the Miller touch. Stories can be “adult” without over the top sex and violence, and they don’t need to be so dark.
His goal with MidNight Tiger was to bring back that 1980’s sensibility and to make comics accessible to everyone by telling stories with a sense of fun, which seems to be in short supply at the Big 2 these days.
Anyone reading my reviews will know that I agree. I’m not against dark and moody, or even, with the proper justification, violent comics. What my gripe is that not everything should look the same. And if we are to snag the next generation readers then comics need to be accessible. There needs to be comics that parents and their children can enjoy together. Comics are a medium to tell stories and the range should be as vast as the talent pool.
Making it my mission at Comic Con to eschew the Big 2 and see what is out there, I explored the Independent Comics. In my travels around the Javits Center, I clocked about four miles a day moving up and down the aisles and met a lot of great people, and learned about small publishers of whom I have never heard of before. In the coming weeks, I’ll be posting reviews of titles from the small presses. Some comics are outstanding, some not so good, but get a big “E” for effort.
I have read comics with important messages, like Erica Heflin and Amanda Rachel’s Flesh of White, published by Comic Times and Inverse to Oni Press’s subversively funny volume 3 of Rick and Morty.
If you’re tired of the constant massive crossovers, and the media event driven story-line (“Let’s make Thor a woman, Captain America a Hydra sleeper, etc”) try the independent lines. You’ll be pleasantly surprised.