This year was a big year for me and comics, in fact the biggest by virtue of being the first. A year ago today, I didn’t even read comics. Now I’ve broken past the 40th post mark on a blog devoted entirely to them. Like I said: big year.
It puts me in an odd position as a blogger and as a reader. For me, annual favorites are also largely all-time favorites. The best and worst of what I read this year also constitute the best and worst I’ve ever read.
Now, if you’ve been following my Weekly Pull feature, you’ll notice I generally give high ratings. That’s to be expected, as I’m not an official review site and don’t have the time or money to buy things I don’t expect to enjoy. To the extent I’m good at guessing about my own tastes, I like most of what I read. And to a great extent that makes any kind of “best of” or favorites list somewhat pointless, as order is largely arbitrary and mandated less by actual preference than by the formal requirements of a numbered list.
Trying to rank would likely represent a sort of temporal bias, because things I’m reading right now and caught up in are likely to seem more enjoyable than things I read eight months ago, even if I felt the same about those things while reading. It’s hard to catch lightning in a bottle; harder still to keep it there while attempting to capture more. Inevitably my recollection of the old joy will have seeped out in my endeavors to acquire new joy. As such, in an effort to consolidate my thoughts on my very first year reading comics, I will be participating in this year’s “Listmas,” releasing a list of sorts every day between now and Christmas (the one-year anniversary of my re-introduction to the industry). But my lists will be highlights and lowlights rather than rankings.
As this is a preface to the coming week’s worth of posts, I’d like to take a moment to thank those (few) of you who are reading, and who have been reading in some fashion since I launched Novelly Graphic. It’s been a rough road, and one thing I learned quickly is that being part of a comic-reading community is akin to stepping foot on a battlefield. There are no passive bystanders; only participants and the collaterally damaged. There’s a tension, ever-present, between wanting to reach out to people who share your views, who agree with your stance, who make you feel less alone in your suffering and more ecstatic in your celebration, and the inevitable confrontation with those who disagree, who kick you when you’re down, who inject cynicism and ridicule into your triumphs. You cannot have one without the other, and having spent several months in isolation I must say I’m still not sure the pros outweigh the cons when it comes to this community.
That said, for better or worse, I do seem to be part of that community. My voice has been echoed across the Internet on a variety of occasions. It has empowered people who have confided to me that they were too shy or too inarticulate to articulate what I’ve put out there, but that they found in me their voice. That’s a power I didn’t expect to have, one I still sometimes think ridiculous or pretentious to acknowledge, but one which nevertheless has repeatedly been affirmed.
So to those who have stood behind my voice, or jousted against it, I thank you for the year we’ve co-constructed. You’ve challenged and confirmed my thoughts on the many things I’ve read, and given me plenty to think and talk about regarding the things I’ve not read. You’ve introduced me to characters I now love and ones I know I soon will. You’ve introduced me to the writers and artists who most justify this craft, and left no shortage of opinion about the creators who bring it shame. And while for a moment it seemed you would push me permanently away, I know for a fact that it’s because of you I’m making it into 2014 still reading.
So thank you. I hope you find my thoughts in the coming week entertaining or insightful. And if not? I’m sure you’ll let me know.
-Adam K. Bogert