Do you know something? I honestly didn't believe I would ever write this post. I do generally have quite strong self-discipline, but even I didn't think that I'd write anything between 800-1600 words about comics every day (excluding, of course, the days I took to thinking of as Show And Tell days - the artist spotlights, the copied covers posts and the YouTube entries). I really thought that I'd get about a dozen or so days in, then miss one, at which point of course the whole thing would be pointless because it's not one hundred days if you don't do it every day for one hundred days.
So, here we are, then. One hundred days on from that first post, what have we learned?
Comics are rubbish
Since I started this blog, Civil War finished. It was a diabolically poor final issue, only beaten in the terribleness stakes by the last issue of its companion title, Civil War: Frontline. In fact, it was so awful that I almost gave up reading comics entirely because of it - if I hadn't kept reminding myself that there were a lot of things about comics that rocked (or at least that interested me) then I think it could have been the end of 15 years of comics reading. As it is, I just culled about a dozen or so books from my regular purchases, all of which (surprise!) were Marvel and DC titles. Many people who are more erudite than I am have written at far greater length about their dissatisfaction with mainstream superhero comic books, and if you're a fan of comics at all, then you probably have exactly the same kinds of complaints. However...
Comics are great
...that's not to say that there aren't some splendid mainstream books out at the moment. The various series which made up Marvel's Annihilation event were absolutely first class (and I'm inordinately psyched about the upcoming Nova ongoing), Darwyn Cooke is doing Will Eisner's memory proud each month on The Spirit, Peter David's X-Factor is excellent every time, Vertigo look to have a truly essential new series in the form of the "Sopranos-on-a-reservation" book Scalped, and Paul Dini is knocking out some great Batman one-shots in his Detective Comics run. Outside of the Amazing Adventures of Pants-Man/Sweary Vertigo Stuff school of comics literature, there are plenty of smashing indies being published at the moment (some of which even have superheroes in them). Invincible, Elephantmen, the Goon, Casanova, Criminal (yes, I know, but it's published under the same business model that Image use, so it's not proper Marvel), Castle Waiting, and plenty of others. That's not forgetting the backlist of great books that aren't being published any more, but which live on in trade paperback - the spectacularly ambitious and intricate superhero puzzle of Seven Soldiers. The none-more-extreme road movie of Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon's Preacher. The "what if Hunter S. Thompson lived in the world of Blade Runner" stylings of Transmetropolitan. Then there are all the great graphic novels that are coming out all the time - American Born Chinese was one which I really wanted to write about, but I ran out of days.
Regrets, I've had a few
Mainly in the form of things I wanted to write about but didn't. Nova. Marvels. Steve Ditko. The Ringmaster and the Circus of Crime. Hopeless Savages. Awesome Andy. Lenore. The Constrictor. The Amazing Screw-On Head. Terry Austin's Cloak and Dagger run. Duncan Fegredo. Pants Ant. The Slingers. Thanos's chin. The list goes on and on. I briefly considered keeping going on a daily basis, but I really have to quit while I'm ahead, I think.
There are also a couple of posts that I wish I'd thought harder about before I titled them. The one about the Spider-Man album was called Sing When You're Slinging, instead of the obviously far better Songs For Swinging Lovers. I'm certain I could have come up with something a little more imaginative than Those Robot Toy Car Things for the entry on the UK Transformers comic. Carrie has just suggested the Suede-riffing Dog/Man Star for the entry on John Jameson, which would have been better than I'm The Urban Spaceman, Baby.
That's Carrie, my incredibly patient girlfriend, by the way, who thought up most of the best punny names. She gave us The Tragically Hippo, Bulletproof/Monk and Aiming High, amongst others. She's done very well to not ban me from either using a computer or reading a comic ever again, but it's going to be good to be able to get our evenings back (besides, we just got Final Fantasy XII for the PS2, and it won't play itself).
Recommendations, I've got a few of them an' all
If you're one of the at least two people whom I know who may be reading this who don't know anything about comics (hello mum, hello Rabia), here is a by no means exhaustive list of the names of some comics creators whose work is generally good and worth reading (I've put writer/artists under the writers category):
Writers - Alan Moore. Grant Morrison. Brian K Vaughan. Jeff Parker. Dan Slott. Garth Ennis. Christos Gage. Adam Beechen. Darwyn Cooke. Bryan Lee O'Malley. Michael Avon Oeming. Evan Dorkin. Linda Medley.
Artists - Pasqual Ferry. Skottie Young. Niko Henrichon. Frank Quitely. Josh Middleton. Rian Hughes. Jim Cheung. Steve McNiven. Jim Mahfood. Gabriel Ba.
(No recommendations of people whom I know, because that's a bit iffy. But you should check out comics made by Antony Johnston, Dan Evans III, Mario Boon, Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie, Matt Fraction and Jim Massey anyway.)
I'd also like to mention that my esteemed friend and colleague, video games journo James Lyon, has decided to take up the Hundred Day Challenge and start a new blog, One Hundred Days of Games. He'll be kicking off on Friday, and you'll be able to find him here.
Also, don't go and see Ghost Rider, it's rubbish.
If anyone wants to get in touch and say hi, I'm at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks to everyone who's read the blog, and who's enjoyed it, and even those who haven't enjoyed it but have read it anyway. I leave you with the traditional Aloha of the greatest living American.