Ben Reilly Happens While You're Busy Making Other Plans

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Soul Surfing with JMD and the Kids...

Psst! Comics aren't just for adults anymore. But whatever you do, don't tell the kids. I'm not quite done with my copy of Marvel Adventures Spider-Man #19...

I was watching The Big Bang Theory last night and several of the jokes revolved around Leonard meeting a hot girl in a comic book store. And it suddenly occurred to me how fast that gag is becoming irrelevant. It's not that unlikely to spot an attractive woman interested in comics these days. (I've joked with my wife that I was born ten years too soon.) But--and this is where things get really weird--you're much less likely to run into a kid looking for his weekly Spider-Man fix.

There's a lot of talk about sex and gore in comics, but that's just a sideshow. A distraction. The simple truth is we've alienated younger readers, not their parents. To paraphrase the 1992 Clinton campaign's slogan:

"It's the Storytelling, Stupid."

Let me give a recent example. My son and I were browsing comics the other day. I was thinking about getting us a subscription to ASM, so I teased the idea by asking him what he thought of this comic:

"Face, it Tiger! Boys think I'm 'icky'!"

He looked at me like I'd just suggested we frost some rainbow cupcakes while catching an episode of My Little Pony.

But just in case you need more evidence of the industry's disconnect with younger readers, look no further than the solicitation for this comic:

"'Spider-Island' PART FIVE Now the moment you've been dying to see, Tiger! Mary Jane Watson finally spiders-up! Plus a giant battle pitting brother against brother. But let's face it, you just care about that cover!"

So there you have it. Marvel half jokingly suggests that a cover ripped straight from Maxim is a selling point. And maybe they're right--but only if you exclude nine year old kids from the mix. Personally, I like it, but more as a pinup piece or a screensaver than an invitation to buy a story. So if I were going by that alone, I'd treat it exactly like an issue of Maxim. I'd admire the cover and pass right on by.

The funny thing is, the comic itself is everything a nine year old boy could want. Action, monsters, heroics. The whole nine yards. It just goes to show that the disconnect has gotten to the point where we take it for granted. When you put a 'cooties' cover on a comic with such broad appeal, that's a missed opportunity.

This week J.M. DeMatteis talked about writing a story for Marvel Adventures: Spider-Man, a title that falls under Marvel's 'all-ages' brand. "You can't write down to kids," he argues, "you have to write up." And he's absolutely right.

For one thing, kids are hard to fool. If you promise a story to a kid, you pretty much have to deliver. Adults, on the other hand? C'mon. We're the saps who go to the polls every year and vote for the guys who get us into messes and then promise to do a better job next time. And let's face it, we're easily distracted. At the lowest level, we'll take something less than a story if you throw in sex. At the highest level, we'll take something less as long as we can discern some intellectual point the author is making.

Maybe that's why I've rarely felt shortchanged by either Marvel or DC's all-ages titles. Some stories are better than others, but every one is just that: a story. If you want to learn craft, I think you're better served by looking at these done-in-ones than a super-ambitious seven year story arc that leads into the next Big Thing.

Take J.M. DeMatteis' ten page "Going Cosmic" story, which is not only an absolute blast, it's Storytelling 101. The tale doesn't kick off with Peter getting up, packing his school bag, having a Pop-Tart and kissing his Aunt May goodbye as he heads off to school. Oh, no. We get thrown into the action right away. Spider-Man is riding the Silver Surfer's board, headed straight into outer space where he's certain he'll die.

Something isn't about to happen, it already has.

So yeah, pretty much hooked from the first page. Wait, wha? Spider-Man is on the Silver Surfer's board? How did that happen? How does that even work? And how's Spider-Man going to survive? This is what Stan Lee meant when he said "Stay tuned, true believer!" :)


Don't worry, I won't spoil anything for you. Suffice to say we get a compelling mystery, a cosmic threat, an identification character that helps you see this world with the wonder of a child, several laugh-out-loud jokes, a bit of poetry and philosophy thrown in, a gentle inspirational message that's conveyed through the action, and an ending that will make you smile (and maybe tear up just a little).

And no, you didn't misread earlier: TEN. PAGES.

Sean Collins' Kraven story is killer, too. He opens on action, keeps up the pace, throws in laugh out loud dialogue, an identification character, and an ending that's funny because it rings so true. So you'll get two stories here, one cosmic and one grounded, but both very enjoyable and more profound than the wealth of writers out there trying to be oh-so-serious.

So do yourself a favor and buy Marvel Adventures: Spider-Man 19. If your resident professor or art critic asks, just tell him Watchmen was sold out.

Or better yet, pass some joy along and let them borrow your copy!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Flash #2: The Whirlwind Adventures of the Fastest Thinker Alive!

The Flash is about speed, but we often forget it's really about motion.

Luckily, Manapul and Buccellato are there to remind us. When I read their first issue of The Flash, I said it was the Barry Allen we'd been promised since his return. I wasn't quite sure what that meant until this month. I had an idea, but it was hard to pin down. I kept returning to vague platitudes that meant little more than, "I love this comic." You know, things like, "A return to Silver Age glory." What does that even mean, right? Especially for a guy who wasn't even around during the Silver Age.

It means a lot, actually.

The first Flash story I ever read was Mark Waid's The Return of Barry Allen saga. So in a fun twist, my first exposure to Barry Allen wasn't him at all! The story was really about Wally shedding the dead weight of his uncle's legacy before he could fully embrace it. "Barry" was none other than Professor Zoom, the hopeless nostalgic destined to die at his idol's hands years before Wally took up the mantle. Waid, the ultimate Silver Age enthusiast, was sending a clear message:

It's time to move forward.

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Well, message received. From that moment on, Wally was "my" Flash. I knew who Wally was and how he was connected to the Flash legacy. His story was about being your own man. In the coming years, he'd learn to do things his uncle never dreamed of. When Waid returned for a second run, he'd even become a father. Things had come full circle. 

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Perhaps it's that sense of completion that did Wally in. I still think there was more to be done--he was, after all, "my" Flash. But it's undeniable that some people viewed Wally's status as a family man in the same way they'd look at Peter Parker waking up one day and not feeling guilty anymore:

The End.


So I was excited about Barry Allen's return when DC teased the possibility of a Flash Family backup feature. It felt like the logical place for Barry and Wally's journeys to meet. Maybe their new dynamic would be mutually beneficial. They had a lot of catching up to do, after all, and the idea of flipping their relationship so that Barry had as much to learn from Wally as vice versa was exciting. Geoff Johns had put Hal Jordan front and center without neglecting Kyle Rayner, so there was precedent. But thenWally pretty much dropped off the radar after Flash: Rebirth, never to return.

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Equals at Last!
 Looking back at Geoff Johns' post-Rebirth Flash, I can see why DC felt the need to take Wally off the table. There was nothing especially bad about Johns' take. But when you compare the way he re-integrated Hal Jordan and Barry Allen into the DCU, I think it's fair to say that lightning didn't strike twice. It makes sense that DC wasn't in any hurry to pile on competitors for the Flash mantle, because Barry Allen was already in a race with himself that he couldn't win.

That's why I think Geoff Johns' Barry Allen never quite gelled for me. I had all these preconceptions going in about what Barry Allen's return would mean, and the reality didn't line up. I expected we'd get a gentle, smiling hero of the old school variety, the kind who's not motivated by guilt or greed and loves what he does. Instead, Johns locked Barry's return into a new arc where Zoom changed history and killed his mother. Barry suddenly seemed like oh-so-many other obssessive superheroes who can't let go of the past.

It was The Return of Barry Allen all over again, only this time I was playing the role of Wally West. I kept falling back on Will Rogers' adage, "Things ain't what they used to be, and probably never was." Maybe I had unrealistic expectations about what the Silver Age would look like filtered through a modern consciousness. But I couldn't shake this feeling that Barry Allen came across like a poor man's Bruce Wayne. In spite of the fact that I had a paid subscription to the Flash, I left several issues unread and never picked up Flashpoint. I moved from excitment to disappointment to apathy.

Enter the DC relaunch. I picked up more comics in the month of October than I have in years, and was pretty impressed. So I entered Manapul and Baccullato's Flash #1 with cautious optimism. I went in thinking maybe--just maybe-- they'd tap into something the character had lacking, which makes it sound kind of like a vitamin deficiency. Barry had struck me as a character who could use an extra cup of coffee, at any rate.

So no one was more surprised than me when I came away feeling like I'd plugged into everything the industry has been missing.

If that sounds like hyperbole, well maybe. But I tend to think that every comic should make you feel that way. When I put down $3 for an issue, you owe me something I can't get anywhere else. A voice, if you will. So now get back to that vague platitude: a return to Silver Age glory. Only now it doesn't seem so empty.

If there's one character who embodies the Silver Age more than any other, it's Barry Allen. He is, after all, the guy who kicked the whole thing off in Showcase #4. And we're talking about more than a template, an aesthetic or a sensibility. Barry Allen very well might have saved the mainstream superhero from extinction. So what exactly made Barry so special?


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That iconic image of the Flash bursting out of a film reel is about so much more than a guy who runs fast. Only you or I would even call it running. Barry would see that description as crude, like telling the Buddha he's just sitting under a tree. This is a man whose entire world is defined by motion. This is the hero who's living life in 4D.

When we talk about getting back to Silver Age basics, I think we mean that you have to constantly sell this idea that the Flash doesn't look at the world the same way we do. It's more than throwing out some wavy motion lines and calling it a day. You need to convince readers the Flash is different at the celluar level.

That's why I think The Flash benefits so much from having the artist and colorist as co-writers. They seem less likely to draw crude distinctions between word and art, right down to the lettering. Manapul and Buccellato know it's all connected, and that puts them more in tune with Barry's worldview.

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Is this what it was like to be a kid when SHOWCASE #4 hit stands?
The costume change and title sequence from issue #1 have that same POP! factor as Barry's debut. THIS is a guy I want to read about....if I can keep up with him, that is. Manapul and Buccellato sell a man who pushes the limits of physics by doing the same with the comic book format. And they take it to the next level in the their second issue, when Dr. Elias points out that Barry Allen can think as quickly as he can run. Check out what happens when Barry taps into the power of probability:

So what makes this something comparable to Barry's Silver Age debut? I guess if I had to sum it up, I'd just say this:
It's more about what heroes (and the medium) can do than what they can't.   

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Supergirl #2: A Symphony of Cartoon Violence

Jack Kirby once said, "There is something stupid in violence as violence."

On the surface, it seems odd to attribute that argument to a man who was arguably the master of comic book violence. Kirby's characters punch, kick and laser blast their way through life with passionate intensity. When his protagonists come to blows, jaws don't shatter. Worlds do.

But think about what Kirby was really saying. If you get into a barfight, you're likely to lose a molar. If you get into a fight with Dr. Doom or Darkseid, you're likely to lose a moon. Kirby's style isn't violence or even hyper-violence, it's heightened reality. Kirby would go on in the same interview to compare it to dance, with himself playing the role of choreographer.

Now on to Supergirl #2, where you'll get exactly what the cover promises. Supergirl decks Superman. Repeatedly. She kicks him some, too, and then tosses him around like a ragdoll by his cape. Scarcely a page goes by where Superman doesn't learn an important lesson about underestimating girls in new and painful ways. It's all in good fun, and it reminded me a lot of the Kryptonian slugfest from Superman II. There's something undeniably catharctic about watching gods and goddesses go into Wrestlemania mode.

"Do you smell what the House of El is cooking?"

It would be easy to criticize this as empty filler, but I can't. And it's not just because it's one of the most dynamic and beautifully illustrated action comics I've ever read. Comic book slugfests, like dance routines and wrestling matches, ultimately depend on the audience's investment.When you're plugged into the characters, a slugfest is really the manifestation of something much deeper. Every punch is another peak or valley in an emotional roller coaster ride. Supergirl #2 isn't violence as violence, it's a symphony.

I read one online criticism that Supergirl is aimed at the lowest common denominator, which simply doesn't ring true for me. On the contrary, it's a very intelligent comic that speaks to the reader in the most direct way possible. We open on Kara babysitting her infant cousin Kal-El. She's about to undergo the Kryptonian rite of passage, and she's nervous. She finds solace in her cousin's innocence. She hopes he doesn't grow too fast.

Then we flash forward to the present, which is only three days' time as far as Kara is concerned. She's inexplicably arrived on an alien world with strange new powers, and that's not even the worst of it. Her innocent baby cousin has suddenly rematerialized as the voice of age and experience. She's lost her bearings in every possible way.

As I read this comic to my daughter, we talked about how even heroes are scared of change. It's something that clicked for both of us in spite of the age gap. If you don't believe time can suddenly go as wonky for you as it did for Supergirl, just wait until the first time one of your children corrects you...and they're right. I'm getting advice about everything from video games to my writing from the kids these days, and I hope I'm smart enough to listen.

So a big thanks goes out to the creative team on Supergirl for not just making a comic, but creating a shared family experience. These guys are clearly smart enough to understand that we often come to superhero comics for the epic fights, but we stick with them because they mirror the human experience. And that puts them in the esteemed company of artists like Jack Kirby...

...and Beethoven.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Review: Batman and Robin #2 (Mild Spoilers)

Batman and Robin #2 is the most compelling case for de-aging Batman yet. Bruce says and does things here that would have been a hard sell before the relaunch, even when we take into account the way Grant Morrison softened the character. I can't imagine the seasoned forty year old veteran chatting this candidly with Alfred about parenting and mortality, for instance, or letting an old acquaintance get the drop on him in a public setting. But a thirty year old Bruce Wayne lends himself more easily to these unguarded moments, and it makes for good reading.

So does Tomasi's pacing. He slows things down a bit from last issue, but there's more tension than ever lurking beneath the surface. Damian shows restraint with some gunrunners, and this makes for an awkward exchange between Bruce and Alfred about the best way to pay a child a compliment. Bruce goes with "commendable," Alfred prefers "proud." If that seems tame, don't worry. Tomasi and Gleason pull off one of the most chilling reversals I've ever seen, and prove that Damian will always find an outlet for his rage.

Of all the Batman titles, this one feels the most eclectic. It's like throwing Burton's Batman in a mixer with Nolan's, then adding some awkward sitcom Dad and The Omen. It could have been a hot mess, but the result goes down really smooth.

Speaking of Nolan, the promised confrontation between Bruce Wayne and Nobody definitely takes its cues from Batman Begins. I don't think it's coincidence that my favorite scenes in both the Nolan and Burton franchise are ones where Bruce, not Batman, is forced to deal with a supervillain. I especially love the dynamic Nolan established with Ra's al Ghul, who's immune to the big, scary bat because he's the one who built Bruce from the ground up. That doesn't carry over as well to the comics, where Ra's and Batman first met as equals. But Tomasi seems to have found something comparable in Nobody, who turns out to be a fellow student of Ducard named Morgan(presumably the Ducard of the comics, who is not a front for Ra's al Ghul).

I like that Bruce doesn't go into agressive mode here. Maybe it's because he can't play the Bat card with Morgan, but still, it's nice to see him caught off guard. The final scene is such a beautiful touch. It's unsettling in a 'calm before the storm' way, and there's a quiet strength about Tomasi's Bruce Wayne that's more impressive than the invincible Batman ever was.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

My Son Reviews Nightwing #1

My nine year old son is a huge Batman fan. He asked me to post this review of Nightwing #1, his favorite comic from the DC relaunch:

I thought it was amazing. I loved how they fought and how Dick missed his old life. The suspense is killing me. I can't wait to read Nightwing #2.

So there you have it. Kyle Higgins, if you're reading this, you're winning the third grade demographic. Can't beat that!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Review: Supergirl #1

My second experience with Supergirl was during the "triangle era," back when she was a shape-shifting creature from an alternate dimension who had the good sense to mimic Superman and the bad sense to date Lex Luthor.

Yeah, not the best time to board that train.

Then I read a few issues of the Peter David run, and while it was exceptional work, it never really clicked for me. I think Supergirl had merged with a new version of Linda Danvers--now a goth college co-ed or something like that--and things just got more complicated from there. DC had taken a successful core concept and twisted it like a pretzel until Supergirl was neither "super" nor a "girl"--or maybe she was, depending on how you viewed that whole merger. I never stuck around to figure it out.

My first experience with Supergirl was a very bad film--or so I'm told--that was more than good enough for me at the time. The concept was easy to digest. Supergirl was the last survivor of Argo City, an offshoot of Krypton, and this made her a distant cousin to Christopher Reeve's Superman. He didn't show up, but Jimmy Olsen did, so we knew it was the same universe. She arrived as a teenager, remembered her dead parents, and had the misfortune to land in the big city instead of Kansas. In other words, her life got complicated a lot faster than Clark's.

So maybe it was a bad film, but Supergirl #1 is most definitely not a bad comic. In fact, it's a very good one.

The plot is stripped down to something very basic: Supergirl fights guys in giant metal suits. If that's not enough of a visual hook for you, well it's Siberia and it's snowing. And it freaking rocks.

Mahmud Asrar nails the action scenes. They're crisp, clear, and dynamic. You can feel the earth shake when Kara's fist connects with these guys and sends them flying. You can smell bacon frying when her heat vision comes into play for the first time. No, don't worry, no one gets fried. It's just a really great action sequence and I happen to love bacon almost as much as I love this comic.

There's also a surprising amount of psychological depth for a comic that's pretty sparse with words. I like that. It's an easy read, but don't be fooled into thinking there's not a lot going on. Michael Green and Mike Johnson craft the narrative around Kara's sensation of dreaming. She isn't sure what to make of her situation., and we feel plugged into her confusion and anger. It's a great setup that sets her apart from her cousin Superman as quickly and directly as possible.

I'm glad to see DC getting back to the basics with Supergirl. She's Super. She's a Girl. And she punches giant robot-guys.

I read this comic to my four year old daughter, and she had two reactions. She wants me to buy the next issue and she's going to be Supergirl for Halloween this year.

'Nuff said!

Review: Stardust Kid #1 (Mild Spoilers)

When I read Peter Pan for the first time in graduate school, I was genuinely shocked by its depth and darkness. Keep in mind I'm not equating depth with darkness, and I'm not talking about the grim n' gritty brand you'd find in a Frank Miller comic or an episode of CSI. But this Pan seemed somehow different from my childhood memories of the Disney film. Spielberg's Hook had perhaps gotten a bit closer, lifting Peter's tragic origin story and the line, "To die would be a great adventure!" from the book. But as much as I love that movie and its message, it's hard to deny that it 'domesticated' Pan. Barrie's Pan lives on the razor's edge; Spielberg's shaves with it.

I was reminded of all this as I was reading Stardust Kid #1, by J.M. DeMatteis and Mike Ploog. I am a huge fan of DeMatteis' work, and if I could sum up why as succintly as possible I'd put it like this:

Light and shadows.

I love the way DeMatteis plays with depth, with darkness, all to bring us back into the light (sometimes kicking and screaming). I was profoundly effected by Kraven's Last Hunt as a child, the storyline that not only buried Peter Parker alive but forced him to confront his fears in a sewer while chasing a cannibalistic man-rat. There are few things in literature I find comparable to the moment when Peter emerges from the sewers and into the sunlight, victorious. I want to cheer, but I need to squint. I feel like shielding my eyes from the glory of God manifested in that page.

Stardust Kid is a very different kind of story than KLH, but the first issue only underscores my point. DeMatteis builds worlds because he marries light with shadow, love with fear. And that makes him the perfect writer for a children's story that evokes Pan's fear of adolescence. This is the story of Cody DiMarco, a boy on the verge of being a man, and you'll feel his terror (and that of his family) as they pass the point of no return.

We open on the threat of a dark power "older...more elegant...and far more effective" than "Presidents...Prime Ministers...and atom bombs." I can't say enough for the way Mike Ploog builds suspense around this ancient evil breaking out of its cocoon, and then carries that dread over to our first meeting with DiMarco family. The sense of physical danger is wedded to the unsettling feeling that Cody DiMarco's adolescence is a ticking time bomb. It's all tied to Cody's mysterious friend, Paul Brightfield, but Mrs. DiMarco can't quite put her finger on why she doesn't trust him.

Ploog's depiction of Paul Brightfield is fantastic, and once again, it evokes the awe and danger attached to Pan. There's a sense of mischieviousness about him--or maybe it's wisdom, or is it malice? You can't help but be intrigued by where this going. And when Cody brushes off his childhood friend, Alana, to hang out with Paul, I'm not sure whether I should want him to keep going or yell, "It's a trap!"

And after reading the entire issue, I'm still not sure my question has been answered. I'm not even sure who the narrator is. Suffice to say this book takes some really interesting twists that demand my attention...and insure I'll be coming back for the second chapter.

I think I'm going to wait until next month to read issue. Not because it's easy to wait, but there's something fun about letting all this stew for a while. I'll make some wild speculations and see where everything goes from here. You can get Stardust Kid #1 at a steal for a 1.99 on comixology. I hope you do..and check back in with me next month when I review Stardust Kid #2.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Comics Should Be Better Than Good, They Should Be "Disposable"!

Socrates argued that learning is really the art of remembering what we already knew. With that in mind, DC's New 52 is reminding me of some basic truths I once took for granted. One of the first things that jumped out at me about the relaunch was the compressed storytelling. The issues I read were compelling from start to finish, and left me wondering what would happen next.
If it seems redundant to suggest that comics should keep a reader's attention, well, it probably is. It's like saying you win football games by scoring more points than the opposing team. But that would be forgetting that the final score doesn't tell the whole story. A football game isn't just about numbers, it's an experience. There's nothing particuarly satisfying, for instance, about a football game where no touchdowns are scored. And it occurs to me that DC and Marvel have been playing the kind of ball where they're okay with never making it to their own end zone. It feels like the past ten years is Marvel bragging about winning the Superbowl 2-0 with a last minute safety, and DC bragging about what a close game it was.
Time will tell whether Dan Didio will pull off the most impressive upset since Image and Dark Horse challenged the Big Two, or if he's just rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic. But one thing seems abundantly clear. He's finally come to play ball.
So back to Comics Storytelling 101. What did I learn--i.e. remember--from the first month of DC's New 52?
Comics are disposable.
It seems to run counterintuitive to not just where comics are going, but where pop culture is as a whole. We've entered the so-called "age of availability." Nearly any television show that ever had a decent following is now or soon will be collected in its entirety on DVD. Better still, they're often available through internet streaming services like Netflix. I cannot tell you how much joy it brings me to rediscover my childhood by having Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends and The Cosby Show available at the click of a button. The same can be said for the way Marvel and DC are collecting my favorite 80s and 90s stories faster than I can afford them. But it's worth noting that the ten to twenty year gap from first run to collection built my anticipation, whereas that gap has been closed in modern times. Today's comic will be in trade within the year.
I think there's a few things to be said for this trend. First off, writers and artists cannot help but have a more oppressive sense of self-awareness about their work than they did in the 50s through the 90s. There was a growing awareness during that period that really good work might be collected (i.e. The Marvel Masterworks hardcovers) or make it to sydnication, but now we all know that bad work will be, too. The collections are being prepped before the popularity or quality of your work can even be appraised. If it's bad, its glorious badness will not be dropped as soon as the next batch of comics comes out, it will be enshrined.
The upshot of this is that artists no longer crank out work with the raw vitality that made Jack Kirby a star. Of course, I should be cautious not to romanticize the kind of conditions Kirby worked under. The volume of his work speaks to his unparallelled genius, but it probably says just as much about his genuine struggle to make ends meet in a sweat shop environment. But Kirby's work not only holds up to virtually every 'modern' standard you can throw at him, it's still as exciting, as vital, as relevant as ever.
If you want proof, look no further than DC's new OMAC series by Dan Didio, Keith Giffen and Scott Koblish. It's the most refreshing monthly I've read in years, and that's because it takes its cues from Kirby rather than Miller and Moore. Giffen and Koblish channel Kirby's art beautifully, but the comparison runs much deeper. You'll quote lines like "I'm a Build-A-Friend, and you are no friend of mine!" or "OMAC-tivate!" from sheer joy, and not out of any twisted obligation to prove that comics aren't 'just for kids.'  It's a work that's clearly written for the moment, and that's how Kirby won history.

Which brings me to my second point. Disposability is about urgency. The Watchmen model is devoted to the comics you should read, but the Kirby template is all about the comics you must read.
I want to read OMAC, and I don't want it in trade. I want it now. I can say the same for more DC books than I can afford at the moment. Urgency is exciting and it's contagious. If I don't watch television and you try to win me over, then giving me a Cheers DVD sends the wrong message. So why are we still passing off Watchmen and Year One to potential comic readers?  It says the best is behind us, that the conversation is over and we're all just biding our time until something else really good comes along. And if I'm an outsider I'm thinking, "Wake me up when you get there, and then we'll talk."
We sometimes forget that real evangelism comes from a place of love, not obligation. It's the former alcoholic with the light in his eye telling you how God saved his life, not the guy complaining about going to another potluck this Sunday, threatening you with hell or falling back on the "because that's the way it's supposed to be." The industry doesn't need doomsday prophets or the wait and see crowd. It needs evangelists, enthusiasts, people who simply cannot keep the joy of comics to themselves.

So thanks to DC for reminding me what it means to measure out the week as the distance from one Comic Book Wednesday to the next.