My schedule today:
5:00 a.m. – Wake up. Make a pot of coffee and grade as many essays over The Great Gatsby as I can.
6:45 a.m. – Get ready for school.
7:30 a.m. – Arrive at school. Grade more while on hall duty.
8:15 a.m. – Group picture with the Comic Book Appreciation Society for the school year book.
8:40 a.m. to 2:15 p.m. – Peer review for sophomores, and Modernist poetry with juniors.
2:15 to 3:30 p.m. – Meeting over end of course exams.
3:50 p.m. – Buy comics. Drop off books at MSU for a book signing. Purchase book at Half-Price Books.
4:00 p.m. – Call parent of student.
5:00 – 6:00 p.m. – Read comics.
6:30 p.m. – Bring dinner to Sam at work.
Still to do
- Pay bills
- Grade more
- Enter grades
- Make PowerPoint for tomorrow
Yet, despite all that I’ve had to do today and all that I still have to do before I pass out from exhaustion, I feel compelled to share why you should read Gladstone’s School for World Conquerors.
When was the last time you read a comic that made you legitimately laugh? I don’t mean an ironic laugh about how bad something is, but a good, hearty laugh that comes from enjoying something that you’ve read. Invincible used to be my go-to comic for this, but it’s a comic that has fallen on dark times and isn’t reliable for a chuckle any longer. Eric Shanower and Skottie Young’s Oz series elicits a laugh or two, and while I love that series, it’s a comic that warms my heart with it’s optimism and kindness rather than a read that gives me the giggles.
Before Gladstone’s, I honestly don’t know the last time I’ve laughed at a comic. What writer Mark Andrew Smith and Armand Villavert Jr. have crafted is not only a comic that features some delightfully funny lines, but also a series that is so undeniably charming that it hurts that the series is on hiatus right now.
And you know what?
It’s your fault.
Make no mistake, it’s partially my fault as well. I didn’t hear about the comic until the second issue had hit, and I didn’t pick it up until a week ago when I decided to download it on Comixology, but let me be more specific on who I mean when I say that it is “your” fault.
(If you know me, then you probably know who I’ll blame).
Yes, I’m blaming Dc Women Kicking Ass once again.
On her tumblr, in addition to highlighting the various gender issues affecting the comic industry, Sue frequently discusses how she feels that comics are too “grim” and that they should be for all-ages. To be clear, I don’t disagree with this point necessarily, but I think that everything has an audience. It just so happens that there aren’t enough all-ages comics out there and this is especially true for DC and Marvel. It isn’t any wonder, really, because the fanbase has aged and with this, the narrative ages as well. Good comics for all-ages seem to be relegated to their own lines like Johnny DC.
But, here’s the thing: those comics suck.
Sure, Tiny Titans had a good run, but on the whole, those are comics that are skewed too young to the point of treating the audience as if they are completely immature. There is a fine line between talking down to an audience and being accessible to all-ages, and yet, we have Gladstone’s as a reminder that it can be done effortlessly.
While Sue and her flock were busy tearing apart mainstream comic books in the midst of Flashpoint and the DC Relaunch, along came this little, unknown comic that was the answer to almost all of their requests (sure, both creators are male, but Smith’s Mummy Girl is a fun female lead) and it went almost completely unnoticed.
In May 2011, the first issue of the comic debuted at 211 on the Diamond Sales Chart with 6,214 units sold. Not bad for a first issue of an unknown comic, but not great either.
The second issue was at 297 with 4,737 units sold. Second issues notoriously drop off a little.
Issue 3 was at 267 with 4,638 units sold.
In August (the same month that Justice League debuted to kick off the New 52), Issue 4 wasn’t in the top 300 but the bottom-selling comic was Blue Estate at 4,514 units sold, so it had to sell lower than that.
Issue 5 made 289 with 3,729 issues sold on the same month that the New 52 was in full swing and Sue was complaining that their direction the new line was taking was too grim-and-gritty. Meanwhile, how often did Sue mention Gladstone’s? If you guessed, “Never” then you are right.
Issue 6 (so far, the final issue, but there will apparently be more) didn’t even break the top 300.
I know that it’s perhaps a bit over the top to be blaming Sue for the lack of sales on this comic, but it is rather indicative of a much larger problem with the industry as a whole.
People don’t really want “all-ages” comics. They want RECOGNIZABLE all-ages comics.
See, the problem with Sue and people like Sue is that they try to make comics be what they want instead of looking for a comic they want. Then, when they go into a comic with preconceived notions about what it is and it doesn’t live up to their standard, they are pissed and rant for change.
Does Teen Titans oversexualize Wonder Girl? Well, you’ll have none of those problems in Gladstone’s. There is a romance in the comic, but it’s sweet and cute rather than a hormone-infested romp with bad art. But, make no mistake, Gladstone’s isn’t just a cute, funny book. There are some very serious, dramatic moments as well with action sequences that are as good as any comic from DC or Marvel.
Brand recognition makes it difficult for people to leave their comfort zone and try something new, but it obviously works at times or Walking Dead wouldn’t be as successful as it is. Sure, comparing Gladstone’s to a zombie thriller isn’t exactly a good comparison, but the point is that people will branch outside of Batman and Spider-man comics, but they have to be willing to give something a chance.
I better get back to my to-do list, but please, if you love comics, then you’ll love Gladstone’s School for World Conquerors, so please go out there and buy the trade so Image will fast-track this comic back into production. It deserves its own cartoon, toy line, cereal, and shampoo. I miss it already.