Saturday, August 8, 2009

Welcome to The Vault

When I was young, I fell in love with comics. From the moment I opened Blackhawk #269, I was hooked. Something about the union of pictures and words spoke to me as they combined to create a magic greater than either could produce alone, long before the internet would use the same visual language to change the way people communicate. Comics were my internet, my Facebook and my YouTube and my Google all rolled into one.

So it only makes sense that the internet has not supplanted the comic book but instead enhanced it. Now fans can chat with each other, buy back issues, post fanfic and read interviews with the creators of their favorite titles. In many cases you can even read the comics themselves online if you want, and if this advance in distribution hasn’t led to the expected revolution of the comic book industry, it has led to a revolution of the comic book fan.

Still, there’s nothing quite like the experience of sitting down with a comic in your hands for the first time and turning that page. I’ve been lucky. As a kid, I received one of the greatest gifts I could imagine; a friend of the family, who himself had been a fan during his college days, gave me his collection. In his basement, in stacks and piles of cardboard boxes, was a vault of old comics, hundreds and hundreds of comics from DC and Marvel, Atlas and Archie, covering the whole of the mid 1970’s. As I poured over the contents of his vault I discovered new titles, ideas, creators and characters I had never dreamed of. It was a vast treasure of imagination.

The only problem with it, in fact, was that it was too vast. Though I tried, I could never finish reading them all. Always, another story awaited, another comic was unopened and eventually we were forced to sell many of them simply for space reasons. But through the years I held on to a portion of his collection, a reminder of… something. Childhood, potential, or maybe just kickass comic books. And the funny thing is, I never actually read some of them; I just kept them around for the nostalgia of it.

That’s where this website comes in. Every week, here at The Vault, I’ll be opening one or two of those comics to read them for the first time, and as I do I’ll be posting my impressions here so everyone can, though the power of the internet, read them along with me. Because The Vault isn’t a place for collecting comics; it’s a place for sharing stories.

Guide to The Vault

In addition to providing reviews of comics both old and new, I’ll also be running a few other features from time to time, each of which will be marked with an easy to identify icon. Here, then, is a brief guide to what you can expect from The Vault in the coming weeks and months:

William Shakespeare is regarded as undoubtedly the greatest writer in the history of the English language. He would no doubt be rolling in his grave if he knew his face was the icon for my Breaking the Fourth Wall posts, which detail my efforts to become a professional comic book writer.

When you see the trusty ol’ symbol of the Comics Code Authority, it means I’ll be reviewing some comic books, either a back issue from the vault or a new issue. But have no fear: none of these reviews are actually code approved.

Comic books have been influencing popular culture for decades, for better or worse; this picture from the 1943 Captain America serial is just one example. When you see the stern visage of Steve Rogers it means I’ll be reviewing or commenting on a movie, TV show, video game or some other product of pop culture.

The gleaming globe of the Daily Planet means one thing to millions of people worldwide: journalistic excellence. It’s ironic, then, that I’m using it for my series of interviews with comic book creators. At least you know their answers will be interesting even if my questions aren’t.

Reed Richards is known for his deep thinking. Usually he’s carefully considering some unknowable mystery of the universe like, “why is Reed Richards such a dick?” Reed’s brand of intellectualism signifies that I have wasted everyone’s time with an essay on comics, storytelling techniques or some other matter of minutiae interesting only to myself.

So I invite you to take a look around, dig in, and feel free to comment either positively or negatively on everything you see here. And if you have your own tales to share, by all means, share them. Because after all, stories were made for telling, not collecting.

Scott Harris

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Scott --

Just took a quick look around. This is well-thought, the lay-out is great, and I love the icons you've chosen for the different types of news/information/reviews. Looking forward to reading more in the future. Good luck!