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Saturday, October 31, 2020 

The influences of a Greensboro comics writer

The Yes Weekly in Greensboro, NC interviewed Ben Roberts, an employee at Acme Comics and now scriptwriter working on a new story called "Children of the Grave", which is - you guessed it - a horror thriller:
Roberts and Romesburg, who lives in Maryland, have known each other for years, having met while on tour as musicians. I asked Roberts who first suggested they collaborate on the idea that became Children of the Grave, which Roberts describes as “gruesome sci-fi horror with a tear-jerking story about family hidden at its core.”

[...] “Gioele has really been a huge blessing throughout this project. We began searching for artists and came across Gio was on Instagram. Children of the Grave is a violent book, and we need someone who could handle both scenes of gruesome terror and the more heartfelt moments. The chemistry was there, and I’m happy to say that the three of us have become great friends while working together.”
I know the horror genre has an audience and a market, but when I keep seeing the whole genre getting pushed and shoved ad nauseum in the press, sometimes even more than Batman is, it's just plain dismaying. Sure, maybe the topic of family moments is a saving grace, but it still doesn't change that this is yet another example of writers influenced by darkness, backed up by a press who consider this direction throughly acceptable and more newsworthy than brightness.
As with many comics readers of my generation, the first writer I was aware of was Stan Lee, soon followed by Roy Thomas on The Avengers and then Conan the Barbarian. I asked Roberts about the first writer whose name he can recall attracting him to a book. He replied that, while comics had been part of his life ever since his parents bought a DC comics subscription when he was very young, it wasn’t until he was in college and buying comics at Acme that he became a fan of a specific writer.

“I read Garth Ennis’ Preacher in almost one sitting and was floored by how it connected with me. Some of it may be dated, but there’s a clear message that strikes a certain chord with me. I tend to lean towards the more harsh and blunt writers. Jason Aaron’s work with Scalped is another writer/series combo that helped shape how I wanted to write.”
And these politically correct writers of modern times are the other influences he's got. When there's doubtless many overlooked writers in independents over the past few decades who could've provided a more optimistic viewpoint in their writings and art, yet here, we have another example of somebody drawing inspiration from scribes with a pretty bleak, mayhem driven view meeting a PC standard set by much of the media for years on end now. It's ludicrous, and when this becomes the focus of news coverage so heavily, I'm discouraged from trying out the finished product, because I find it hard now to lend my support to projects built on what's become an extremely cheap vision.

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The worst thing about Aaron is not that he has a bleak or dark view of the world but that he's a bad writer. I remember checking out his RIPCLAW comic from Top Cow and couldn't understand why the hypemen in the industry were touting him as the Next Great Comic Book Writer. I found Scalped portrayal of Native Americans to be one-dimensional and negative . Yeah, there are a lot of problems on reservations but they aren't all run like corrupt African countries where the leaders siphon a large share of resources and leave everyone to fight over scrape.

Aaron is just following the trend that is particularly popular with progressive comics creators to make everything Grimdark in other to show how adult they are. None of this has stopped comics books from becoming more obscure. Comics sales and salaries to continue to plummet in real terms. I will be told that more people are reading Young Adult graphic novels than ever before but very few people seem to know comic books are available outside of libraries and Scholastic book fairs. I think the book industry's statistics on how many books people read is highly inflated, since very few people read multiple books a year, for fun.

https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2019/09/26/who-doesnt-read-books-in-america/

Haven't read Ripclaw; but his Thor stories were top notch. It was a labor of love for him, obviously, not just a gig.

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