I had a relatively untended broth of stewed thoughts I'd wanted to ladle out, but it's not chunky enough (Sloth Love Chunk)... In the pot bobbed such indigestibles as Metro (Montreal's own limping subterrain) mishaps (the "Why I got fired from the petstore" story; the diarrhetic nature of the air-quality which borders on spontaneous --- if you're ever 'stuck'...; how I run (no contiguous pun involved) for trains that aren't mine, and make them! etc.); blogbituaries (close second: how to gain power of attorney for deceased Facebookers) and other general ephemera...
Instead I wish to mention a new and ill-timed passion of mine: GRAPHIC NOVELS. I first came across the medium through Asterix and Obelix (brilliant if read with a saucier sense of humour than the typical 7 year-old possesses) and Tin-Tin (hangover cure par excellence). From there, I left it alone, and other than having the instinctive and near-carnal knowledge of all Marvel superhero characters --- like knowing all the Beatles' tunes without ever remembering actually listening to them --- did not come near them (apart from a brief forray into Ghostrider, which may've been a hidden urge for my desires to get a bit darker and hairier). And then I found Spawn. The grit, the angst, the neo-gothic gore and lush stylizations/production efforts of Image comics fascinated me. I went bananas and collected the first 20, thinking that I was a genius for doing so. It was hard-boiled with a trapped mythology of hell-powers of existential torture... or so I thought. Eventually, I put them aside as I realized that the story was SPARSE. Sure, there were layers of the fraternal camaraderie of outcasts, shame, unfulfillable yearnings (great word: fulfill!) and plenty of gore. But the stories were as robust as the pages they were on: there seemed to be that Lost-like we've-no-idea-where-this-is-going-so-nor-should-you feeling. And I needed closure. Beyond a sense of simmering revenge, the dialogue was not enough. The characters designed to be stuck. That pissed me off. Besides, superpowers were stupid without the dilemmas they brought. Like what Stan Lee once said about Spidey: "If you didn't have Spiderman clinging to a wall or inverted from a thread while he reflected upon things, you were wasting his dormant powers --- and the imagination of the reader." (paraphrase) So, because Al Simmons seemed to have only limited amount of hell-power he could expend, I laminated everything and plonked it in storage. It's a decent enough story, I guess, but I got bored.
But then I met Ben, who LOVES comics. And he showed me some beautiful ones:
The Walking Dead,
The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen,
The ideas were just crazy, unconventional and provided enough moral-ambiguity for the reader to add that much more by putting the book on their lap and gazing off for a few moments before returning. So I got hooked again. And this time by the writing and paced delivery of the stories, as opposed to the art. Considering it's so very hard to get a decent and originally fleshy take of sci-fi in movies these days, this hit, and then stroked, the nerves that'd been begging me all along.
So I started with Ocean, a Warren Ellis solar-system buster. It was pretty good. Some of his ideas feeling a bit "this'll be cool.." and shoe-horned in. But entrancing nonetheless. It was about a research station discovering a cryogenically sustained race of protohumans floating beneath the ice of Jupiter's moon Europa (doesn't that just sound awesome?) Then I bought Stuart Moore's Para. Which I liked less than Ocean, but got consistently impressed reviews (partly, I think, because he dedicated it to his father). I just thought that LOVE was confused for OBSESSION and that the characters were either soggy or wooden. And that the artistry denied the story, as opposed to assisted (chirpy colours, too well-lit etc).
And then I read another Morrison comic: The Filth. It confounded and amazed me. It is the one I most highly recommend. This is all I will say, but it's crude and sophisticated and one for those who know a lot more about the medium than I (I was relying moreso on my insatiable existential puzzlement to interpret the crazy story). I think it actually morphed me. I started chopping reality into strips for contemplation.
Later I read WE3. Another Morrison I'd recommend. About cybernetically augmented pets trying to escape the military. Gorgeous art and moving story. Violent though, gorgeously.
Then I bought Wastelands v.1. This is set in a dystopian desert world. Think Waterworld, but inside-out. B&W, but only in a manner that enhances. I can't wait for more.
Shit, I'm dribbling here. All this to say that I believe ANYBODY can find something that'll inspire them in the funny books. The people behind them are empowered and empowering. Get brave and try one. Ask the comic-guy, he'll tell you more than you need to know.
Some relatively sure bets: Alan Moore (the movie versions are weak, the graphic novels're the best in the biz I hear) "From Hell" and "V for Vendetta". Grant Morrison. Warren Ellis. Mark Oakley. And I'd like know more...