It is one of the strange ironies of the Universe that I am not a massive comic-book fan. I remember being in that store that used to be on 23rd St between Park and Madison. . .on the second floor. . .and asking a lot of basic comics questions. The guys that worked their thought I was pulling their leg. “What do you mean you don’t know who the West Coast Avengers are?!” When I told them that my interest in the world of comics was mild they bluntly responded, “Well, you certainly have the look for it.”

As a kid, sure, I liked the Flash and Fantastic Four and Batman. . .but somewhere along the way my attention went elsewhere. I always caught the superhero movies, though. The thing I did miss was the advent of the “respected” graphic novel. Most would agree that the graphic novel as a respected art form was born with The Dark Knight Returns by Frank Miller in 1986. In 1986 I was heavy into being a precocious middle-schooler. Any spare allowance money I had went to buying cassettes of classic rock albums. My interests were Led Zeppelin, Van Halen and Pink Floyd. I was a music nerd, not a comics nerd. Comics just weren’t that big at my school.

Why do I bring this all up? Well. . .I’ve always been aware of and had a reverence for graphic novels from afar, but apart from an early-90s dalliance with Unknown Soldier (the Garth Ennis Veritgo mini-series), the New Direction-era Aquaman (don’t ask me why), a random Silver Surfer here and there and, my favorite, Too Much Coffee Man, I can’t say I spent that much time or cash on comics post-puberty.

Until now that is. It’s not really a job requirement — my job is to know about movies — but it wouldn’t hurt matters to me more up on comics. I mean — I know about comics. I can talk about Sue Storm vs. Storm and not really have to fake it — but I figure if ever there was a time to dive into comics and graphic novels, this is it.

To that end, I have read Gone To Texas the first trade paperback in the Preacher series — one of the more respected out there.

Frankly, it was only okay. Some of the artwork was cool — some of it was just a giant dialogue bubble. I could certainly see this being adapted into a good movie. (I believe it was Jurgen Fauth who once argued that reading comics was like looking at storyboards for an unfilmable movie.) But I can’t say I am *that* entralled with the story. I mean, the writing should stand on its own, correct? A lot of the dialogue is pretty trite and some characters are a wee bit cliche and seem to exist only to push the plot forward. That said, it feels like a nice acomplishment to read all 198 pages in about 45 minutes — including time to thumb back a page to check out the cool drawings now & then.

More on this graphic novel expansion of my life soon. I just came back from Shappy’s and borrowed lots of stuff (and bought something at Silver Age, too.)