Heroes and Villains: Middlewest #1 & Don’t Be Afraid of Spoilers

Well, would you look at that! Another 5th Week on the calendar which means that normal books are a bit light today. Still, I’m going to start the hype machine for an upcoming book and continue on with my ranting from last week’s column. Let’s get to it.

Advance Alert!

MiddlewestMiddlewest #1
Skottie Young (W)
Jorge Corona (A)
Image Comics

Middlewest is one of those books that caught my attention as soon as I saw the listing for it in the Previews catalog so I absolutely jumped at the chance to take an early look at it. If this book isn’t on your radar yet, it damn well should be. The first issue drops on November 21st so you’ve got plenty of time to get hyped for it. 

Middlewest is an amazing blend of the familiar and fantastical. Kids have paper routes and play video games but also there are talking foxes and weird sci-fi accoutrements attached to buildings. But somehow, the most magical thing can still be a Saturday where you blow off responsibility to hang out with friends all day.

When reading the book, I really dialed in on the tone that was struck in the main character of Abel. Stuck in the Middlewest, stuck between being a kid and (presumably) being a teen, the turmoil he feels is almost tangible.

Jorge Corona’s art is absolutely gorgeous and I cannot wait to see what he’s going to do on this book. There’s a real modern fairytale vibe to the art and I think the first issue is only a fraction of what Young and Corona have in store for us. 

I’ll definitely be adding this to my pull list at my local comic shop (Dan, if you’re reading this add this to my pull list).

And another thing…

There are a lot of things I’m afraid of. Bridges, having to #2 in a public restroom, the upcoming midterm elections (if you’re an American reader, please go vote). But what I’m not afraid of is spoilers. 

I find them incredibly annoying and I do try and binge watch certain shows and tune my social media feeds to get around them, that’s true. But the thing I take issue with is people (or websites) that go out of their way to spoil shows/games/comics. It’s an entire hobby where the cornerstone is, well, being a dick.

There’s a great gag from an old The Simpsons episode in which Homer and Marge exit a Springfield movie theatre having just seen The Empire Strikes Back for the first time. Walking past a crowd of people waiting for the next showing, Homer remarks “Wow…I can’t believe Darth Vader is Luke’s father!” The waiting crowd reacts with disbelief and disgust upon having the movie’s biggest twist ruined for them and we as the viewer laugh at Homer’s thoughtlessness. “What kind of dick would DO such a thing?” we all think.

It was funny then but it’s alarmingly commonplace now. Anyone with a social media account and an axe to grind positively salivates at the thought of being able to be the next person to post whatever the equivalent of “SNAPE KILL DUMBLEDORE!” Because they know it’ll ruin someone else’s good time and in some way it makes them feel better about their existence. 

There was a study that claimed spoilers don’t ruin a story and can actually enhance enjoyment. If you take a look at that link, it’s from 2011 which is pretty much time immemorial in the internet age, but it just goes to show you how long this issue has been floating around out there. I’ve had things spoiled for me in the past and on the whole it didn’t completely ruin the movie/comic/show for me. But there’s a part of me that wonders how much more impactful the story would have been for me had I not known what was coming. 

I delight in not knowing things. I like discovering things, learning stuff, having the proverbial rug pulled out from beneath me as a consumer of media. Here’s where I bust out some Albert Einstein-by-way-of-The X-Files on you, “The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion that stands at the cradle of true art and true science. Whoever does not know it and can no longer wonder, no longer marvel, is as good as dead, and his eyes are dimmed.”

With all that said, last week’s column ended with me resolving to take a new measured approach to how I consume media. So far it’s working… I stretched out the excellent Castlevania over the course of a few days and it was great. I’m currently working my way through The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina an episode or two at a time and it’s totally enhancing my enjoyment of the show. 

So, take your time, learn some new things, rediscover your capacity to be amazed at the things you enjoy. Tune out the constant noise of the internet and rediscover why you love the things you love. 

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