Regular readers will recall that I came back to comic books a couple of years ago, after entirely abandoning what had become a bad habit at best: a pull list of single issues that broke the bank each and every week, and hardly interested me beyond satisfying my not-so-secret completionist streak.
It was something I needed to do, in truth, but I realised, relatively recently, that I'd thrown the baby out with the bathwater; that I'd gotten shot of a bunch of good comics along with all the bad books that had driven me away from the form in the first place. So I resolved to give the whole rigmarole another go.
And I'm glad I did. I'm glad because I've read some stonking good comic books since I made the decision discussed above. Denise Mina and Andy Diggle have hooked me on Hellblazer; I'm midway through Y: The Last Man, and it's getting better and better; Global Frequency was a bunch of fun; American Vampire and The Unwritten are pretty brilliant; and I enjoy a bunch of the Batman books.
But as it happens, everyone isn't a winner, so of course I've read some utter rubbish in the interim. I won't name names.
In any case, Dial H. As a devout scholar of the school of Mieville, Dial H excited me immensely. I followed the news of its conception and development with baited breath. Though I tend to consume my comics as and when they're collected, I bought the first issue as soon as I could.
On reflection, that wasn't the best introduction to what is a rather byzantine book. Afterwards, I resolved to wait for the first trade, to give Dial H a proper second shot. Into You finally came out in April, and I had a bit of fun with it, I admit. But on the whole? I'd have to say no. Or else, not yet.
I'll read the next collection when it's published, I guess — I do like to see a thing through, and knowing Mieville the book will get better as it goes — but if I'm honest, yesterday's news, that Dial H had been cancelled, was rather a relief. I'm truly sorry that the audience wasn't interested in something so different and ambitious, but let's face it: Mieville didn't make it easy. I've read almost everything he's written, and even I had a hard time figuring out whether or not Dial H was decent.
On the one hand, it's a shame that Dial H didn't work out. On the other — the glass half full hand — this frees up the esteemed author to refocus on the prose fiction I fell for in the first place, because I don't think it's a coincidence that this is the first year since 2008 that he hasn't published a new novel.
So roll on news of whatever Mieville's been working on since the release of Railsea. I still hold out hope that he'll go back to Bas-Lag, but I'll take whatever I can get... up to and including the second Dial H trade. In my heart of hearts, however, I can't help but feel relieved rather than bereaved by this news.
Is that mean-spirited of me?
Have you ever been perversely pleased to see something end, and if so, when?