Tuesday, June 9, 2009

The State of Comics

I am afraid.
I am afraid of becoming one of those people who loved comic books for a time but eventually couldn’t take all of the changes and quit reading new stuff.

Every time there are major changes across the board in comic books, there are many people who quit reading, while new readers pick up the slack. There are people who decry the “grittiness” that came about in the 1980s. There are people who stopped reading in the 1990s because of the proliferation of X-titles and the superficial focus one the artists and splash-pages. A lot of people who had quit reading were brought back in with the Ultimate line.

Comics have now come to a point that I almost can’t stand reading most of them. Every year, there is at least one big event that’s supposed to rock the universe of each of the Big Two. One is the minimum. There are usually a few crises or wars that are supposed to change things forever. And it’s not artistic. It’s commercial. Purely commercial. And it ruins things for anyone who doesn’t want to buy 20 titles per company per month just to be able to keep up.

Aside from that, I think many comic writers have run out of good ideas. Or, at least, ideas I enjoy. A while back, I dropped “Ultimate X-Men” and “Ultimates” from my pull because of declining quality and terrible convolution. I’ve only kept “Ultimate Spider-Man” because Bendis has stayed on, though it has declined a bit. I stopped reading “Daredevil” shortly after Bendis stopped writing it. I may soon drop “Punisher” because it seems that no one can compare to Garth Ennis.
It was difficult enough to keep up with what was happening to Batman when I only bought “Batman” and none of the other Bat-titles or miniseries. Now, this whole “death” thing is just pissing me off. Morrison’s “R.I.P.” was terrible. I read some good things about Morrison and Quitely’s “Batman and Robin” over at http://buildingbatman.blogspot.com/ but I don’t really like the idea of anyone but Wayne behind the cowl.

Nothing that I read or hear about in comics really captures my interest anymore. Maybe I’m just being old-fashioned, like the people who miss the Silver Age. Maybe I can’t change with the times. Still, I have to wonder if people are really happy with stories like “R.I.P” and “Brand New Day” or if comic book fans are simply resigned to accept whatever they’re given because they have nowhere else to go for stories featuring their favorite heroes.

If more people feel like I do, I hope that we can come together to demand more from the Big Two. The first step is to stop buying the crap.

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