Last week, Jim did a post about how basically, comics suck for him. Now Jim admitted that he may be burned out and these things go in cycles, but right now, comics books suck.
Marvel sucks, DC’s mediocre, BOOM is boring him, and Dark Horse isn’t really doing anything for him. The major companies are going for quantity over quality, and the minor companies aren’t largely hitting their mark.
It’s certainly an impulse I can understand. While I’m a little more optimistic than Jim, switch our opinions on Marvel and DC and we have a reasonably similar outlook. We’re burnt out on events. We’re sick of 20 Deadpool books and 30 Thor books every month. Things aren’t like they used to be when they were good. We’re tired of this writer or that artist being overexposed.
Its stink, stank, stunk across the board! Let’s burn it all down and start over!
Except for the fact that comics really are better than they’ve ever been. I mean maybe there isn’t anything the caliber of From Hell or Preacher being published today, but the writing and art in a comic published today is probably better, on average, than at any point in comics history.
Imagine, if you will, that it’s the 90’s. You’re on your way back from buying the latest 20 issues of Onslaught Phase 32, the newest creative team’s attempt to end the Clone Saga, and Rob Liefield’s newest masterpiece, Razorbloodstrike, when suddenly, your L.A. lights slip in a puddle and you go into a coma. You wake up today and after you get lose your fade and ditch your Raiders Starter Jacket, you go to a comics store. You’d think you’d woken up in a golden age of quality. Writers actually driving the direction of the most prominent book at both companies! The proliferation of creator owned comics! The death of the crossover as a major part of publishing… ok, so things aren’t perfect.
My point is, I think if you look at the overall arc of comics, things are always progressing forward and getting better. Creators have more rights today than ever before, even if they don’t have enough. The quality of the books from the big 2 are, taken as a whole, greater than ever before. And indie books have a higher level of prominence than ever before.
In an industry that is so often mismanaged and poorly run, it’s easy to focus on the negativity and forget that things are usually getting better. Tired of crossovers? Go read Scalped or the Sixth Gun. Disappointed that your favorite Super Hero book isn’t up to snuff? Try something new, like Thunderbolts or Avengers Academy. Sick of how many books the publishers are churning out? Well you don’t have to buy them all. Looking for a book that will fill that lonely void in your soul? Can I have a moment to talk to you about Franken-Castle…
Things with comics are rarely as bad as they seem. Yes, there is creative calcification, sales gimmicks, lack of support for books that deserve it, pandering to increasingly small niche audiences, and I could go on and on and on, but it’s important that we chill out and remember that these things come in cycles, things are better than they seem, and reading comics will never be as frustrating as being an Orioles fan.