Thursday, September 02, 2010

Why Comic Books Suck

Okay I have to write a post this Thursday and I took a break from comics to attend various functions all leading up to my daughter’s Jamie’s wedding last Saturday. Long story short about that it was a blast, Dallas (my new son-in-law) is a great guy and all is well that ends well. Okay, I got a little misty eyed at the father daughter dance and when Gwen and Jamie danced together to “Build me up Buttercup” but I’m allowed. How the heck does this relate to comic books and their sucking?

I’m glad you asked. I took a break from comics and missed a few posts, missed doing a cosmic conversation, missed Balto-Con and have had a hard time getting back into reading my comics. As of this writing I still have books from last week and will have a new stack by the time this post hits. I decided to drop a few Avatar books, specifically Crossed Family Values, Chronicles of Wormwood and Wolfskin. Crossed has gone from being the ultimate end of the world story to being let’s see how disgusting I can be. Chronicles of Wormwood has that same vibe and Wolfskin was going nowhere. Add to that the $4 price tag and an erratic publishing schedule and I’m now down to just Gravel from Avatar. So Avatar obviously is not doing it for me.

Marvel has not been doing it for me for awhile. Right now with no references I can only think of two books that I’m really enjoying right now and that is Thor the Mighty Avenger (which was supposed to be a kid book) and Atlas, which is still good but the love is not as strong. I have recently dropped all the Avengers stuff by Bendis, get zero Ultimate books, I’m hanging on by a finger nail to a couple of X-books and have to continually convince myself to try a book here and there from Marvel. The only exceptions are Brubaker and Jeff Parker. Both writers seem to be doing a good job. Brubaker has my interest with Secret Avengers and Cap, but neither book is one I would miss if I had to drop them. Parker with Atlas and Thunderbolts is writing some good stuff and if I was forced to choose I would stick with Parker’s stuff. Nothing else from Marvel is a must read.

DC is doing better. Grant Morrison, Peter Tomasi, Scott Snyder, Tony Bedard, Matt Wagner, Jason Aaron and Geoff Johns are all writers that I enjoy on DC and Vertigo (oddly Aaron has been hit or miss at Marvel). But that leaves books like JLA, JSA, JL Generation Lost, Booster Gold, LOSH, Superman/Batman and others I’m forgetting as books I could easy miss (and in fact I have cancelled Booster Gold) and not really care about whether I read them or not. Batman and Robin, Scalped, American Vampire, Brightest Day, Rebels, and a few others I’m still very happy with, but heck you could cut out 2/3 of DC’s output and I wouldn’t really miss it.

BOOM’s super hero stuff has lost its luster lately for me (although I will be trying out their Stan Lee inspired books as I think they are doing that the right way), IDW has some great stuff like Locke and Key, but not enough of it. Dark Horse has started the Gold Key re-launch, but Magnus was a weak opener. So comics seem to suck right now.

Of course I burn out on stuff and then come back to it. Heck last week I pick up Echo and just started to scan the first page or so and then could not help be pulled in and have to read the whole thing. I’m waiting for the new Parker novel by Darwyn Cooke like a kid on the night before Christmas, I’m scared to death about the Batman Inc. stuff but I’m looking forward to each week that is tied into the story leading up to it. I can’t wait for the Absolute All Star Superman to re-read the best Superman story ever done. So there is still plenty of stuff to be happy about with comics, but a lot of it is just too much the same thing. Of course I have been reading comics for a very long time so the super hero set does become just another story about the same thing. It is why I always want a new face under the mask and change to come. Instead we get Ollie still as Green Arrow and Barry back as the Flash. (I’m enjoying the Flash, but that book seems to be on a slow schedule.).

I sometimes think Marvel and DC are into quantity over quality. So we end up with a lot of books that fill the stands to just keep up your numbers. I always wonder if the economics make sense or if it made more sense to have books that sell forever with top talent taking their time. Commission a series and let the books be completed and then solicit them and see what happens to the sales. I get tired of liking a new creative team only to see after two issues the artist needs help to make the deadline and then we get fill in artists and fill in writers galore and the rhythm of the series is lost. Or we get new books with artist that are still really minor league artists and need more time to actually be able to hit the mark (see LOSH). Also we see way too many editors appear to have no power to edit a book or they are not cut out for it (Archie we miss you).

This was an odd post and possibly a boring one, but it was cathartic for me to get some of the negative vibe out of my head and hopefully allow me to sit back and enjoy some stuff a little more. Of course it is also an incentive for me to future cut back on my list and kick more books to the curb if they don’t entertain.


  1. Oh, well.

    I also have the impression that Marvel and DC are into quantity over quality. I guess dropping books that are not doing it for you is a good idea, because nothing will change while people keep buying low quality stuff just because they like the character.

  2. I too am a long time reader and of late have had a taste of boredom. Going thru the motions with Marvel, really hate getting a book at $4 and finding it sucks. DC has been the strong engine for me, mainly their Vertigo line, I zombie has some interest, sweet tooth is like a slow stroll, wondering where it will lead. And there is always Batman, just love him thru good and bad, not great right now but interesting at least.
    Where has all the thrill gone to? Am I getting too old for comics, are they getting too expensive for me to get the quick fix I need every Wednesday, or just expensive crap?

  3. You boys are at the right place if you're bored. The reason the indies previews is so big is because I got bored with the big two. There is still a ton of good stuff out there, sometimes you just have to look harder.

    A good review, mostly, non cape books can be found here...

  4. Chris - Glad to hear it is not just me. I have the same questions, but think that the thrill is gone more because the companies are only interested in preserving the characters and not actually developed them anymore.