Monday, August 13, 2012

I May Not Be a Comic Book Fan Anymore

John Seavey has an interesting post in which he talks about giving up on comic books. He raises some points that, at this stage in both the industry's history and in my personal life, are very pertinent.

In the post, he realizes that he's no longer a comic book fan. I got what he was saying right away, and I share this attitude. As much as I will always love certain characters, I really don't care what's going on in either universe anymore.

I've talked at length about giving up on comics and I won't rehash it now. The only Marvel book I currently read is... well, I was reading Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz. The Oz adaptations by Eric Shanower and Skottie Young are wonderful. The Road to Oz is supposed to start up next month, so I'll be there for that, too. And if they want to finally do another Lockjaw and the Pet Avengers, I will read the hell out of that. As for their more cynical mainstream comics, I don't give a shit. They lost me. I got more enjoyment out of the Avengers movie than I've gotten out of one of Marvel's superhero comics in at least 15 years.

The only DC book I read now is Vertigo's Fables, and even then I just wait for the latest volume to come in at the library. Oh, and I'm still reading Demon Knights and the occasional issue of Aquaman or Green Lantern. DC poisoned the well for me with Identity Crisis, but being a huge fan, I did try to check in on things by getting collections from the library. I tried to read Infinite Crisis, I tried to read 52, I tried to read Blackest Night, I tried to read Flashpoint, I tried to read all of that Prehistoric Batman and Return of Bruce Wayne garbage... all of it was just utter unreadable nonsense. I read a lot of apologia online for how there were good points to each of those stories, but I didn't see any redeeming factors. A lot of that fan reaction read to me as "Well, but how else am I going to keep reading about these characters?" My reaction a couple of weeks ago was: if this is what the New 52 has to offer, who cares?

I get more enjoyment now out of self-contained comics for kids or great standalone issues of, say, Marvel stuff from the 70s. I love nothing more than a great issue of Marvel Team-Up or Howard the Duck. I follow a number of blogs that post issues of old comics and I love to read the older stuff, back when story was the point. Continuity is not a story. Is it helping the New 52?

You know what I read that's new? Garfield, over at Boom Studios. Also, Boom's Peanuts and Popeye. I followed their all-too-tragically-short-lived Muppet Show comics religiously. I read Bongo's Sergio Aragones Funnies and any Archie books that look good, particularly Kevin Keller. When Boom had Mickey Mouse, Uncle Scrooge, Donald Duck and Friends, and Walt Disney's Comics and Stories, I was enjoying the hell out of them. Who has those now? When can I read them again? Mouse Guard and Owly are two of the most wonderful things I've ever read. Any time a new Hellboy or BPRD collection comes in at the library, I'm all over them. I was in heaven when the second Castle Waiting omnibus finally came out.

I wish I could get that excited over reading a new Spider-Man or Superman story, but it's just impossible. And I don't want to be one of those people who just holds his nose and hopes that the good outweighs the bad. That way is just frustration.

At this point, both companies inspire no feeling in me. They are totally ineffectual where I'm concerned.



Koeniou said...

Out of curiosity, do you read any webcomics? I think that you might find what you're looking for in webcomics, since print media seems to have let you down so much.

Could you link to some of the blogs showing the old comics? That sounds very awesome, and certainly like something I'd like to read :)

Hobgoblin238 said...

I gave up comics back in 1998 because of the PRICE! Ugghhhh! Too much cost. I now only collect Essentials and Showcase Presents.

Roger Owen Green said...

I quit, mostly, in 1994, with all the #1s and #0s. I recently wrote in Facebook that the new numbering for Marvel, if I HAD been reading, would have been a good place to stop.

SamuraiFrog said...

Koeniou: There are a number of web comic strips that I read, but not anything in a longer form. Any recommendations?

Look in my sidebar under Geekylinks and click on Four Color Shadows, Diversions of the Groovy Kind, Pappy's Golden Age Blogzines, Stanley Stories, and The Big Blog of Kids' Comics. Those are my favorites for older comics.

Hobgoblin: Cost is a fantastic reason to give up comics. Ugh, I shudder to think how much money I used to spend every week! Those Essential and Showcase collections are great; I get them through the library.

Roger: I saw Marvel went back to the original numbering in some cases when the books hit #600. Erik Larsen made a good point (he used to do that occasionally) about how changing the numbering just decreases interest in back issues.

Kal said...

That totally expresses my pain and frustration with modern comics. Once again you speak the truth, my brother.