I’m not mad … I’m just disappointed (OK, I’m a little mad, too)

Posted: September 7th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , | 4 Comments »


You’ve probably noticed that this blog has gone nearly silent over time.

I was telling myself it was because of things in my personal life that had to take precedent. I told myself it was because my freelancer’s budget didn’t allow for regular trips to the comic shop. I beat myself up, berating myself for what I perceived as a natural tendency toward laziness. And all of these things are true, to one degree or another.

But, I recently realized, a lot of it is because I just find it hard to get excited about comics lately.

To be specific, I find it hard to care about new comics; even more specifically, superhero comics from the Big Two. A constant reliance on Big Event leading into the Next Big Event has worn down my enthusiasm for both publishers. The tone-deaf missteps from DC (most recently Dan DiDio’s fiat against characters being married, the sudden dismissal of the Batwoman creative team, and the Harley Quinn-in-a-bathtub/suicide drawing contest) has pretty much crushed it. And, as a confessed DC guy, this kills me.

I know there are good comics being put out by both companies, but frankly, it’s hard for me to give a shit. I’m at a point where I’d rather spend the time, energy and money on finding titles I like from smaller publishers and independent creators (though my growing distaste for DC and Marvel has unfairly bled out to new comics in general). Finding good comics from other publishers is something I’d be doing anyway, but now I’m COMMITTED to doing it. This is comic reading as spite as much as fandom. And that kills me, too.

I’ve been planning on getting serious about blogging on a regular basis again, and that’s still going to happen. I’ve been wanting to expand the focus a bit, so expect my rambling to start encompassing movies, books, TV and whatever else catches my flitting attention.  And I’ll still be reading comics, mostly revisiting back issues and original graphic novels. But — fair warning — don’t expect reviews or much commentary on new books coming from DC or Marvel.

I just don’t have the heart anymore.

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4 Comments on “I’m not mad … I’m just disappointed (OK, I’m a little mad, too)”

  1. 1 Scott S. said at 6:49 pm on September 7th, 2013:

    I’m getting closer to that point. Depending on what I hear about when the Batwoman creative team is leaving, I may be quitting DC altogether. I still enjoy a lot more Marvel books, and feel like they’re less likely to be utter dicks to creators and fans (and characters). And like you, I’ve always been more of a DC guy than a Marvel guy. But I don’t think there will be a lot of improvement until DiDio, Johns, Lee, and Harras are gone.

    These days, I’ve been reading a lot more independent comics and superhero prose fiction. And writing some of my own, too — when our entertainment options suck, it behooves us to create our own…

  2. 2 Patrick Joseph said at 9:05 pm on September 7th, 2013:

    DC has been utterly dead to me since Before Watchmen. I’ve only bought 2 collected editions from them since that was announced. They have yet to do anything since then that even remotely made me think they weren’t o the dark road of treating comics like “properties”.

    Marvel I’ve had better luck with. Spider-Man and Hawkeye have been a delight. As a company they seem interested in investing in good talent. For instance, Joe Keating on Mobius. It’s been a lackluster series, but they gave a good up and coming writer a chance at an interesting character.

    Anyway, Image, Dark Horse, IDW and Fantagraphics have been where the action is. As with you though, I think there is something essential to our comics reading experience that having a basis in DC or Marvel is crucial as our reference point.

    Holy good night. I just wrote 200 words about DC and didn’t mention Vertigo once. I guess that’s how they want it.

  3. 3 Signal Watch said at 10:02 am on September 8th, 2013:

    Brother, tell me about it. I’ll be honest, though, as vexing as I find DC’s decisions, I also am aware that the ONLY metric DC cares about is the bottom dollar, and they’re selling more than they have in years. As much as DC is a disappointment, the extraordinarily low standards and change in how the target demographic thinks of entertainment as an extension of video game logic rather than complex narratives – all that’s going to drive what DC does as a company. I quit blogging because there was nothing left to say. I’ve quit fantasizing about a new regime taking over as Didio has clearly shored up his power base under Nelson and its going to take an act of Congress to remove him at this point. Nelson, and her lack of knowledge of her subject material, has led to her biting on every dumb argument to make DC into the thing that its become instead of a brand as beloved as The Avengers. Because it’s not as mind-bendingly horrendous as business scenario as it was six years ago, Nelson’s squad looks brilliant.

    Basically, the promise of where I felt we were headed as comics fans got reset back to 1991 and the LAST time I gave up on superhero comics (and kept me in the shop with Vertigo, etc…). And I don’t see a Grant Morrison on JLA and Mark Waid on Kingdom Come to lull me back to capes and tights getting primed in the wings.

    I’m still picking up reprint collections, etc… but I suspect 2011 is going to be seen as a weird hard-stop in my long boxes as I sell off my collection. There’s some indie comics, I am enjoying some work at Dynamite. But, you know, there’s also these crazy things called “books” that deliver the kind of story telling I’m looking for. I don’t need to talk about how good TV has gotten (but where’s the “Mad Men” of comics, Big 2, Indie, or otherwise). And, of course, movies. Comics are the least value for the dollar, and even 85% of indie comics seem to be photocopies of photocopies of stuff that was done better in other media.

    Yup. I’m still collecting Superman stuff, and I likely will across the media spectrum, but I’m not worrying about anything called “the DCU” anymore.

  4. 4 Max Romero said at 8:00 pm on September 8th, 2013:

    Scott: I will give Marvel that much; while they seem to have some kind of event that CHANGES EVERYTHING every few months, they do seem to remember (for the most part) that comics are supposed to interesting, entertaining, creative and imaginative — y’know, fun. Marvel seems to know who they are — DC is floundering for identity.

    And seriously, I admire how creative you are, and how dedicated you are to getting it out there. Someday I’ll actually write that webcomic knocking around in my melon. 🙁

    Patrick: Yeah, I think that’s where I’m at; I can’t think of any DC comic I care enough about to pick up anymore. (Though a buddy makes Aquaman sound pretty good, and I liked the first Flash trade.)

    I can’t tell you how impressed I’ve been by the smaller publishers, especially Image. It’s almost as if they see the gaps left by the Big Two and have been smart and nimble enough to fill the vacuum. Whatever the reason, I’m glad they’re out there. Still, like you said, I miss being a DC and Marvel fan.

    After Karen Berger left, I stopped paying attention to Vertigo (though they had some good titles; I was enjoying Animal Man). I think I must’ve been losing my faith already. Is Vertigo still putting out good stuff?

    SW: That pretty much sums it up, doesn’t it? DiDio, Lee and the rest of them are mostly concerned with pleasing the bosses, and what pleases the bosses is making money. I can’t blame them, really — every company I’ve ever worked for wants to make money. That’s the definition of business. But I think they’re missing a key element, which you mentioned and Marvel has figured out — they’re not beloved. They USED to be, because the comics being produced were more than thinly veiled film treatments and product designs for video games and expanded toy lines. The unnecessary, cosmetic and superficially “plot-driven” changes are really just ego.

    That’s something that really leaves me flabbergasted; they know what works, they hear the positive feedback, and then go out of their way to strangle it in its crib. Roberson on Superman? Excellent. So of course that didn’t last. Williams and Blackman on Batwoman? Cut it loose. Any stab at originality or creativity? Choke, choke, choke.

    Oh, man, I agree! The one good thing about all this is that now I can spend my time and money on more books, movies and back issue trades. It’s certainly a lot less aggravating.

    Hell, maybe we’re on Earth-17 and we just don’t know it.

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