M’s Spot – The Future of Comic Books

You’d think after spending four years taking pot shots at Marvel & DC (the “Big Two”), I would be out of ammo at this point… Or that one of us would be dead by now. Well, since neither of those things are going to happen anytime soon– it’s probably best that I just keep going. I mean, if they’re not going to stop pouring crap into the market– why should I stop commenting on it?

I really do look forward to the day these two corporations (owned by even more massive media conglomerates) aren’t squeezing every nickel and dime they can out of their readership… Continuously promising large-scale events with “big changes in store”– then almost immediately following up with another series to clean up said changes…

Hey wait! Does any of this sound familiar, like a non-stop broken record that repeats itself yearly (or bi-yearly)? Cause that’s probably the perfect encapsulation of what it feels like when I read superhero comics from DC and Marvel… Like I am reading a broken series of comics that repeat themselves over and over.

I hope to see the day comic books from the Big Two aren’t stuck in never-ending second acts. When you invest your time and money in entertainment products– be they TV Series, Films, Video Games or Comics— there should be some sort of permanent pay off at the end. The comic book reader, at the very least, deserves some sort of resolution that leads to some type of satisfaction… Especially when they’re paying a $3.99 premium per issue.

On a related note, I also look forward to the Big Guys not hanging all of their stories on some big mystery or reveal that oftentimes doesn’t pay off to the magnitude hoped for. Mostly, you used to read this type of tale from the likes of Brian Michael Bendis. Now you’re getting the same shit from Geoff Johns (after DC’s New 52 opened a kind of Pandora’s Box)… And unfortunately now from such previously praised writers as relative newcomer Scott Snyder– with his overly long Bat Family potboiler Court of Owls. For the future of superhero comics, I do look forward to these, and many other repetitive practices, coming to an end. But as Dr. Manhattan lamented at the end of Watchmen, “Nothing ends… Nothing ever ends.”

DC recently announced they will be launching a series of one-in-done comic one-shots that will feature New 52 versions of old DC characters that appeared under the National Comics logo. My immediate reaction was, “This is what they should have done with the new DC Universe Presents in the first place!” There was no reason to kick that series off with a five issue Deadman origin story– that SHOULD have lasted one– two issues– at the most.

National Comics #1 featuring Eternity by Jeff Lemire and Cully Hamner

I’m not the only who shares this sentiment nor am I the only one who thinks when National Comics starts DC Universe Presents will be next New 52 comic to get the axe. Is it coincidence that the last issue of DC Universe Presents current story arc ships the same month National Comics #1 debuts? I think not.

Anyway, I’m finally getting my series of one-shots, so I should be happy, right? But here’s the thing: National Comics is a series featuring characters I don’t care about and it’s $3.99. That’s two strikes against it already… And with the exception of the first issue’s creative team, I don’t care for the writers and artists that have been announced (so far) for the other issues. So, I think I’ll pass on this title until a character and creative team arrives that’s worth my attention.

DC’s efforts on the digital front (at least for me) are far more interesting than what’s going on in their New 52. I find their digital-first titles more appealing because, as a consumer, it’s very little risk investment-wise when each issue is only priced at a dollar– as opposed to their $3.99 print counterparts.

What satisfaction I didn’t receive from National Comics, I got from the announcement of the new digital-first Batman series. This is a character I care about, coupled with creators that peak my interest. I never followed the Smallville TV show much, but I know the creative team on the Smallville Seaon 11 digital comic is rock solid– so I may give it a try. Same goes for the Ami-Comi Girls. I don’t collect the statues but the writing and art teams for the comics are great. I also started downloading Batman Beyond because the print version is $3.99– and even though I’m sure that Justice League Beyond and Superman Beyond expand the DC Beyond Universe in some way… All I really want to do is read Batman Beyond.

I should also talk about Marvel’s digital efforts. Marvel’s AR App is pretty much useless. I guess that’s why they give it out for free. As for their Infinite Comics (which are part of the free app), the camera tricks are cool and the pacing is good… And instead of seeing pages, you see individual panels… Which keeps you from skipping ahead like you might if you read it in typical print comic book format. What do I truly like about Infinite Comics? So far, they’re also only a dollar. What do I not like about Infinite Comics? They are, unsurprisingly, a tie-in to another shitty Marvel “event”.

Those are my thoughts… What say you, IMJ Nation? What do you think the future holds for superhero comics or the comics market in general?

(On a completely unrelated note: Did you see The Cabin in the Woods? If so, what did you think? I wasn’t sure if I wanted to write a review. I think I’ll leave it to one of my esteemed IMJ colleagues to offer up a more in-depth analysis of the film’s awesomeness.)

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8 Responses to M’s Spot – The Future of Comic Books

  1. kurumais says:

    i mistakenly held the belief the new 52 was a break from the event economy and the cycles you wrote about. i thought the new 52 was about building from the ground up and havng the titles stand on their own. i was so wrong, it was just another gimmick
    the only way to break out of the event economy is for a few of these events to completely bomb at the boxoffice so to speak. one or two wont do it , they will just say its an anomaly and expect the next one to sell like they always do. until fans stop by them and all the tie ins they will keep making them.
    how did the fearless and battlescars do? it seemed like they bombed because nobody talked about them but did they sell? thanks
    battle scars nice way to get movie nick fury into the 616 without it being nick fury. it wont be confusing at all to casual readers.

  2. Blanchard says:

    I’m really looking forward to the digital-first Batman just because I love these anthology type series. Its like a continuation of Batman: Black and White.

  3. Matthew Guy says:

    Me I am just buying the titles that I want to get. From Batman, I am only buying Batman & Batwoman screw the overall Owls storyline. I can’t shit comics that isn’t worth my time — pardon my French. I just bought the 6th Alan Moore Saga of the Swamp Thing HC because I enjoy that more than Synder’s Swamp Thing. I enjoy Synder on Batman & American Vampire just not everything he does. Reading Saga, Fatale, Atomic Robo & Usagi Yojimbo scatch my itch as indie comics go these days. Fables & Fairest are my favorites from Vertigo. I just not sucking into the AvX & Before Watchmen hype. I am not seeing the Avengers, Spider-Man & the 3rd Batman film in the theaters I will wait 6-7 months on Netflix in my own apt. just quiet & peaceful. I watched The Descendants (a George Clooney movie) and it was a great movie. I will see The TinTin movie next week. .I would rather read a Batman Knightfall tpb than Batgirl’s Knightfall arc. Times are changing & so is comics but I will be damned if I will be force fed to read stuff that I don’t enjoy.


  4. I had the same delusion as kurumais about the new 52. I stopped comics during the aftermath of Civil War, Messiah complex, Batman R.I.P, New Kryton, and Sinestro war. There was just too much going on and I wasn’t enjoying the stories anymore because they kept going too big. I came back to DC with the news of the new 52 because I could jump back in and not be completely lost from what they said in the beginning.

    Then as it leaked out it was a half assed reboot, I thought I would still take a chance on them since they said they were going to let the writers just write the stories and worry about the length of them will affect trade publication afterward.

    I just went through the JLD/ I, Vampire cross over that was mediocre and that time should have been used to strengthen JLD as it’s own title. I read Swamp Thing and Animal Man this week and I’m trying to figure out what is going on, because it seems like it leading to a crossover, but they never get there, thus pulling Animal Man down after a great start.

    Court of Owls is just annoying. I like that the Owls are new and are a worthy adversary, but we get it, already! To take the whole Batman line and make them a part of a cross over event is premature. And it is the thing that a lot of us have been saying we don’t want, so who but the devoted few that already pick up all Bat titles are going to get all the issues?

    As for indies, and this is just my opinion, they still few that I are needs to get for me, the rest are still on the same level at the best and ok of the New 52. Those few, for me, are Hellraiser and Saga, and I’ll admit I am biased on the Hellraiser because I love Clive Barker.

    As for your off topic question, I saw it this weekend and I didn’t think it was that awesome as everyone made it out to be. I( enjoyed it and there were some good moment in there, but I was kinda meh through it. As a writer I have a very bad habit of analyzing everything. That’s how I know something is great, because the story engages me enough to stop analyzing. This one didn’t do it for me. If they had kept it a movie just about the guys in the control room, I think it would have been great, but spliced with “typical” horror movie, it felt clunky. To me, it just felt like they were trying to do what Scream did over a decade ago.

  5. sai011 says:

    Nice article!

    I am glad I stop buying Marvel Comics along time ago. They have so many stupid events, I just loose track. I am not a fan of digital comics, so screw that, I prefer tanigble comics any day of the week. I am dropping Batman after issue 11 (Dont like the whole $3.99 and its not worth it). I not happy about buying Batman Beyond Unlimited, but its the only print version (I dont really care about superman and justice league parts). I am excited for Batman INC, its sorta new and what I really like about it is the batman mythos getting spread around the world. After reading the new52 crap, reading past contunity will be good. I am glad I never got as much into new52, I called it on this shitty semi-reboot.

  6. NicktheStick says:

    I am down to only one Marvel book (X-Factor), and even though I love it I am thinking of dropping it. Not because the story is bad, quite the contrary, but because I am just not as excited to read it anymore.

    The same thing goes for all of the new 52, with the exception of Wonder Woman. I still like many of the stories, but I agree with what everyone else says, things just didn’t change that much and it feels like all the importance of the relaunch is already gone. Not even a year after, and I am not that excited to read many of these stories.

    However, when books like Invincible, Saga, Skullkickers and any other indie that comes out I make sure to go to my comic shop. These are the books that are still keeping my interest in comics right now. Which is kind of unfortunate because most people that may wonder into a comic shop are going to pick up something that is familiar to them… superhero comics. With what is going on with DC and Marvel right now, they will likely be bored and will not come back. It is great though, that there are so many great books our there that are not coming from the big two.

    Overall I am thinking of dropping almost all of my Marvel and DC titles. I loved Swamp Thing and Animal Man when they came out, but lately the stories feel tiresome, the same goes with the rest of the books that I am reading. I love Snyder, but I think I might just have to take the plunge and just support American Vampire (maybe Batman… its on the fence). My decision will be be made after I finally get around to reading all the issues that I have… just no desire to read them as opposed to getting all caught up on Buffy Season 9 and Angel and Faith.

    It’s quite unfortunate that DC had so much potential with the relaunch and for the most part it was just another gimmick.

    As for digital comics… that is something that I am considering. I would mostly use it to get cheap stories that I want to catch up on. Lately though I have just been borrowing things from the library. I prefer tangible so that is what I’ll try to read, but I am not opposed to digital. Thinking it might start saving room that I don’t have. Only get the books that I really want to keep the whole collection (like Invincible – I only have about 10 more comics to pick up to complete my run, though they are issues spanning from 7-21 so might be a bit hard/expensive).

    Anyways, don’t stop bringing up Marvel and DC’s bullshit. Hopefully if we as the Nation keep talking about it people will realize we are right, stop buying these comics and hopefully the big two will start to change their ways. It may be a long shot, but it is always worth a try.

  7. ed2962 says:

    Here’s an article in a local free paper from a writer who describes himself as a former fanboy. I’m a little disappointed that he didn’t go more in depth about why he was underwhelmed by the titles he picked up. All he really seemed to say is that it’s the same old thing. I’m like, “And…?”

  8. TheMSpot says:

    Thanks everyone as always for the great responses.

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