M’s Spot – The Vast Wasteland of Gimmicky Comic Book Events

MSpot M Spot 2013 Final LogoWalk Softly Banner
Bottom Line: I’m sick of being the sporadic, “Where did HE go?” Nate Simpson of IMJ Contributors… So rather than explain my absence upfront, I’m just going to vent.

Speaking of sporadic, “Where did HE go?” comic book creators… Does anyone EVEN remember Nate Simpson or that cool comic he created called Nonplayer? Or, for that matter, Jonathan Hickman’s S.H.I.E.L.D series?

Nate Simpson's Nonplayer... Where THE FUCK art thou?

Nate Simpson’s Nonplayer… Where THE HELL art thou?

Quick refresher course: The two books I just mentioned were both comics that garnered considerable critical acclaim when released, but have since gone on indefinite hiatus.

Nonplayer went AWOL after the first issue and Hickman’s S.H.I.E.L.D just suddenly stopped after the fourth issue of the second volume. I really wanted S.H.I.E.L.D to be the last Marvel book I ever read too. I saw it as a way to kind of go out on top, but I was denied closure.

And when I realized just how royally I’d been screwed by the book’s sudden stoppage, I got so angry– I decided I was done with Marvel altogether.

Today, when I see a list of Marvel NOW titles (with a few exceptions, of course)… I think I’d be better off interpreting deer scat than attempting to make heads or tails of something like their crossover “event” Age of Ultron. The most interesting and fun thing related to this particular overblown storyline? Reading the comments section after CBR’s Age of Ultron #10 review. It should be noted that Age of Ultron #10 is the worst single comic of 2013. The book is universally hated by critics and readers alike– except CBR’s Jim Johnson, who saw fit to give the comic a NEAR PERFECT (4.5 Star) REVIEW.

Seeing the commenters crying “Bullshit!” after Johnson’s hype-y review, and watching as many people finally seemed to realize CBR is probably nothing more than a shill for Marvel… Oooh, I have to admit… I was almost filled with disturbing amounts of glee. Age of Ultron reminds me of the simple mantra: If everyone thinks you suck, they’re not haters… They’re right.

I’ve mentioned my apathy towards the Big Two in many of my M’s Spot columns… So my misgivings about DC & Marvel are well documented at Inveterate Media Junkies. You can now add a healthy dose of apathy to my list too. This feeling comes mainly from the realization that Marvel is so set in its ways, it will never change… Until we, as consumers, absolutely force them to.

The publisher will continue to periodically relaunch their titles with shiny new number ones on the covers because they know they will sell– and they will continue with crossover “event” after “event” because they are proven sellers. Look how fast Marvel jumped right into the Infinity crossover after this Age of Ultron mess. There was no Heroic Age-style intermission. It’s all gotten so monotonous, I now refuse to even casually follow the plot lines of these Marvel events… I don’t care what happens.

Before I forget, here’s a little DC Comics rant for you too:

Poison Ivy Detective Comics Villain Month

DC’s Villain Month Comics with lenticular 3D Covers! What’s the chance of you getting YOUR pre-ordered copies?

I don’t begrudge DC for trying to make money or constantly attempting to grab that elusive “We’re Number One!” brass ring from Marvel Comics.

As everyone knows, DC’s latest ploy to “out-Marvel” Marvel comes in the guise of their September Villain Month lenticular covers with decimal point numbering– with the chaos starting next week. These covers, because of the pricey 3D printing process, are supposedly costing DC lots of money to produce… And the publisher says they will be selling the special comics at a financial loss.

You know what that says to me? It says, “Screw meaningful storytelling– you’re getting your money’s worth from the cover alone! We know this isn’t what any of you asked for, but here’s a book with a cover on it that moves when you wiggle it… And you should be happy we decided to do this for you.”

I honestly don’t know if it’s the size of their balls or just rampant stupidity… But whatever happened to DC wanting to produce good comic book stories at $2.99? Or simply “holding the [cover price] line at $2.99”? Did all that ho-hah get scrapped along with the rest of the good stuff from DC’s old Universe… Or did none of these lofty goals ever truly exist as part of DC’s New 52 plan in first place? I’m seriously starting to feel like everything DC told fans in the last 2 years amounts to little more than a series of pick-up lines they used to get us all in bed with them.

Which leaves the news of the SEVERE ALLOCATIONS for all the Villain Month comics looking like karma coming around to bite these shallow jerks in the ass. Seriously, just how karmic will it be to watch DC lose fans over a lame 90s stunt those same loyal fans never asked for or wanted?

You know who is weirdly doing good– if not great– comic stories at $2.99? Marvel Comics. (Yeah, I said it.) Marvel currently has FOUR $2.99 books that are better than any $3.99 book DC is publishing (with the exception of John Layman’s Detective Comics.) These books are Daredevil, Hawkeye, Venom and Superior Foes of Spider-Man. Hell, these comics are even better than the $3.99 books Marvel themselves are putting out monthly.

When the dust finally settles over all these desperate-looking machinations, Marvel’s NOW initiative and DC’s New 52 comics line change will be seen for the weak sauce sales gimmicks they are. There is no creative drive behind any of these ideas– just dollars and cents. If that last statement sounds cold and indifferent, I meant it to… Just as much as I hope it only applies to the current management at DC Comics– and how I hope their viewpoint will change.

Since the comic business spins on one big cyclic wheel, I know DC will eventually run out of goofy sales gimmicks– and get back to telling good stories and cultivating fresh talent. And here’s hoping they make these positive changes before they’re forced to implode their entire line again. I don’t want to see DC turn into Domino’s Pizza five years down the road… Apologizing for the shitty comics they put out during their New 52 sales stunt. Looking toward the Fall, there are some books that interest me at both companies– and I want these titles to succeed… As I really do believe a healthy DC and Marvel are imperative components of a healthy comic book marketplace.

I’ll be back with more commentary and opinions about the comic book industry next time. Till then, what do you think IMJ Nation™?

MSpot PS

P.S. I wanted to give readers a quick explanation for my sporadic columns… The first half of 2013 has been bit of a clusterfuck for me– I broke my toe, still trying to kick bronchitis– and because of the oppressive heat of late, the A/C adapter on my laptop overheated and fried. Which means most of this column was typed carefully on my phone. Not to mention all the moving and traveling I’ve been experiencing lately… This is not the start to 2013 I was hoping for. I was going to call this column RANTMAN 2: TERMS OF ENRAGEMENT– but my view of the comics industry has gone from less rage-filled to more apathetic given current trends… Which explains my thoughts above. I’ll be back soon though. I can never stay that apathetic for long.
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