Oh Comics, How I Hate You
Yeah, said it. As much as I love comics, and they’re very much a part of my life, there are certain things about the industry that just piss me off. Whether it’s something simple a publisher has done, whether it’s something that an industry as a whole is doing, a certain publisher or us as readers. There’s enough about comics that really piss me off that I felt the need to write it down in a convenient list form.
Side note: certain things that make my mind hurt about the industry deserve to be treated with more respect than the flippancy I’m treating the list with. This is merely designed to give you a bit of a mental break.
One of my biggest complaints with the state of comics these days is the cover price variances. While I’d love to pay $2.99 per monthly book, I understand that really isn’t realistic these days to keep comics at a $2.99 price point, but do we really need to pay $4.99 plus for a first issue, and/or randomly up the price for a “special” issue when the standard price will be closer to $3.99? I’m sure I’m not alone in avoiding comics priced higher for the first issue when it comes to new series, but jacking up the price just to capitalize o the #1 is beyond irritating to me. Before you say anything, I understand publishers need to make money to pay the talent, and capitalizing on fandom’s love of a first issue is a sure way to do that. But you know what else would work? Good sodding comics that encourage a larger readership.
Weekly and bi-weekly release schedules
Y’know what? I’m not made of money (although if I was and had a healing factor that’d be pretty sweet). A weekly schedule will mean I’ll avoid a book entirely unless it’s a four issue miniseries. Likewise bi-weekly release schedules are the fastest way to turn me off a book, and the only comics on such a schedule I’ve read has been Old Man Logan, but even that series eventually transitioned to a monthly title, and Superior Spider-Man. All-New Wolverine and Extraordinary X-Men are just of the two of the bi-weekly comics released last year that I gave up on after an issue or two as I kept forgetting to pick them up every other week (and yes, I probably should have added them to my pull list, but I don’t tend to do that immediately with new titles until I’ve tested the waters a bit). Aside from Batman, that is, but then that’s on my pull list because my comic shop knew I’d want to read it, not because I asked for it.
I may be averse to the sun (and heat, mostly), but I usually dread the summer coming because of the yearly Big Important Event from either Marvel or DC. It isn’t that I don’t like the events so much, but I’m tired of them being average at best with next to no consequences. At this point I’ve become so jaded with the big events that I’d rather ignore a Marvel/DC event and spend my money on either local, independent, or a smaller publisher’s comics than face the likelihood of a steaming pile of turd.
I should clarify here. It isn’t the solicitations themselves I hate, it’s when they give a spoiler for the story currently being told in the comic. Case in point DC‘s Superheavy; while we all knew Bruce Wayne would eventually return as Batman, until the March solicitation hit earlier in the year we didn’t know that he’d be returning so soon. Jim Gordon’s tenure as the Dark Knight never really had the time to find it’s feet, and with people counting the days down to Bruce‘s return, that was never really likely to happen.
An All New Jumping On Point!
Except, they usually aren’t. At least half of all the supposed jumping on points require some knowledge of the previous events to the story, and while Valiant are usually pretty good at making sure you know what you need to know, that’s not always the case; but unlike other publishers with expansive universes, Valiant seem to offer more accessible jumping on points (anybody remember Marvel .1? I can’t seem to recall that being overly effective). Even DC have had some missteps with Rebirth, but not as many as you’d think.
I get it, dark and gritty apparently sells comics. But does it, really? I read my fair share of grim/dark comics (Batman, Wrath Of The Eternal Warrior, Old Man Logan) but these days I also prefer the lighter side of the medium. Stuff like Howard the Duck, A&A: The Adventures Of Archer And Armstrong, Voracious and Faith have me running to the comic shop. They’re not light hearted fluff by any means, but neither are they needlessly dark when they don’t have to be. Yes, some characters work best in the darkness, and that’s fine, but when the market is saturated in grim/dark characters there’s only so much I can take before I just start ignoring stories that are probably very good… but I just can’t find the energy to care about all of them.
Comic Book Fans…
…that insist that a comic they don’t like is terrible. If I want to read Donald Duck #15, then I will and you can shove your judgmental comments down your crusty cake hole, you uptight fucktrumpet.
The above are honestly just observations that may or may not rankle you to varying degrees, as they do me, but there are some things about the industry that should absolutely infuriate you.
Whether it’s the reports of Scott Allie or Nathan Edmonson‘s behaviour, or reports about Eddie Berganza, there is frankly too much abuse happening behind the scenes. That it continues to go under reported is something that angers me, but websites such as The Outhousers, Graphic Policy, Panels, Comics Beat, and yes, Bleeding Cool to name only a few, are doing what they can to bring attention to the darker underbelly of the industry.
When something doesn’t sit right with you, ask questions, generate conversation no matter how uncomfortable it is. Just don’t ignore it.