Last weekend I attended the New York Comic Convention. I got some stuff signed, picked up some back issues – Con stuff. On Tuesday, I was talking to the office guy at the school I substitute at and he started asking me about what panels I saw.
“I went to the Final Crisis panel, saw the DC Nation-”
“That’s all DC stuff. What about Marvel?” he interrupted.
“Marvel sucks,” I responded.
First off, Marvel doesn’t suck. Yet, every time someone asks me about Marvel over DC that response is my gut reaction. I would say the reason behind this reply can be summed up in one word:
There are many words I would use to describe comic readers (I am including myself in this group), some complimentary and some not so complimentary. High on that list would be the word loyal. A comic fan is one of the most loyal beings on this planet. It is almost like we swear fealty to writers, to artists, to titles, to characters, etc. How many times have you said or heard someone say, “As long as ______________ is in/writing/drawing a comic I’ll keep reading it.” I have said many times, when DC killed off Green Arrow I gave up on the company until they brought him back.
At their most basic many comic companies are very similar. Yet, we pledge ourselves to being a Marvel Zombie or a member of the DC Nation and we stand firmly behind those pledges. Recently a Red Sox fan tried to jinx the new Yankee stadium by burying a David Ortiz jersey in the building’s foundation. I laughed at the ridiculousness of the rivalry. However, I got to thinking and I know there people out there who, if given the chance, would lay crazy voodoo down to make sure certain writers or artists never touched the books they cared about again. Hell, if given the opportunity I would slip a copy of Final Crisis #1 under Joe Quesada’s desk. You know, just to see what would happen.
If you think I am off base here think about how getting your comics fits into your schedule. We do not go out of our way; create a weekly trip – a trip that has to be done, for something we are only so-so interested in. We do it for things we care about. We do it for things we are attached to.
Better yet think of those instances when you drop a book that you have been following for a long time. Think of the emotional reaction you have. It is hard to get rid of a title that you have read for years. Even if it has become the most atrocious book on the market, where the writing, art and editorial guidance are so bad you open the comic and go, “Why are they doing this?” You still bite your lip and grit your teeth and when you finally give up the book you feel like you have to apologize for it.
“I just couldn’t keep reading the Justice League of America,” you say, shaking your head.
It’s in tone that is equivalent to when you end a bad friendship or stop following the orders of your general. I have seen many customers say that and I could tell they felt like they were betraying someone. Furthermore, I would say if you can drop a book you are only moderately loyal to it. I would say that there are books that no matter how bad they get you just cannot give them up. Your pledge to support those titles or characters is too strong. So I ask you Internetland:
What title or titles are you still loyal to even though you know you shouldn’t be?
My answer: Gen13.