Friday, April 25, 2008

Being True Blue – A Musing


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:

Loyalty

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.

15 comments:

Julian Lytle said...

I guess i'm not as serious as some. I only read what's interesting. I guess I'm only loyal to the x-men but i constantly drop the books when I feel they lack the "cool" factor I think it should always have. I drop books so often and so regularly that I don't even feel it. I can read a title in the middle of a storyline no problem. But I do know now that I'm not a standard fan anymore, maybe it's skewed by my want to produce comics or by meeting these people. I just don't care, I just want to read some comics.

Devon Sanders said...

Wonder Woman.

I have read every issue of that title for nearly 15 years.

Even during the Eric Luke run.

The Eric Luke run.

ChrisM said...

The new Atom
Countdown
Trials of Shazam

and if it doesn't pull out of the McKeever tailspin its in...Birds of Prey..(Tony Bedard we need you!)

heh..I never read the Erik Luke WW but I liked his run on Ghost.

SallyP said...

Boy, I hear you on Justice League. I keep buying it every month thinking that maybe THIS week it will be good...Actually this past week, it WAS pretty good.

I loved New Atom when Gail Simone was writing it, and then she left and in two short issues it all went to hell.

Gyuss Baaltar said...

Amazing Spider-Man owns me. Even when it makes me cry.

Even when I long for DeMatteis to rescue it again.

lou said...

Teen Titans.
Countdown to Final Crisis.

I wouldn't really classify myself as a Marvel Zombie or a DC..whatever they're called. But I'm really enjoying Marvel more right now. It really pains me right now that DC is having so many problems right now with a lot of their books. I would love for them to just come back and kick Marvel's ass. It would rule.

BIG MIKE said...

A weird psychological phenomenon I have is that I rarely drop a book unless it gets repetitive. I don't drop it if it's bad provided it doesn't get predictable. I've read every single issue of Supergirl, including the trip to Kandor. I have no intention of dropping it. Meanwhile, I dropped Atom and Wonder Woman a while ago just because every issue felt the same. It's why I have no problem dropping X-Men but it never crosses my mind to drop Green Arrow. Say what you will about Winnick, but at least he's polarizing.

Devon Sanders said...

Oh, yeah, Birds of Prey and Teen Titans should be on that list as well.

Where'd the guy that wrote Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane go?

JYD said...

2000AD out of a misguided sense of patriotism.

Also Thor. I'll always buy Thor. Even in its current "Let's make Loki a woman because if there's one thing Thor needs more of its female spellcasting villains. Hela, Amora, Karnilla and Lorelei just aren't enough, dammit!" style.

Anthony Strand said...

JSA Classified, because I'm a JSA completist. After the first seven issues, very few have been any good, but I keep buying it. I was actually relieved to hear it was cancelled, because I knew I'd never stop buying it otherwise.

Jon said...

Man, 3 days ago this would've been much easier to answer, but I just dropped JLA, BoP, and Brave & The Bold.

Since I don't have anything current to mention, I'll throw in this: I stuck with Spawn for 100 straight issues, even though the story went nowhere after about #25. I even went back to it at one point, and have the entire run up to around #125. And I still can't bring myself to sell them, even though I know I'll never read them again.

ChrisM said...

oh man..I just got Countdown #1.

boy that sucked hard.

loyalty has done me no favors here...

boztopia said...

I used to feel like this myself--I would stick with a book no matter how bad it got, because I was invested in the characters, their stories, and I hoped they would get better.

But after seeing how both Marvel and DC treat their fans--putting out crap and expecting that we'll buy it--I have ceased to do so. I dropped Spidey as soon as I heard about "One More Day." I never bought a single issue of "Countdown" (though I did read and enjoy some of the tie-ins). I stopped buying "Action Comics" and "Superman" when the artists couldn't produce like they were supposed to.

You reward good behavior and punish bad behavior. Buy comics that come out on time, with artists and writers who care about your investment in their careers. Don't buy comics put together just to drain your wallet and improve a company's short-term stock price.

By the way, let me say how great it is to see you titans of the comics blogosphere back in action. You were missed--which means I'll probably need to adjust my scope and reload the clip, of course. ;)

johntrumbull said...

There's hardly any book I'll buy even if it's bad. Why should I spend $3 or more if I'm not going to enjoy the read?

I've never seen dropping a book I dislike as being disloyal. I see it as refusing to support crap. My love of certain characters or titles means that I want to see them done well. If they're not, see ya. I'll come back when the book's better.

ChrisM said...

I just got through to the bottom of my pile this week..and I think there WAS a reward for staying loyal..and that title was Justice League of America.

MacDuffie and VanScyver did a good job of showing the team between WW and the Flash..

Hopefully this will transition into more of what MacDuffie will REALLY do with JLA...