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Marvel Comics: A personal editorial

My articles on the Amazing Spider-Man #611 issue have caused a great deal of feedback, both for and against my position, and I'm thankful for that. After all, what's the point of writing these pieces if the public doesn't respond? However, I do feel that I should address a few points I've been "called-out" on in the last couple of days and a couple that I haven't clarified.

First, I do not hate Marvel Comics. My favorite character, Spider-Man, is a Marvel creation, as well as Daredevil, Captain America, the Avengers, Thor, Hulk, X-Men, and a host of other characters I've read and enjoyed over the years. That said, I absolutely hate what the current administration is doing to the characters. When dealing with comic books, much like our rival "gamer" crowd, we're very passionate and protective of our characters. We invest time, love, and especially money into them. We grow with them, suffer with them, triumph with them and want the best for them. Do we need lives? Possibly, but you have admire our tenacity, yes? Anyway, Marvel has a wonderful and rich history, but that doesn't mean all of its decisions have been good ones. Yes, the same can be said for DC and the still-clueless Image company, but Marvel has run the gamut on taking exceptional liberties with its stable of creations. I won't get into specific examples, but they are there and they are part of the history, no matter how inept or convoluted the story-lines are to certain origins and lineages. This is not changing with the times or updating the stable for the audience because the core audience, as I've mentioned, is my age (38) or older. That is the demographic that mainly supports the hobby, and that's simply a fact. It's flat irresponsibility on the specific editor's part for allowing these liberties to be taken.

Next, I complain about Marvel loudly to anyone that will listen, but yes, I do still buy Daredevil and Spider-Man with the occasional Cap thrown in for good measure (Epting!!). I buy them because I simply cannot give up on a character I have grown up with and loved for most of my life. I know damn well my eight bucks, maybe $11 a month is not keeping Marvel going, but that's part of my point. I am answering Marvel's lack of good creative teams by not buying the books I've loved for years, like Thor, Avengers and the like. I am practicing what I preach by not buying book I feel inferior to what it once might have been, and I'm fine with that. I don't lament about not seeing a good Avengers story anymore (Norman Osborn - head of the U.S. now?? A new Avengers with Bullseye as Hawkeye?? Come on! Okay, I lamented a little.) I'm sorry to not be buying them anymore, but if the book stinks, in my opinion, I quit, case closed. It's a bit of double-talk on my part I'm sure, but I love Spidey and DD and simply want to keep getting them. So when something like the 611 issue pops up, an obviously low-rent, throw-away issue, it offends me because, frankly, I don't want to stop buying the one character that started me on this wondrous road of comics. It's an insult to myself and the thousands of comic fans that don't have time to troll boards and comment on various blogs. We are out there, trust me. I just happen to have both worlds open to me, one for work and on for pleasure. In short, I don't want the last two books I love to fall into a Dark Reign/Siege storyline that infects and pollutes the comic book gene pool. This is more about bad writing/art than anything else. It's just my opinion on what I, as a prolific buyer of books every week, see as wrong with Marvel and why I personally don't buy most of the books anymore.

The last thing I want is to see Marvel go under or die. This Disney merger still frightens me because, despite the company's stringent denials of interfering with the books, nothing is set in stone. Do you honestly believe that Disney, a very child-oriented company, is going to allow a Punisher MAX title to remain on shelves? That's simply not going to happen. The first issue alone had multitudinous "F" words throughout, hence my quitting that title that day. I'm far from some prude, but I don't need that shortcut-to-thinking writing in my books. The whole reason Disney has promised not to step into the comics area so far is because they have yet to see exactly what books are out there for consumption. Trust me, nothing is promised when it comes to business. I could very well be wrong, and I hope I am, because the last thing I want is for comics to go the way of Disney's own line of comics, which they've already discontinued and dismissed as "non-factor."      

The fact is we should all buy comics you like, whether the masses like them or not, and when I mentioned that we should not give up our Spidey book without a fight, the fight can easily be taken to Marvel's editors by way of letters, either snail-mail or email, or by quitting a book that stinks. Let your disdain and praise be heard, whether you've been reading for one year or 40! I simply wish Marvel would pay more attention to its audience that doesn't visit blogs and boards because that's the one that matters. These people buy anywhere from 30-150 books per week! They've been buying and reading since they were kids themselves, and they are the silent majority that should be adhered to weekly. Today's comics, as I've said time and again, are not bought by kids anymore. The target audience Marvel shoots for does not exist anymore; we have hardly any kids come into our LCS, and when they do it's the parents trying to pass along the torch of comicdom to them. today's teenagers, more than likely, will not be buying comics in the next five years. That's not to say that some out there won't, but the overall picture is a bleak one. While comics sales were up last year, in the wake of a recession we need all of the good books we can get stocking the shelves. People are not quitting book at my LCS, but they are dropping titles to fit their budgets and most of them have been Marvels. Some, like myself, held on for dear life, hoping the books would improve and overall, to their personal chagrin, they didn't. No one has tons of cash to dole out for variant covers these days, and that's why I'm laughing out loud that the Image #1 that hits stores next week has, count them, 10 covers! Uh, Image...remember 1996?? 

All of this aside, I'd like to thank all of the people that left comments on my page, both for and against my position and/or reviews. I stand by what I said, but wanted to clarify a few things before people get the impression I'm an anti-Marvel guy.  I'm an anti-crap guy, happily and loudly. So far Marvel has done crappy things with its books and characters.

Buy what is good, support what's worth your money.     

Related articles:

Comic book review - Amazing Spider-Man 612

New Comics Day: November 25, 2009

All-American Comics is Chicago's finest for comic books

Comments

  • bsbob52 4 years ago

    Chris, your points are well taken.

  • Lisa 4 years ago

    Okay, but don't panic yet. After all, Disney owns Miramax, and they produced Good Will Hunting. How many F-words were in that? A LOT! But I get what you're saying. I'm not a comic book reader, but as a huge Star Wars fan I get what it feels like when someone messes with something you grew up with and loved for so long. I wish executives would quit messing with our loves.

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