Ron’s List of the Worst Things in Comics in 2012

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Another year comes to a close and we’ve spent the better part of the past 3 weeks drowning in “Best” and “Worst” lists. You might be tired of these, but come on, you know that a year can’t officially start until I’ve weighed in with my annual best and worst of the year list.  Yesterday we celebrated the great things, in my opinion at least, that existed in comics in 2012.  Today, we take a turn down the negative avenue.

Now, before I get to my list of the Worst Thing sin Comics in 2012, I do want to clarify why I do this list. Personally, I’m not a big fan of negativity, at all. I try to live a positive life and would much rather celebrate the good things. But sometimes it does help to take a moment and reflect on the bad things, the things that aren’t working, purely with the hopes that they may get better some day.  So the intent of this piece isn’t to whine or gripe, but purely from a good place with the hopes to make things better.

So without further ado, I present to you my list of the Worst Things in Comics in 2012.

Kickstarter-logo 5. Kickstarter

Ah, the ying to my yang in the Best Of list. With every bit of praise, there comes a bit of criticism. Now, I absolutely do mean what I said about Kickstarter in my Best Of list, it has great potential etc., but as we’ve learned from Spider-Man about great power…there is a cost. That cost is a disturbing trend of Kickstarter being seen as the panacea, the solution in a vast wasteland that entitles everyone to get money.  E-Mails and social media have now become filled with people driving awareness to their Kickstarter, which is fine, that’s what they need to to do to get the word out, but it’s become a virtual Market St. (San Francisco reference for those who didn’t get it), with people begging for money on a daily basis along with the mass amount of e-mail we receive seeking promotion. But that comes with the territory. It’s hustling and I respect that. The thing that irks me about Kickstarter is when it’s referred to as a”publisher” or a threat to the publishers. What it seems that people don’t understand is that the publishers serve a very important role in the grand scheme of things as gate-keepers of quality content.  Kickstarter reminds me of my days as a music journalist in the late 1990s/early 2000s, when CD-R drives became affordable. We went from getting completed albums by good bands released by quality labels, to a deluge of blank CDs with sharpie written album names on the disc themselves. All sense of discipline went out the window, and the marketplace was flooded with sub-quality pop punk bands. What people didn’t realize was that the record labels were there to decided when a band was ready to record and release an album. There is an established system that works. Just because you can publish, doesn’t mean you should. It takes time and discipline to become good at any endeavor and Kickstarter changes that.  This doesn’t mean that it’s not a good thing, it definitely can be. But the dangers are there. I rarely make predictions, but my guess is 2013 will be filled with many angry tweets from people who aren’t getting what was promised to them by the Kickstarter projects they backed, or wondering if the project will get finished at all. It’s a slippery slope and I think folks need to be careful how they tread moving forward.

4. Variant Covers & Sales Shenanigans

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Let me tell you a story. Every few weeks, I find myself in New York City. When in New York City, I usually try to pick up my books at Bergen St. Comics in Brooklyn, but sometimes I’m stuck in Manhattan and forced to go elsewhere. On this particular day I found myself in Midtown Comics. As I browsed the racks, I noticed something. On many of the titles, there was a tag hanging on the shelf to call attention to the fact that there was a variant cover available for that title. Now, variant covers are nothing new. They’ve existed for a long time and it’s a sales incentive for comic book stores to buy more books. I get that. But on this day, I went through and counted and 27 books of the 150 or so that came out that week had variant covers. I went to the front counter to look at these variants, and the cheapest one was $10.00, with the most expensive upwards of $150.00.  Something felt fishy to me. Then I realized.  What’s happened is is, we’ve created a collectible marketplace within the collectible marketplace. The comic book issues are truly worthless now, as they’re just a necessary evil in the pursuit of getting a rare variant. Now, if that’s the way people want to spend their money, fine by me. What struck me that day in Midtown Comics was what the effect it may be having on the industry in the long run. It’s great to see monstrous sales numbers for titles, but are they true indicators of the health of the industry? Or are they just because of the sales tactics of publishers? I’m not expecting to see sales incentives and variant covers go away, but I do show some concern when it’s artificially inflating the sales numbers. And when I think of the boxes of unsold comics sitting the back of comic book stores, just so they could sell a variant on eBay, I cry a little. I just hope the people behind the spreadsheets at the publishers are approaching these decisions with the long run in mind and not short term sales bumps.

3. DC’s Follow Through

Superboy_Vol_6-9_Cover-1Last year we applauded the balls of DC Comics in their relaunch of the entire line with the The New 52. There was tons of energy and excitement around DC Comics. Hell, I was buying more DC Comics than ever. Now, one year later, I’m shocked at how quickly things have deteriorated, and as we predicted, basically fallen back to the way things were before the relaunch. With very few exceptions, such as Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo on Batman, there is little to nothing that excites me about DC Comics right now.  All I see is a merry go round of head scratching creator changes and the sapping of any excitement there once was. We’ll never understand the inner workings of any organization, but from an outside perspective it’s baffling. If anything, you’d think they would look to Batman as the example and not the exception. Look and see what a dedicated writer and artist team can do when given the opportunity to plot and execute a story. Instead, we see things like Kyle Higgins being rotated with Tom DeFalco on Nightwing, or the whole Gail Simone insanity. The list goes on and on. I don’t mean to come down on anyone’s work too hard, but when I’m being told that Scott Lobdell is the guy to save the Superman books, I can only laugh. There is some promise with the recent announcements of Ray Fawkes and Jim Zub getting work at DC, but why do I think they’ll end up more like Mike Costa than Jeff Lemire? The tragic thing is that when we talk with folks who are doing good work at DC, you get the sense that they spend most of their time screaming at a wall. They want to do good work, and have great ideas, but there’s something about DC that deflates them. I don’t know if it’s editorial or some other internal factor, and we may never know, but it just feels like something ain’t right in Gotham.

In addition to the creative merry go round, it seems as if all the promise of The New 52 has faded. Sure, we’ve got clean slates and new continuity, but the same practices have reared their ugly heads. Crossovers and events. Senseless plot twists and changes. We see some gems of quality, like Animal Man, but for every gem or quality, it seems like there’s two crossovers (like the aptly titled Culling event). I understand it’s a business and DC is out to print comics and make money doing so, but when you have a near perfect gem like Snyder and Capullo on Batman, why drag everything down with an enormous line wide crossover? Much less twice in a row? Its almost like DC doesn’t believe in the idea of “just do good work” and will tinker and tweak until they’ve squeezed as much as they can. The emperor is definitely not wearing any clothes and it seems as if we’re all starting to realize.

2. Witch Hunts & Negativity

Last year, I applauded the positivity in the world of comics. It really felt like we were entering a golden age of community and unity within comics. The gap between fan and creator has gotten smaller with the advent of Twitter and other social media sites and it was exciting to see a wind of change come through. From what was once a very standoffish environment, fans, media types, creators, editors, whomever were all in a virtual town square mingling with one another. If only I knew how dramatic of a turn that would take in 2012 when human nature reared it’s ugly head as some people chose to not learn from the mistakes of the overly negative message boards of the past and poison the virtual town square we all were enjoying so much with their negativity and their need for attention.

What we saw in 2012 included things like public meltdowns from creators, throwing people other under the bus, and self-entitled media types leading witch hunts against anyone or anything that crossed their definition of acceptable. With social media, we all have soapboxes and audiences who listen to what we say. Unfortunately some people have chosen to use these soapboxes under the guise of what they consider to be right and just. I don’t want to take away the importance from the various issues that we’ve dealt with over the past year. Some of them are very serious and deserve discussion, but not in the way we’ve seen it transpire this past year (in my humble opinion). As opposed to mature discourse, we’ve seen immature approaches to real problems. I’m not saying the problems don’t exist, but I question the motivation of some folks as they work to make a name for themselves in the process. Numerous times I’ve had to log off of Twitter and Facebook, as have many people I know, because these attention starved narcissistic misanthropes steal our time on an hourly basis. That’s not a good thing.

Look, I consider myself to be on the right side of the majority of the issues out there. I’m supportive of all types of people, regardless of race or gender. To me, your actions are what define you. If you believe strongly in something, awesome. Go be a force of good and positivity and strive to change the world to be a better place. Trust me, sitting behind your computer posting passive aggressive tweets, coming up with a clever hashtag, or @ replying people to get attention is not the answer or helpful to anyone. Spouting off complaints about what you don’t like in the world doesn’t help anyone.  You don’t like something? Get out there and do something about it. It’s high time many people take a step back and look at what they say and do and wonder what their motivations truly are. Do they want to change the world and fight for what’s right? Or do they just want to be noticed and gain more followers? Either way, I hope in 2013 people get their act together and realize that only through positivity and maturity will the world change, and their actions need to follow suit.

1. Shipping Schedules & The Creative Byproduct

Avengers_vs._X-Men_Vol_1_10It seems that as long as I’ve been buying comics, we’ve had the shipping schedules to complain about. “The books are late! The books come out too often! There are too many books! Why do I have to buy all these comics for this crossover?” The more things change, the more they stay the same. But that doesn’t mean that it can’t change. As I look back at 2012 and think about the shipping schedules, the thing that comes to mind is the creative sacrifices that have to be made, and it seems as if each publisher is wrestling with their own issues.

Over at Marvel, the subtle success of double shipping Uncanny X-Force led to what seemed like a line wide double shipping schedule. We joked that you could tell what books were in danger of being canceled by checking to see which ones were shipping monthly. Given that the majority of comic artists can’t maintain a monthly schedule, when they set a book to double ship, you just know it’s going to head into trouble.  Now, that said, Marvel has been very good about rotating artists to arcs as opposed to switching around on single issues, but it doesn’t change the little bit deflating that happens when you get a book that you’re loving and it’s a different artist.  Whether they want to acknowledge it or not, in this time of writers, the artists do matter and there’s a world of difference between the artist that gets us excited and the guy who just gets the job done. Then factor in the shipping schedule. Fine, a successful book double ships. If it’s good, I can deal with that. Have you seen the shipping schedule for Age of Ultron? It’s crazy. They’re shipping 10 issues in less than 4 months and that’s after Avengers Vs. X-Men‘s assault of 12 issues in less than 6 months, not counting the follow up mini-series AvX Consequences.  Again, I understand it’s a business, but this feels like we’re being taken advantage of.

JL5_inkersDC Comics on the other hand has been very good about sticking to their monthly schedule. Books ship monthly, come hell or high water. Which is great from a consistency aspect, but what suffers? You got it, the art. We get rotating artists, or what’s worse in my opinion, the legion of inkers. Too many times have I read a comic and wondered why the art was so damn inconsistent, its because there were 9 inkers on the book. I can appreciate the dedication to keeping the books monthly, but not when the faces of the main characters shift so dramatically like they did on many of the issues of Justice League,even with Jim Lee on pencils.

Marvel and DC are not the only ones who feel the challenge of this. Image has it’s own problem of keeping books on schedule. Nothing kills the momentum of a good ongoing book like having it disappear for three months. Meanwhile, the other publishers must know that in the race for connecting with an audience, putting out the best quality product is the most important.

The thing that gets me, is that it’s not impossible. Take Chew from Image Comics for example. For 30 issues, we’ve had the same creative team and it’s been fantastic every issue. I’ve had several people complain to me that the book has been late or ships every 6 weeks, but guess what? It’s good. I don’t care. Not once have I been dissatisfied with an issue of Chew.  Same for The Walking Dead and Invincible. Kirkman and Adlard and Ottley deliver some of the best comics I read on a monthly basis.  At Marvel, the addition of Samnee on art has made Daredevil both fantastic and dependable. It’s not impossible to get ahead of schedule and stay that way.

It’s a pretty simple equation. I think it’s safe to say that we, as readers and fans, just want the best comics we can get for our hard earned dollars. When a book double ships and is of lower quality, I’m twice as likely to stop buying it. When a book does come out regularly but drops in quality, I’ll consider dropping it. When a book disappears, I’m less likely to return to it when (if) it reappears. The commitment to us as readers from the publishers should be to give us the best quality books on a fair schedule that doesn’t feel like we’re being taken advantage of. My fear is that the decisions of 2012 will play out in 2013 as many people choose to take their dollars elsewhere, and then where does that leave us?


That sums up my Worst of 2012.  Thanks for indulging me and I’m looking forward to an amazing 2013!

Comments

  1. koryrosh koryrosh says:

    The variant cover issue has gotten absurd – 52 variants for Justice League America? That’s ridiculous. And recently my LCS was taking pre-orders for a 52-pack with each variant.

  2. Wow, I agree with this 100%. I don’t think this was even all that negative, just looking at the reality of situations as we roll into 2013.

  3. Alexferrer Alexferrer says:

    I agree verbatim with Ron’s part about the excitement of the New 52 been completely gone.

    I too was excited for it. I have been a very DC-centric guy ever since I started with superhero comics 16 years ago, and I’ve never bought so few DC books and been less excited about the publisher in my life.

  4. diebenny diebenny says:

    Damn, dude. This article is very well thought out and tactfully written. Well done, Ron.

    These are all things we know, but god damn did you put them into perspective and word them in a way that not only makes sense, but is kind of inspiring. Never would I have imagined that a worst of list could be so focused on growth and positivity. Again, well done.

  5. koryrosh koryrosh says:

    Ron, I would be interested in knowing why Lobdell makes you laugh? Lobdell has done good work in the past – remember how good the first few issues of Superboy were? I don’t think it’s fair to single him out like that. To me, Superboy went downhill when it started crossing over with Teen Titans (which I think was just five or six issues in), which might have been more of an editorial decision. And, to be fair, the H’El on Earth storyline in Superman has been pretty good.

    • Tad Tad says:

      You have to go farther back for the roots of Ron’s comments about Scott Lobdell. Try the 90s and the Xmen. ;)

    • Josh Flanagan Josh Flanagan (@jaflanagan) says:

      A writer with a “pretty good” track record who’s been around for decades probably isn’t the guy to fix the most important superhero in history.

    • koryrosh koryrosh says:

      point taken, Josh.

    • BC1 BC1 says:

      And after listening to the podcast and hearing Josh’s favorite anecdote from the Marvel history book, I wonder how in the world Lobdell still has a job, as if no one has peaked behind his curtain.

    • drumguyrobc says:

      Scott Lobdell is writing Superman far better than the garbage Grant Morrison is delivering.

    • ScottE ScottE says:

      Grant Morrison delivers garbage? Man that guy is crazy. Is it his own garbage or just garbage out of dumpsters and who does he deliver it to? And how does he have time to do that when he is writing such great comics.

  6. Xtianhardy Xtianhardy (@Xtianhardy) says:

    Great post Ron, I agree pretty much with everything you’ve said here.

    The negativity and witch hunts of 2012 in particular have led me to limit the amount of time I spend connecting with other fans on social media (and even going as far to stop reading a couple blogs and Tumblrs I used to enjoy) because invariably it seemed like every week there was a new social crisis or hot-button issue that everyone had to scream at each other about.

  7. Xtianhardy Xtianhardy (@Xtianhardy) says:

    The only thing I’d add is while I’m pretty much 100% in agreement with you re: The New 52 I do think that there are books besides Batman that have been good. Dial H and Swamp Thing in particular have been excellent, and Justice League Dark has actually improved quite a bit since Jeff Lemire took over the title from Peter Milligan.

    Also, to add one to the list of Worst Things to Happen in 2012, I’d add “The Slow Death of Vertigo.” Karen Berger’s gone, Hellblazer’s dead, Scalped is over, Sweet Tooth is basically done, and really, does anyone still read Fables? Vertigo was what got me reading comics again when I was a teenager in the early 2000s, and I’m really sad to see it become a hollow shell of what it once was.

    • Edo Edo says:

      You’re absolutely right. Vertigo titles are just disappearing and I don’t see a lot of new titles to replace them. Reading Preacher and Fables made me read comics again, but now Vertigo is just not what it used to be. There still are good titles, but the problem is they don’t take anymore big risks like they used to (which is why there are so many wonderful Image titles).

    • The tough thing about Vertigo is that, with the exception of ‘Hellblazer,’ its best books are based on story concepts that are designed to be finite. (Whether their creators realize it or not: ‘Fables’ is a great case in point, and I’m beginning to worry about wheel-spinning in ‘The Unwritten’ as well.) That’s a perfectly workable model as long as you’re bringing in new books to replace the old, but clearly DC has thrown up its hands in the face of the Image renaissance. The smattering of new ongoing books like ‘Saucer Country’ has been less than inspiring, and many established creators would rather own their stuff outright. Unless there’s miracle flagship book on the horizon, Vertigo might be relegated to exclusively publishing graphic novels.

    • koryrosh koryrosh says:

      Yeah, I agree that there’s a lot more than Snyder/Capullo’s Batman that’s still good at DC. Wonder Woman, Flash, Earth 2.

      I think it’s better to treat “The New 52″ (and eventually “Marvel Now!”) the same way you treat any big summer event or company-wide crossover (which is pretty much what both of these things are). After the initial hype, things will settle down to about the same as it was before – there will be good books, there will be bad books, and the ratio will be roughly the same as it was before the event/relaunch. I personally find a lot of the DC books to be really good – probably more good than bad. Granted only a handful are truly excellent, but isn’t that always the case?

    • kennyg kennyg says:

      I also think Ron was a little harsh on DC. There are a number of really good books besides Batman. I’m still greatly enjoying Batman and Robin, Batman Inc., Batgirl, Nightwing, All-Star Western, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, GL Corps…

    • theWAC1 theWAC1 says:

      When I came back to comics 5 years ago Vertigo was my #1 supplier. I was pretty much trying out all of their comics. With AV gone its zero. Now I’m left with Image and cool, off-beat comics from the 80′s. New 52 was a bust though. I’ve dropped everything that doesn’t have the word ‘Batman’ on it, and there is no way to argue that Swamp Thing and Animal Man are anywhere near as good as they were at the beginning.

    • IthoSapien IthoSapien says:

      I used to really enjoy “Fables”, but after the Great Fables Crossover I lost interest. I really want to catch up on “The Unwritten since I’m only up to vol.3. @Koryrosh & @Kennyg I agree with both of you. Marvel NOW will probably emulate the New 52 in terms of it’s success, and DC is still putting good comics even if it is undersold or unacknowledged. I’m enjoying Batman, the Flash, Swamp Thing, Animal Man, Before Watchmen, and Dial H (tho I think it’s kind of inconsistent in quality of story). I guess I feel that Marvel for whatever reason is “lost”, with so many X-Men (& Wolverine) and Avengers books and the lackluster events.

  8. Tad Tad says:

    Has anyone pointed out the DC has shifted to a network TV system of creating new titles? I hear plenty of people point out that most of the original New 52 have fallen away which is just what happens to new shows every TV season. Comics are an incredibly cheap way of creating new Intellectual Property. Way cheaper than TV pilots.

    My impression is that the mandate is “Try whatever you want but if it doesn’t click in five or six issues dump it and try something else.” That can refer to creative teams, new groupings of characters or new takes on old heroes. It’s not necessarily a wrong way to do things from a business standpoint. I guess you eventually wind up with a successful line up. It’s a different perspective: it’s not about the number of fails, it’s about the surviving wins.

    What’s missing is the creation and “testing” of brand new characters which isn’t likely to happen since creators generally take new concepts to creator owned markets. That’s where the TV system analogy breaks down.

  9. great insight. I totally agree with you about Kickstarter. Its great to see so much DIY and super niche things finding an audience, but at the same time there is something to be said for that curated experience that the publisher offers. Kickstarter is at its best for helping innovation get out there. Comics publishers don’t always have the money or desire to take risks on super out there stuff or creators with very little to no experience. Kickstarter can be a great “test lab” as it were, but with anything, you have to weed through the mediocre to find it.

    I feel the same about DC. For me i’ve tended to notice a homogenization of the titles. It all feels very house style after a while. Standardized lettering, and coloring. Even the pencils and layouts start to look like its fits to a style guide after a while. I got to feel like the entire line is the exact same product with slightly different flavors and that’s kinda boring considering the diversity of creators they have under their umbrella.

  10. I definitely echo your thoughts on the fumbling of the New 52. When it first started, I was excited for DC Comics for the first time in my life. Now, I have dropped every DC book I was getting with the exception of Barman, Detective Comics and Batman and Robin. It seems like DC needs a complete overhaul from the top down.

  11. jisrael says:

    I was gonna post on your article yesterday my feelings about Kickstarter deserving a place on both the positive and negative lists. I have a bad feeling that 2013 will see it firmly end up on a “negative” list, but I will try to stay positive. Self-publishing certainly seems like somewhere we are headed.

  12. pyynk pyynk says:

    I definitely agree with #3. While I still like the occasional superhero story, the standard super tale just doesn’t get me all that excited anymore. As such, I’ve really been enjoying different genres. As such, I was really excited with the idea of the New 52. “Holy crap!” I thought. “War comics! Westerns! I’m totally in!”. While All Star Western has succeeded for the most part, the other genre books just didn’t work for me.

  13. HankChinaski says:

    My thoughts on your list:

    5. While I agree with your sentiment I one thing you say sticks in my craw as someone who as worked in the music industry: “What people didn’t realize was that the record labels were there to decided when a band was ready to record and release an album.” I have to disagree on this sir. Record execs of who I have known many are dinosaurs now just as they are then, and to highlight 1990-2000 as the mecha of them cranking out crappy pop music discounts the fact they’ve always done it and will continue to do it. I think a better analogy would be maybe the comparison of set top media boxes like Boxee, Roku, and the like. I agree with your point but record execs are made to crank out bubble gum and tell you it is what you want.

    4. Absolutely agree and this goes to something you say in the next part…

    3. You assertion that using Snyder and Capullo as a model is dead on. It seems like there were a lot of creative teams DC put on these books at the beginning just so they could fill slots. And they continue to do that. I actually dropped all my books from DC this year including Batman because I won’t even give them my money anymore. Unlike you though I will point fingers: Bob Harras. He DESTROYED Marvel in the ’90′s with gimmicks and a corporate value system that didn’t put the first and foremost value on the quality of product being created but on how fast they could crank it out. People like Lobdell, Mackie, and DeFalco worked well for him because they are story mills. It may not be to the utmost standards but they can certainly chunk out 500 scripts in a month. Add to that these (as you mentioned) bizarre editorial mandates and I can’t help but feel that DC has gone back to being a rudderless ship being steered by too many captains. Brian Cunningham (who I believe was with Wizard which doesn’t bode well for his pedigree) is another name that I’ve recently added on my list of potential targets of ire. All in all, this could have been something great but instead it is just more of the same much to the fans and the creators chagrin. I have no faith these new creators will make any difference because they still be pigeon holed into jumping through hoops of heavy handed DC editorial. At this point I kinda wish WB would just liquidate the company.

    2. Again agreed with a slight addition. I think you can be negative if you have something constructive to say in your negativity. It is what I hate about Twitter. You can praise or cut someone down but you don’t have the space to explain yourself so everyone comes off looking like a troll. I do praise quite a few writers and artists (Bendis today on what I think is shaping up to be a great X-Men run), but when I do have an issue and voice it I feel I have legitimate reasons for that issue, and it is my duty to offer those but as I learned from an amazing employer of mine offer solutions. This is not possible in the sound byte spaces we get in places like Twitter, which has become the most vocal it appears of creator/reader interaction. I try to remain positive about something I love, but in all honesty DC (especially as noted about) and Marvel (a few minor and one major complaint) have made some boneheaded moves in the last few years. Which makes no sense at all. Superheroes are more popular in pop culture than ever yet despite every initiative put forth both produce books that shouldn’t even be on the shelves (DC the majority), and allow gimmicks to inflate numbers and make the industry appear more healthy than it is. Image is the true source of current market health with a steady stream of new and outstanding stories told by quality creators who are allowed to tell the stories they feel should be told. When I see a creator butcher a character I’ve invested time and money into I feel I have every right to tell them they are off track. Threaten them? Absolutely not. That is just dumb. But we all as fans have a lot invested in these creations and I feel we deserve more of a say in how they are handled…even if that means we take to the social airwaves on attack…constructive attack though folks.

    1. This one I’m leaving alone as I’ve done large shipping and publishing, and can say things come up. I will say that creative team changes do frustrate me as sometimes I dislike art changes so much that I can’t even read the book (looking at you Marvel). Again like you said, this could be a product of the “double shipping” fiasco which works for people like Bendis and Hickman, but certainly isn’t a one size fits all scenario. Delays, creative changes, redirections after a promised outcome (*cough* Avengers Arena *cough*), etc all hurt the titles we know and love.

    Thanks for the post. Love the site and this is my first post here…hope to have many more.

    • USPUNX USPUNX says:

      “Many of whom are dinosaurs.” Love how you say that then proceed to be a dinosaur in most of your following commentary. Thanks for the insight Bukowski but I’m guessing you don’t even get the irony in most of what you said juxtaposed with your name…

  14. in terms of the double shipping, Its caused me to avoid those books. I’ve been interested by the title, characters and creators involved, but i know there is absolutely no way that i can afford to keep up with those books financially or time wise. I might go trade on a few (pretty unlikely that i’ll actually remember in all reality) but it sucks that their over aggressive strategy is pushing some out.

  15. muddi900 says:

    Wait are we lamenting the loss of music labels that brough quality acts like Backstreet Boys, Limp Bizkit and Ko(mirrored R)N? If these were the gatekeepers of quality, they weren’t very good at their jobs.

    Being a DC guy it breaks my heart at what’s happening there. I do think the precedent was set with the Justice League. The first arc is laughably bad. It shows us that even Geoff Johns had to deal with a lot of bullshit. There is no way onw guy wrote that arc.

    • Urthona Urthona says:

      You are SO RIGHT about how Justice League set the tone first for the excitement about the New 52 but also led the charge to mediocrity. Geoff Johns certainly didn’t set my world on fire with the boring opening story arc. If that book had been the flagship it was intended to be, maybe the whole New 52 would look better today. And, somehow, the whole Jim Lee “deigning” to do the art but me as a reader never feeling like he was committed or anything but business-motivated set a tone as well. I compare him unfavorably to Quitely who seems to bring passion, energy, and creativity to his projects.

    • muddi900 says:

      Boring would have been a compliment to the catastrophe that was that arc. It is All Star Batman & Robin bad.

  16. Ron Richards Ron Richards (@ronxo) says:

    @HankChinaski + @muddi900
    Sorry I should have clarified – my experience with music was in the world independent/underground record labels, who did a very good job at being curators of the music they released.

    Didn’t mean to refer to major labels because they were then (and still are) a lost cause.

    • HankChinaski says:

      Where I have my experience to so I’m with ya there. Gotta love what that industry has become. Acts like Living Legends and NOFX show that you can do it on your own and reap the rewards. :) Great article and hope I didn’t go on too long. I’m rather passionate about this industry if you can’t tell. lol

    • USPUNX USPUNX says:

      Well NOFX sort of does it on their own. Fat Wreck does have a distribution deal with Sony. One of the largest media companies on the planet. I’ve been a NOFX fan for fifteen years but let’s not kid ourselves here, there are very few indie labels that don’t at least have distro deal with a major.

    • Milky Milky says:

      Still though, Fat Wreck is owned by Mike, It doesn’t matter that he uses a company for shipping it saves time and money, It’s up to his company what he releases. Sony won’t have any input in whats given to them, they’ll just take a chunk of change. Distribution has nothing to do with Creativity, Image doesn’t tell BKV to write, they just print it for him and let him get on with it.

      Sony have no probelm releasing anything controversial (SOAD are a prime example.)
      Plus I think he’s using it as an example, no need to try and pick at something unimportant to change what hes trying to say.

      Not using Sony would be a very dumb move as he still gets his own way but gets to distribute it a larger audience.

      Ron, Well said! Fantastic list overall, I could probs disagree with 1 or two things but you wrote a really well written article on the lows on what i like to call ‘The Year of Creator Owned Comics’ Keep up the awesome work! you make my work day go alot quicker :)

    • USPUNX USPUNX says:

      Except you’re wrong of course. Sony DOES control aspects of Fat Wreck’s decisions. Sony enforces a certain price point for all music they distribute so Fat Mike has lost control of what he can charge for his music. Also, Sony has made artists change album art work in the past, I’m not sure if this has ever specifically happened to a Fat artist but Sont has a history of this so it is certainly another aspect Fat Mike no longer completely controls.

      And whether or not using Sony for distro is “stupid” is a personal feeling. I think it is fine, I have no problem with it, but it means you are no longer independent, which was the point of my comment in the first place. You can defend or condem Fat Wreck for using Sony all you want, neither one changes the fact they are no longer an independent label.

      Also, if you think System of a Down is controversial I suggest you track down some real rebel music. SOAD is cute, occasionally fun, but not controversial.

  17. mick6721 mick6721 says:

    Great list! I agree with everything, especially #2 with the ‘self important media types’. I too have stopped following blogs and some of these people on Twitter because I got sick of the seemingly weekly controversy. I agree if it is indeed an issue that needs to be brought to light then do it. To me it’s more about stirring the pot and bringing attention to themselves.

  18. trobinson79 trobinson79 says:

    I’ve been DC”s biggest supporter for the last few years, but even I can fully admit now that the hype behind the New 52 is officially faded and it’s exposing the current line of books as what it is – the same as before. My DC pull list is down to just Batman, Wonder Woman, Animal Man, and Swamp Thing and it’s no surprise that it’s this way because Snyder, Lemire, and Azzarello are in my top 10 favorite writers today. Beyond that, it’s just been the old creators of the 1990′s that have come back and that’s not something you want when you’re plugging a huge reboot. Maybe that will change next year (I’m personally excited for Jim Zub on Birds of Prey and Lemire on Green Arrow) , but it’s clear that the pendulum swung in Marvel’s favor of the big two last year.

    To add to DC’s mess, we also forgot to mention our skepticism towards Vertigo’s future. Multiple titles ended (Scalped, DMZ, Northlanders, etc) with no signs of future ongoing replacements, their biggest ongoing book in Hellblazer ending, and Berger is leaving. Yes, we can’t tell what this means for 2013 when Berger’s replacements come in March, but you can’t help but be scared for the imprint that revolutionized a lot of how comics should be beyond superheroes.

  19. JesseCuster says:

    #4 = Welcome to the early 90s all over again. I still have 6 copies of Xmen 1 somewhere. And 5 copies of Xforce 1, each with a different collectible card. Foil covers, glow in the dark covers. Its the same stupid gimmicks and all worthless. Good luck trying to get someone to pay what you paid for those variants in a couple of years.

    #2… there are some comic blogs/news sites that I stopped reading because comic bloggers are equally to blame for negativity. A publisher throws out some PR, trying to drum up interest in comics and the interweb bloggers immediately go into assumption mode, making up wild opinions based on NOTHING and figuratively rip pages into tiny shreds before even knowing any real details. Then there are blogs/sites who have taken up the cause of fighting creator injustices, which is great and all against those who really deserve it, but then the bloggers feel the need to have more injustices to ‘expose’ and actively start picking on genuinely legit creators, some who are veterans, just to make a post for the day. Its not just Twitter and facebook… its all over, and arguably its snake eating its own tail where every facet of the industry (From creators to bloggers to store owners to readers) are caught in a circle of negativity where one begats another. [of course, I'm still reading iFanboy, so I'm not talking about this site. I still enjoy this site very much].

  20. the_jman the_jman says:

    great article. all good points.

    the variants, though. that drives me nuts. anyone else remember the 90′s? weren’t any lessons learned.

    i’m a fence sitter with DC and the new52. some of it i really like. some of it not so much. i guess i’m still hoping for something more.

  21. j206 j206 says:

    Wow, Ron. I agree with every single word you wrote.

    Every. Single. Word.

    Expertly put.

  22. canadianD canadianD says:

    An internet article dumping on the New 52!? Shocker……

    While i won’t try and change your opinion about something you seem to feel very passionately about, there have been some stand out series.Flash, Action Comics, Batman and Wonder Woman to name a few.

    As for the loss of Vertigo, i sympathize with the Hellblazer readers and the diehard Vertigo fans.I never read much beyond DMZ but even that lost me.To me it reminds me of when WildStorm (another casualty) got rid of their imprints and pulled everything under the “WildStorm” banner.From a marketing/advertising stand point it makes sense,i know no one wants to hear that but it does.But readers don’t think about the branding used by their comic companies.They just want to read the same safe stories because it doesn’t require them to break out of their comfort zone.

    The back stabbing, bus throwing and negativity is the worse.Speaking of Scott Lobdell, the man is treated like the devil incarnate because he changed a character (Starfire) who was eye candy to begin with, make her more eye candy.Tumblr is a mine field of anti-Lobdell posts and rants.Let’s also not forget the war between Scott Snyder and Liefeld on Twitter.It just looked unprofessional, especially when other creators were jumping in with their two cents and taking sides.Then Dan Didio said that it was a mistake to hire him in the first place.Ugh.

    The variant cover point is on the ball!

    • HankChinaski says:

      I will complain about Lobdell because I’m sitting through him making the same writing mistakes he made in the 90s. Things like uneven characterization, flat stories that don’t progress the character in any discernable direction, and his weak attempts at youthful dialogue all make me question how he keeps getting hired. And then I remember as I posted above it is because his buddy Harras is the leader over at DC and it all makes sense. I’m all for you loving what you want and glad to see you stand up for your titles, but as a person with a BA in English Lit and a Masters in Business Admin I can’t help to see most of what DC did and is doing as a cash grab that emphasizes profits over quality. The relaunch goes a long way to prove that in the fact that it was a short spike in sales followed by sales that are now at or well below sales numbers before the relaunch on most of their titles.

    • canadianD canadianD says:

      You make an interesting point and i’ve only been reading comics for the past four years, so i can’t speak for mister Lobdell’s past works.

      You mentioned that the New 52 was a “cash grab” that emphasizes “quantity over quality”.There are tons of quality books like Action Comics, Batman, Flash, Wonder Woman, Aquaman and Justice League.It’s just no one talks about those books because those books have ALWAYS been good and under the responsibility of talented creators. You have to put talented creators on the high profile comics.It’s the same reason Marvel doesn’t throw any old schlub on Spider-Man or Iron Man or Captain America.

      There’s got to be a middle ground here and i think (hope) you can agree.DC can’t go back to the old universe, much as Stephanie Brown’s fans would like, we can’t pretend that it never happened because it did.But i do think DC needs to wizen up and learn from the mistakes made in 2012.Cut the deadweight from the lineup.I don’t want to say a title that I think is deadweight because i’m sure there are fans out there.I think the New 52 is being guided a little too much by Geoff Johns.If the new titles being launched this month are any indication of how Johns is shaping the universe to prepare it for the Trinity War.Instead, the universe needs to shape itself organically, guided by the writers rather than a larger idea.On that topic, maybe ease up on the crossovers.My wallet cried when i saw the list for Death of the Family.

      I normally hate getting into arguments like this because I know that neither one of us is going to change the other’s minds.

  23. flakbait flakbait says:

    Some time back there was a variant cover I actually really liked and wanted, because it was a cool cover by an artist I like. When I spotted it in the store, they were absolutely gouging on the price, like triple-digit gouging, so I passed on it.

    Flash forward to a couple months ago, I had a chance to meet the artist, so I thought I’d look up that cover, maybe get it for him to sign. Cackling entirely too loudly, I ordered it off eBay for less than the original cover price and got it in time for the con.

  24. Jeff Reid Jeff Reid (@JeffRReid) says:

    I preordered the Ohio variant cover for the upcoming Justice League #1 book. It was done mostly ironically (“Look at me an my Ohio flag cover, honey!” I’ll say to my wife) but now I fear I’m part of the problem.

    • Josh Flanagan Josh Flanagan (@jaflanagan) says:

      You’re also part of the solution. Ask your LCS how much of his income comes from variants. I bet it’s significant.

    • i finally “got it” when i saw the variant wall at this LCS….they had so many of them, moving for good money, while they had 6 months worth of issues falling off the shelves. They were literally the junk that eventually got sold in a the dollar bin. It was kind of sad sight. You sell one of those variant books for $100 and thats fast cash back into your pockets. makes sense even ifs its long term foolish

    • IthoSapien IthoSapien says:

      Kind of off topic, but at my LCS they had a ton of “Death of the Family” tie in issues (most of them variants) that they were holding for me but I Never expressed interest in. Even after telling them that, the clerk still asked what tie-ins I did want (only Batman: Snyder & Capullo). And it’s 3 issues into DotF too.

    • MikePositive MikePositive says:

      I totally preordered the California variant cover. I don’t buy variants for ridiculous prices at the store, but if I can get a preorder and it’s a goofy but fun gimmick? I’m down.

  25. Regarding variants: While I understand that it is definitely something that other readers are into and I don’t begrudge them for it, in fact, I’m all for people being into niche markets of a niche market. Personally, it reminds me a bit of when I was a kid and had the collector mentality. I stopped collecting comics when I was about 12 or 13 and didn’t start up again until about ten years later. The reason was because it got to be too expensive and my young mind couldn’t handle the idea of not having every single cover in my collection. I’d spend my entire comic budget on trying to get the each cover of a few issues, which seems silly to me now, but I was very serious about it then. Now if I see a cover that I like by an artist that I like, I’ll plop down an extra buck or two for it, but it is much more liberating to not feel like i need everything.

    Regarding double shipping: I think that it is awesome, but exceedingly rare, when a book can double ship and stay great (Uncanny X-Force is the best example I can think of right now). With most books that double ship there is a drop off in quality at some point. The most depressing thing about double shipping for me, however, is financial. The first time I had to drop a book that I liked because I couldn’t afford to buy so many titles twice a month was really a downer.

    And regarding the New 52: Would anyone else be interested in hearing a follow-up with the iFanboys on what they are still reading, what they think of the experiment overall, etc? I know that when DC ended the old universe I was buying four DC books (Zatanna, Detective, Power Girl, and Batgirl), at this point, I am buying four DC books (All Star Western, Batman, Wonder Woman, and Frankenstein Agent of SHADE). I got a ton of the new 52 number ones and stayed on a bunch of series for 8-12 issues, but just fell off them as time went on. I assume that some attrition was expected, but I wonder how many people are buying less DC or more DC now than they were before.

    • WheelHands WheelHands says:

      I’ll chime in.

      I’m a lifelong DC fan. I’ve always felt more comfortable there than the Marvel U. Right now I am reading the lowest amount of DC books, and the highest amount of Marvel books in my 20 years of comics. Some of that might be a personal need for a change, but a lot of it comes from my overall opinion that the relaunch was ultimately a creative failure, and most of the books I started with lost their steam. I’m not taking a stand by dropping them, but I did make a vow to not read anything that isn’t pushing the right buttons a few years ago, and unfortunately most of the N52 hasn’t been delivering for me.

      Even Batman, which has been stellar, carries with it a feeling of “been-there-done-that” for me. Like I said, maybe it’s me. Maybe the shift was too radical for me. Maybe finally delivering on the promise that the event would “change the universe forever” turned out to be a bad thing. Or maybe DC Editorial has their heads up their asses. Whatever the reason, DC just hasn’t lit my fire in months. I wish it would.

    • Drumanespic Drumanespic says:

      I’d certainly be interested in a detailed comparison of what we bought into at the outset of the New52, with what we’re reading today. What did we drop, when & why?

  26. Firevine Firevine says:

    Recalling the 90′s, I still harbored a bit of the variant cover backlash. Then Valiant stormed in this year. They got me. Those dirty, dirty bastards got me.

    Otherwise, I only care about a variant if it’s particularly nice. Dear Marvel, that does not mean “Just stick Deadpool on it” When I cracked open our shipment and saw the cover Ron posted, I died a little inside

    I agree with pretty much everything here. Really can’t argue, and I kind of hate that, because I wish these points weren’t true.

  27. MrX says:

    Excelent article, I agree in each and every part of this. It speaks from a real fan that suffers from the same as we do.

  28. Kickstarter presents a bit of conundrum. It’s not as easy as it used to be to find a publisher who wants to fund original creator owned projects. Kickstarter offers an alternative, yes it’s no better than pan handling but at least you can project manage your book.

    The problem with kickstarter is that when the project fails you’ve proven that there is no market for your book and the publishers were right to ignore you in the first place. The groveling aspects and the impending public embarrassment of having a failed project have kept me from attempting a kickstarter campaign. I’m hopeful that digital platforms can fill the gap between material not commercial enough to recoup a printing bill and material that needs charity.

  29. If I remember correctly, in the pre-bankruptcy years many Marvel titles would go biweekly during the Summer and return to a monthly schedule the rest of the year. This was when I was in Jr. High and High school, and it worked out well since I had lots of free time during the Summer and more cash from mowing lawns. If Marvel went back to this model, double shipping for just 3 months a year, it might be more manageable and sustainable. In this scenario I would actually look forward to the double shipping months each year.

  30. mgriffith mgriffith says:

    Agreed on almost all parts, especially the points about the New 52.

    I had so much excitement and enjoyment for a good number of titles in the first 6 months or so of the relaunch. Now … ? ZZzzzz.

    Sure, there were some misses along with hits in the new 52. But now there seem to be so many more misses than hits.

    I am dropping DC titles every month (which allows me to try titles from BOOM, Dynamite, Marvel, and other publishers.)

  31. NawidA NawidA says:

    Isn’t #2 incredibly hypocritical? You just wrote a list of what you believed to be the worst things in comics in 2012. Why is what other people said wrong and not what you just said?

    • I don’t think you understood what he meant by negativity. Having an opinion for or against certain things wasn’t at all what he was pointing out. He was saying negativity that was being handled in immature ways, like fights over twitter and insults. Surely you believe that isn’t a way to deal with things. On the pick of the week podcasts I almost never agree with Ron, but his criticisms or likes are always fair and well stated.

  32. I found myself nodding at every point you made Ron. I’m a big DC fan, but you make some strong points. I hope there’s real change.

  33. Good list Ron.

    Although I think that the negativity on Twitter should be #1. From ‘He Who Should Not Be Named’ to other creators (a lot at Marvel to be honest) there was just a wave of terrible comments made on that site. I’m not for censorship or anything like that but companies should really ban that site from creators. Granted, a good amount of creators are pretty nice and I could name a ton off the top of my hat. However, I think ‘He Who Should Not Be Name’ has ruined it for the last of them.

  34. stasisbal stasisbal says:

    I agree with pretty much everything Ron has to say in both his Best and Worst articles. It’s interesting how many more comments the Worst article spawns. But I don’t have much to say on the Best list other than “I agree” so it makes sense. This list is a bit more interesting and, while it’s about negative things, the tone isn’t negative.

    #5) I like seeing Kickstarter on both lists. There are both positive and negative projects on Kickstarter. People need to judge each project on its own merits. Kickstarter isn’t necessarily good but it is a fantastic tool for creators to get exposure and a chance and for fans to support work they want to see.

    I must admit, I haven’t looked into many comics projects on Kickstarter. I guess I’m satisfied with the quantity and variety (thanks to Image and a handful of remaining Vertigo titles) I get from traditional publishing. I have pledged for some video game projects and for that Kickstarter has been a godsend. Video game publishing has completely blown up and several mid tier and low tier projects as well as entire genres cannot get funded through traditional means. Kickstarter has been one way to circumvent that. Perhaps it is doing the same for comics, but on a smaller scale.

    #3) The amount of DC comics I read continues to decrease. I just hope the excitement for and quality of Marvel NOW titles has more staying power.

    #2) There are some areas of the comics related Internet space and some topics that I completely avoid. I see so much artificial or at least overblown controversy. I have other areas of interest to get worked up over. Comics are for fun. I wish everyone the best but I’ll be over here, following comics for fun.

  35. IthoSapien IthoSapien says:

    I think the list is good and sound, although I don’t know that someone can be a narcissist and misanthrope at the same time. The fan negativity is a growing (or unresolved) problem. In terms of what’s happened at DC and what will probably happen to Marvel is that they’ve become too corporate, by which I mean the people at the board are sitting in their leather seats and cooking up random schemes to make money (probably a cliched exaggeration but I think many can see where I’m coming from). Just stop repeating yourself , let artists be artists, push for innovation (Image is), and stop being greedy. People can smell desperation and those who desire more money seldom continue indefinitely.

  36. drumguyrobc says:

    I find it odd that people harp on DC so much when Marvel is not doing anything any better. I love each of the big two equally, but Marvel is doing the same things that people are whining about DC doing. Unnecessary plot twists, money-grabbing crossovers and events, and an overwhelming amount of noncreative books (how many X-Men books do we need?).

    Following up your negative rant on DC, you proceed to list the negativity of the community as one of the worst things in comics. Way to contribute to your own gripe, Ron.

  37. Arathi411 Arathi411 says:

    Yea I don’t really get this either.

    First I agree that Image had a great year. Saga, Manhattan Projects, Prophet are all new books I enjoy along with books like walking dead and chew that remain great reads.

    However DC still puts out many good books, is Batman at the top of the stack, sure it probably is. But honestly DC has done pretty well at making other bat books worth reading. I came back to detective for John Layman and back to Dark Knight for Greg Horrowitz and I have not regretting trying either of these books, Batman incorporated is good as well, these books all read differently that Batman, and they should.

    I really just constantly see this downer attitude like DC releases like 3 good books, Animal Man, Swamp Thing, quite a few of the Bat books, wonder woman, aquaman, flash, earth 2, I find world’s finest and sword and sorcery to be fun reads.

    They are finally going to fix Green arrow. DC is taking risks with new books and trying to find things that work.

    I’m just not understanding what books people think are dropping the ball and not delivering what they set out to do, although I will agree with the superboy, teen titans someone brought up about being better to start, I did drop those.

    Marvel Now has many good books and they are exciting right now. But will people still be as excited at issue 15, I doubt it, then I can go as predicted. Will the whole line be better, with everything as good as hawkeye and daredevil, frankly I doubt it.

    Going to keep looking forward to the books from DC, Marvel, Image and Darkhorse that I read and hope that 2013 is even better than 2012.

  38. Djinn says:

    On the topic about variants, I agree they are really expensive at times but I look at it as a collectors item. I really appreciate good art wither its a comic cover & interior or that painting in the gallery etc.
    If I had the money to spend I would buy some of those really great looking variants, just the worthy ones.

  39. BCDX97 BCDX97 says:

    How come the Best Things in comics list gets 11 comments, while the Worst gets 63 (64 now)?

    The Internet’s fascination with negativity will never end. :(

    • Drumanespic Drumanespic says:

      It’s human nature. Good news isn’t news.

      What’s the percentage of the best pop songs, films, novels, plays, our entire media in fact, that focus on being happy & content?

      Maybe it’s evolution at work? To drive us to address the things that require improvement? Or perhaps, that’s a ridiculously positive take on the matter.

  40. Bluestreak says:

    I agree that DC as lost its way. But I don’t think DC has had a strong direction for nearly a decade. Lets not forget that the reason DC had to reboot everything was becasue the bottom had fallen out of its publishing.
    While it is great that many people here enjoy a lot of DC’s output I think it is clear DC editorial is all over the place.

    While Marvel has flops, DC’s flops are rudderless as shown by the numerous attempts to reboot within 15 months: Green Arrow, Superman, Hawkman, Grifter, Voodoo, Static Shock, Hawk and Dove, Firestorm, Mister terrific, Legion Lost, JLI, Deathstroke, Stormwatch, Finch on Dark Knight and that’s not even including all the titles that were simply canceled. Can anyone explain what the ‘hook’ in most of those books were. Compare that with most of Marvel Now where there is a clear premise to most of the books

    Other titles like Superboy, teen Titans, Red Hood, Red Lantern, All Star Western, Ravagers, Legion etc; are middling at best. Neither well reviewed or with strong sales.

    Rucka’s Punisher was a flop but it was a good quality comic. Waid’s Dartedevil may not set sales on fire but it is well reviewed. The most DC book among Marvel at the moment is the new Thunderbolts or maybe one of the lesser X-Men titles.

    DC doesn’t seem to have the depth of talent. Everything seems to fall on Snyder and Lemire.

    For those of you that love DC at the moment, great but I can;t see it and I gave everything a shot.

  41. The only thing more boring than most of the new 52 these days is Marvel Now!, a double-shipping, $3.99 priced exercise in blatant market manipulation. The fact that Marvel has switched to the very worst quality paper they can find has made their titles unreadable to me in monthlies. I guess I’ll see what all the hype is about in 6 months or so.

    DC has a few books worth reading: Bats, WW, Dial H, Earth 2, World’s Finest., Batman Beyond, Batman, Inc.

  42. Milky Milky says:

    See I’m annoyed now. everyone keeps saying that DC has alot of good books, Everyone one of you has said this has named about 6 books and most of them are the same bloody 6. DC have a stupid number of comics released every month almost all of them are the same old uninspired crap. 7 out of over 50 is rubbish….Look at Image in comparison. almost all of there stuff is relevant, new and fresh. As far as I see it with out Snyder, Geoff Johns and Lemire. DC would be pretty fucked.

    • daningotham daningotham says:

      Here is the list of DC Comics I am currently getting. I really enjoy them all.

      Justice League(Awesome, even the Shazam backup story every month is great)
      Batman(Awesome)
      Aquaman(I just picked this up for the Justice League crossover but I might keep getting it. Awesome writing and art)
      The Flash(Been good since the beginning, and the same creative team)
      Talon(New Batman spinoff and has been excellent)
      Batman Incorporated(Grant Morrison, been one of the best Bat books)
      Batman and Robin(Awesome)
      Batman: The Dark Knight(Has gotten better since the first story arc with the new creative team).
      Detective Comics(Also gotten better since the first story arc with the new creative team).
      Batgirl(Awesome title, Gail Simone is great).
      Batwoman(The art and storytelling of JH III has been outstanding!)
      Catwoman(This title I admit has gotten worse with the new creative team, but I still enjoy it)
      Birds of Prey(Another quietly good title every month).
      Batwing(One of the most underrated titles out there, very good).
      Nightwing(Kyle Higgins is one of the best writer out there.)
      Red Hood and the Outlaws(This book always makes me laugh every month, and the art has been very good.)
      Phantom Stranger(I was skeptical about this as Didio is the writer. But actually pretty good.)
      Justice League Dark(Has gotten better since the first story arc with the new creative team.)
      I, Vampire(Another VERY underrated book. Great writing and art every month.)
      Suicide Squad(Love this book. It keeps me on the edge of my seat every month. It’s a wild ride!)
      Teen Titans(This book has gotten some bad reviews but I still enjoy it. Guess I have low standards. ;-) )
      Batman Beyond Unlimited(Another very underrated book. Fun stories and great artwork)
      Batman: Arkham Unhinged(Love this book, great short stories and art based on the Batman Arkham Asylum/City video games)
      Legend of the Dark Knight(Another Batman short story book. Really fascinating arwork in this one. Plus I love Batman short stories)

      The titles where I said it has improved since the first story arc doesn’t mean the first story arc was bad in my mind either. Just that it has gotten even better.

    • Milky Milky says:

      I’m glad you like so many DC books, I really wish it was the same for me But it’s not I love Batman i mean c’mon who doesn’t but I get my fill from Batman and Bat Inc, I also like nightwing don’t get me wrong I think KH is doing some really good work. His best even.
      I’ve been reading comics since i was like 7 and i’m 26 now and the majority of what i’ve read from dc the past year i’ve seen before.

      I’ve read some amazing Superhero comics like Danger Club, Invincible and Hickmans Incredible run on FF, Daredevil and Hawkman, Not to forget Batman and the first 6 issues of animal man,

      When i read things like Justice league, i go ‘meh’ (especially when im enjoying the sub story more than the main arc. It pisses me off so much because the writting from the guy who wrote Blackest Night/Brightest day and Redefined GL and Flash.

      I can’t pay more for shitter work. I’ll pass. I don’t think DC really has gotten much worse. Other publishers have gotten much better. (Image)

      Marvel on the other hand bring out quality but try to rape you in the process.

      Each month i seem to be steering towards Image more and more.

      Man I used to be such a DC fanboy. Wish i still had faith.

  43. daningotham daningotham says:

    I would have to disagree on the New 52. Yeah, all the hoopla and news stories about the ‘New 52′ have died down because it debuted over a year and a half ago. But when all the ‘excitement’ dies down then readers drop titles? Now those same readers I’m guessing are buying into all the big ‘Marvel NOW!’ excitement. But what’s going to happen when that dies down a year and a half from now? Just drop everything except for All New X-Men and Avengers? DC is still the majority of my pull list and I’m getting more DC titles now than I did before the new 52. For example 2 titles that have dramatically improved since the first story arc in the new 52 are Detective Comics and Justice League Dark. They had creative changes and it was for the better. I’m sure Green Arrow will in improve in February with a new creative team. There was a Gail Simone scare on Batgirl but she is back now so only 2 issues will be without her. Kyle HIggins was only off a couple of issues of Nightwing too I believe. The only Marvel titles I currently get are Hawkeye, Daredevil and Morbius. And that is because they are $2.99 monthly titles. No WAY I can afford $3.99 double shipping. If I do like a Marvel title that is $3.99 double shipping I get it in trade format. And that’s because I know a website that offers trades for 40% off. That’s how I’m reading Wolverine and the X-men for example. I can get those trades for $8.49 a piece(4 issues) and no sales tax where if I had bought those issues at face value it would cost me $15.96 plus sales tax. Give me a break. Those prices are ridiculous, even if the product is good. Batman, Detective Comics and Justice League I can justify $3.99 as they are bigger issues.

    • Milky Milky says:

      The main problem with DC is they don’t have enough writers that can continue to bring good stories!

      Marvel are overcharging bastards, wonder if it has any input from Disney?

      I didn’t know they were doing x2 issues a month and i skipped my collection last month so had x4 3.99 issues on Avengers and Xmen. i shit the bed when my local comic book store asked for 80 english pounds in comic books over 20 pounds of that from 2 comics. Instantly dropped both as i can’t afford to spend 12 pounds on two comics. when i could be reading 5 others that are just as good.

    • daningotham daningotham says:

      I totally agree with you. For every one Marvel title I would have to drop at least 2 DC titles. I would rather have more variety. Plus the DC titles I get have been great.

    • WheelHands WheelHands says:

      I’m not saying that this is what you were goin’ for, but it’s almost an insult to imply that those of us who’ve been disappointed by the New 52 have somehow been bamboozled by the “excitement” of it all.

      There are many of us who’ve been reading comics for 20, 30, or 40 years. We’ve been on this ride many times before. We might sign up and “buy in”, but we know what we’re getting into. Was it exciting? Sure it was. Ya know what else was exciting? The quality of work being produced at the time. Quality which has slipped considerably since the relaunch. Which brings us to Marvel NOW. The quality of work on some of these title is outstanding. Just as outstanding (if not moreso) than the work being done when the DC relaunch came out of the gate. Now, is it possible that the quality could decline in a year’s time? Of course. But that’s kind of a reductive statement, since that could be said about any change of status quo in comics (which are almost annual at this point). I’ll go one step further and say that Marvel’s wave could last longer this time around. They’ve learned from DC’s mistakes, and if they can avoid playing musical chairs with their creative, and have the patience to let a writer’s long-term outline play out, this particular brand of excitement could last a good long while.

      As far as the cost/shipping issue goes, not everyone shares that problem. At the risk of sounding harsh, your financial situation is not my financial situation, just as mine is not the next guy’s. I’m far from wealthy. I’m on a tight comics budget. But when a $3.99 book comes out from that gets my attention, I drop a $2.99 (or another $3.99 book, if available) that isn’t doing it for me anymore. I’ll spend the extra buck for quality storytelling. If a $3.99 book is double-shipping from Marvel, I’ll drop two $2.99 books to help with the difference. It’s not an even split, but it helps. My longboxes are a mess, but I got over that compulsion a long time ago. If you take a long, hard look at your pull list, there will always be something at the bottom of it. I’m glad you’re enjoying the work DC is putting out right now, but you can’t possibly love it all equally. I might’ve “bought in”, but I know when to cash out.

      This is all a matter of opinion of course. And I hope this reads as friendly discourse (because that’s my intention), but it’s dismissive to suggest that those of us crossing the street are simply falling for a gimmick. We know how this works. I’m a lifelong DC diehard, but after 20 years of reading comics I’ve learned to follow quality. It’s much more rewarding (and cheaper) than loyalty. I’d wager that a lot of people complaining about DC’s work while simultaneously singing Marvel’s praises are simply fans of good storytelling and solid editorial, not marketing campaigns (formidable as they can be). You can plaster your relaunch on every wall, page, and TV you can afford. At the end of the day, DC should’ve put their energy into making good comics.

    • Milky Milky says:

      Wheel Well Said minus the stuff about peoples financial situation, For 8 bucks a month you can buy a quality tp (chew volume 1, saga vol 1, Tmnt Vol 1, Ect the list goes on….. my point is cost and worth. Marvel are making people who love and idiolise comics into a money making scheme and it hurts man. Especially when people already pay a substantial amount in the first place. I was so excited to read x men with all the praise it’s getting but its not worth the amount there charging i’d rather read more comics that are just as good.

      Thankyou image comics for being fucking awesome and fair and not making me feel like a chump for loving comics.

      Marvel and DC lost the love they need it back. in the words of Paul Rudd on I Love You, Man- ‘Big Time’

    • WheelHands WheelHands says:

      @Milky: That’s fair. But I prefer reading my comics as they come out, and the budget I’ve set for myself allows me to do so. Some may feel I’m throwing money away, but I don’t see it that way. I realize I’m paying a more to read monthly floppies, that’s a part of the magic for me. It’s how I like to read comics. I read plenty in trade (older stuff, stuff I missed the boat on, indy/more finite stories etc.), and sometimes I wait for trade. But on the whole I prefer to pay for comics they way they were originally intended to be read. There is a line, and when I get there I’ll know it, but it hasn’t happened for me yet. I keep my list pretty lean. The result of which is digesting nothing but great material month in and month out.

      On a very basic level, comics have always been a “money making scheme”, just like everything else. The difference lies in knowing what you’re willing to pay them for and in what way. I consider it wonderful that we have so many options. This is the method I choose. It works for me.

  44. daningotham daningotham says:

    I totally see your point Wheelhands. And I guess I came off as kind of harsh. But I just find it strange that people say the entire line of DC comics is worse now than it was when the #1 issues came out. Really? The entire line? Justice League is worse now than it was in issue #1 when the whole story was basically an intro to the characters? This crossover with Aquaman is great! But that’s just my opinion. At least now we are getting some depth into the stories since we are past all the ‘Big #1 intro issues’ and hoopla. I actually prefer it much more now. That’s why it just seemed that the majority who were complaining were falling for the #1 issue gimmick. I give the comic book companies credit though. The big #1 on an issue always sells titles for a while. Just like Marvel is now with Marvel Now! But it will eventually drop off. There will be creative team shakups in Marvel too, no team can last forever. Especially with double shipping.