Making My Comic Book Re-Entry

A little while ago I returned to my comic book store after not being able to go for three weeks.  It was a trippy moment, because, to be honest, I kind of got used to not being up to date — it must be the freedom that people who only read trades feel? But it was time: I had caught up on most of my books, so I was in that odd position of needing new comics to read. Now, although I was excited, I was mostly scared of what was going to be a massive pile of books waiting for me in my pull box. And indeed, I had what must have been 6″ stack of comics, all wondering if they would ever get a home. But I was smart — I didn’t just grab them all. I used the opportunity to honestly evaluate books that I had absolutely no interest in reading. I admit it, sometimes I get books because I hear they might be cool, or they are mentioned on the show, and sometimes I keep getting the books because they look like they might get good, or have characters and creators that I had not heard of who are supposed to be cool or whatever. Something’s hot and I write for iFanboy, I usually feel it is my responsibility to give new books a try.But not this day.

This was the day I was going to take a real hard look at what I had been pulling and be honest with myself. Like, yes, I love Ed McGuinness on Hulk. But I don’t like the story and I was always wondering what the hell was going on when I picked up another issue. I dropped a bunch of books — at least 10 — and it is worth noting that, for the most part, I can’t even remember what they were. Of course, that might be age, but I think it is because the books were basically crap and I didn’t need them in my life. Goody for me.

I dropped a bunch of books and still had a ton to read, so I had the opportunity to be honest with myself again: which books was I actually looking forward to? Which ones, everything being equal, would I gravitate towards? Which ones do I actually look forward to and which ones do I read because I suffer from Comic-Completionitis? I know that sometimes people wait to read the books they are most looking forward to last, but I had so many to read that I just wanted to do the opposite and jumped right in.

Here’s what I found out about myself:

1) I like team books and I like Bendis team books a lot.

I have to say, I have been really enjoying what’s been going on in The New Avengers and Dark Avengers. Now, I can admit it. I was first in line to poo-poo Dark Avengers and I am so stoked I was wrong.  We have solid art, we have great characters and we have a solid plot and great dialogue. When there’s a new issue of an Avengers book out, I tend to read it first, probably because the story is so compelling that I remember it and since I remember it, I want to see what happens next, even a month or so later. Now, one thing I will say is that I don’t really understand the point of The Mighty Avengers, except, I guess, to mourn The Wasp and, uhm, I guess to get a new team together? Something like that? I don’t really care, to be honest. I think the book should just go away — it’s just not as interesting to me as the other books. Okay, Hank’s the new leader of the team. So what? We already have two Avengers teams!

2) I still like Superman.

While I have been enjoying the Superman stories (more so in Action, truth be told), I was a bit nervous about this whole New Krypton thing. The jury’s still out, that’s for sure — but now I can easily see myself dropping everything but New Krypton! I must tell you that I have been really disappointed in the art that I have been seeing in Superman for the past couple of months, probably because it reminds me of the art in Amazons Attack! which I hated so much that I was actually thinking about it when I was taking a shower in the gym today. (Seriously.) It’s like the art is being done with felt tip markers or something… it just doesn’t rock me, Amadeus!  Action has a new artist and I quite it, so we’ll see. I remember buying Action when it was weekly and… well, we’ll see.

3) I can’t get enough of Green Lantern and the Corps.

Again, the writing is key, here. When I pick up an issue, I am like, “Oh, RIGHT — this story is awesome, yes! I can’t wait to read this!” Though it is taking a bit of time to unfold, I like the big, epic feel to all of this and am very much enjoying the setup.

4) I miss Bruce Wayne.

One thing all of the Final Crisis and Battle For the Cowl stories have reminded me… I just miss Bruce. Funny how that is, you know? So many writers have written Bruce Wayne, but, somehow, he remains consistent. Batman is one of my favorite heroes of all time, but that’s because Bruce Wayne is wearing the uniform, you know? All of this stuff, this cowl stuff, all of it, I just feel like skipping, because I just don’t… care. Wake me up when Bruce is back, you know? (Though I did enjoy the first issue Battle For the Cowl and will probably get it because I want to support Tony Daniel.) That reminds me: I have been enjoying Superman/Batman a lot, I must say. I think that the title is underrated; they’ve been having a lot of fun with those characters. It might be the timing, I kind of feel like the schedule’s been all over the place, but the past two arcs have been really entertaining, probably because they bring celebrate the relationship between Clark and Bruce, Supes and Bats. The more DC moves away from these characters, their relationship, the more I want it back. I guess it’s a good thing they sell Superman/Batman, then!

5) I do drop books.

Booster Gold, Green Arrow & Black Canary, X-Men: Noir, Titans, and others. Some I dropped because the quality dropped (Green Arrow & Black Canary never recovered from Chiang’s departure, I think). Of course, I started more titles than I dropped, so there is obviously work to do…

***

Of course, I had several more books in my list that enjoyed (Iron Fist, Battlefields, and Ex Machina Special #4, which I thought was absolutely brilliant even though it made me feel guilty about keeping my comics in bags and boards) but then, I began to realize that I was missing quite a few titles that my store had not pulled, which turned into a big drama — I went to four comic book stores looking for the first issue of the current Scalped arc and failed to find it but I did find Ultimate Wolverine vs. Hulk #2 (one of four left in LA, I guess — and yes, I had already bought it years ago but I have no idea which box the original issues are in, and, you know, time is money), so all that driving was not a total waste. And, yes, I gotta be honest, I was so confused and disinterested in Secret Warriors that I actually skimmed the last part of the book and almost threw it in the freaking trash. And don’t get me started on Echo — apparently I’ve missed five or six issues! I think I am just gonna have go to trades on that out of default. And then I have my last admission — though I want to like it, I mean, I love the art and it’s totally something I would normally love — I just haven’t been able to get through Fabien Nury and John Cassaday’s I Am Legion. What is wrong with me? Issues 1 and 2 are the only comics on my nightstand.  The only ones and I still haven’t finished them.

When I think about the whole experience, I realize that, most of all, I value the writing. I mean, it’s neck to neck with art, but just judging from my ordeal here, it was the stories and characters that had me most jazzed about a title — I was willing to overlook less than top notch art if the story and characters were on it. Art can be rushed, there can be a fill-in artist, but usually the stories remain intact. Whenever I came to a book that I was really excited about, it was always the story that got me excited, rather than the art.

Tomorrow I go to the comic store for the first time in two weeks and I find myself in the same position. There are books that I know I have missed and am looking forward to (Incognito), but will I start any new titles (like, you know I am all over The Flash: Rebirth but will I pick something else up? Will I drop The Mighty Avengers? Will I go back and pick up books that I dropped before (I dropped The Wizard of Oz because I know I am going to get the trade anyway, but I love the art so much…)? You’ll know soon…

How about you? Have you taken a break and then come back only to find that you didn’t really want to buy all the books you had in your pull list? Did you take the opportunity to do some spring cleaning of your books recently? Is there a reason why I should be reading The Mighty Avengers?

 


Mike Romo is an actor in Los Angeles who was just told that he couldn’t play a Star Trek fanboy because he was (and this is a direct quote), “kind of too good looking… and too old.” He is still processing that comment. If you want, Face. If you can, tweet. If you want, mike@ifanboy.com.

 

Comments

  1. Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    You thought about Amazons Attack in the shower of a gym?  

  2. I just did the same thing.  I dropped mighty avengers and am now suffering from Spider-man fatigue.  So I dropped it too.  I know it’s been good and all and ifanboy loves it but it just started slipping to the end of the pile and I wouldn’t read it for 2-3 weeks and all of a sudden I had 3 books to read.  It was just too much.

  3. Nice self-assessment, Mike. Sometimes it takes a little time away to really step back and see the larger picture of what you’re really enjoying. And I hate to say it but sometimes sites like iFanboy do contribute to that feeling (at least for me) because i get so wrapped up in what everyone’s talking about that I tend to lose sight of what *I* really enjoy when I go to my shop.

    For the record, I’m with you on the Avengers books. I’m really enjoying New and Dark, but Mighty feels like it’s just trying to give old school fans a "classic" line-up. Not really impressed with the story itself, though. Dropped.

  4. Random question but was Ex Machina Special #4 printed on recycled paper?

  5. I actually kind of enjoyed Mighty Avengers, but I’m dropping it.  I was hoping it would be largely out-of-continuity stories, where they throw together random ex-Avengers, like Avengers Forever. And as much as I hate disliking something because of a wrong expectation, it just isn’t what I’m interested in right now. 

    …Even though it has U.S. Agent in it.

  6. Yea I’m not really clear on the point of Mighty Avengers.  It made sense during Civil War and it would make sense if it was just Mighty/Dark or if the two good teams combined but what’s the point of three Avengers teams running around?

  7. I’m so close to dropping Green Arrow & Black Canary. I like the characters and I so want to like the book, but Christ on a stick, it’s just become super sucky lately. Maybe I’ll keep getting it until the current arc finishes.

    Famous last words! 

     

  8. booster gold is out. i suffered through the last arc, no more. justice league was on the chopping block but the last issue got it a stay, mainly due to my love of all things zatanna. this despite the fact that the next few issues don’t appear to be even mildly interesting. justice society hasn’t been fantastic lately, we’ll see how today’s issue is. i may stick with it just to reward them for finally giving a cover artist besides alex ross work, the next few issues are mercifully free of his covers.

  9. I think Mighty Avengers is the place where they’re keeping all the other Avengers.  If it didn’t exist, and Pym (for example) wasn’t on one of the newer teams, people would probably be scratching their heads as to why he’s on the sidelines, particularly with how Secret Invasion ended.

  10. Well, If you think about it,the new Slott penned adventures is still the same as the Bendis issues in terms of premise. Its still about Classic Avengers taking on Classic Avenger Villians. So really, its for people who aren’t fans of the New Avengers, which honestly, other than the Hood, haven’t faced off with any villian in like 30 some issues. I personally am enjoying both Mighty and New, but thats just me.

     

    I really really want to like Green Arrow/Black Canary, but it eventually it was just not enough to justify me buying it anymore. X-men Legacy is also on the block, which is sad because the first issue I ever bought was Carey’s first on the title, and I loved his run back when it was just X-men

  11. I feel like I do this about once a year.  I go to College and I tend to wait until my return home to pick up my books, sometimes it can be months.  As I walk around my store finding eveything I;ve missed sometimes I will pick up a book, think about it and say "I really don’t care that much" and put it back.  I mean when you are picking up 30-40 issues sometimes a bunch of those are just not worth it.

     

    I always feel a lot better after trimming some of the fat, but of course it leads to me finding more books to read as the months go on.

  12. isn’t buying 3 weeks worth of comics at once it a tough pill to sallow? Did you get to the counter and think to yourself “why am I spending $150 on this stuff?”

    And the I Am Legion issue. You are totally right, I got though issue one and read the first two pages of issue two and put it down to return to it at a later point. I think I may wait until the series is finished and read them all at once. It just may make sense like that

  13. This latest issue of Mighty Avengers was the funniest thing I read last week.  I laughed out loud a bunch of times reading that, then found myself explaining various bits of backstory to my non-comics-reading boyfriend so he could share in the utter delight of some of the jokes.

    So that’s a reason to give that one a chance.  Dan Slott is funny.

    Plus it’s implied that Herc and Amadeus Cho will continue to be involved, and I’d read anything featuring Amadeus Cho.

  14. not trying to start a fight here so it’s best to just let me leave my smartass comment and move along, but.. did i miss the memo on when it became a bad thing to tell old school Avengers tales? I can’t help but feel like Slott’s not getting a fair chance. It’s as if only BMB can do ‘good’ Avengers tales anymore. Slott wrote several decent arcs in Avengers Initiative and wrote a pretty good entry arc on Mighty which has ended with a deep footing in the Dark Reign: ala Loki.

    There’s further evidence here of books getting bad reps as creative teams change: GABC, Booster and Rulk. Not that any of those books are good, because they aren’t. But I think there’s a misconception to where the Mighty book’s headed, as though it’s going nowhere. The intervention of Loki would seem to indicate otherwise.

    On the other hand, Dark Avengers, which I thought was great initially, is wasting too much of my time on LaFey. Either way I’ve dropped both. It’s really more of a monetary issue on my part, but until there’s a definitive reason to read either consider them dropped. And BTW, I love New Avengers.  

  15. Yeah, as much as I enjoy Dan Slott’s writing, Mighty Avengers is definitely questionable. I’m going to keep an eye on it, though. I’m also not sure how long I’m going to stick with Thunderbolts, since it doesn’t feel particularly important anymore.

    Astonishing X-Men is fuckin’ dropped, though. 

     

  16. I was displeased with just about everything on my pull list this week. One sucky week, ughh.  I can’t even pick a Pick Of The Week cuz they all suck.

  17. @FACE- at this point, I think as many folks have chimed in in favor of the Might Avengers as have disparaged the series.

    But, without turning this into a Mighty Avengers thread, I will elaborate on my personal "why."

    I’ve read old school Avengers tales, and I’m not particularly looking for new ones.Particularly when I feel that the writing itself is a bit old school. The plot felt a bit awkward and mechanical — it seemed to exist only to set up a new status quo and it was really obvious about it. And then some of the dialogue was a bit cringeworthy. The climax of the plot involves Pym talking to himself out loud, saying "I’ll fix this! I’ll find a plan! I’ll figure out the magic words that — ‘Magic words!’ That’s it!" urrrgh. So clunky. Not for me.

    I don’t begrudge anyone for purchasing it. I do see that it exists to give that "classic Avengers" feel, so that Bendis can do something a little different and not feel like he has to cater to the fans that want a certain feel to their Avengers. I’m just personally not interested.

  18. I’ve been liking Mighty Avengers.  I like the characterizations and I think it’s fun.

    OTOH, I dropped Green Lantern because I realized I don’t care about the story.

    You know what they say about opinions.

  19. Honestly, I understand more why people don’t like Mighty Avengers now than I understand why people didn’t (or don’t) like Avengers Initiative. But that’s me. 

  20. I can’t get over the feeling that I would maybe actually enjoy Mighty Avengers if someone else was drawing it.

  21. @Diabhol   Well, I read about half the first trade of ‘Avengers Initiative,’ couldn’t keep the original characters straight or figure out why I was supposed to care about them, and thought the military metaphor was a bit on the nose.  Possibly I enjoy Mighty Avengers more because I am already familiar with the characters, but honestly, even with Slott writing both, they feel like different kinds of books to me.

  22. ohcaroline: The military thing might have felt on the nose ’cause it wasn’t a metaphor. 🙂 As for the rest of it, I dunno what to say. They very clearly are different kinds of books, but Initiative was offering something that, along with being funny, was new, different and interesting. Mighty Avengers, on the other hand, is offering funny and interesting, but there’s nothing new or different to be found in it.(All just my opinion, obviously.)

    I dunno, maybe I warm up to new characters more than other readers; I adored The Order and that book didn’t last ten issues.