Keep That Slump Coming

If there were any one misconception I’d correct about myself if I could, it’s that I’m some kind of irascible grouch. If I had any one regret, it would be creating that misconception in the first place.

I’m not actually a dyspeptic old crank. I tend to come across like one on the internet, but that’s generally because doing so makes me laugh, and because increasingly anyone online who uses complete sentences seems old. The only alternative is writing like a Prince album. “OMG o rly r u serius WTF is punctuation lol.” (Prince was a popular recording artist in the early 1980s whose song titles often read like today’s “text messages.”)

Continuing to write things like that is how I got a reputation as a dyspeptic old crank. In reality, though, I’m the kind of person who flies to Comic Con, loses his driver’s license, and opts to enjoy the weekend rather than looking for it. (“Either they’ll let me back on the plane or I have to retake my driving test in the next 48 hours, I guess.”) “Live and let live” is my default setting; I don’t look for trouble, and I only become legitimately red-faced and cranky when I’m minding my own business and people keep getting in the way of my good times for no reason.

Put another way: stay the hell off my cloud.

This is on my mind right now because a handful of people online have been vigorously trying to knock me off my cloud. Actually, I shouldn’t say “online” as if the entire internet is to blame; it’s really just On a number of occasions recently, I’ve been enjoying our civil, articulate exchange of ideas when someone has chimed in with some dreadful news: Marvel Comics are in the midst of a huge creative slump!

I know! All of them! It’s horrible!

As long as you don’t count The Marvels Project, of course, which was just justifiably the Pick of the Week on this site. Or the unqualified success of War of Kings and the ample handful of cosmic books associated with it, all of which have been going strong nonstop for a year. Or the late, lamented Captain Britain. Or Captain America, Reborn or otherwise. Or the gorgeous, ludicrous bloodbucket that was Destroyer, Kirkman’s (nearly?) last hurrah toiling for The Man. Or Bendis’ miscellaneous Avengers, which have been more or less killing it since the minute Dark Reign got underway. (The battle being waged in the media between Hawkeye and Norman Osborn is more exciting to me than any thrown punch or blast of unnamed pink “energy” I’ve seen in years. I can’t wait to see who fires the next shot.) Or the cheerfully demented X-Men Forever, which the collective internet seems to be praising ironically in public and earnestly, tightly hugging to their chests behind locked bedroom doors. Or Original Recipe X-Men, currently in the midst of the best crossover they’ve had since the Disco Dazzler was on the team. Or Hercules, which seems to have a more devoted following than Ralph Nader and Firefly put together. Or Old Man Logan, which like a ninja springs out of the shipping schedule at you when you least expect it. Or the last six months of X-Factor. Or the last year of Amazing Spider-Man. Or the Short Halloween one-shot. Or the Wonderful Wizard of Oz, which anyone who’s seen it is waiting to buy in as many formats as might be available, up to and including Viewmaster slides.

If you pretend half the line doesn’t exist, though, yeah. They’re really swimming in Ty-D-Bol. Ya sourpussed ingrates.

Which books does that list even leave out? I dare not mention Red Hulk, or your precious Deadpool. People will dismiss the entire publishing line with a single “meh,” and then these literary gems bring Gerard Butler and the Spartans out of the woodwork, shouting, “THIS… IS… QUALITY!” Is everyone working on their Contrarian merit badges this summer?

When misbegotten souls talk about this “slump,” I gather that they mean there is no book or event making a huge line-wide splash that has everyone talking. To this, I say, “Yes! Thank merciful Christ Almighty, that’s absolutely correct.” This weekend, I started going through a stack of about 40 Marvel comics I’d allowed to pile up over the course of the last month. Do you know what order I read them in? No order whatsoever. I didn’t have to consult a checklist. I didn’t have to avoid ten sites’ home pages while I was trying to catch up. I just sat down and had issue after random issue of simple, head down, straight ahead, pre-internet good times.

Is that all right? Is it okay with everyone if I just read some books and like them, without having to deal with all the baggage and inter-company member measuring? It drives me glass-chewing insane to finish a nice, satisfying stack and then hear about how the books I enjoyed were all less interesting than I thought they were (usually with no further analysis beyond the always thoughtful “meh”). Apparently I left my taste in San Diego as well. Let this be a lesson to writers everywhere: your reward for hard work is to get so consistently good that eventually people only look for your missteps. Welcome to the promised land.

As for me, I didn’t know how much I missed Event-free reading until I got it back. Oh, Civil War had tons of buzz. Big name creators, huge event, massive story… no slump there. All we did that summer was talk about Civil War.

Have you gone back and tried to reread Civil War in a sitting lately? I’ll take 2009, thanks. The Lockjaw book wasn’t flashy, but it had a heart and all the pets were in character.

This is what it’s come to. Year after tiresome year comparing one company’s Event to the other’s, and then when one of them just settles down and takes care of business it’s a “slump.” I am really never going to see the horse race end, am I?

How many writers do you think we’re talking about over there at Marvel, give or take? Thirty? Forty? It’s a remarkable coincidence that they’re all slumping separately at the exact same time just because of who signs their checks. Or am I supposed to believe they’re being collectively crushed under the brutal, rigid editorial dictate, “The bad guys are in charge; do whatever you want with that”? Or is it possible that we’ve just reached a point where every time a company puts out a great book it’s automatically counted against The Other Guy?

Listen: I’m genuinely glad you’re enjoying your majestic lantern rainbow. I’ve never heard an unkind word about it, and I like hearing about satisfied customers much more than I like hearing about Grant Morrison time bullet slap-fights. Vaya con Dios. I backed the wrong Event horse at DC this year and tried to get into Flash instead of Green Lantern, only to discover that doing a book about the Fastest Man Alive has not rubbed off on its creative team. Hopefully I will remember the character’s names by the time I see the next issue. The point is this: if the final issue of Blackest Night culminates in a podrace between Hal Jordan and Sebulba, and DC goes into freefall, Marvel fans don’t get a prize. You’re not actually on a team. I saw a brief Twitter conversation last night that put it another way:

@WonderAli: Mad Men > True Blood. Sorry, it needed to be said.
@annaluna: agreed, but thankfully we live in a world where we don’t have to choose.

If you’re not moved by Rick Remender’s Punisher or Jason Aaron’s Ghost Rider, I won’t change your mind. If you are not impressed by the fact that someone has made Cable entertaining for 17 months in a row, a feat on par with getting Bob Dole in shape to start as a power forward in the NBA, then maybe your heart just doesn’t soften. All I know is that 1) I’m having a good time, and 2) someone will come out in the comments below in fervent, passionate defense of negativity. Just something to think about. In the meantime, I hope this slump lasts all year.

Jim Mroczkowski is betting heavily on Sebulba. Posting a link to his Twitter feed every week has gained him something like three followers in a year.


  1. I agree that there are actually some great Marvel books coming out right now. It’s just hard to notice because of the incredible quality of the DC comics right now. Pretty much everything is being over-shadowed by Blackest Night.

  2. It’s like he read my mind…..GET OUT OF MY HEAD! Keep the marvel slump coming. 

  3. While I label myself a "DC Guy" and I’m loving where DC is right now, I am reading and enjoying plenty of Marvel books as well.  I really like Dark Reign and the idea of an overarching-theme-but-not-really-an-event.  I’ve been waiting for someone to do something like this for ages.  Imagine a summer of "final crisis" where we could have had tons of great individual stories of the underground heros fighting against the forces of Anti-Life. 

  4. Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    I was with you there for several paragraphs. Then I was disappointed to see the jabs at the DC books. Not because they’re titles I like (they are), but because it seems like a misrepresentation of your whole point. Trying to balance the scales? That’s fine I guess. Just seems to go against the spirit of the article.  

    Other than that, I agree with you. 

  5. God, I love a good rant. Keep ’em coming.

  6. I don’t think anybody is claiming that Marvel DON’T put out quality titles. People are complaining more about them culling them – either for gaining an undesirable number of sales or for not making enough profit to keep the creative team. Just think of the ongoing books lost in the last few years:

    Captain Britain & Mi13, Immortal Iron Fist, eXiles (Twice), She-Hulk, X-Men First Class, Runaways (Or so it appears), New Invaders, Next Wave, The Order, Alpha Flight, Omega Flight, New Warriors, Heroes for Hire, Blade, The Eternals, Ghost Rider, Excalibur (Twice)

    And that doesn’t even cover the number of limited which were put out with view to being given ongoing titles, such as Defenders or Alan Davis’ The ClanDestine.

    There’s a lot of books and a lot of fanbases bruised there. These are all books who have been cancelled due to falling sales during periods when there was a Big Brand-wide Event going on, which they were not part of at the time. When there were no events on they fared far better.

    I think it’s criminal that Marvel appear now to be switching to cancelling almost all of their second tier Marvel universe titles, in exchange for event tied limited series – which they have flooded out big style since Dark Reign began. With the financial climate being what is Marvel are forcing readers to have make choice – buy the ongoing B-List title (Which gets almost zero exposure so surely CAN’T be as important) or buy that Dark Reign limited (And if you don’t you’ll miss something big).

    The results over the last 6 months in particular shows that is EXACTLY what the majority of readers are doing, As a result the smaller books, the true diversity of the Marvel Universe, is dying off. There are very few people on this site who would say that Captain Britain & Mi13 or Immortal Iron Fist lacked quality. Far from it. They were great! But because the Secret Invasion and Dark reign checklists got so high this year those books lost readers.

  7. @Paul: I don’t think I jabbed. Certainly nothing that wasn’t in good fun. If anything, I’m griping because I want more Flash.

  8. DC’s been in a slump for 45 years!!!  Ever since Marvel started kicking their ass!!!

  9. Hmmm…I sensed some jabbs as well.  I realize it was in good fun, but could have done without it.

    Anyways, I’m right with you.  I don’t understand why people would think there is some slump going on.  "Blackest Night is overshadowing everything?"  It’s an event book!  Tons of press comes out for those things all the time, of course it will seem to be overshadowing everything.  PR wouldn’t be doing their job if it wasn’t all over the place.

    I enjoy books from all companies, so I find it baffling when people choose sides with anything; whether it be Marvel, DC, Image, etc.  Enjoy your comics, who cares what the poopypants kids online say.

  10. You know… while they’re certainly books of quality coming out from Marvel, the fact of the matter is I’ve been dropping Marvel books left and right over the past year. When I got back into comics, I glommed onto X-Men right away and swung around into Green Arrow because it had a #1 the next time I went to a shop. But for the longest time my pull list was made up twice to thrice as many Marvel books at DC. And this was true well into Infinite Crisis. But before this, the cracks were forming in my blind love of Marvel. House of M caused me to reevaluate what I was reading so that by the time Civil War came about, I had dropped a good deal of the X-books and wouldn’t come back to them until Messiah Complex. Secret Invasion, though, was the death knell for my Marvel interests. All the Avengers books, X-Men Legacy, and some other books that I honestly can’t recall went bye-bye literally in the same week. Just this week I dropped X-Force. I’ve even struggled with possibly dropping Captain America after the poor showing of Reborn. Essentially, I’m down to five "main" Marvel titles Iron Man, Thor, Uncanny, Hercules, Captain America. And at one time, I’ve contemplated dropping all of them but Iron Man. And Thor will most likely be dropped with JMS’s departure. I liked USM this week, but I grew bored of USM the first time around, so…. 

    What all that is meant to say is this: Certainly people will like Marvel books. Many will even like the new directions of the books. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with it. But to me, it feels like Marvel is spiraling down. In the past year, I’ve dropped more books than I ever had in one time frame. And where I haven’t felt like droping a book, Marvel has seen fit to drive me away from it. (The entire Ultimate Line, Captain Britain’s cancellation, The Amazing Spider-Man reboot, etc.) So to a reader who was a long time Marvel Zombie, and really only hung out at DC for Green Lantern, I find myself with more and more DC books each month. Heck, I’m buying Superman books. I loathe Superman! And yet I have 4 books with a diamond shield on them each month. I’ve made the joke before, but I’m perplexed by Marvel’s "Your Universe" tagline as it’s certainly nothing I ever asked for. However, it’s a great article Jim and certainly truthful.

  11. Dude, great article.  As a kind of classic Marvel Zombie, and after reading the above, I can’t deny that book for book Marvel is putting out more entertaining material these days.  That said, I still would contend that Marvel is going through a creative slump in comparison with DC (I should caveat that, obviously this is not a life-death contest, just a fun topic of discussion).  The difference for me is Marvel (with the notable exception of some of the work Aaron has done) does not seem to be pushing the creative boundaries with the medium as DC has throughout the last year.  Now, not all of DC’s work has been stellar to say the least, but part of the reason for this lack of success is their willingness to take risks and fail (say what you will for the incomprehensibility of Final Crisis—a work, by the way, whose incompressibility was part of a story about the death of “story”—as least Morrison was swinging for the fences; somehow the reveal that Jarvis, that irreplaceable icon, was a Skrull for a few months doesn’t quite compare.)  There is no Marvel equivalent for the creativity in the work Williams is doing on Detective, or Morrison did on All Star, or a bevy of creators are doing on Wednesday’s.  I think the situation may be comparable to the state of the companies in the mid-80s.  Marvel was putting out Byrne’s Fantastic Four, Claremont’s X-Men, Grunewald’s Squadron Supreme, and Simonson’s Thor—all brilliant, beautiful books; meanwhile, DC had a slew of unmemorable runs with memorable characters.  Oh, and DC put out Watchmen, Dark Knight, and Crisis, redefining the genre of super heroes.  So was Marvel in a creative slump?  Let me re-read Secret Wars and get back to you.     

  12. Also Jimski, a reason why people give you crap about Marvel here on iFanboy, is that the ifanboys themselves constantly crap on Marvel, and have for years.  Therefore, so do the posters here.

    Now the iFanboys will tell you they don’t, as they pop into other threads to tell you they don’t, but you can’t expect the persons who creates the podcast to hear the podcast the same way we the listeners do.  They can’t.

  13. @Bedhead- "There is no Marvel equivalent for the creativity in the work Williams is doing on Detective, or Morrison did on All Star"

    Astonishing X-Men, Ultimates 1-2.  Having re-read Astonishing X-Men recently, it’s better than ASSuperman, easy.  And might be the best Marvel book of the decade.  Other superiors to DC books would be Bendis’s Daredevil/Alias/Avengers/USpider-Man, Vaughan’s Runaways & Ultimate X-Men, JMS Amazing Spider-Man, Supreme Power, & Thor, Millar’s Marvel Knights Spider-Man, Old Man Logan, Ennis’s Punisher, Ellis’s Thunderbolts, etc. etc. etc.

  14. I really need to pick up some Bullsh*t seasons, at least on Netflix.

  15. @kickAss I’ve been listening to the podcast for a couple of years now and have never once got the vibe of them crapping on marvel comics.

  16. @TimmyWood- HAHAHAHA, Good one!  *Tear.

  17. I also forgot to say…. Cable is surprisingly good and that I will firmly stand next to Jimski. 😉

  18. @KickAss-If they did indeed legitimately crap on Marvel, then the people working over there would not really want to have anything to do with them, right?  So then why do they have creator interviews, steady Marvel content on the video shows, and 3 of the last 4 POTWs come from Marvel?  Take off your Marvel fanboy hat, man.  There is no hate or bias on this site.  Deal with it or find somewhere else to gripe.

  19. I enjoy the hell out of Old Man Logan, but complaining about Flash Rebirth while embracing OML seems a bit hypocritical.

    Personally, I want every book I read to be the best book I’ve ever read.  I want both companies (and all the other, smaller ones) to get better every single day.  I don’t care who writes them, draws them, or publishes them, I just want good books. 

    @KickAss – I seem to recall some DC fans saying the same thing when DC was a bit down.  I don’t think the iFanboys are as biased as you think (no offense intended, just my opinion).  I think they simply tell you what they like and what they don’t.  Right now, they seem to like a number of DC books.  Next month they might be all over some Marvel projects.  It is all cyclical.

  20. Also, I find it interesting that we are essentially arguing about whether the subjective opinions of a group of people are correct.  

    On a related note: I feel roses are overrated.  Discuss.

  21. i think that everything is seen in comparison, and right now DC has a lot of exciting things going on, that vary greatly. Batman has a thing, Superman has a thing, Green lantern has a BIG thing, and Flash has a thing. Add Wensday Comics to the mix, and there is no doubt that DC is having a good year. Compare that to what’s going on at marvel and you have what you listed but really only two things going on, Dark Reign and the War of kings, so it could be said that there is less to talk about on that side of the fence right now. 

    Not to say that people are not talking about Cap or Deadpool or Cable or that those are bad books but i see those as just books that get put out by a company that have a large following, and seeing as both companies have that, DC has Titians and Wonder Woman and well…all of vertigo, so i kind of see those two things as canceling each other out.


    either way it’s a good year for comics 

  22. They have Deadpool, so already Marvel is trying to swim with an anchor around their neck.

  23. I can’t tell you how sick I am of hearing that we hate Marvel just because we like some DC books.

    It is simply not true.

  24. I droped every Marvel book except Daredevil and Marvels Project. The rest aren’t doing anything for me anymore.

  25. @Stuclach-I love roses, have at thee!!

  26. Nice post, and I completely agree.  While DC is certainly on a high — it’s the first time in my comics-reading tenure that I’m actively reading more than two books from them monthly — Marvel has been putting out consistently entertaining books for quite awhile that have me vibrating with excitement every time I enter a comic shop.  If this is a slump, I’m almost afraid to see what success looks like.

  27. Thaaaaank you, Jim!  While I’m happy about all the good stuff happening at DC, it doesn’t need to be an either/or.  A rising tide raises all ships, or something like that.

    Also, Rainbow Brite was totally an orange lantern.  Whatever that means.

  28.  Oh and KICK ASS, you can’t just name every Marvel book ever and say it’s better than the truly groundbreaking work that Williams is doing on Dectective right now. It cheapens everything to do so. Either Make an Argument for something or just be ok with the fact that something good is happening in the world.

  29. I forgot to mention that I also enjoyed the new USM#1 quite a bit and plan to give it a few more issues. 

    @drakedangerz – I also enjoy roses, but I don’t enjoy them enough to pay more than roughly $20 a dozen. Tulips on the other hand…

  30. @drakedangerz what i meant by saying "Blackest Night is overshadowing everything" was that ultimately DC and Marvel are competitors and with this quite obviously HUGE event going on at DC I haven’t really seen any effort from Marvel to counter it.

    I started out reading pretty much only DC comics and felt like I shouldn’t share my opinion about comics with people until I had checked out some Marvel comics. I tried a lot of titles (namely X-Men, Spider-Man, Deadpool, Captain America) I didn’t see the same quality that DC is pumping out right now. Don’t get me wrong I enjoyed them but they just didn’t feel as enjoyable as, say, the Bat books right now.

    I’ll admit, I’m very new to the whole comic book scene and don’t know much of the history of each side of this debate but at this moment in time I’d say that Marvel is not doing as well as DC.

  31. Are people really complaining about Marvel NOT having an event this summer?  What happened to "event fatigue"?

  32. @gobo  This recalls my favorite Simpsons quote: "I want everything in one bag, but I don’t want the bag to be heavy!"

  33. @gobo: I haven’t heard anyone make that complaint.

  34. @gobo Well, Marvel is running Dark Reign. The event were Norman Osborne shows up in your book, does something to showcase how unbalanced he is – usually but not limited to the being in the public eye – and faces no repercussions. (He held a gun at Franklin Richards, in full view of a swat team and a video camera and he’s still magically in-charge of America? Suspension of disbelief off!) It’s a thematic event, sure, but it is still event. As well, Marvel is running Captain America reborn. They’re certainly billing it as their summer event and getting the press coverage. So I don’t really understand the complaint either.

  35. @gobo if that was directed at my comment that Marvel isn’t doing anything to counter Blackest Night then i guess i should explain better.

    Marvel isn’t doing ANYTHING to counter the quality of writing in both Blackest Night and alot of the other DC titles right now.

  36. @SteenAR That’s a matter of taste, everything Remender and Aaron are both writing some amazing books at Marvel right now.  Swierczynski’s Cable is awesome, the Spider-Man brain trust are all fantastic.  They’re not as epic as the mini-events going on all over DC but they’re still all fantastically written.

  37. @lukehopkins – To be fair, just saying that Detective is "groundbreaking" without explaining way isn’t much an argument, either. 

  38. @SteenAR-I would counter the arguement you just made with the examples of books that Jimski listed above (excluding X-Men Forever)

  39. One of the main points that Jim makes is that you can’t really say that an entire publishing line is experiencing a slump, and he’s absolutely right.  It could no more apply to Marvel than it could DC, given the volume of product that both companies put out there.  Individual titles would be a different matter as they can be up and down in quality terms like a rollercoaster.  As a kid I’d go through these bizarre swings of being a Marvel guy for a time, then suddenly needing some DC in my life and cutting out Marvel altogether.  Now I just don’t care as long as the individual book itself is good, never mind the editorial direction, the status quo of the particular universe etc.

  40. @gobo @drakedangerz

    I see your guys’ points and I agree, Marvel is putting out good books. Just not as good as DC.

    Also you said it yourself gobo, these books are, "not as epic as the mini-events going on all over DC but they’re still all fantastically written."

  41. On the original topic, I don’t know if Marvel is in a creative slump, but I can say for certain that they aren’t publishing any books that I care about reading, which is not at all the same thing.  Their creative direction has taken them away from me, which is fine.  You can’t be all things to all people.  But I do miss the days when my box was full of Marvel titles.

    I will get Old Man Logan when it comes out in trade.  But who knows when that will be?  Marvel used to be really good about this, but now with their premium hardcover bullshit, it seems like it takes forever for TPBs to come out.

  42. @PudgyNinja That’s actually a really good point. Not being interested in Marvel books does not mean Marvel is in a slump. It just means you don’t like Marvel’s books right now.

  43. @Josh: Don’t even bother replying to the idea that you’re crapping on marvel. Anyone can look at your profile and see what you rated books, Two 5s one for a marvel book and one for a DC book and then four 4s for marvel books and 5 fours for DC books.

    Hardly a massive slant.

    I think this falls down to people don’t like it when things are being talked about that aren’t in their pile or camp. The old 360 vs. PS3 war or Sega/Nintendo. Hell even Democrat and Republicans, you’re talking about 360/Sega/Democrat so you must hate PS3/Nin/Repubs.

    Almost all of Marvel is as good as it was last year or the year before. Everything Jim mentioned is true. Blackest Night is exciting and shiny and gets a lot of talk that hardly discredits Marvel. I’ve never understood this desire to partisan things. I like Space Opera, so I read Marvel Cosmic stuff and DC Lantern stuff. They both do good work. DC and Marvel have done good work for a helluva long time.

    Anytime not stroking peoples egos is suddenly a slant against them. 

  44. I think there are more fan appriciated books at Marvel than there ever were during Civil War and House of M. Do you remember talking about how amazing an issue of Spider-Man or Punisher: War Zone was around then? Everything was stuck in the Civil War web, and the only real amazing thing to come out of it was the new Thunderbolts revamp. Now that nothing is tying into a huge event (Dark Reign isn’t really an event, but more of a universal status quo), no stories are really being bogged down, and creators are allowed to take their stories in exciting directions.

  45. @Josh- You don’t hate Marvel because you like DC.  You hate Marvel because you trash the quality Marvel books.

  46. @Crucio – How dare you lump Republicans in with the PS3?  John McCain is rolling over in his grave. #SincerityNotDetected

  47. For the first time since the 80s, I’m loving Marvel. The article lists some great examples of why Marvel has my attention now. Add in New Mutants, Ultimate Spider-Man, Iron Fist/Immortal Weapons and the Punisher and you have my pull list.

  48. Its also a slump that sells at least 15% more than DC titles and others. I love where Marvel currently is and I think every book has been top notch. As for the Deadpool comment of how the title is a hinderence to them then why does he have two ongoings, one shots and minis piling up? Oh and then theres the sellouts. I think there are soo many great Marvel books people forget to mention them, War Machine Atlas Secret Warriors Old Man Logan and plenty of others seem to be lost but are still rightly awesome.

  49. @KickAss – He picked a Marvel book as his POTW.  Go look at his ratings.  He gives Marvel books 4+’s all the time.  His favorite character is from Marvel (Ronin).  Is he required to automatically praise every Marvel book as the second coming or face the MARVEL HATER!!!! accusation?  If anything he should be biased toward Marvel as he was a huge West Coast Avengers fan in his youth.  You may want to listen to some older podcasts and watch some of the videos.  It is quite evident that Josh is as much a fan of good comics from Marvel as he is a fan of good comics from any other publisher.

  50. @KickAss this is a direct quote from Josh’s most recent POTW.

    "Savvy readers will also know that my heart really does lie in the Marvel Universe."

  51. @KickAss-Go download some of the earlier podcasts.  Around the time Civil War was coming out the guys were accused of being biased against DC.  The more things change, the more they stay the same.

  52. I prefer DC books collectively, but I thought that’s because I believed I’ve turned into a DC guy by default. I didn’t get the Marvel slump thing. You put it in better words than me (cuz ur oLd LOLWTFOMGBBQ). Though I never really saw the appeal of Bendis’ Avengers. I just read it because I need something untill Powers comes back. 

    Currently DC are just doing better. That does not make Hercules any less awesome. To anyone interested, get the third trade and jump right in. The first 2 are too entangled in crossovers.

    Another awesome underrated series from Marvel is War Machine. Rhoadie is a bad ass.

  53. Ugh, you know what.  I didn’t want to derail this thread.  It’s not about me.  Just think what you want to think, and I’ll sleep soundly confident in my own opinions.


  54. Jimski’s article stems from comments over time that suggest that Marvel is not currently as exciting as DC. And that’s a really difficult argument to prove/disprove since so much of it is based on looking at individual books, all of which are reviewed subjectively. 

    But, just for the sake of it, I want to mention my opinion when it comes to trends made by these two publishers.

    I have a mental list of writers who I really like. And right now, probably MORE of them are over at Marvel. Remender, Aaron, Swierczy, Bendis, Brubaker, Diggle, Fraction… off the top of my head. At DC, I generally like Johns (though not as much as many on this site), Morrison (when he’s "on"), Rucka, Robinson…. there might be one or two more, but that’s mostly it.

    So, Marvel’s got a few more of the "writers I follow"  than DC. 

    And: DC has kinda pissed me off over the past few years with the way they handled things like Infinite Crisis, Countdown, Final Crisis, etc. As a result, my opinion of DC as a PUBLISHER went down a few notches.

    With all of that in mind, DC is currently publishing both Detective and Batman and Robin, which are two of my favorite super-hero titles on the planet. And i’m having fun with Blackest Night. And I’m really enjoying Robinson’s Cry for Justice. And Wednesday Comics is a lot of fun as well.

    So, within a span of months, DC has made some publishing moves that really excite me. I’m enjoying the DC books about 3 times more than I was last year at this time.

    By contrast, Marvel has more of my favorite writers, but as some folks have mentioned above, the whole Dark Reign setting, while innovative and interesting, has allowed SOME books to become a little formulaic. Some of the stories have become a little too similar in tone, and they don’t excite me as much.

    Thus, in my mind, I have a higher opinion of DC than I did a few months ago, and Marvel — while still putting out excellent material — has a "theme" that I think is failing slightly (for the reason I just mentioned).

    That’s what pops into my mind when I think about DC vs. Marvel right now. It’s not to say one is better than the other, but I can admit to having changing feelings about trends made by the two publishers. And I think that’s fair to say without generalizing and suggesting that one publisher is better than the other.


  55. @daccampo – Very well said, as usual.  I second almost everything you wrote, though I’m not as fond of some of Marvel’s writers as you are.

  56. @daccampo you hit the nail on the head. this is all a matter of opinion.

  57. There’s gonna be none of that name calling to the writers or anyone else. Comment deleted.

  58. @josh, aww man! now i want to know what the person said!

  59. Also, @kickass

    You did not  just say that Millar’s Spider-man is better than everything DC puts out. Talk about bias… 

  60. Let’s repeat this over and over again.  NO ONE IS WRONG FOR LIKING ANYTHING (except for Around Comics)

  61. Also, in all this madness, every seems to be forgetting The Mighty. Man that’s one creepy book.

  62. @stuclach – Oh, I’m sure that folks would not have the same list of writers as I do. Everyone has their own "writers I follow" list — unless they follow only a publisher, etc. But I’d say (based on discussions I’ve seen) that the majority of people on this site tend to follow writers more than anything. I’m personally "publisher agnostic." 😉 However, that doesn’t mean I can’t have an opinion on MOVES made by a publisher. 😉

  63. I hope the "slump" continues when Moon Knight is rebooted!

  64. I swear to god, I could not want to read a Moon Knight book less.

    But that art looks spectacular, and I’m going to actually try it.

  65. I haven’t read any Hurwitz but I love Opena so much, gotta give it a shot

  66. I think both companies are kicking the F out of everything now. I bought 6 books from each of them last week and they were all awesome

  67. I really enjoy Nick Remenders Punisher, Secret Warriors, and I was close to dropping Uncanny but this tie in is suprisingly decent. Amazing Spider-Man has been incredibly lately too.


    To be honest, I’m reading way more Marvel than DC. A lot of that is emotional attachment to the characters where in DC I have very little.

  68. I try not to say "this is a good book," or "this is a bad book," except in the occasional review.  With a few exceptions, good and bad are completely subjective.  I typically enjoy DC books more than Marvel, but that doesn’t mean they’re better.  I’m secure enough in my own opinions that I don’t need to defend them by attacking people who think differently.

    I don’t personally enjoy most Marvel titles, right now, unless they’re set in space.  The DnA-Verse, I love.  Captain Britain was one of my favorite titles.  In fact, the cancelled Marvel titles list someone posted above is like a tour through my collecton.  I apparently like titles that the typical Marvel fan refuses to buy.  Lucky for me, DC likes publishing comics that I enjoy.

  69. I don’t want to live in a world where people can’t say something is good.

  70. This is all obviously just a matter of a person’s tastes, but I’ve become less and less interested in Marvel books over the last few years.  Something about the general state of the Marvel U, starting with Civil War, through the Initiative period, and then through Dark Reign– combined, to be honest, with the dark muddy coloring of so many Marvel books, has made the whole universe seem rather bland to me. 

    Which is not to say I don’t love certain books: Thor is one of the Top 5 superhero comics on the stands (at least until JMS is done), as is Captain America.  And Fraction is telling the best Dark Reign story out there in Invincible Iron Man.   

    But, over this same time period I have become more and more interested in DC books and characters, which I would never have predicted a few years ago.  

    I was definitely a Marvel guy growing up, not a DC guy at all.  And when I got back into comics back in around January 07, I gravitated back to Marvel.  The Ultimates, and Avengers Disassembled were the first books I read when I came back.

    But, as the Marvel universe has settled into this rather grim state, I’ve been drawn to some of the vibrance and open-endedness of the DCU.  I love seeing heroes be heroes, not be hunted by the government for several years in a row.  I picked up and read Geoff Johns’ Teen Titans run, and REALLY fell in love with some of the younger DC characters– Conner Kent, Bart Allen, etc.  With that run and the recent JSA run, I’ve really come to enjoy the whole legacy aspect of the DCU.  And, books like Secret Six, Rucka’s Detective Comics, Morrison’s Batman and Robin– and for that matter pretty much everything Johns writes– have been tremendous.

    Marvel is still my first love, and hopefully this long, long, long story that they started with Civil War will soon enough move to a status quo that I enjoy more.  Perhaps we’re near that– Steve Rogers returning, reconciling with Tony Stark to a degree, and the heroes returning to being allowed to be heroes. 


  71. With you 100%. Some of th big name books are sucking, but there is real quality out there. The iFanboys rave about Guardians and Nova constantly. Spiderman is good for the first time in almost 10 years. Cap continues to get great reviews. Invincible Iron Man is, in my opinion, the shining star of Marvel right now. Most people dig the Avengers. Destroyer was tons of fun.  Old Man Logan got me to buy a Wolverine book for the first time since I was 16. Marvel may be suffering by comparison to DC’s pretty stout line. I am primarily a Marvel reader, in regards to the big 2 anyway, and even I am enjoying DC’s books more in the most general sense.

  72. For the first time in ten years I have some DC books on my pull list – but that’s not Marvel’s fault. Marvel will always been my comic book home,  I’m not really reading Dark Reign, but I am loving Spider-man, Deadpool and Secret Warriors. I know am I going to fall hard for Bendis/Maleev Spider-woman.

    Yes I’m visiting DC and enjoying Batman and Robin, Detective and Blackest Night, but I "live" at Marvel. It’s not a slump the folks at the house of ideas are trying something new this year, which I applaud. I was not in the mood for another Civil/Hulk World/Secret war – I like Marvel’s soap opera’s.

  73. I, like Daccampo, follow writers but to a certain extent I follow the characters.  Getting back to the article, I feel that there is a natural ebb and flow between the big two.  I think that this is because they are constantly to one up each other.  I think that comics are very Capitalistic in this sense, and that the compitition only creates a better product.  DC is definitly gaining some momentum, but I don’t feel like it is coming at the expense of Marvel (or any other publisher for that matter).  I think that they are publishing a quality product and increasing sales are proof.  I agree with the premisis of Jimski’s article, but I’m not sure if he’s trying to say "hey, Marvel’s still publishing good books too" but I’m not sure if anybody had thought they weren’t.

  74. Going back and looking at the numbers, here’s a POTW breakdown for the year to date:

    DC= 13 (3 repeat appearances with B&R, Scalped, and JSA; majority belong to Bat family); Marvel= 10 (1 reapeat appearance in ASM not counting "Short Halloween"); Image= 4; Other= 5 (1 repeat in G.I. Joe: Cobra). 

    So, to dispell one myth, the iFanboy triumvirate does not crap on Marvel books- each of them has picked AT LEAST ONE MARVEL BOOK as their POTW this year.  And none of them were "eh" choices from listening to the podcasts- they really like the books they pick for this recognition.

    Now, let’s look at the rest of the data: DC’s entries are far and away the highest number.  But two of these are Scalped from Vertigo and not from the DCU.  So, looking at just DCU books, that puts the number at 11.  Of these, 5 were Bat-books (with one repeat), 5 were #1’s (including two of the Bat-books), and the other three were ongoings with one repeat (JSA).  So, of the choices, only five of the 11 were in the midst of an ongoing series (GLC, Detective, JSA, B&R#2). 

    Now look at the Marvel picks: Almost all of them, except War of Kings, Short Halloween, Dark Avengers, and Marvels Project, was a book from an ongoing series AND not a #1.  Also, there was a larger diversity: MI 13, Cap, ASM (2), Guardians of the Galaxy, Dark Avengers, X-Men Forever.  The only real "bias" is towards cosmic Marvel (two books) and Spider-Man (3 including Short Halloween).

    So, just going on POTW’s, certain parts of DC are doing well, whereas a broad area of Marvel is doing a nice job.  


  75. @Quinn Whenever someone says "This is good" or "This is bad" it should always be assumed that the "I think that" is implied before each statement.  If we qualify everything to death we’ll all just end up saying nothing at all.

    The only time I’ll qualify things is when I know something is "bad" by most people’s standards but I enjoy it, like Alien Resurrection

  76. @BC1 not gonna lie…. that was impressive.

  77. @BC1 — Nice number-crunching, man.  I’m impressed.

  78. @BC1 Isn’t scalped Vertigo? They are different beasts.

  79. @g0ofgnewt: No they’re not.

  80. @josh- I hope my comment wasn’t the one that offended you.  I was trying to defend you guys by pointing out that no matter what you do, you guys are accused of bias.

  81. Not at all.

  82. I think Marvel’s overall quality has been pretty consistent throughout this decade. It’s been decently high quality, and it remains so.

    Whenever people think some genre/company/franchise is "slumping", often that just means that these people tend to look at the past through rose-colored glasses or whatever, thinking that the products they liked a few years ago were leagues better than what they’re paying for today, remembering the art of yesteryear with inordinate fondness. Maybe it’s because they liked their lives better in 2006 than they do now? I don’t know. On the other hand, I definitely don’t think books like X-Factor or New Avengers or Daredevil are anywhere near their creative apexes. But whatever. On the other hand, I’d say that I don’t think they’re all that WORSE than they ever were, with maybe a few exceptions.

    From what I can tell, there have always been these two camps: the camp that sees their fav comics of today as insanely fantastic and great, and the camp that sees almost EVERYTHING as completely shitty (usually in contrast to some ideal comics of the past, that they insist on worshipping as perfect). And then there’s the rest of us, caught between those two extremes.

  83. People are funny.

  84. I grew up on NBC, but consider myself a CBS guy now.

  85. Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    Liar. You grew up on PBS and you know it. 

  86. SHIT!

    Caught in my own podcast continuity! Yes, Dr. Who ran my world on WSIU (So, IL. PBS station)

  87. I thought about going that route, but immediately imagined someone chiming in with, "Actually, CBS’ sitcoms have been really strong in recent years, while NBC’s police dramas have"– and then in the dream I killed myself.

  88. Wow, talk about throwing a chunk of raw meat in a pit full of hungry dags.

  89. They had TV when Chris was growing up?

  90. @1SinMuse "dags"? jeez are you from Wescansin or somethin? lol 

  91. I guess I don’t read the interwebs that much because i didn’t hear that mArvel was ina creative slump at all. All the books you mentioned above are worth mentioning for one reason: they’re all AWESOME. Maybe it’s because, in my opinion, that DC is riding high with Blackest Night finally out and the Bat-books getting a lot of praise for a how well they’ve come together quality-wise lately. Or the critical acclaim being laid at the feet of a lot of indie books and publishers like IDW, Top Shelf, and Image (MAYHEM!). Maybe it’s the marketing machine at Marvel Productions that is setting unreasonably high expectations for these monthly books.

    As a longtime comics fan, I think if it is a slump, which it’s not, then "meh". I’ll just wait til the next wave comes (oh I miss Nextwave). But, so what? If Marvel is in a slump, then go to DC or any of the multitude of comics out there that are just dying to get in your greasy little hands.

    Oh, and on Killraven, I’ll wait and see if Liefeld gets on the ball enough to get ‘er done. 

  92. Ever since the summer kicked in, if you put the DC books against Marvel’s there is no doubt DC has overshadowed the competition.

    The new line of Batman books, the Superman titles are going stronger, all of the Green Lantern books (both titles and Blackest Night), Wednesday Comics, most of their titles getting raised to $3.99 has had less scrutiny then Marvel’s price increase (cause of the co-features), B titles like Secret Six or Booster Gold is still going strong, they have more quality writers then Marvel. Not only that, but DC has Vertigo to hang onto which has had great success with their new and ongoing tales. Okay maybe it’s technically a seperate company, but what does Marvel fall back for additional sales? Icon or Marvel Adventures?

    Let’s see how the titles Jimski decided to defend are doing:

    The Marvels Project? Mixed reviews across the board. War of Kings? Okay I’ll grant you that (except for the Nova books cause they have been quite medicore lately). Captain Britain? Please, the book is cancelled, they don’t fit into this equation anymore. Captain America: Reborn? Probably will be up there with ‘most disappointing comic of 2009’ for most fans. Most fans are against the Spider-Man book and most of the X-Men books. Hell even Ron Richards is admitting Uncanny X-Men has hit a slump! Plus we only talk about X-Men Forever because Chris Claremont is a lunatic. Plus the fact that you add ‘Old Man Logan’ into this is also pointless. It’s should be released quaterly considering how long it took us to get to the end….and the end hasn’t come out yet!!!

    The only legit books are the B titles. Like Hercules and the Daniel Way Deadpool. Others like Guardians of the Galaxy or Iron Man are having some success as well. Everything else? Is either bad right now or in a wave of the medicore ocean.

    Marvel is still beating DC in terms of sales. But that’s becauase Marvel is a bit more easier to jump into than DC. Look at the latest sales figures. DC is still about 9% behind in terms of sales, but the gap has gotten much closer then the past couple of months. If DC keeps up this pace, then it might even outpast Marvel within a couple of months. DC is a company that has gone back from the brink of madness and has turned into a quality company again. It’s only going to get better from here. While Marvel gets stuck in the mud with Dark Reign for the rest of the year and brings very shallow entertainment to the readers.

  93. @Quinn : Yeah, I put up that list of cancelled titles. And let me tell you – I bought every single one. Now they’re all gone. It’s really sad as a fan of Marvel’s more diverse titles that these cannot maintain enough sales to turn a profit. Because at the end of the day that’s the issue. Many of those books, Captain Britain in particular, reviewed VERY well. But while in the 80s and 90s an Excalibur or Alpha Flight series could run for 125 odd issues the whole landscape of comics has now changed so much.

    I will always remain a huge Marvel fan, (Although I’m actually a big Green Arrow fan, Batman fan, Judge Dredd fan, Hellboy fan, Transmet and Sandman fan – I’m not excusive), but I do feel that in some cases Marvel are in part to blame for their smaller series failing.

    How many Captain Britain adverts did you see in a Marvel Comic before the book was announced as cancelled? I can think of that cover with Blade and Spitfire for #5 which ran for a week of Marvel books. Then the "Meet Your Rulers" Dr Doom and Dracula advert which ran for a month at #10. There was no publicity for the actual start of the series. Issue threads I read online for #7 still had  comments on them saying ‘Wait, this is ONGOING? Damn, I missed issues’.

    And it’s not the only second string book to suffer that way. Far from it.

    Recently I’ve been thinking back to the the 90s, when I could tell you pretty much everything that was going on in every Marvel title, of a month. I wasn’t BUYING every Marvel book back then. Hell, no. I was an impoverished student for parts of that. But back then each brand of books (Marvel Universe, Marvel Knights, X-Men) used to runa page of monthly mini-solicits telling you what was going on elsewhere, with a focus article on one book in particular. And Marvel Knights used to run those five cover adverts, showing recet issues across the range.

    We don’t have that any more. Marvel’s in-house in-issue publicity is almost exclusively directed towards titles whose sales are both already stable and whose characters are so well recognised already. The fringe titles have become fuirther and further cut of from fan-knowledge and markleting than ever before.

    It’s no wonder that books like The Order, Captain Britain, Iron Fist, and now EVEN Runawaysfrom the sound of things, cannot sustain sales. Because unless you read solicits online, or your local comic book store guy is hyping a tite, it’s easy just to forget about it or not even know it exists.

  94. I started listening to ifanboy 2 years ago, and I went back and listened to every episode they ever produced. In my opinion, there has been an anti-Marvel slant to the podcasts lately which has grown little by little over time. Whether it is a comment from Conor about the “downward spiral of creativity at Marvel,” the fact that numerous people were interviewed in the first two hour long videos from the Con yet there are ZERO interviews from anyone at Marvel, or the trend of fewer and fewer Marvel books being reviewed on the podcasts each week (with the exception of the past few weeks, when the criticisms started to mount), there has clearly been a slant. It’s kind of sad, because while this trend has continued, I’ve found myself enjoying ifanboy less and less. I know the ifanboys definitely don’t want to appear anti-Marvel, but I’m far from the only person to notice the trend. Thank you for giving this topic a place for it to be discussed. I look forward to enjoying ifanboy again, as much as I did two years ago. Hopefully I will get the chance to.

  95. There is no anti-marvel bias on ifanboy!

    Do you want me to make the flow charts again!?

  96. Being 100% serious, and I hope I’m not stepping on the guys toes here.

    The sooner we as comics fans stop this ridiculous tribal BS the better.

    Comics are comics. I could give two craps who prints it as long as they have good stories.

  97. I think I’m going to take some time off the internet.

  98. @josh: But if you quit now, they win

  99. I’m fine with that.

  100. @WonderManFan with the growth of IDW, Boom and other "2nd tier" publishers over the last two years there’s bound to be less room for BOTH Marvel and mainline DC.  It’s not "Fuck we hate Marvel now lets talk about IDW and Dynamite instead" it’s "Wow, IDW and Dynamite are awesome, let’s start talking about them also" which will definitely lead to bumping some big name books because they only talk for 30-45 minutes about that weeks issues. 

    (Obviously IDW and Dynamite are just an example, but all 3 of the guys have been loving GI Joe and Ennis’ War books)

  101. I just want to say that "The Monster At The End of This Book" is my favorite childrens book of all time.

    Thank you TheNextChampion

  102. I’ve gotta say, that I have always been a big Marvel fan, and not so much of DC, but recently, even I think the tide has turned. I’ve always beleived that Marvel had better characters, writers, and artists, but as of now, Marvel just isnt putting out much that I like. DC has great things going on with Blackest Night, Flash:Rebirth, and the Superman books, and I definitly think they are putting out the best comics right now.

  103. The best thing that can happen to Marvel is for DC to get better.  If DC keeps rocking like it has been for the last while and if it starts gaining ground on Marvel it will only lead to Marvel stepping up its game.

  104. It’s funny. I keep reading "There is no slump" etc., etc. but I’ve been reading this thread all day and I see something very interesting. There are a good number of readers saying "I’m a big Marvel fan but I started reading DC" or "There are more DC books on my pull list than ever before." And amongst the posts, I’ve not really seen any "Hey, you know I’ve started picking up more Marvel titles recently." Which isn’t to say it’s indicative of how the general reading public – or even the vast non-posting body of this site – feels about the book, but it is pretty interesting given the topic of this post. Indeed on this site, the two books that have garnered over 1000 pulls have been Blackest Night and Batman and Robin. Each one has had issues nab over 90% of the POTW. Again, "slump" is not the correct term, but I keep hearing a lot of people say they don’t like the status quo of Marvel and are leaving more and more books behind. Certainly different people are going to decide this is the moment to check out Marvel and will end up liking it, but something’s cookin’ at Marvel that a decent portion of the readers on this site seem not to be grooving to. 

  105. So i know this was a long time ago, but, Williams work on Dectective is great, he’s changing his style to fit every part of the story, his layouts are innovative and the colors are bolder than anything outside of a hickman or B clay moore book. So there that’s my argument, didn’t think i really needed to make it because the work speaks for itself but you know… 

  106. This reminds me of a Mental Floss t-shirt:

    "You say tomato, I say tomato…it doesn’t make much sense when you write it." 

  107. I just wanna add one last thing: 

    In my mind, there’s a big difference between discussing which publisher is making good business moves and the rampant tribalism that Chris mentioned. Both are occuring in this thread, but I don’t like sweeping one out with the other.

    I know I’ve said this before, but I don’t see any trouble discussing which publisher is making business moves that appeal to its audience or grow their market share or grow the industry in general. And discussing Marvel and DC are, in my mind, like discussing, say, Apple and Microsoft. Two big names, two different philosophies, etc., etc. (it’s just an analogy, please don’t look at it too closely).

    So, I make no apologies for following the industry and discussing who I think is doing a good job.

    That said, Chris is absolutely right in the sense that, at the end of the day, I personally just buy the best comic books. You can tally my purchases and tell me who is the winner. It won’t make a difference in my mind, and just because I think that a publisher is making some bad moves does not mean that I’m mindlessly joining a tribe.

  108. @SteenAR: ya, dags, ya like dags?

  109. I don’t understand why iFanboy would post such an obviously inflammatory article when, for the last few weeks, it seems that there have been repeated attempts to say ‘we don’t like one company more then the other’.  This article, however, is unabashedly pro-marvel.  That’s fine, but it’s generalisations are far too sweeping.  in other words…

    I would much rather discuss comic books then comic book companies. 


  110. Nothing more inflammatory than positivity.

    Being pro-something is not being anti-all other things.

    Let me know what generalizations you have in mind and I’ll be glad to put your mind at ease.

  111. I love you Jim. Seriously. You and I think alike, except you’re funny. I ever make it to St. Louis again I’m buying you a beer, and maybe some "slumping" comics like Thor or Cable. 

  112. @Jimski – Being pro-Cardinals means you are anti-Cubs.  Don’t try to deny it.  Cub-hater.

  113. "they have more quality writers then Marvel" Okay, let’s see:

    Bendis,Brubaker, Diggle, Fraction, Remeder, Swiercz….Duane "I make Cable interesting" something or other, Parker, Reed, Yost, Slott, Waid, Kelly. Aaron, Millar, Ennis and/or Ellis – when they’re writing for hire, Carey, Van Lente,  Cornell, Abnett and Lanning, Eliopolis …and why the hell not: Loeb.


    Johns, Robinson, Rucka, Tomasi, Morrison, Gates, Dini, … Simone… er, um, oh yeah! Winnick…did I say Johns yet?

    Both companies are doing great work. Batman and Superman acually mean something to me for the first time ever. The Green Lantern-verse is cool. DC is doing quite well, yes, But Marvel’s roster of writing talent just can’t be beat. They’re the 1975 Reds – Power, consistency, and a deep bench. DC’s very good right now but that statement is just simply not cricket.


  114. Everyone’s missing the big point here: Jim somehow got onto an airplane without a driver’s license. I shudder to think of what sort of extra screenings you went through to make up for not having this particular form of identification.

    Oh, and nice article. I enjoyed it. But then, I always do. 🙂

  115. I can only speak for myself here but I like good comics. I don’t give a shit if the cover says DC or Marvel or if there’s a Dark Reign banner on the top or Blackest Night. I enjoy engaging, well written, beautifully crafted works of art. It never ceases to amaze me that we can’t all agree on this one simple truth that we should hold as self evident. Can we all avoid extremism? Like I said in am earlier post, I think that Jims article was well written and I understood the point being made but I don’t think he took an anti anything stance. Just pointing out something he felt that he needed to. Harumph and good day to you all.

  116. @Crippler- How exactly is this article inflammatory?  There are a few jabs at DC, but even then there’s some praise for it.  Also, how exactly have the writers tried to show that they don’t prefer one company over another?  I can’t say that I’ve seen any article or podcast where this issue of bias has even come up much or been a focal point.  Again, look at the numbers of the POTW’s.  They have been all over the map.  If anything, there’s a bias against Image; they’ve only gotten four picks this year.  So where are the Image fans up in arms saying that the iFanboys are biased against them?  Or Dark Horse?  Paul wrote a great article some months back on the company; I don’t remember anyone saying it was inflammatory because it focused on just one publisher.  And there hasn’t been a single Dark Horse book in the POTW.  Or Top Cow.  Yet no one accuses Josh or Connor or Ron of being "anti-Dark Horse."  So what gives?   

  117. <nitpick> There’ve been 2 Dark Horse POTW’s in 2009, Hellboy and Umbrella Academy </nitpick>

  118. @Jimski: When you have a limited forum, such as a quasi-restriction of 10 comic book reviews on the podcast per week, and you increase the percent that DC or independent publishers get reviewed, it amounts to Marvel book reviews getting squeezed out of the show, which can be seen in a pattern of fewer and fewer Marvel books reviewed. Your point that liking one publisher doesn’t amount to a negative bias against other publishers, would have merit if the guys reviewed every book they read (which I have suggested previously.) The more reviews, the merrier. However, this idea (and even the reintroduction of the bell) was shot down, because they “have a system, and it works pretty well for them.” So, what it all amounts to is fewer and fewer Marvel titles reviewed, while the guys gush about DC and independent publishers. I don’t understand all this “tribal” stuff. I’m not saying that “Marvel rules and everybody else sucks.” I’m saying that potential reviews of Marvel comics are getting squeezed out, which is a valid point for the “ifanboy anti-Marvel slant” argument, regardless of the other points I’ve already made. By the way, I love the way that the ifanboys generally argue that their picks shouldn’t be attacked, because those picks are their opinions, and everyone has a right to their opinions… Except when it comes to the opinions of the people who have the opinion that ifanboy is slanting anti-Marvel, because apparently the normal rules of people having a right to their own opinion don’t apply if your opinion differs from the ifanboys in this area. Interesting.

  119. @RobAsten: More doesn’t mean better.

    Just because Marvel can get more writers/artists doesn’t make them the cream of the crop. It’s what they do that makes the company great. I could probably list more medicore to bad comics by those Marvel creators then DC creators. Even take out Bendis out of the equation and I’ll still name more bad comics by those writers.

    That doesn’t mean Johns or Morrison doesn’t strike out at times. They do, but very little compared to someone like Fraction or Brubaker.

  120. On the other hand, WMF, this article exists.

    As for not having a right to opinions, you may notice that your comment is right here on the site.

  121. I hate the Cubs.

  122. I don’t know baseball, but I know St. Louis, and I can’t say the word Cubs without spitting on the ground here. Still, I feel like there’s nothing wrong with them that couldn’t be fixed by a little tough love. Their fans are loyal to them no matter what happens, so they have no incentive to improve. Hold on, there are parallels that risk allowing this thread to veer back on topic. Abort!

  123. @WMF Saying someone has an "anti-whatever slant" is very different kind of "opinion" than what your favourite book is that week.

    Saying "iFanboy doesn’t cover enough Marvel for my tastes" is a better comparison, and totally valid as well.  I don’t think anyone would have any kind of issue with that

  124. @ChrisNeseman they have support groups for Cardinals fans..  and @Jimski.. as a Cubs fan, the only thing that will fix the Cubs is a new ballpark (looks around for the Wrigley wingnuts) and an owner.. which reminds me, irrational sports fandoms arguing is how I feel about publisher arguments.  Almost all comic publishers have made some craptacular business moves, which proves they’re like every other business. Beyond that?  I want to read compelling and interesting stories.  It’s not like any of the iFanboys refuse to read a particular publisher just beca.. oh wait. 😉

  125. Just because someone decides they prefer sleeping with men doesn’t mean that women aren’t any good in the sack these days.


  126. Wait, is there a publisher we refuse to read? I don’t understand.

  127. @Siraim: You found a Wrigley wingnut. No way they get a new park. Massive renovations sure ala the bleachers sure, but not a new park. Has nothing to do with how the team performs. Kind of like how this comment has nothing to do with the main conversation, until:

    Here’s my take. What all this slant talk boils down to is this. The iFanboys are busy fellows. They read a shitload of books every week. There’s no way that they could talk about everything they read. They really only have time to focus on things of note to them. Just like the PotW, what they enjoyed reading and subsequently feel like discussing is their own opinion.

    It has been my perception that they enjoy talking about books that seem to be doing something new and changing the game. As has been noted, DC happens to be doing a lot of new and interesting things lately. As a result, books that are consistently good, but don’t feel quite so game changing can be left by the wayside. Amazing Spider-Man, for instance, has been consistently good 3 times a month for a while now. That said, they haven’t been doing anything really worth getting into a discussion beyond: "Did you like that one part when he did that thing with the thing and it exploded? That was AWESOME!" It’s not to say the book isn’t good, but compared to a discussion about the groundbreaking art of Detective or the mental status of Claremont’s brain in X-Men: Forever, it doesn’t always make the show.

    Time on the podcast does not correlate with what the iFanboys love. This isn’t politics. They aren’t obliged to give equal time to all publishers. They like what they like. They talk about what they want to talk about. I’d much rather hear the iFanboys discuss something they are interested in discussing than hearing them attempting feign interest in a discussion for the sake of a certain fanboy population, DC or Marvel.

    As a self-proclaimed DC fan, this article made me smile. It’s great seeing somebody not only enjoying something, but giving actual reasons to back up that enjoyment. Well done, Jimski, well done.

  128. This whole conversation is just facinating. I’ve been coming back to it every few hours all afternoon/evening, and it reminds me why this is my favorite website. There is no shortage of opinions and plenty of funny. All I can say is that in the brief time I’ve been a comic book reader I’ve gone from reading all marvel, to about a 50/50 split, to now more DC since I’m probably gonna get all the Blackest Night tie-ins, along with the Bat-books, and Flash (if that one ever picks back up.) Dark Reign is wearing me down. Also, I keep hearing gripes about the coloring in the Marvel books and I tend to agree.

  129. @WonderManFan- You WIN the thread!

    Quoted for TRUTH!:

    "I started listening to ifanboy 2 years ago, and I went back and listened to every episode they ever produced. In my opinion, there has been an anti-Marvel slant to the podcasts lately which has grown little by little over time. Whether it is a comment from Conor about the "downward spiral of creativity at Marvel," the fact that numerous people were interviewed in the first two hour long videos from the Con yet there are ZERO interviews from anyone at Marvel, or the trend of fewer and fewer Marvel books being reviewed on the podcasts each week (with the exception of the past few weeks, when the criticisms started to mount), there has clearly been a slant. It’s kind of sad, because while this trend has continued, I’ve found myself enjoying ifanboy less and less. I know the ifanboys definitely don’t want to appear anti-Marvel, but I’m far from the only person to notice the trend. Thank you for giving this topic a place for it to be discussed. I look forward to enjoying ifanboy again, as much as I did two years ago. Hopefully I will get the chance to."

  130. @josh not iFanboy as a whole.. just Ron and his interesting dislike for Vertigo (which i’ve been interested enough in to never ask questions about it and assume it’s just a weird irrational thing. I’m currently putting Eddie Izzards’ passive research method to use here)

    @rustyautoparts they’ll never get a new park.. but they should.  I am a firm believer in the raze Wrigley method of making things right for the Cub.  and opinions are pretty vital to a podcast.  45 minutes of "How about Green Lantern Corp #39? meh. next." would be absolutely miserable.  Hearing Ron gush over X-Men Forever.. or Josh talk about Fables… or Conor talk about GI Joe is great and makes the show fun.

    I’d love a comprehensive podcast that gives them a chance to touch EVERY book… but i figure they’d all have to live together and run a comic shop for that to happen, so I enjoy what I get and come here for more. Seems like a pretty fair deal.

  131. @WMF How many top flight writers/artists for Marvel were really at SDCC? Bendis wasn’t there. I don’t think Brubaker was there.  According to, the only real notables from the current Marvel side were Epting, Yu and JMS.  It could have been simply a matter of a lack of creators that contributed to the lack of Marvel interviews at SDCC… or it could have been a latent anti-Marvel bent by the iFanboys.

  132. We’re aware of less Marvel writers.  There are a variety of reasons for this, none of which we really feel the need to justify, but mostly it was that the Marvel talent there were mostly people we’d spoken to recently and had nothing that new to go over, or people who didn’t want to talk to us, or schedules that didn’t work out.  It’s not really all that dastardly.

  133. @josh: I just had an image in my head of you standing by the Marvel booth with a sneer on your face as you twirled your mustache. This image was also in black and white. Strange, I must investigate further.

  134. The reality is that we stood by the Marvel booth talking to Jim McCann, a pretty good friend, who heads PR for Marvel, and who loves Marvel above all else, trying to work something out.

    He’s not all that upset though.

  135. Crucio wrote: I’ve never understood this desire to partisan things.
    That remark is surprisingly thought provoking. I really don’t know why either. What I do know is that it’s a large reason for why some complain about what the publisher’s are putting out in the stores. Since the bulk of issues and oneshots may not appease a niche of people (which is always bound to happen) there’s always going to be complaints. It’s often just best to really ignoring such complaints while keeping an ear out for those with actual merit attached.

  136. I believe the only reason Jimski wrote this article is because he is jealous.  Only Marvel Zombies like Jimski can proclaim that all is as it should be.  I love Marvel comics but the stuff they are putting out now is in no way as awesome or buzz worthy like the stuff at DC.  I mean come on we all know you are a Marvel Zombie but don’t try and convince us that their current slate of books is any where near DC’s right now.  Some day soon the momentum will shift but we all know where it currently resides.

  137. @KickAss I wasn’t aware that discussion threads were actually a competition.

  138. @Josh CLEARLY you guys hate Marvel. All that raving you do about Amazing Spider-Man, Nova, Guardians of the Galaxy, War of Kings, Captain Britain, Marvels Project, Old Man Logan, New Avengers, etc, etc, etc? That is an OBVIOUS smokescreen to fool people into thinking you like quality comics, regardless of the publisher. I’m wise to your tricks. 

  139. So what have we learned?

    Secret Invasion = Alfonso Soriano

  140. @ChrisNeseman – Jimski would probably prefer it if we made Secret Invasion = Albert Pujols and Final Crisis = Alfonso Soriano, if I had to guess, but you’ve got the right idea.

  141. The hell with Marvel and DC.  MAYHEM!

  142. I have to say that I’m pretty disappointed that so many people have used this entry as an excuse not to discuss the quality or diversity of Marvel’s titles, but to snipe at the iFanboys, and at anybody else that disagrees with their own personal point of view.

    Not cool, guys. And ultimately pretty off-topic, too.

  143. Just looking at the last four shows (including the abbreviated SDCC show),  here’s been the coverage of books on the podcast:

    18 Marvel books (including 3 PotW’s), 16 DC, 13 Other (including 1 PotW).

    This is just by namechecking and not looking at actual time spent, but it also yields up another interesting nugget: again, the Marvel books that were covered, with the exception of ASM, were mostly non-repeats, while a lot of the DC books were in the Bat-verse or Blackest Night related (there were a couple of Superman nods and a check-in with Wednesday Comics; there were also some Vertigo titles like the Fables books).  Once again, there’s a breadth and depth to the Marvel coverage, while the DC coverage is in a couple of corners.

    Also, in this time frame, there were a couple of dings on DC books; the triumvirate did not like the last Superman issue at all, and Conor and Ron even (*gasp*) discussed maybe dropping their beloved JSA!  Meanwhile, Josh has flipped to issues on ASM to stay up with the story.  

    With the exception of the X-books, I hardly ever hear a negative word about Marvel books on here, whereas DC has had some criticism (Tan’s run on GL and the overall excessive length of "Agent Orange," new creators on JSA).  So, the numbers don’t lie.

  144. All I’ll say is that I like both publishers.  I’m probably considered a "Marvel guy" because I buy predominantly Marvel books.  However, currently I find that I’m enjoying the current DC books I’m reading more and I have been reading my DC books first.  The only DC stuff I’m reading is the GL stuff, Batman stuff, Jonah Hex, The Mighty, and Wednesday Comics.  Marvel has several, SEVERAL great books and eats up more of my wallet every week.  For example, all the Avengers titles, Ironman, Deadpool, Nova, Guardians of the Galaxy, X-Force, Cable, etc. They aren’t in a slump, sales are good and I enjoy their material.  Both publishers are releasing good books.  So I wouldn’t say Marvel is in a slump, but rather DC is out of one. 

  145. This reminds me of the great "Roger Ebert hates MGM" debate of 1989.

  146. I don’t know who turned on the Neseman-signal to get you out of the Neseman-cave, but please never leave.

  147. I’m like a comic book cicada. I come out every 7 years, then I die and leave a husk for you to clean up.

  148. Are we petty and tribal, or what?

  149. That scene in Marvel vs. DC where Aquaman defeats Namor by dropping a whale on him was total bullshit.

  150. @ultimatehoratio – Dentistry is bullshit.  Unless you wear your black lantern ring while performing it.

  151. Whatever the Lantern color for greed is, that’s the one I need to have.

  152. @ultimatehoratio  you and larfleeze can fight over orange.

  153. @Is there a ring for lack of ambition and desire for comfort?

  154. @ultimatehoratio – Yeah, a wedding ring. ZING!

  155. Nice!

  156. @stuclach: LMFAO!!!!
    Anyways all I’m saying is that this so dubbed "slump" is a good thing. Marvel’s got a lot of good stuff going for it. I’m still buying a ton more Marvel books than DC even though I buy Blackest Night (and Blackest Night tie ins), The Flash: Rebirth, and Detective comics. If not in issues certainly in trades since a bulk of what I do not pull on the pulllist I actually wait for to go down in value online.