Team or Player?

A while back on the podcast, before all this video nonsense started up and we were just voices on the internet, we had the conversation about “players vs. teams.” As expressed on episode #64, you’ll know I’m no sports fan, but even the best of us would have a hard time escaping sports analogies where they’re so apropos. The gist of these conversations was really about where your allegiance lies. Are you a diehard Mets fan, or is it just that your favorite player happens to be on that team, and if they got traded, you’d just replace your jerseys?

Now, we’re back to comic books. Conor’s recent post about the shift change on The Immortal Iron Fist, with writers Matt Fraction and Ed Brubaker, as well as infrequent artist David Aja, leaving the title got me thinking about this again. It was suggested by some in the comments that readers should stay on the book, and give the new team a try; that readers who enjoy the character somehow owe it to Danny Rand to stick around and see what happens. This is not the same as suggesting that people should stick around because Duane Swierczynski is a fine writer, and his work should be explored. (By the way, do we really need a writer with a harder name to spell than Straczynski?) This was suggesting that readers who like Iron Fist need to make sure that there is an Iron Fist comic going forward.

Now, is there anything wrong with that?

It really depends on who you talk to. I happen to know two guys who will read their favorite series, regardless of who takes the reins. Conor’s gone so far as to keep buying issues of Batman, and filing them away without reading them, because he didn’t like the creative teams. This is following the team.

This utterly baffles me.

I can’t, for the ever loving life of me, figure out what it is that readers think they owe a fictional character owned by a profit driven corporation. I’m not even suggesting that there’s anything wrong with a profit driven corporation, but as we’re the customer, they work for us. They provide us with a service we enjoy, and we pay them.

Conor’s drive to buy the Batman comics, as well as Ron’s similar unbroken line of X-Men comics aren’t the same as the Iron Fist thing though. With my partners, it’s habit, and I would hazard a slight bit of compulsion. They have all the comics. They don’t want a missing issue in their collection, for posterity sake. I don’t follow that myself, but I understand it.

I also understand having a lifelong affinity for a character, say, for example Hawkeye. A certain reader might love Clint Barton, and pick up every issue they can find him in, regardless of who’s writing it, or how good or bad it is. This is likely a different form of obsession, and it’s really more of a collector mentality.

But with The Immortal Iron Fist, or even The Spirit, other than people who’ve been in love with the characters for years, I just can’t see what anyone thinks we owe them. I read The Spirit because of Darwyn Cooke. I read The Immortal Iron Fist┬ábecause of Brubaker and Aja. Neither of those characters really existed for me before recently. The modern interpretations are the ones I know. The voices writing those series were the reason I showed up, and unfortunately, years of experience have taught me, as a reader, to be weary of creative changes and new writers. Yes, it’s absolutely possible that a new team can come on, and surprise us all, making timeless comics brimming with genius. In my experience however, 90% of the time, new creative teams usually bring a lot of fanfare, and then lead to mediocrity, especially when they’re following really talented creators. This is why it’s always a surprise when a new creative team is good, and makes a book better. I’m thinking of Adam Beechen on Robin specifically. But then, that wasn’t hard, because the book wasn’t anything special to begin with. But on a book you love, and you’re happy with, the creative team exiting is a tough break.

This is because I follow the player. Even when I paid attention to sports when I was younger, I was a Scottie Pippin fan, not a Bulls fan. I enjoy reading Iron Fist in his own title, and in The New Avengers, but no character gets the benefit of the doubt. The pieces have to fit. The creative team has to appeal to me. It’s just how I am. On the other hand, if Ed Brubaker is starting a new title, I try it. If Darwyn Cooke puts out work, I buy that work. But if an Inhumans series was to start next week, I’d take a look at the creative team before I started buying it, and if I didn’t know them, or wasn’t immediately impressed, I’d very likely pass. Apparently, I’m a cynical comic book reader, with impossible standards.

Now, a Bill Willingham Inhumans ongoing? Well, I’m there!

Comments

  1. I’d like to think I’m not cynical, but I probably am. After all, I’m seriously considering whether I’m gonna stay with Checkmate once Rukka’s gone.

    I suppose it comes down to character. If it’s a major title, then someone new may bring something great to it (i.e: Nightwing), but if it’s an artist-owned title then no way (can you imagine another writer taking over Scott Pilgrim???).

    Seems that I’m shallow after all. 

  2. characters often bring along with them certain types of stories, and this can be just as big of a draw. i’m likely to buy the next incarnation of iron fist because i enjoy mystical kung-fu crime fighters, and there just aren’t that many of them out there. and so because i have an affinity for that type of book, an average (or even slightly below average) iron fist book will please me more than books whose stories don’t have a built-in appeal, even if they are done better.

  3. Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    We’re on the same page, Josh.  I follow the player as well.  But that’s just the first issue.  It’s the gateway to the series.  Then it becomes, "do I like this team enough?"  

    I think the ultimate form of following the player is when they switch sports.  Just as there were Michael Jordan fans willing to switch to baseball, so too there are comic readers willing to pick up a novel by Rucka or a dvd with packaging designed by Sean Phillips (you best believe I have "Blast of Silence" sitting in my Amazon cart.)

  4. First, you guys are really rocking the thought-provoking content this week.  It’s awesome; keep it up.

    You put your your argument really well, though I don’t know if I have an honest response based on my personal taste.  The characters I have the most affinity for are ones who have, recently been all over the place (ie, Cyclops, Wolverine, and Iron Man) — and I’m more than happy to ignore the titles where I think they are being written badly because I’ve been able to count on at least a title or two where they’re being written well. Or there’s a character like Renee Montoya, who’s pretty much been one writer (Greg Rucka)’s baby for something like a decade now.  If Joe Blow started writing a Question book, I’d pick it up because I love the character, but I’d probably actually have higher standards for the new team than if I didn’t love the character.  In fact, I wonder how many people have opposite standards for their favorite characters — ie, "I love Iron Fist and so I’ll ONLY buy an Iron Fist book if it’s amazing."

    I guess the closest I come to following ‘the team’ is that I’m still reading ‘Ultimate X-men,’ which has been mediocre-to-bad for quite a while.  That’s not because I’ll read anything X-men, but because it’s the one book that hasn’t killed Jean Grey yet.  But I think that’s more because I’m interested in the Phoenix story as a central piece of Marvel mythology, and I’m interested in seeing variation on the theme, regardless of actually expecting them to be good.  This is on the same lines that I’ll watch just about anything that’s an adaptation of Shakespeare or Austen because of my interest in the original stories. (And I just got from Iron Fist to Jane Austen; I’m awesome!)

  5. I don’t think anybody thinks we owe the characters themselves, but to me it makes no logical sense to assume that a book is going to suck because some fan favorite creative team is leaving.  That assumes that the creative team was so good that the book can never be good again. In the case of Iron Fist, I would venture to say that his fans are going to stick with the title no matter what, or atleast until the book takes an obvious downturn in quality.  But it’s the people who are dropping the book without so much as a sniff of what’s in store that boggle my mind. If one’s been reading this book up to this point, it’s because the creator’s gave a voice to the character that has hit home. The next writer will attempt to do the same thing, and there’s no reason as of yet to think that he won’t accomplish that.  Now if the new writer came aboard and said "I’m gonna give Danny pulsar cannons and have him join the Starjammers", then it’d be a reason to drop it without even a looksie.  I just don’t see how a person can justify buying a book simply because a writer’s name is on it, regardless of the type of book. 

  6. I don’t really take new creative teams into consideration until after the fact.  The best examples of this are the Nightwing and Robin books in comparison to Batman.  While Nightwing and Robin have been a must read, in my opinion, every month for close to a year now, Batman has slowly fallen off a cliff in that same period of time.  I never attributed it to the creative team behind it, but rather the story being told.  Of the top of my head I cannot think of a case in the opposite, where the story being told is able to overcome the creative team in charge of telling it.

  7. "I just don’t see how a person can justify buying a book simply because a writer’s name is on it, regardless of the type of book. "

    Wow.  See, this is my point.  Your viewpoint (while totally valid, btw) is the polar opposite of mine.  To me, a good writer is a good writer, and I always want to see more of his work.

  8. @josh- That’s cool, man. I respect your opinion, also.  And I’ve admittedly followed certain writers around myself at times to mixed results.  That’s what stopped me from doing it. I learned that it’s always best to stick with the books you love, regardless of who’s writing it. That doesn’t mean stick around when the book gets terrible. Creative teams come and go, be they good or bad. I just think that comics are more fun when there are characters you particularly love more than others regardless of who’s handling them, and the constant dropping and picking up of books based on the team hinders that fun a little bit. 

     BTW, Scottie Pippen was always my favorite Chicago Bull, too. When Jordan left, and Pip still led the team to 55 wins nobody could’ve been happier than I was.

  9. @josh- " To me, a good writer is a good writer, and I always want to see more of his work."  Does this mean you’ve read every issue of Brubaker’s Uncanny X-Men run?  Because I know that you believe (as do I) that’s he’s a good (perhaps great?) writer.

    To me, there has to be a balance.  I have some characters or teams I’m inherently interested in.  I have some writers I’m always going to be interested in.  When one of those writers meets one of those characters/teams (eg Brubaker on Cap, Johns on GL), I’m in heaven.  When a writer I don’t know is on a book of characters I like, I’ll check it out– but if the writing sucks, it’ll be hard for me to stay on the book that long.  Likewise, if a writer I love starts on a book with a character I know/care nothing about (Johns starting his Booster Gold run), I’ll check that out– in which case perhaps the write can actually make me start caring for that character (as happened with Booster).

  10. Remember when Grant Morrison left X-Men, and Geoff Johns left Avengers, and both were replaced by Chuck Austen? The guy who insists on buying everything Jack of Hearts and Xorn appear in had to take a hard look in the mirror then.  I was reading both of those books at the time– based solely on the reputations of the writers– and that shift was like a shot to the solar plexus.

    I can’t understand the character-following mentality. If you’ve seen enough of, say, Joss Whedon’s work, you know you like what comes out of his brain so of course you want to see it in whatever outlet is available. But you know for a fact that a character like Wolverine has been written by hundreds of different people and that they have often done a terrible job. You can probably remember entire years of awful reigns of terror on the book. Why, knowing that, would you buy the book blindly and subject yourself to the same roll of the dice again?

    If anything, truly loving a particular character and wanting to follow his/her storyline makes it all the more imperative to drop the book based on the writer. If I had any character I was going to "collect," it would be Spider-Man, and I dropped his book pre-"Brand New Day" because I couldn’t bear to see these hacks torturing my guy anymore. I didn’t drop it even though I like Spidey; I dropped it because I like Spidey.

    At the same time, of course, you don’t want to find yourself in a place where you’re buying, say, Exiles out of some misguided sense of loyalty to 1982’s Chris Claremont. Even loving Ed Brubaker was not enough to really get me onboard with Iron Fist’s mystical mumbo jumbo in the end. 

  11. @shogunt — "Now if the new writer came aboard and said "I’m gonna give Danny pulsar cannons and have him join the Starjammers", then it’d be a reason to drop it without even a looksie."

    It’s probably bad that my reaction was ‘I WOULD TOTALLY BUY THAT BOOK!’, hmm?  Though only if Corsair was still a Starjammer.  Because apparently Chris Summers, Dead-Beat Daddy Space-Pirate, is the exception to ‘there aren’t any characters I’d follow no matter what.’  (Of course, that’s much more manageable with an occasional supporting character than, say, Wolverine). 

  12. I’ll admit the only reason I gave Action Comics a chance recently, Geoff Johns.  I will read almost anything that man writes.  Also as for the Spirit, I gave that book a chance after Darwyn Cooke left, not my fault it was crap.

  13. @Jimski-You’re kinda making my point in one regard.  The BND thing with Spider-Man was a drastic change that practically spit in the face of the character you knew and loved, so it made sense to drop it ahead of time.  But what if BND hadn’t happened, and there was a simple team change that promised more of what made you love the book to begin with? Would you drop it then simply because you don’t recognize the writer?

    @ohcaroline-Come to think of it, I’d probably buy that book, too.  But I’d understand an Iron Fist fan not wanting to buy it.

  14. I usually don’t leave because a creative team leaves.  If the book starts to suck then ya I’ll bolt.  I mean you never know I could rock harder then the last team.  Do I pick up stuff based on creative team?  Yes and No, if I pick up a book its because I wanted to the team is just incentive. 

  15. I’m one of those people who stays on a book even when it’s not that great. I have certain characters that I love and i read them every month. If a ceative team switches, I stay on the book, for a number of reasons. There is the temptation to keep a run going and not have gaps. The collector in m e likes that. (I’m not an obsessive collector, but i do like having streaks of a title uninterrupted.) Also, if I’m not really digging a current creative team, I usually stick around in the hopes that it will get better (maybe somehting clicks and the writer suddenly "gets" the character or somehting.) or I want to be around when it does get better with a new team and not miss it. Let’s say that team A is putting out a Fabulous Frog-Man book that is great. (BEAR WITH ME, PEOPLE!) Team A does the book for 16 issues, then leaves, only to e replaced by team B. Team B sticks around for 8 issues, and those 8 issues are not very good. Then Team C takes the reigns (Bet you didn’t think Frog-man had this kind of staying power, did you?) and they start putting out a GREAT run….but it builds on things that were established in team B’s run. Now, in order to fully enjoy team C’s take, I’d want to be familiar with team B’s run, and if I had kept buying the book, I would be.

  16. I’m generally inclined to give the new creative team a chance, unless it’s someone like Bruce Jones or Daniel Way where I know ahead of time that I can’t stand thier stuff.

     I mean if I was really that big a fan of the previous creative team and they were doing thier job, then by the time they left I should care about the character and what happens next.

     But if I didnt like the new direction I wouldn’t hesitate to drop it after that. I dropped Teen Titans after 50+ issues of reading it, Ive dropped and then picked up and then dropped the Flash with basically every creative change they’ve tried over the last couple years.

  17. @Balefuego-You said what I’ve been trying to say far better than apparently I could’ve in many fewer words. If the team was so good, you shouldn’t want to drop the book just because they left.

  18.   @shogun, what I actually meant was not that Brand New Day made me drop Spider-Man; it was everything before BND. BND is what made me pick it back up. But the fact that I did pick it back up speaks to your point too, because I know next to nothing about the comics of Bob Gale or Zeb Wells but went along with them because of the direction the whole "brain trust" was taking the character.

  19. To clarify, I don’t stick with a book forever just because so and so is writing it.  Like, I read Brubaker’s Uncanny for a few issues, and decided it wasn’t for me.

    But I gave it a chance, which is not something I do with X-Men books that often.

  20. @ jimski

    "I can’t understand the character-following mentality. If you’ve seen enough of, say, Joss Whedon’s work, you know you like what comes out of his brain so of course you want to see it in whatever outlet is available."

    this can be true for books too, regardless of who is writing them. sure, there are variations, but i know that iron fist is going to be using his kung-fu to beat up bad guys. i know the x-men will deal with anti-mutant discrimination and team dynamics between the characters in there. i know batman will use his detective chops, fight his noir-inspired rogue’s gallery, and deal with his obsessive need for justice.

    i think there’s a case to be made that, more or less, you know what you’re in for on a particular title (particularly with long-running titles), and if you like what those stories are, then you’ll keep buying them, even though the quality may vary. j

    ust like joss whedon has a tone and a style, there is a general style to a lot of books, even though it is colored by the current authors.

  21. I DEFINITELY am a player type of guy (bling bling…..god terrible joke).

    If I had just followed comics for the characters, I’d have never touched a Superman or Daredevil book, have bought every batman(even rhaz al ghul CRAP) or hulk book, and would have quit comics as soon as I’d gotten into them.

    For me, getting into comics recently it was like "Wow, Sin City was awesome…..What else did Frank Miller do"(apparently ALOT), and subsequently it really went from there, jumping from creative team to creative team. I love everything Jason Aaron, Ed Brubaker, Warren Ellis, and other great writers do these days with characters, before these writers worked on I could not care about (ex. Ghost Rider…. Love that book!!).

    Btw: 2.99+ is too much for me to buy comics I’d just be filing away, thats nuts lol!!!!! 

  22. I won’t write too much here, just wanna say I’m in the same boat as Josh. Comics are more then just the characters, its the people that write and draw them that give them life, and thats what makes them good or bad.

  23. For me, it all depends. I’ll read an Iron Fist book because Brubaker and Faction are writing it, but I’ll read (yes, read) a Spider-Man book because Spider-Man is in it. Until the day either of us dies, I’ll pick up anything Bendis does because, way, way more often than not, he can write the hell out of a book.

    But for the ‘team’ analogy, who exactly instilled that love of the character in you? It was those creators who you eventually follow anywhere. It’s like one depends on the other – the character wouldn’t be as good in those runs if the creators weren’t inspired by what had come with the character previously. Then there’s the quesiton of can a good creator be ruined by the wrong choice of characters (Brubaker’s X-Men, although it is getting better), or can characters overcome a bad choice of creators (Azzerello’s Superman)? 

  24. I don’t think there’s any right or wrong ways to collect comics–there is just collecting comics. I, for one, have enjoyed the recent run of Iron Fist and, while I lament the departure of the current creative team, I have enjoyed the book enough that I’m willing to give the new team a chance to run with the ball they’ve been handed. They have a decent back story to work with, and because I’ve enjoyed the character thus far, I’m not going to write off the new creative team sight-unseen.

    That being said, if the new creative team disappoints, then I’ll drop the book. I won’t keep collecting it just because I have been. (The only books I do that for are the Superman and Batman books, where even if the stories become utterly miserable, I’m not apt to drop them.)

    Now, do I follow creators? You betcha. I follow BKV, Brubaker, Johns, Millar, Hickman, Bendis (to a degree), and Brian Wood. If they’re writing a creator-owned book or jumping onto an established character, I will automatically pick up the first issue and, even if I don’t like the first issue, I will likely pick up the second. But if they don’t win me over by the second issue, then I’ll drop that book as well.

    Basically, I like good storytelling–character or writer be damned.

  25. @JustWill – Couldn’t of said it better myself!

  26. For me it boils down to a love for certain characters and concepts.  I’ll always buy Fantastic Four and Legion of Superheroes, even when the creative team isn’t so good, because of my connection to the characters.  I guess I’d rather read a bad LSH story than no LSH story at all.  Of course I’m lucky enough right now to have enough of a budget where I can afford to do that.  That hasn’t always been the case.

  27. For me, it’s certainly not an either/or question.

    We follow writers because we like the product they create. They serve as their own brand name, and we learn that this name means quality.

    However, most of us do not only read authors. Subjects and concepts pique our interests as well. Some of us gravitate towards genres, be they horror or sci-fi or crime. Some of us gravitate towards stories steeped in mythology because that lore appeals to us.

    Following a character is no different than this. The concept of The Question, for example, intrigues me. So much so that I would give any new Question series a chance. However, if the writer can’t execute the concept in the way that excites me — well, that’s nothing more than an empty promise and not worth the purchase price.

    Similarly, what happens if Ed Brubaker announces he is going to write a romance comic? For many, the romance genre holds no interest. However, the Brubaker brand stands for quality craftsmanship. But is a quality romance going to hold your interest? Perhaps you’ll read an issue because of the Brubaker name, and find that — hey, Brubaker can make you like romance comics! Perhaps not.

    That’s how I approach a creative team change. I do think it’s silly to buy a book that you won’t read because you love a character. However, I also think it’s unfair to dimish the importance of the concept (and by extension the character) when you decide what entertains you.

    Does Batman appeal to you? Does the concept excite you? Then by all means, give the new writer the chance! Do you like the Iron First mythology mapped out by Brubaker and Fraction? Then why not give the new guy a chance to show you how he plans to utilize the blueprint he’s been given.

    The only wrong choice here is to buy something that doesn’t entertain you or give you your money’s worth.

  28. Josh, you were "a Scottie Pippin fan, not a Bulls fan"? Are you freakin’ serious? I stopped reading after that.

  29. Yeah, that was kinda lame, Josh.

  30. Well, there’s a reason I don’t watch sports anymore.  I sucked at WATCHING sports.

  31. LOL I didn’t know you could suck at watching sports.  Do you sit in your couch upside down or something?

  32. I tend to give new creative teams a try on a book I’m enjoying.  I just don’t think it’s fair to discount a new team because they aren’t "so and so."  Using Scottie Pippin as an example, if he got hurt, one would undoubtedly stop watching Bulls basketball, which really isn’t fair considering the other players on the team were good too.  A story and character can still be good even if the star creators are moving on.  If this wasn’t the case, many of the characters we read today wouldn’t be around.  They stayed around because people were always willing scope out new creative teams.  Now, if a creative team sucks, then yeah, it’s dropped like a bad habit.  But when you think about all the hard work a new creator may put into his/her first issue after following a great crew, it kind of sucks to not acknowledge that without at least giving it a try. 

    The only title where I really didn’t follow this train of thought was with The Flash.  Even though a new creative team was on, I was trying to save money and just couldn’t give them a fair shake.  I feel a little guilty about it, but my pocketbook smiles at me now.  So, there’s that.

  33. @ Conor~  But that’s my point!  In my mind, watching a game solely for one player and dismissing everything else doesn’t make sense.  The other players on the team are working just as hard and often playing just as good basketball that to completely ignore them wouldn’t be fair because their additions to the team model are just as valid as Scottie Pippin’s.  And the bench player that replaces him on the team may do just as well. 

    Apply this mentality to a comic:  Creating is a team process.  If one part of that team leaves (say the writer), then it’s some what silly to say that, "Oh, now this team is going to be bad."  The replacement could be just as good (and had to do something to be put in that position), so in turn, it’s not fair to ultimately judge them without giving them a fair shot.

    …and in re-reading this, who knew Josh’s basketball metaphor would be so talked about.  I don’t think I’ve thought about Scottie Pippin this much since like 1994.

    Basically, I understand Josh’s mentality, but I just don’t get it.  But I enjoy looking at different takes on specific characters regardless of the writer, so I’m in the zone that doesn’t make sense to him.

  34. I understand both arguements to a point.  I mean I’m willing to give the next creative team on a book a try.  At the same time some creative teams have opened up how much of a zealot I can be on a book, for example Grant Morrison on Batman or the new run on Robin.  I stopped an looked at my boxes and realized I had issues that I got and never read as Josh mentioned.

    So I know what it’s like to not stick around because of a team and just the character.  I also have been known to follow teams.  I also understand the Scottie Pippen example and oddly leads to a deeper discussion that I’ve heard how sports has changed from following a team to a player, it’s apparently common now.  Where as back in the day when Larry Bird was on the Celtics people didn’t just watch it for him they watched it for the team.

    It goes back to everyone’s taste.  Taste doesn’t have to make sense or be fair to you, only that person.

  35. What I do is continue with the book for a few more issues to give the new creators a chance. It’s always good to check out new creators and I think this is a good way of doing it. Especially if you find out later that it ends up being a good run, now you have to go back and track down the issues you missed. I feel that within just 2 or 3 issues you can tell pretty easily whether you like the creators on the book or not. My thesis:

    2 issues is 6 bucks. It’s worth the 6 bucks to try out some new creators. If you already know you don’t like the new creators from past work, then of course, don’t spend the cash. 

  36. If you’re watching a game solely for one player and he’s not playing it’s not "fair" to not watch the game? How does that work?

  37. ive been burned by both ways.  On one hand ive been buying xmen and uncanny xmen every month for the past ten years, which we all know hasnt always been that great… but i bought it anyway.

    however.. ive taken the josh way out with daredevil. when bendis and maleev left i dropped it.. and now ive been catching up in the trades, with brubakers run,  and i think its just as good if not better than bendis.. so i just dont know.

  38. Well, I do have loyalty to certain books, like Conor I have an unbroken run of the Batman books that runs about 20 years now … but I read every single one I buy, even if the creative team wasn’t my favourite — I read them.

    So, I partly agree with being loyal to a book/title/character … but to buy a comic and not read it is like buying a beer & not drinking it.

  39. so if bendis = scottie pippen, does ed brubaker = toni kukoc? anyone?

  40. I’m pretty sure Bendis is Jordan, Brubaker is Pippin, and Matt Fraction is Kukoc.

    And Dan Slott is Horace Grant.

  41. Ugh, does that mean Mark Millar is BJ Armstrong? Or worse yet, Bill Cartwright?

  42. It’s true that there is no wrong or right way to collect comics.  It’s all what you feel like doing.

    However, the idea of "following the player" is something most people are used to.  You might read everything by Stephen King.  If someone writes a sequel to a Stephen King book, you may not buy it… because it’s not King.  And sometimes his books aren’t good, but you give them a shot anyways, because he has a track record that you enjoy.

    At the same time, people give new authors a chance all the time. You might pick up a book and it has a great premise, you think "maybe this is the new Stephen King."  

    I personally think comics should be "author-driven" like this.  I have a friend who I recommended Watchmen to.  He’d never read a comic before, but enjoyed it, so he wanted to read more Alan Moore.  He went to Barnes & Noble and couldn’t find any of his books because they are organized by title instead of by autho, even though every other section is by author (except maybe biographies?)

    I think new readers gravitate to following authors more than characters and I think publishers & retailers should be more sensitive to this.   At the very least, with the independent books.

  43. Wouldn’t it be cynical to find the whole argument a disenfranchisement of enjoyment?
    Sure. These days it’s ‘cool’ or "cynical" to follow writers around, but eventually I think it’s inevitable self awareness  catches up and gives the notorious X-fans a little payback. Particularly given the swell of this phenomenon in relation to regular readers who, despite popular reports, have only come into the fanbase over the past ten-fifteen years.

    Today’s Bendis diehards become tomorrow’s little bitches who wake up one day and realise they get the shakes any time they think about clearing out some of the slow moving, silly retro bullshit everybody makes fun of them for.

    But, y’know… There’s no shame in a cupboard full of Hawkman.
    Hawkman rocks!!! Thanagar like a mofo, yous Rann bitches!!! Whoooooooooo!!!

  44. I am inconsistent in my team/player stuff.  Mostly, if I like a character, I’ll buy it unless it’s gotten really bad.  If I like a writer, I’ll probably buy new books that had previously ben uninteresting to me.  This was the case with Iron Man, but now, before thw creative team is even leaving, I am done with that book.  This may be because it was more Fraction than Brubaker or that Brubaker is writing too many titles, but either way I’m done.

     Here’s a point that occured to me reading these posts.  Amazing Spider-Man is one of the books that I will almost always buy.  Part of this is that I love the character and his supporting characters.  To someone who doesn’t care much for the character but likes a good story, these stories have a different weight.  It is like going to a little league game where I know one of the 10 year olds.  I love baseball, but couldn’t care less about a random error filled little league game.  But if I know and care about one of the players, the bad doesn’t seem as bad as it would to someone who is just walking by.  Does that make sense to anyone?

  45. My question is… How, if not by famous characters (Marketing brands) do you get to really know names.

    I first read Rucka’s Batman than Rucka’s Queen and Country? Because I used to buy batman regularly

    I would’ve never met Morrison if it wasn’t for arkham Asylum or the JLA (the known characters).

    I’m sure I would’ve never read the invisibles if I hadn’t read those famous character based runs first.

    That was when I was younger and didn’t belong into any comic community, now I rely more on recommendations, but for a time (and I think this applies to people who are not active internet comic book readers)  I think the character is the vehicle that allows people to know and get hooked on the writer… 

    That said… I dropped The Spirit (even though I respect Aragones’ work), I dropped Ultimates, I dropped Runaways.

     

  46. I think nowadays I have to side with Josh that I’m about the player over the team but that wasn’t always the case.  Before the internet I was all about the team, mainly because I was young and creators didn’t matter as much as watching Spidy kick someone in the face and mainly because there was no hype machine in place forewarning that there was going to be a creative team change to begin with.  With no message boards, no Wizard, and no ability to get online and say "this sucks!" ten minutes after you’ve read it to warn off others with similar tastes all I had was a pocketful of quarters and crossed fingers.  After being burned many, many times since then and, honestly, how expensive the price of the books are now, I’m more drawn to the creators than the characters just out of caution moreso than anything else.  Of course that said there’s some characters I’ll pick up no matter what just because there was a time when they were so much fun for me *cough* TITANS*cough* but for the most part, if there’s a regime change I’ll back off for that first month and see how it plays out before jumping back on. 

  47. Nah. Brand loyalty is completely stupid. It should be done away. Quality is the only thing anyone should be interested in. Follow the guys who put out quality work, rather that work concerns a blind lawyer or liberal bowman is irrelevant.

  48. I think that I’m like a lot of people, in that I’m something of a mix. I’ll usually give anything at least a shot if I love the character enough (Kyle Rayner, Clint Barton, Bart Allen, etc.), but if the book doesn’t have the juice, then it’s gone pretty quick.

    Dunno if anyone else has this quirk, but I never "drop" a book because it’s bad, I just forget that it exists. If I don’t immediately care about the writing or the characters, I’ll just breeze right by it in the store. 

  49. I’m kind of both when it comes to comics and sports.  I live in Pittsburgh and will ALWAYS be a Penguins fan.  However, my favorite player is the Vancouver Canucks Trevor Linden.  This year, he wasn’t playing in every game and I found myself not really caring to watch the Canucks games when he wasn’t playing.  So in that sense, I was really a player fan.  I didn’t care about the rest of the team when he wasn’t playing.

    But in comics, my favorite character is Superman.  And I will always buy Superman and Action no matter who is writing him.  So in that sense, I guess Supes is like my hometown team.  I will love him no matter who’s playing for him.