What’s Wrong With You? Brand Loyalty

Do you know what I hear all the time?

“I’m a DC guy, and never read any Marvel.”

or

“I’m a Marvel zombie, and don’t buy DC.”

Statements like these drive me entirely nuts. For one thing, there are more than two publishers. There are dozens. Hundreds maybe. Between DC and Marvel, there is almost no difference. The people who work at those companies in creative positions are the same people, and many have done work for both companies. That’s because there’s really only a handful of jobs where you can make a living with in the comics industry and most of them are between Marvel and DC. Editors, writers, artists, and others jump ship when they’re able, or smartly navigate between the two, making sure to keep all their eggs out of one basket. In the end, the minds are the same. The goal is the same.

The only (marginal) difference is the characters. And I can understand wanting to follow the exploits of a character you’ve been following for a long time. I mean, I don’t do it, but I get it. As far as I’m concerned, they’re always there, and if it’s not good for a little while, you stop, then, later when it’s supposed to be better, you go back. I work with a guy, let’s call him Connor, and he buys every issue of a comic, let’s fall it Fatman, and no matter who is writing and drawing it, even if it’s terrible, and has been for a really long time. Some of them just go right into the box. That should get an A&E crew out to your place immediately. But even that level of devotion to a character doesn’t stop him from reading other stuff. But it’s brand loyalty. It’s habit. I suppose it’s like sports (which I don’t necessarily understand either, but accept), where you go to the games, or wear the jersey even though this year’s version of the team all seem like blind mongoloids on a the playing field. Worse though would be doing this, because you supposedly enjoy comics, but never ever coming out of your comfort zone to take the chance that you might like something else, and that that something else might be something better

I’m talking about always going to the same restaurant every time, and always ordering the same thing. It might be the best plain hamburger in the world, but good lord, when did the fear of a bad taste in your mouth outweigh the joy of a wonderful new flavor? Because that’s what we’re talking about here. We’re talking about fear. It’s the fear of wasting time or energy or money, and these are reasonable fears. But there’s a tipping point where fear turns into habit, and eventually you’ve shut off avenues of pleasure.

This is not the same thing as knowing you don’t like something and then not doing that thing. There are writers and artists working in comics, and I don’t like them, so I don’t buy their books. But to apply that to an entire company is nuts. None of the publishers are actually skilled enough to streamline their books so that they’re all basically the same. They used to do that, but Jack Kirby is long dead, and Stan Lee is making a lot of development deals with major sports leagues. There is variety, and in variety there is pleasure.

So get out there. Start slow if you must, but if you’re one of those folks who only do one thing, please do another thing. Especially if you’re not really digging that one thing. Are you totally pissed off about DC Rebooting (which is another problem altogether)? Don’t walk away from the comic shop. Go read something else. If the farthest you want to venture is just that other superhero company? Fine, it’s a start. But when you find something you like, remember that feeling, and roll around in your melon what else might be out there. You could blow your own mind.

Note: I’m going to ignore the politics of “creator owned” vs. “corporate comics” as well. That’s a political stance, to an extent, and it doesn’t have much to do with entertainment. I’m talking about entertainment. That is another conversation, and we will have it.

Finally, don’t even start with that “I don’t know where to start” crap. The other day I got an email asking where to start with the DC Reboot. Listen dude, I can’t help you. If you need that level of handholding, this isn’t going to be a fun entertainment outlet for you. Just look for something that sounds interesting. We talk about good books from every publisher every week on our podcast. You know what they are. You know it’s time to jump, and you know you’ll appreciate it later.

Make your world just a little smaller. Surprise yourself, and hedge your comic book bets, just in case that one company you read from enters an endless spiral of event comics that don’t seem to make any damn sense at all, but there’s a banner on every title, and you’re stuck with it. That’s a real thing. It happens. It’s happening right now. Give yourself options and variety, all while helping keep your comic shop in business. Everyone wins.

Comments

  1. For years I’ve primarily read DC books, not out of loyalty, but because their stories have engaged me more than Marvel’s. I try Marvel’s events and an occasional ongoing, but they never seem to grab me. I’ve been hunting for something from Marvel to latch on to. Therefore, I just ordered The Astonishing X-men Omnibus from thwipster because they have it for half price. I think I read the first trade years ago and enjoyed it. I hope it hooks me.

    • Thanks for the tip! I was just wishing that Astonishing Omnibus was priced reasonably, and now it will be mine!

      I also lean much closer to Marvel than DC. I grew up on the DCAU so I have a close connection to those characters. I love a lot of the writers, artists, and characters at Marvel as well, but I’m currently not buying any monthly titles. Between the double shipping, $3.99 pricepoint, and titles I like suddenly expanding into separate titles (Thor and Journey into Myster, FF and Fantastic Four), I just can’t handle the commitment. Throw in that I feel the marketing department at the company is run by less than pleasant fellows, I just can’t justify buying any Marvel titles monthly. I’ll tradewait series that I love and save a few pennies.

      Indies, though? I’d die if I couldn’t read stuff like Savage Dragon, Rachel Rising, and Sergio Aragones Funnies.

    • *closer to DC than Marvel.

  2. While I read both (I’ve been heavily Marvel lately, though the new 52 is working in getting me to re-try a lot of titles I used to read), I think there’s one good argument to focus.

    If you have a limited budget, and acknowledge that your goal is not to buy everything that’s great, but instead fill out your budget with a subset of that, focusing on one universe has some payoffs. You’re more likely to get character interaction, crossovers, and a larger sense of continuity. Especially in these days of Events – you can get large chunks of Fear Itself, or bits and pieces of both that and Flashpoint. I think, if I could only buy 10 comics a month, I’d go all Marvel. (Well, 9 Marvel and Fables. Or 8 and add in Usagi Yojimbo. See, I’m no good at this game.)

    If you aren’t seriously financially constrained and want to read everything that you’d love, though, your point is well taken – there’s good stuff out there beyond your company, go find it!

    I think your restaurant analogy is terrible, though. I only eat 3 meals a day, and I eat out for a small portion of them. If I try something I may or may not like, I forgo the thing I know I love, which is often not what I want to do. Other people value variety in food a lot more than I do. Comics are nothing like this – trying Stormwatch doesn’t have to affect whether I still read Uncanny X-Men.

  3. Really digging this “What’s Wrong With You?” thing you got going, I hope it’s semi-regular!

    Not sure I could agree with anything in this article more. It’s possible that this brand loyalty of sticking only to DC/Marvel contributes greatly to the mainstream perception of comics, that they are all superhero based. More branching out couldn’t hurt getting new readers. So, um, yeah. Variety is good.

  4. Also, in case I was not clear enough, there are more than 2 companies.

    • the only caveat i’d say to that, is upon visiting a lot of comic shops..especially the ones not located in major cities, you sometimes think there are only 2 companies.

      Its tough to gain momentum for smaller stuff, if its not on the shelf to discover. Can’t tell you how many times you guys talk about an image book or something on the show, and i can’t find it anywhere. I’m hoping digital solves that problem for me.

    • @wallythegreenmonster – Too true. A visit to my shop by a layperson would certainly give the impression that there are very few publishers.

    • This is another problem.

    • i’m always shocked how “inside of the box” indie publishers are thinking in terms of getting their books into the hands of people and retailers. They’ll never prosper if they play the game the same as the big 2.

      A little non traditional sales and marketing strategies for 2nd and 3rd tier publishers would do a lot.

    • That’s one of the things I like about Graphic.ly. It seems to be overflowing with indie stuff. I’m not interested in some of it, but when I am it is very nice to have a realistic way to access it.

    • @stuclach–i have been dabbling more over there myself for some of those same reasons. There is so much diversity that its a different type of jungle to navigate.

  5. I never had brand loyalty between the big two, but it took me a few months of reading comics before I ever looked at another publisher.

  6. I was mostly a DC guy for a long time, mostly due to Batman and Superman. Even though i read Marvel as a kid, they weren’t as appealing to me. Then about 8 months ago i got really bored reading the same universe, so i tried some Spiderman, Fantastic Four, X men…..couldn’t be happier. Having not read the stuff in like 15 years gave me a refreshed view on the characters. I’ve also started venturing out into smaller press stuff like Image, Darkhorse etc, and when its possible to actually find those titles, i’ve enjoyed them. I think my tastes are pretty diverse now, and my stacks really aren’t dominated by any one publisher anymore.

    There are more comics out there that seem interesting to me that i could ever afford to buy or have the time to read. I dip into different things when my moods change…it mixes things up and keeps it fun.

  7. This article deserves a slow clap. Really great. I remeber when I first got into comics was strictly a DC person. I had nothing against Marvel, I just liked DC more. You guys helped me get into Marvel with Runaways, and now I’m reading a lot more Marvel, like Ultimate Spider-Man, and thunderbolts. The one thing that really bothers me is when people are strictly tied to one company, and constantly bash the other. I just don’t get it. These people could defiuntley learn something from reading this article.

  8. Also as far as the DC 52 thing is concerned….man that is an overwhelming list of titles. What i want to try, and what i actually have time to read and spend money on are two polar opposites. Its so overwhelming, part of me wants to just skip it all.

    • I agree. There are a lot of titles in the new 52. My budget only allows me to get a certain number of them. I guess it’s just a pick and choose thing where you find the ones that look interesting enough to be worth the money. I know that I will be skipping out on a lot of these titles that look promising. Hopefully I will be able to jump on later though.

  9. Much like @stuclach I don’t necessarily have a “brand loyalty” but I do mostly read DC because I love the stories they tell. I’ve read Marvel stuff that I’ve enjoyed and I do read a few indie books. But 9 times out of 10 when given the choice between a DC book I’ve never read and any other publisher’s book I’ve never read, I’ll grab the DC one because I know I have a greater chance of liking it.

  10. Okay…there’s nothing wrong with anything here. Many good points are made. But who are you talking to, exactly? Do you honestly believe that the people who are only buying comics from one company do so because they are UNAWARE of the existence of anything beyond the big two? Let me repeat: You make excellent points. But the people who eat at the same restaurant every day do so because that’s what they WANT. They want familiar. They want comfortable. They want the KNOWN, not the unknown. Maybe they’re adventureous in other areas of their life, maybe they’re just all-around boring…who knows? But a well-reasoned argument won’t change them.

  11. I feel ya, Josh.
    I do not let a brand/publisher stop me from trying out new comics. There are so many good comics out there from publishers OTHER than DC or Marvel, and I think people should step out of their comfort zone and give them a try. Like Josh said, it won’t kill you to buy an issue or two of a comic you have never seen before. Chances are, it might be something awesome that you can’t exactly find at DC or Marvel.

  12. Hi all – as creator of the new series RUNE KEEPERS: REMNANTS this is definitely an issue that affects us (some people not being willing to try something they dont know anything about).

    If the issue is cost, or maybe there are others that say they wont pay for a digital comic cause they like print comics – I’d like to remove these excuses for 10 people right now. We are going to give away 10 FREE digital copies of RUNE KEEPERS: REMNANTS #1 for individuals at least being willing to try something new. They will go to the first 10 people that send us a request at the link below: (dont forget to include your email address because thats how we send you the invitation to read it)

    http://www.3dwarp.com/contact.php

    Once you get it and read it, just come back on here and let us know what you think. Maybe you will like it and tell people yea they should give new comics a try now and then, or maybe you wont like it and you can tell us what you didnt like about it.

    What do you guys think?

  13. Great article, I myself are guilty of only reading majority of marvel books just because spiderman got me into reading comics in the first place 17 years ago and kind of stuck around in that world . Started reading again after an 11 year hiatus 2 months ago and am fully on board for the new dc launch and am going to be grabbing 10 titles to try out. The worst part about all this is despite loving everything to do with Batman I rarely have read any of his comics except a couple of graphic novels I recently bought. It’s just weird and really makes me think about growth of the material I read in order to enjoy comics more

  14. It’s easy to fall into the Marvel/DC rut. They offer a lot of product with familiar characters, while the rest of the store is filled with the unfamiliar. It’s like being in a foreign country where the food sucks and then in the distance you see the promising yellow glow of a McDonald’s sign. The Big Mac didn’t suddenly taste better, it’s just that you know exactly what you’re getting when you order.

    Luckily, between this podcast, and others, especially Eleven O’Clock Comics, I get a lot of recommendations on what’s out there. I still read a ton from the big two, but they don’t completely control my comic buying dollar either.

    • I agree completely. Since listening to some of the better comics podcasts I have tried books I probably never would have tried before and really enjoyed the vast majority of them (Thanks Guys). They have also got me to pay more attention to the creative team rather than the title character.

  15. I read only DC; partly because I grew up with the characters, partly because Marvel gave me manditory crossover fatigue. But mostly it has nothing to do with that and everything to do with my budget. It’s cheaper for me to get DC than Marvel. I’m not opposed to Marvel, I love their characters and I think Stan Lee is the most brilliant comic book figure besides Jack Kirby but it’s too expensive and the latest storylines have turned me off. I still love the movies and read tradebacks though.

  16. I read Batman stuff, Green Lantern and Ultimate Marvel with a dash of Power Girl and Secret Six.

    Ultimate Marvel I’ll be dropping and putting that 8 or 10 bucks into some new 52 stuff, at which point everything will be DC, 4 Green Lantern books, 9 Bat books, Deathstroke, All Star Western, Sgt. Rock, Hawk/Dove, JL Dark, Hawkman, Frankenstein, Swamp Thing and Resurrection Man. So that’s $66 assuming they’re all 3 bucks, which they may not be. If they are Ill add Blackhawks, Stormwatch and Suicide Squad. That gets me close to my $80 alotment per month

    Anything that catches my interest outside of DC like Invincible, Walking Dead and Hellboy is trade bait for Christmas and birthdays from the family.

  17. I’ve only ever jokingly referred to myself as a “DC guy” because that’s what I read most of, probably because that’s where I started reading comics. However, I’d go mad if I was confined to any one publisher. Can you imagine only watching one TV channel?

  18. Fun article. I have no strict brand loyalty. In fact, my reading stack has moved from one brand to the other over the years based upon the quality of the product. Now I have my must buys like Batman, Cap, etc. But I’ll drop and move in a heartbeat if the quality is better elsewhere.

    Hold on to your hat…Very nice article Josh! 🙂

  19. My Sega Genesis is better than your Nintendo.

  20. Out of my group of friends, I’m the “Marvel guy”, and my friend Kevin is the “DC guy”. I still buy plenty of DC books though, and some other stuff that just looks interesting or silly. (Super Dinosaur!? Science Dog!? SURE!) Kevin though, at least until I got my hands on his pulls fone week, was DEAD SET on DC only, saying Marvel has no character depth, lousy stories, so on and so forth, even though he just got into comics a month or two ago, STONE ASS COLD. The guy is one of my best friends, that’s for damn sure, but he’s just like that. Makes his decision, sometimes completely arbitrarily, and sticks by it. So I snuck Daredevil #1 into his stack one week, he loved it and picked up #2. Same with Captain America. He then asked my recommendation on “one Marvel book” and I told him New Avengers, gave him my reasoning, and handed him #1. He loved that too. Yet, he still says Fear Itself sucks “Because it’s Marvel”, instead of just because Fear Itself sucks. (Matt Fraction, if you read this, I am sorry but it’s true. I love Mighty Thor though!)

    For me, I do indeed love me some Marvel. Their characters grip me more, particularly their street level characters. Their writers engage me more, and Jason Aaron has gotten me to pick up a book about a team I haven’t given a crap about in nearly 15 years. I am loving X-Men: Schism. I couldn’t care less about most of DC’s characters. They generally don’t interest me in the slightest, but there are a few exceptions, and I’ll give something a shot if I hear enough good stuff about it. At the end of the day, I just want a cool story. Whether it’s Marvel or DC, I don’t care, but I’ll take Iron Fist over Flash in a second. Marvel’s Architects are almost always hits for me, while I know I’ll be in the minority here, Geoff Johns is almost always a miss.

    At any rate, the whole thing is cyclical. Marvel may be kicking ass for a while, while DC is slumping, but who knows where we’ll be this time next year. I friggin’ loved DC during the Identity Crisis/52/Infinite Crisis era. They were firing on all cylinders for me.

  21. I never understood the whole “I only read Marvel/DC” thing. It just makes no sense to me. Not all marvel comics are the same. not all DC comics are the same. I just don’t get why people would do that.

    You wouldn’t say “I ONLY watch ABC! NBC, CBS and FOX can suck it!”

    “You wouldn’t say “I ONLY watch movies from Universal! Fox, Miramax, Paramount, NOT FOR ME!”

    You wouldn’t say “I ONLY listen to music put out by Sony! If you sign with Arista or Atlantic, I will hit mute!”

    So why are comics any different? I can definitely see having a preference based on characters. maybe you love the X-Men Universe, so you would obviously prefer Marvel, but that doesn’t mean DC wouldn’t have something you would like. If you are a huge Superman fan, you could still enjoy a comic from Marvel.

    I just can’t wrap my head around it.

  22. Do people actually do this? I really hope not, but I fear they may.

    If you go to a new city or town or country the best way to find stuff is to wander around and go to a place that looks cool, not go to McDonalds.?

    • For most people who read comics, this ISN’T a new city or town or country. They’ve lived here for years, and know what they like.

    • @skipspacer
      But what is it they like? The basic tenets of a character? Because every few years (hell, even months) the creative teams change on any given title. That’s when it makes sense to stop being loyal to the brand because at that point, to quote Seinfeld, “you’re just rooting for laundry”. The basic structure of the town or city or country is the same, but it constantly has a new government which changes how the town feels and operates. I know what I like too, but sometimes the book I’ve been buying for a while changes to the point of not liking it, so why should I keep buying it just because it has the same title on the front?

    • I mean half the books at Marvel don’t even have the same title or characters… Incredible Hulks, Captain America & Bucky, Black Panther, The Man Without Fear etc. I wonder if there is someone out there who likes Daredevil but refuses to pick up the new book and is waiting out the Black Panther name change numbering? 😛

      I’m not really sure what the point is here but it would be very silly.

    • I think most of us here just like comics in gereal. As an art form. As a medium for telling all sorts of stories. So we’re open to reading all types of things. But I imagine there’s a segment of the readership who just like a particular character or universe, possibly just as a nostalgic thing, and that’s all the really want or need from comics – to stay connected with that world, probably as the entertainment equivalent to comfort food. Spider-Man is like that for me, I think. Amazing Spider-Man is the first comic book I read (after Star Wars), when I was a kid back in the 70’s (take that, newbies!), and I’ll probably always read it. Spider-Man is such a tiny, relatively unimportant part of my overall comic reading, but it has a place in my heart that lots of other stuff doesn’t. So if there are folks out there who just want to read their JLA and Superman, or their Hulk books, or whatever it is that moves them, and they have no real interest in all the other stuff that’s out there…that’s okay with me. Sure, they’re missing out on other great stuff, but at least they’re buying and reading SOMETHING.

    • That first sentence is supposed to read “in general”, not “gereal”. And later, there’s a “the” where there should be a “they”. The sad part is a proofread it before hitting submit.

    • “I” proofread, not “a”. FUCK.

  23. First of all, so glad this is an ongoing column. It feels like Ol’ Man Flanagan yellin’ at us from the porch!

    Second of all, I absolutely agree that fear shouldn’t stop you from branching out and trying new things. On the other hand, the ratio of genius to crap out in the great publishing unknown is pretty damn lopsided. Combine that with the comparatively low coverage of such works, and the lack of characters with whom you have an emotional connection, and you’re gonna end up choking down a lotta Arby’s before you get to Moosewood.

    Third of all, I think that brand loyalty is but one contributing factor to the lack of diversity in most folk’s pull lists. Perhaps Genre Loyalty may have something to do with it as well. Just as Marvel Zombies talk smack against the DC Guys (and vise verse), so too do readers of Superhero Comics ONLY against the hipster set who enjoy comics with glossaries (and vise versa). Let us tear down these barbed-wire fences of hate that divide us.

    Finally, why do Marvel fans get a totally sweet nickname and DC fans are just “guys?” we need a new name for DC’s readership. Well, the company uses the term DC Nation all the time… How about the DC Nationals? That sounds like a group of winners!

  24. In the case of Marvel and DC, it’s certainly true that the talents involved cross from one to another almost willy-nilly. I will say, for the purpose of playing devil’s advocate, that the “architects” that have a supervisory role over the direction of each universe can be a different matter.

    Geoff Johns is not my cup of tea. He is whatever the opposite of a cup of tea is. A funnel full of sand. Whatever. Point being: you can try to diversify your reading habits with some DC comics, but if you don’t love you the colorless continuity accounting of Geoff Johns, you may be in a bad way. You’re gonna be reading some books that exist only to reconcile plotlines you never heard about in the first place.

    BUT: 1) I am describing a condition of the DC Universe that won’t exist after next week 2) even with this, I still had Detective and Jonah Hex and Power Girl and Cornell’s year on Action Comics and on and on. There is something in every line for someone, whether it’s in the corners or the spotlight.

    I’m a lousy devil’s advocate. But Josh is just so right about this, I can’t compete.

    • Good article and this is a good additional point. I’m in the opposite boat where I’m currently overall down on Marvel but up on DC because of the creators and general direction. I’ve soured on Bendis’ writing to the point where I just stopped trying his books because I know I won’t like them. That cuts out a big core piece of Marvel right there. Marvel’s lynchpin stories haven’t grabbed my attention for the last couple years either. But I still can find plenty Marvel books to enjoy. Remender’s X-Force, David’s X-Factor, anything Jeff Parker does, recently Waid’s Daredevil, and previously the cosmic stuff all come to mind.

    • Similarly, if you’re not into the current Civil Warring, Invasioning, or Dark Reigning going on at Marvel, you’re SOL for the next half year or however long the current ALL NEW exciting status quo(!) is going on. On the whole I’ve found that the Marvel U is a lot more interconnected than DC’s, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Whatever’s going on at The House of Ideas is going on in almost their ENTIRE LINE. If you like whatever current theme they’ve got going, awesome! But if you don’t really care how differently your favorite characters act when given a giant hammer? All you have to do is wait six months to a year and hope that you like their next Dark Age/Heroic Reign/whatever.

      As mentioned above by Jimski, there is also an “architect problem” going on at the other company, but Its less pronounced. Don’t like Flashpoint? Its currently affecting the storyline of… almost none of your current ongoings. Don’t like Geoff Johns? Prior to the relaunch, he’s currently writing Green Lantern, Flashpoint, and… something else i’m sure.

      I agree with everything Josh wrote to the point that I didn’t even think it needed to be said. Until I went online and saw that yes, there are people like this. Comics company bias is something you should outgrow when you’re twelve, not thirty. I had no idea there were actual people anymore who only bought comics from one company. Or who actively cheered for an imaginary team. I have never met one of these people in real life. They must all live on the internet.

  25. I find it hard to believe that more than 1% of the comics audience actually refuses to buy from either Marcel and DC.

    So, I mean, yeah, I agree with the article. But I don’t really see the point of getting worked up about this anymore. Maybe decades ago this would have been a hot-button issue, but now? Everybody’s favorite creators switch companies every few years anyway. When people/kids only read comics for 5 years before moving on in life, then you had many fans who only got exposed to one of the Big Two. But in this day and age? 80% of the remaining fans have been reading comics for over 15 years. There are very few of them left who haven’t sampled healthy doses of both universes.

    A far more interesting related issue is why more people don’t buy more independent comics (or request their LCS’s to order them), but the article doesn’t even want to consider that side of things because it’s “political” (???). Expand “independent” to include more than just Image, and you’d really have a hot-button issue. But, I guess we can’t go there.

    • Not buying indie books is, as Josh said, a separate topic. You must have missed this sentence: “That is another conversation, and we will have it.”

  26. captamerica101 captamerica101 (@Autobot_Hunter) says:

    if you do have brand loyalty and won’t BUY from another company that doesn’t stop you from TRYING another company’s books. hear me out. i got into DC through my library’s copies of dark knight returns and identity crisis. another option is the various free comics offered on DC and marvel’s free apps. this is mostly for people on tight budgets who don’t want to “waste” money on books from another company. and if you don’t no where to start, just jump right in. my first DC comic was 52 #27 and my first marvel was the second to last issue of avengers disasembled and i turned out fine.

    • So many more people should take your advice and just “jump in.” You don’t need to know everything that is going on in one issue. You just need to get a feel for the comic, see if you like it, and if you are interested in learning more. If you like it enough to buy the next issue, soon enough, you fill figure out who everyone is and what’s going on. It’s something people seem afraid to do these days. If more comic readers were like you, way more people would find stuff they like.

  27. ” And I can understand wanting to follow the exploits of a character you’ve been following for a long time. I mean, I don’t do it, but I get it.”

    Aren’t you the guy who recently wrote – “Captain America is my favorite super hero” ?
    That would imply following him for some time.
    You can argue semantics if you want- but you get what I mean.
    I would go back and search some more references but Lijit is def not too legit to quit.

  28. Favorite implies a lot more than just like.
    And dropping and picking it back up routinely Is following.
    Not blindly sure- but to say OH I don’t do such things- when you kind of actually are closer to it
    than you think you are- is something that can come off a bit arrogant.
    IMO.
    Making recommendations that people try something new is great- Giving them reasons why
    they should even better- subtly or not so subtly implying their choices are lame even though you say you
    understand why- is- well… A lot like
    “not that there is anything wrong with it”

  29. I love both companies and love all the characters. I primarily read DC because I have more of a personal attachment to those characters and the rich history of the characters appeals to me more than Marvel. Also, the post 9/11 Marvel really turned me off with the ripped from the headlines stories and cynicism.
    But I am definitely not a hater of any particular publisher and am always interested in what all brands are doing.

  30. Well done.

  31. At least 4 times a year I look at my pull list and try to shave off the comics from the Big Two that I’ve been complacent about collecting. ‘They’ll be cheaper in trade’ I tell myself, ‘I’m sure my stores will have the back issues forever.’ Then I go check out something from Oni Press or Image that I’ve had my eye on. The results sometimes save money and always boost the quality of my reading list.

  32. You know, it’s very odd. I really don’t like saying these in absolutes. But I would describe myself – currently – as a predominately DC reader. It’s nothing about getting the other guy(s), but more where my interests lie. I still read Marvel. I probably pull more Marvel books than some self-described Marvel Zombies, too. But over the course of 10 years, I switched from One DC book (Green Arrow) and One Vertigo Book (Codename: Knockout) and a slew of Marvel to a trickle of Marvel and almost 60% of my books being from DC. It’s boggling. I was definitely a snob about it early on. “I only read from Marvel, except for this or that book”. Now, when I’m heavily into the opposite company… I don’t feel snooty. But time does that to you. Also, by the far the funniest thing has been the transition in my pull list away from Image toward IDW! There was a time when I pulled as many Image books as I did Marvel. (Bendis’ HellSpawn was an underrated little book with MiracleMan). But I just glanced at my pull list and Image is down to two books and IDW is sitting pretty with 7. It’s odd to look at my buying habits of late. The me of 10 years ago would be aghast. However, the only thing that matters is that I’m happy with what I’m reading.

  33. I’m really enjoying the increase in opinion pieces from Josh. This and the Miles Morales one were both excellent.

  34. The vast majority of the books I read are DC but it’s not really out of any brand loayalty it’s just that I prefer their characters and the stories they tell, I have nothing against Marvel, I even buy a couple of Marvel titles every month, but as a whole Marvel stuff just doesn’t excite me like DC.

  35. I read more DC than Marvel. I just don’t care about Marvel’s continuity that much, and the WW2 ties really annoy me. I sample Marvel occasionally, but most of their stuff just does nothing for me.

  36. I’m a ‘comics-I-enjoy’ kind of guy, and try not to read ‘comics-I-don’t-enjoy’.

    This is surely the most sane line of thinking?

  37. I read a majority of Marvel, but I am not a brand loyalist. I follow specific characters for sure, but I also follow creators. There are certain creators that will get me to buy whatever book they are working on regardless of what company or even what character they are working for or on. Guys like Bendis, Johns, Aaron, Brubaker, Rucka, Bachalo, and Skottie Young. I don’t care what they are working on, if there name is on it, I will buy it.

  38. Glad you’re making “What’s Wrong With You” a regular feature, Josh.

    I’m saying entirely non-condescending. For whatever reason, you’re at your writing best when you are telling people off. Not sure what that means. But I dig it. Keep it up.

  39. Josh is fast become the most sound voice of reason on this site. Maybe its cos I aint the sideburns or bald (yet) guy but I am the glasses dude so I have a bias. That said this post was genius but not quite on par with the level of repartee going on down here in comments. I like a man who has the decency to respond to the people who clearly read and entire article while apparently asleep and took in 0% of the actual content or else decided it would be fun to pretend that is the case.

    Anyway this was fun and what I took away is: Josh has out-right refused to ever comment upon people reading indie books and this is infuriating, Josh is clealry an idiot for trying to pretend he isn’t an idiot-I mean who can like something and not admit to liking every existing every iteration of said thing. Surely having judgement and dissernment but still having the ability to say you like an ideal more than practical execution of said ideal is the very definition of blind loyalty. And also resturant analogies are obviously the most pressing and central issue of an article and other information ought to be swiftly disgarged for the in-depth analysis thereof.

  40. Ripped from the headlines an.d taglines
    “Negativity is too damn high” or – “life is short why not be a dick. on the internet”
    You know – whatever suits the article.

    • Just so I’ve got this clear, you’re calling me a dick right? After calling me arrogant earlier?

      Why do you keep coming back? You hate what we do, so often and so tenaciously. Even people who disagree with me up there in the comments know I’m not doing anything but starting a spirited conversation. My two partners, one of whom I poked fun at in the above article disagree with me all the time, and yet we manage to get along.

      But if you want to call me names, you should probably find another place to hang out and chat comics on the internet. Keep being the guy who pisses on the rug at the party, and no one is going to want you at the party.

    • Josh-
      Richard Dawkins once said regarding a challenge from a creationist for a debate:
      “It will look good on his resume, but not on mine”
      I find those to be sound words.
      and I also sometimes fail to live by them.

  41. I enjoy my marvel books, I enjoy my DC books they are what got me into comics but after a few years it’s the independent press and Vertigo like books that would be the last to go if I had to give up my comics. Who really cares whether the analogy is perfect or not, you guys knew exactly what he meant.

  42. One thing that is interesting is your comment: When did a bad gaze outweigh a wonderful new flavor. We are, as an entire species, risk averse. Those who are too open with risk tend to edit themselves from our gene pool quickly. We are hardwired to avoid unpleasant experiences. While comics are far from life and death (for most of us) these generalized attitudes do form a fundamental sociological and genetic predisposition.

  43. I used to be this guy, actually I was worse. I used to only read X-Men and nothing else. Thanks to this site I have expanded my horizons greatly, and now read all types of comics. What’s funny is characters I used to not like and make fun of are now some of my favorite characters, Flash and Captain America come to mind.

  44. I’m hoping those moving to digital will take the opportunity to try out those other companies and genres.

    I’d class myself as a “DC guy” only because that’s what I’ve grown up with and loved, however I’m loving the ability to be only click(s)/tap(s) away from being able to experiment with other types of stories, and the greater chance to start from the beginning,or a decent jumping point, not having to worry about hunting for all the issues the run.

    Great article Josh.

  45. It’s funny that if you think about it, someone out there probably swears to ‘Bluewater’ comics and ONLY ‘Bluewater ‘ comics. I mean god bless him and I do agree to your article to an extent Josh but…..That person has to be crazy.

    • LMAO! And somewhere there is somebody who says, with all seriousness and not a touch of irony, I don’t understand why everyone hates the Sentry! He was the best addition to the Avengers since captain America!”

  46. I don’t read any DC comics. I would love to, but I know I could never just stop at one series and I just don’t have enough money for that. My budget has its limits

  47. I read buy indie. Totally indie. I only read stories on stapled together papers with ball pen drawings and colored with crayons. The most purest form of indie there is and could ever be. I’m totally indie and forgo the mainstream. I only come to this site so I can dis y’all. Cuz I am a true comic book fan, here to tell you that whatever it is you are reading, is shitte. In fact, if anyone reads the stories I read, they turn to shitte and I no longer like them.

  48. Great Article, Josh! Keep it up and you are not alone.

  49. Two recent articles I came across seem pertinent:

    1. “Apple Fanboyism (sic) Is A Religion: Neuroscientists Find Both Trigger Same Reaction In Brain” (http://www.businessinsider.com/apple-is-a-religion-neuroscientists-find-it-triggers-the-same-reaction-in-your-brain-2011-5)

    2. “Fanbois(sic) treat criticism of favorite (sic) brands as threat to self-image” (http://arstechnica.com/science/news/2011/08/users-treat-criticism-of-favorite-brands-as-threat-to-self-image.ars?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+arstechnica%2Findex+%28Ars+Technica+-+Featured+Content%29)

  50. Some comic book people are really worst than the stereotype! I’m a Buddhist yet I still feel compelled kick some fat asses around here. I wish they would ret con everything just to see them crumble and hyperventilate. Is that mean of me?

  51. Josh – I am quoting your own tag line.
    Not personally calling you a dick.
    Did you or did you not write that at some point on this or the old site?

    And for the record I don’t hate what this site does- some of it is great- and I offer praise(which happens A lot)
    some of it is a bit self serving and I offer criticism. Some of it is inconsistent and I point it out.
    I am not here to be a part of the booster club.
    I offer what I offer based on what is happening and how I see it.
    It’s not unfounded and Not meant to be overtly negative.
    Just another type of participation, which is going to happen when a site attracts this many hits.

  52. Join the iFanboy Booster Club for only $100 a year or 10 dollars a month.

    Can I be president?

  53. Love the article.
    Don’t buy the premise in the least though.
    iFanboy should start its own polling tests emailed to random comic stores across this great land of ours to get some data on the numbers of comic buyers who only purchase from one company. I would love to be proven wrong on my beliefs of those minute numbers and to read an article with that type of journalism.

    However it did allow most people to simply state whether they prefer (in their childhood or currently) DC or Marvel. So that was very cathartic.

    And my most-est favorit-ist thing-ist of all was the unintended discussions for reasons NOT to change your habits.
    Wow. Eye-opening.
    It would appear that many have forgotten that they were not born with their current tastes. That they spent their early lives trying new things all the time until one day they just gave up trying.

    You liked blueberries when you were 5 but found something better at 10 and even better at 16 and so on…there’s no actual reason to stop doing this…It also acts as if you can only have 1 thing you like alot. Not the case. You are allowed to like many similar things. You can have 4 different hamburgers you really like and that number can keep growing forever.

    Each person must ask and answer for themselves as to why they stopped trying…I would only hope that it isn’t because you have just simply “settled” and that your remaining plan is to just stick with the few things that make you comfortable so that you may abide your time as numb as possible until you die. I don’t believe this is this case. I believe everyone struggles in some way to keep fighting on. I believe that’s what makes life worth living. Your world expands as the things in your world expands.

    and so ends the gospel according to j.o.c.

  54. At a convention panel today, one of the panelists was talking about how they could do a story about how funny it could be to tell a Batman story set at 8am, because everyone would keep spotting him when he was trying sneak around (was actually very funny). In response someone from the crowd said, “Well that would be the first DC book I ever bought!” This was a man of around 40, an otherwise reasonable appearing fellow.

    Almost everyone I have spoken in the last 3 days identified themselves as “more of a DC guy” or “mostly into Marvel”. Even at a Marvel panel several people have felt the need to point out their DC-leanings before asking Axel Alonso a question.

    A strange phenomenon.

  55. I’m a comics fan, not a DC, Marvel, Image, or indie fan. Wherever there are good stories and art, I will go. People who constrain themselves to one publisher don’t know what they are missing.

    • Historically, my pull list has been more Marvel than DC. when people say “Oh, you’re a Marvel guy” I always reply “No, I’m a comics guy. Marvel just happens to have more characters I follow and books I’m reading at the moment.”

  56. Thank you for the thought provoking article, Josh. I’m afraid that I disagree with your opinion, and here is why.

    For me, character is not a marginal factor, it is central.

    I enjoy following the stories of the characters I care about. That, for me, is a key factor in what makes a “good comic”. I may not like the art, I might not find the characterisation quite right, but the characters endure, and it is their stories that I follow. I don’t join a book if the creative team is “hot” (there have been plenty of those who have come and very rapidly gone in my comic reading career), nor do I leave if the team is perceived to be poor. The creatives document the tales of the characters I like and that is sufficient.

    It’s true that I may be missing masterpieces of the storytelling art. But I treat comics as escapist soap opera, and it is the characters in those dramas that interest me. If the story is presented in a novel and ground-breaking way, or if the art is outstanding, it’s a bonus. But it’s not a reason to hop on or off a book.

    Loyalty is not the lazy, unthinking, unimaginative quality it is made out to be in the article. Loyalty (in my case to a group of characters) is a consumer choice I exercise week in and week out at my LCS. I buy what I enjoy, and if others do not enjoy the same thing, I am content to disagree with them. There is nothing “wrong” with this approach. Indeed, if every comic reader only read the “right” books, this site and the world of comics in general would become very dull, very quickly.

    • I actually do the same thing as you, to an extent. There are certain books I am always going to buy. I will buy Iron man every month. He has been my favorite super hero for 25 years. I love pretty much everything about the character, and I want my monthly fix. have their been times when the book hasn’t been that great? Absolutely. But I will keep on buying it, because when it gets better, i want to be there. So I will buy Iron Man every month. I will buy the Fantastic Four every month. I will buy The Flash every month.

      But for a lot of comics, I will come and go. I love The Avengers, but I have gone back and forth on it ever since bendis took over. I read it for a few months, realize it’s not for me, and I drop it. Then something ill come along that sounds interesting, I’ll check it out for a few months, realize it’s not what i want, and drop it again.

      Other times, I just need a break. I read Daredevil religiously for almost a decade. But during Shadowland, i realized my time with the character needed a break. After 10 years of increasingly dark, depressing stories, I just didnt want to read that take on the character anymore. I had seen that story and was ready for something else. So i dropped the book for the first time in 12 years. Then Mark Waid relaunched it and I came back to the fold. It was something different and new and it reminded me why I loved Daredevil so much for so long. Sometimes you just need to recharge your batteries.

  57. Its hard not to be a brand loyal guy, it is in almost everything i do, from gaming, to tecnology, hell to what brand of soda i drink. It is very hard to break that type of thinking, for the past year i have, I am typically a Marvel guy , the only DC book i read on a on going basis was the teen titans. not anymore this year i have broaden my horizon , i get about 12 DC books a month on top of my 30 plus marvel books, and i have ventured into the smaller companies, like Image and Top cow, Dynamite, and i am absolutely loving the experience, i can’t believe how simple mined i was back in the days. For me it boils down to this a good story is a good story no matter which company it comes from. Now instead of following one company i tend to follow writers that i enjoy. I guess at the end of the day, the majority of the books i read are from Marvel ,but there not the only ones on my pull list

  58. I think a lot of it mainly depends on what company got you into comics. I’m more Marvel than anything else because I started reading Marvel comics when I began my collection. I have friends who I introduced to comics but started reading DC and now prefer DC over Marvel.
    It’s a preference but we still look in on each other’s universes to see whats going on and we have branched out a lot over the years.

  59. Two things I don’t like about this commentary:

    1. The type of readers you are talking about are idiot douchebags… writing about them validates them. Someone says to me “I ONLY read Marvel and DC sucks”, those comments are usually based on some single story or issue they read a long time ago and its just plain stupid. If someone approached you and said that grass was purple, the sky is brown and its fun to light yourself on fire, you’d probably consider them a nutjob and move on without writing a whole article about them.

    2. Now you’ve successfully painted anyone who might be particular to one company more than others as part of this asinine group, even if your grouping was unintentional. 90% of what I buy is DC. Is it because I’m anti-Marvel or don’t like indies? Hell no, that’s just plain stupid. As a kid, I collected equal parts Marvel and DC and a few indies here or there. But now, I just gravitate towards DC. Its not that I’m not willing to try Marvel or closed off… but I will say the attempts I have made were disappointing. I did not like Civil War. I know I’m in a minority… but that’s my f’n opinion. I didn’t like it. At all. I don’t dislike Civil War simply because its ‘Marvel’, but because I didn’t like the premise. I absolutely enjoy Ultimates… the only reason I’m not buying them now is due to cost. I am currently reading Fear Itself… what’s funny about Fear Itself is that nearly everyone sits there and says, “Well, its not that great… BUT…” But what? Its not that great… I started it and want to finish it, that’s my motivation to keep buying it. Does it draw me into buying all the spin-offs and side-series? Does it entice me to buy more Marvel? Nope. So whose fault is that? Am I not buying Marvel now because I’m some idiot anti-Marvel fanboy? No, I’m not buying Marvel because they haven’t peaked my interest, as much as I try. I recently went back and bought up the collected books of Morrisson’s run on Xmen, because it appeals to me more than what they are doing now. A friend let me borrow Uncanny Xforce 1-3 and I just didn’t like it despite its ‘dream team’ of characters.

    Though I’ll say… giving me back the Punisher I love and written by Rucka, that’s a start.

    And indies… I will give things a chance, but if it doesn’t interest me, then it doesn’t interest me. I thought Millar’s Nemesis was a complete joke and total waste of paper. (yeah, I know, can you really call it an ‘indie’? Creator owned, sure). I discovered Zombies That Ate The World on a total whim and loved it. The space-adventure written by Sam Jackson… after the first issue, pass.

    I tell you what another plague is on the comic industry: Comic critic bloggers. Bunch of self-absorbed, hipster-wannabe nerd elitist who think they know people and the industry inside and out. The DC Reboot, initially, was HIGHLY MISUNDERSTOOD because the net’s army of bloggers decided they were going to write a bunch of useless opinion with very little fact or data known at the time, creating unnecessary stir and misinformation. And here now we have another blogger assuming so much about readers and habits based on the handful of childish fanboys. Going through the comments here, most people pretty much say the same thing: They like ALL comics, they are willing to try new things, and if they do have tendencies towards one more than another, its simply out of opinion and taste and not anti-this or anti-that sentiments. THAT is the majority… those other morons are a minority and do not need to be addressed.

    • Oh, in regards to my last paragraph… ask yourself: Who is it that continues to perpetuate controversy over Ultimate Spider-Man’s race? Who is it that keeps provoking readers and making an issue out of what should be a non-issue?

    • If you have such a problem with comics bloggers, what are you doing hanging around on iFanboy? That’s kinda what they do.

  60. I have been all over the place. When I was a kid. all I read was Marvel. Then I moved on to DC. I just got back into comics a year ago after 16 years and I still buy mostly DC. I prefer the characters but I am slowly giving others a try. The new Daredevil is amazing.

    The guys at my local comic shop helped. If I was interested in a new title they would steer my to where I needed to start. They also would give one off recommendations which is how I got into the Boys.

  61. Ever since I tried to ‘pin him [Josh] down’ in a question about branding of the fanboys, I’ve realized that I read a lot of non-brand books too.

    My real problem with ‘branching out’ for any new series or publisher is starting over learning a whole new lengthy history of all the characters involved. When I’m getting in on the ground floor at the first few issues, that’s fine, but jumping in on Savage Dragon today is more of a headache for me than a pleasure. And it’s not the same old ‘I don’t know where to start’ or ‘I’ll be lost’ diatribe, it’s because I *want* to know the histories of all the characters. Knowing where everyone came from and why they’re acting the way they are is exactly why I like reading the big two. The long histories is what makes the obscure characters all the more interesting. If I could, I’d pick a new B or C list character every other week and go through their histories reading every appearance. In any other publisher’s books, unless you’re in from the beginning, you don’t even really know who the minor characters are.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying I only buy/read books from Marvel and DC, I don’t, and I don’t advocate it either. I’m just trying to explain more reasons why someone just might not enjoy these other little books out there.

    There are also a lot of those little books I’ve tried that I really didn’t like. At least in the big two’s bad books, you get either decent art of characters you already like or an interesting story involving them. It’s rare that both the art and the story is bad. If either one is bad in a book you’ve never read before, it’s much more difficult to feel good about the purchase afterward.