Winter 2012: The Perfect Comics Jumping-Off Point?

I’ve got a funny feeling about this one.

I’ve spent a lot of time watching the political horse race for the last few months, devoting attention to all the petty, stupid, snarky reality-show squabbling that I’m supposed to ignore in favor of The Issues. I’ve watched the polling. I’ve chuckled at the gaffes. Mostly, against my better judgement (any judgement at all, really) I’ve followed the pundits. Every day, they remind me of a valuable life lesson: try very hard not to be a pundit.

It’s hard to resist the temptation. You think, “I’m a pretty together guy. My opinions are probably pretty reason-based. I recognize that this comic book artist is obviously tracing photo references off a lightbox, badly, often using the same photos over and over again. We as a society must agree that he’s objectively bad at this. Yet this huge company keeps hiring him for high-profile jobs. What does he have on these people?”

Well, what he has is gigantic sales, because a lot of people you don’t talk to love what he’s doing. Your message board community constitutes maybe one hundred people out of the one hundred thousand who buy this stuff. A lot of people also like the guy currently in the Green Lantern outfit just fine and haven’t thought about Stephanie Brown in a long, long time. Don’t make the mistake of thinking your anecdotal observations and personal experiences are universal, and be careful with that crystal ball.

So I try not to make any grand predictions about the future of this industry I sort-of follow. Right now, though, I’ve got that funny feeling.

When DC announced its “New 52” initiative over a year ago, a lot of people predictably freaked out, but as the launch date drew nearer the overwhelming mood seemed to be one of excitement. People wanted to see how all of this madness was going to play out. Other people saw it as an opportunity to get in on the ground floor. Even jaded old-timers like me with deeply rooted suspicions about the DC Universe started buying more of their books than ever before. It stirred up real enthusiasm that lasted for a good few months, even if a lot of us have since dipped back down to pre-52 levels of consumption.

The approaching Marvel initiative seems to be giving off a whole different vibe.

This is probably where my personal experience clouds my punditry. With rugrats running around my house replacing my leisure time with four-hour tea parties, I find that when one of my favorite TV shows announces its final season, my immediate response is “I get an hour back!” instead of mournful mistiness. Time is becoming precious.

Where DC was concerned a year ago, I was a blank slate. A reboot sounded like a great jumping-on point, just like they planned. Marvel, though? Marvel has dominated my pull list for ages, and when they say, “We’re ending just about everything, shuffling the deck, and starting fresh,” my immediate response is not, “Bully and huzzah, a slew of new lit’rature to devour!” The first, unbidden thought in my head is, “Oh, man, it is going to be incredibly satisfying when all those books I read come to a natural end.”

What? What??

I cannot be the only person thinking that way. I know I’m not, in fact; I’ve heard other people ’round these parts say the same thing. Although I’ll be giving all kinds of #1s chances this winter, I can’t shake this funny feeling that’s whispering, “What if Marvel just accidentally engineered the perfect comics Jumping-Off Point?”

As I think about the list of books I pull now, I see almost nothing but shrinkage. New Mutants is ending again, and being replaced by nothing. The Defenders is gone. Avengers Academy is being replaced by a book in which fans get to watch members of Avengers Academy get murdered. Wolverine is a question mark. They took the Red Hulk out of the best run he’s ever had and took the Punisher away from Greg Rucka to saddle them with Daniel Way and Deadpool, which even to someone who has spent the last several months following gaffes is awe inspiring. X-Men Legacy now follows Legion, a character whose defining characteristic is not having a personality.

Secret Avengers? Dark Avengers? Your guess is as good as mine.

Now, as I said, there are plenty of #1s coming that I’ll try out when the day comes, and there are still oases like Scarlet Spider and X-Factor out there (though I see from the cover of Uncanny Avengers that poor Peter David got one of his characters yanked away from him again). Hopefully, other people are saying the same thing in droves. When I look ahead, though, it does not feel like a time of beginnings. It feels like a time of endings.

Is my funny feeling wildly off-base? Should I leave the punditry to the pundits? Will the All New X-Men be greeted as liberators? I hope so, if only because a rising tide lifts all boats and I root for success whenever I can. In the meantime, I can only scrutinize the teasers and wait for the previews. I can’t wait to see what happens, even if it’s as much out of trepidation as it is anticipation.


Jim Mroczkowski has noticed that absolutely no one on his Twitter feed has mentioned Doctor Who all season, which also strikes him as weird and unnerving.


  1. Secret Invasion was my jumping off point. Dropped all the “Core” Marvel books – Avengers, Dark Avengers, Secret Avengers, Camp Avengers, and X-Men lost me even further back. So now I just pick up the peripheral books and character books and I will NEVER (I swear) get sucked into another summer event – didn’t buy Siege or AvX.

    • You may wanna rethink Siege,however and get that in trade.It was the last really good event Marvel had.Don’t skip that one!

    • No way. I also skipped the hammer one as well.

    • Well Fear Itself sucked but Siege was actually great.Hell even Josh Flanagan liked it and he’s as hard as they come as a critic!

    • Siege was better than Secret Invasion and Fear Itself, but it was still pretty horrible. (I read those events for free at the library; there’s no way I’d pay $4 an issue for them.) And I share a good deal of Josh’s opinions, but he definitely isn’t “as hard as they come as a critic”. People like Tim Callahan, Chad Nevett, and the crew at Mindless Ones are far harder to please.

    • i enjoyed Siege and all the Dark Reign stuff prior to it, but did not like(or even come close to finishing) any other event mentioned.

    • Very psyched about the new 52, they suckered me into 46 of ’em, and even most of the newbies when they drop the bottom titles~(I miss O.M.A.C.’s goofy acronyms!) Ashamed to say I’m even picking up extra “number 0” variants. Just the opposite with Marvel: FF is unrecognizable, Thor is usually not even on this planet, I can’t keep track of the Hulks, Iron Man is $4 like every week and a half.

      Mostly, they’ve given a primer on how to dilute your brand-Avengers and X-Men. Everytime they added another incestuous, navel-gazing ongoing or miniseries, I cringed a little more. Is Spidey an Avenger? Is he an X-Men (technically anyone with a genetic mutation, i.e., different that the normal h.sapiens is a mutant)? Oh, wait, let’s make him both-the Amazing, Avenging Uncanny Spider-X-Man!!!

      My turning point was One More Brand New Day, or “How to Reboot a Character With Total Disdain for the Detailed Universe Said Character Inhabits.” DC did it right-they chucked the whole thing (except Bats and GL-they’re not crazy!!) I’ve gone from 50-70 Marvels a month to Avengers Academy (a placebo for Runaways/Young Avengers) and X-Factor. 50-60 other titles a month, heavy into the new DCU. And give me more Mind the Gaps, Higher Earths, Sagas, and anything Valiant puts out!

  2. It’s a good jumping off point from the big two. Lots of great books indie publishers doing great things.

  3. I like a lot of the solicits and buzz from Marvel Now and I would love to follow it. But I’ve said it before: Marvel’s insistence on double shipping $4 books that will make me trade-wait.

    • Yeah, their prices kill me too. If they would just make their titles $2.99 with an OPTIONAL digital combo pack for $3.99 like DC does, and not have their double shipping I would buy a lot more Marvel titles. I’ve started getting my comics in once a month shipments too. So I will never be able to use the digital download codes from Marvel since they expire in like 2 days after the comic is released.

    • Great point. And it seems like most if not all Marvel Now titles are $3.99 and around half look to be double shipping. For me that’s bad on my wallet and bad on the quality of the art and stories. I don’t mind $3.99, although obviously I like a cheaper option, but 2x monthly has really degraded the quality IMO.

    • @daningotham: take a closer look at those Marvel digital download codes–they’re good for a year. Those coming out this year expire in 2013 (I made the same mistake myself, at first).

    • Another great reason to trade wait on Marvel is the shitty paper they print the floppies on now. Even the 3.99 titles seem to be ‘self-covered’ now.

    • I actually like the new paper as fingerprints don’t seem to make their mark as easily. The new paper also seems to handle water better.

    • @Winslow: Thanks! That makes me feel better. The last couple I got I thought expired in two days. Guess I had the year wrong, Lol.

  4. I was one of those who freaked when the new 52 happened. I loved the Stephanie Brown Batgirl comic and was outraged when they gave it back to Babs. Who just miraculously healed from being paralyzed. But they used Flashpoint as an excuse on that one. ‘Barry fixed the timeline to the way it was, as far as he can tell.’ That gave them the freedom to do whatever they wanted. Plus being an official reboot they can do whatever they want.

    But since then I have calmed down and got over it. What I really want are great stories and I now buy a LOT more DC comics than I did pre New 52. So I would say their experiment was a success as far as I’m concerned.

    Marvels doing a relaunch not a reboot and frankly I was more excited when I thought it was a reboot. I don’t read a ton of Marvel titles now and didn’t want to have to deal with trying to figure out 60 years of continuity. But I will still be trying out a few Marvel titles when this relaunch happens. Not sure why people would think it would be a good jumping off point. A lot of DC fans said the same thing last fall and they are still here reading comics. Unless people don’t want a relaunch they want a reboot? I don’t know.

    • I buy a lot more DC Comics now as well (although I’m still bitter over the Babs/Oracle stuff…). It’s not all hits, and I’ve certainly dropped a number of books from my pull list and will probably drop a few more after I check out the zero issues. Still, just when I thought “Meh, this is a good jumping off point for me”, I found myself drawn back in by some great characters and stories (Animal Man, Batman, Swamp Thing, Wonder Woman) and interesting new premises.

      I’m willing to keep an open mind on Marvel Now!, but like many, the $3.99 price point is pretty much a deal breaker for me (Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man being the singular exception for me), so I’ll just wait 6 months to a year for a digital sale to pick up the new Now! titles I’d like to read.

  5. Good article, Jim.
    I myself haven’t bought any Marvel books in a year since the “Boycott all the books Kirby made” thing came about from Bisette. And all of the offerings by the new Marvel line just scream to me “What if Jason Aaron and Rick Remender had time for independent books?”

  6. I like the characters more than i like reading their books at this point. Nothing against the talent or the characters but i got a bit bored of the same old soap opera and the same old execution. I skipped AvX and all the related books. My New 52 list is down to 2 or 3 and i’m mostly interested in creator owned stuff right now. Most of my boredom comes from the “sameness” across every title. I’m sure at some point i’ll get a hankerin’ for the old standard, but right now i don’t have that big 2 enthusiasm because i feel i keep reading the same books over and over.

    • @Wallythegreenmonster- I couldn’t agree more with you, especially on the New 52 which I’ve dropped more than 10 titles since it began & now find that I am only getting 2 ongoing titles while waiting for the JSA mini-series coming out.
      Yet with Marvel apart from Hawkeye it is only going to be Hickmans Avengers & New Avengers I will be pursuing with the whole Marvel NOW!.

      So it leaves me with a helluva a lot of Image titles plus the occasional Dark Horse & ONI title, so with the exodus of top creators leaving Marvel & DC will it be the rise of the creator owned companies in the new year?

    • the one thing though that i find interesting about the exodus of creators from the big 2 is that they are going to be considered “the old guys” a lot sooner than we think. Maybe even now. I’m sure there will be hot new talent on all these big 2 books that will get people excited.

  7. Neither here nor there, but back when Avengers Academy started up a twittered something to the effect of “I really want to read Avengers Academy, but expect that in a couple years they’ll be cannon fodder for some less talented writer.” And here we are. (I’ve read the book anyway and found it excellent, just for the record.)

    I’ve noticed I’ve slowly been letting things fade away, until in another few months probably only Daredevil will remain (as he has since I was about 9 years old).

    • Pre Now! Daredevil is the only Marvel book I’m reading. When NOW! hits I’ll give Waid’s hulk a try, Aaron’s Thor and probably Remender’s Cap — I don’t really dig team books.

      For me, The new 52 got me back into comics. Now that I’m back, I can’t read EVERYTHING so we’ll see if any of the relaunch books stick with me.

  8. I’ve never been a big fan of Marvel. But I’m going to pick up 3-4 NOW! books because the creative talent is top notch, I’m interested in the concept/characters, or I dropped another 52 book. I’m stoked about the Mark Waid Hulk.

  9. Agreed. Goodbye to Fantastic Four, FF, and Journey into Mystery (special no thank you to Matt Fraction and whoever is writing Lady Sif Adventures). Still have X-Factor, Daredevil, and Wolverine and the X-Men (for now at least). And honestly the only #1 I am thinking of trying right now is Jason Aaron’s Thor. Then again I am halfway across the world and won’t be actually reading any comics anytime soon but still…some of these announcements are just plain weak and while I love me some Hickman, following 30 something Avengers sounds too hard – especially when you’re not a big fan of the Avengers.

    Fingers crossed for my awesome Cosmic book by someone I like (Hint Hickman on Silver Surfer).

    On the DC (non-Vertigo) side of things I was reading Xombi and Secret Six and post 52 after trying about 7 different books the only one I’m still reading is Wonder Woman. I appreciate they tried some new things but I don’t think the relaunch was nearly as original and creative as some are giving it credit for. Except for Wonder Woman. Wonder Woman kicks all kinds of posterior.

    Pretty soon my pull list will be all Vertigo and Indy books.

  10. OK, thank you! I thought I was the only one feeling like this, but as Marvel rolls more and more of their relaunch out (and that’s what it is no matter how it’s spun) I keep getting less and less interested. No, I freaked over the New 52 and I’m still pissed about some of it, but I’m still probably reading as many DC books as I was before the relaunch. With Marvel, every wave has me saying….well ok I guess I’m done with that. I’m not a particularly rabit X-fan, but I thought the line was at the strongest point top to bottom pre-AvX maybe in the 20 years I’ve read comics. Now, their main book is an Avengers book and the concept behind All-New X-Men seems just like a bad mini. But it’s supposed to be the main X book as an ongoing! Uncanny X-Men, Amazing Spider-Man, and the numbering and history is part and parcel to Marvel much more so than to DC because DC has never managed to maintain consistent continuity their entire history. These books are not going to suck in new readers and part of the history I love so much seems to be just falling by the wayside. We all know the numbering will fluctuate back and forth, but if you’re going to have this gradual unveiling of Marvel NOW, sell it to the people who will actually buy the books. Will I try them? Yeah. But right now, Image is passing Marvel for me and it’s dropping to my third company. And I’ve really been I guess one of the few who’ve loved AvX. I’m just dumbstruck that this is how it is being followed-up. Then I did like the first issue of Fear Itself so who really can trust me?

  11. It’s definitely more of a jumping off point for me. The only change I’m looking forward to is Lady Sif getting her own book (for awhile anyway). And don’t get me wrong I like JIM the way it is, but I really love Sif. No other re-arrangement of the creative team musical chairs makes me think “I NEED to buy this.” I’d like to see what Remender does with Cap, but in reality it’s doomed by following THE definitive modern run on the character by Brubaker. I loved Hickman’s FF, but I’m not an Avengers guy. I love Waid on Daredevil, but just don’t care for the Hulk. I don’t care for Bendis’ storytelling and I’m not an X-Men guy. Fraction’s style rubs me the wrong way so nix to the new FF books. Even though I love Allred as much as everone else, that new team in FF looks stupid. Never was an Iron Man fan. Jason Aaron on Thor? Probably will be good, but for some reason I’m apathetic.

  12. I feel the exact same way as the writer. I’m not picking up any new titles. And when a title that I’m reading ends, it won’t be replaced. The simple fact is that I have a backlog to read and so many titles and story lines from the past that I haven’t read. I need time to play catch up and this is the perfect time to do it. Marvel isn’t printing any comics that won’t be available later.

    and I need to recover from event fatigue.

  13. i made the mistake with the New 52 to “force myself” to try most of the new titles because of the excitement of the whole thing. Bought way too much stuff, spent too much money and time and now a year later i’ve cut all of them save for 2 or 3. I won’t be making that mistake again.

    • I did the same, but I didn’t consider it a mistake. I’m glad I checked them out, because I found a few new titles that I never would have read regularly before that I really enjoy now. The duds were inevitable with 52+ titles this past year, but I don’t regret checking them out to see if they held the same magic that a title like Batman unexpectedly held for me.

  14. I wouldn’t say it’s a jumping off point for me. It’s more of a turning point regarding my collection meaning that I’m switching over to digital comics rather than continue with physical single issues. Will still be collecting just not the physical copies of these new books. Reason being is because I’m starting to run out of storage space. I gave the New 52 a try but dropped most of the titles and started switching over to digital with them. But I’ve always been more of a Marvel guy than DC guy and will continue to be so this is definitely not a jumping off point just a turning point in how I collect / read comic books now.

    • The New 52 was my tipping point to convert to digital-only, and I haven’t looked back since then.

    • I’m a Marvel guy, but I just have that they take so long to drop the old issues prices. Dc always do it one month later. See, Powers FBI is out on shops. It’s not available online, and the previous issue is still 3,99. And it’s four months old!!!

  15. I’ll try out any 2.99 books that catch my attention. Is Morbius going to be 2.99? Always had a soft spot for him, and besides, I’ll be shocked if it lasts more than 10 issues. Thunderbolts is $2.99, right? That too then, even though I’m not sure about this new team. But I agree, it looks like a jumping off point. I am also running into space and money issues, so thanks Marvel!

    • I am also curious about Morbius in January. I’m wondering if that will be a double ship $3.99 title. Hopefully because he is not a main Marvel character it will only be $2.99.

    • If Marvel could promise me no double ships and consistent creative teams they would bring me back. I dropped just about all of my Marvel books close to a year ago because it was too expensive, and the quality seemed poor. I’m perfectly happy reading a book once a month, why do they not understand that. Oh, and I don’t want a digital code. There are a few titles that look cool, most of the ones I sample will be 2.99.

  16. I’m VERY interested in Marvel now. But seriously? If they fail this, they’ll lose people fast! Not me, because I’m a digital unlimited reader, so I don’t care about single issues.

  17. Agree. The solicits have created almost zero interest with me. I will not be trying any new Marvel titles. Compare that to the DC launch where my DC stack tripled.

    I’m not sure what I’m supposed to be excited about. It seems stories are based off of AvX, yet no momentum was generated from this event.

    Marvel has made a number of miscalculations in recent months. I hope the trend reverses soon.

    • So you would be more excited if it was a reboot instead of a relaunch? That seems to be a lot of what I have been hearing too. A lot of people bought a ton of DCs new #1s when they rebooted everything but aren’t so excited about Marvel’s relaunch with new #1s.

    • I personally don’t think or feel that the New 52 has been that much of a success, when it started I tried quite a few titles (heading into double figures) but now find that I am only getting two which is Batman & Batman Inc. which I would’ve got either way because of who works on them.
      Marvel as well isn’t exactly winning me over we these new titles since I will only be getting Hickman’s Avengers & New Avengers because of his abilities as a writer.

      So whether there is a reboot which with DC I felt has alienated me especially, the same trial & error would probably be the same for Marvel. So until the next big DC company-wide event is to occur we’ll see how that impacts many readers, as it has with AvX for Marvel?!

    • Won’t have to wait too long, Trinity War is the big event coming next year in DC.

  18. Unfortunately, it was after Secret Invasion came and went that I found my jumping off point. That was I don’t know how many “big events” in a row where nothing important happened and I felt the only purpose of the series was to take money out of my wallet. I hadn’t purchased a Marvel book since. I found the editorial decisions to be mind-bogglingly bad and I was sick and tired of characters I’d read and cared about since I was a kid behave poorly and make bad decisions and generally act out of character. AvX caught me in it’s grasp and, while I have enjoyed it overall, I still find one of my all time favorite characters not behaving like himself. Cyclops hasn’t been himself since that silly psychic affair with Emma Frost. Now he’s Dark Phoenix and now I see previews that make it appear as if he’s being lobotomized. Sorry Marvel, you blew it again. I’m out again.

    I’m a huge DC fan. I have to say I love their characters more than Marvel’s. I like Hal Jordan very much and I don’t give a rat’s ass about Stephanie Brown. I prefer Barbara Gordon as Oracle, not Batgirl. I found myself really disappointed that DC felt the need to reboot their entire universe. I find that to be because of, just like Marvel, a complete lack of creativity. They just ran out of stories they could tell. But, like a good fanboy, I took a chance on some of their books. Green Lantern continues to be great and I was really surprised at how much I liked the new Batman series. Aquaman has been great too. Justice League is ok, but I like Lee’s art (which has been mediocre in this series), so I’m still picking it up. I’ve dropped everything else.

    However, I find that not rebooting Batman and Green Lantern contradictory to the reasons for rebooting everybody else. I’m cool with Lois and Clark not being married anymore, but I find it absolutely stupid that Lois and Clark can’t be married. Marriage makes Superman difficult to relate to, yet Batman can have a kid? I don’t get it.

    I think it’s abundantly clear that I am no longer the target demographic for comic publishers. It’s a shame, really, because good storytelling hits every demographic ever. Too bad we can’t get more of that for under $2 an issue.

    • “I found the editorial decisions to be mind-bogglingly bad and I was sick and tired of characters I’d read and cared about since I was a kid behave poorly and make bad decisions and generally act out of character”.

      I am a big Ghost Rider fan too and feel the same way. They have really ruined that character.

    • i would kill for a great Ghost Rider on-going. i tend to really like Marvel’s second tier characters, e.g., Punisher and DareDevil.

    • Yeah, I grew up reading the ’90s Ghost Rider series. I now own every issue of every Ghost Rider series ever, even the 1970s series. He is my favorite character too.

  19. On second thought, Marvel should simply admit the DC approach was best and duplicate it. Start all issues at #1.

  20. For me it’s actually far more of a: switching-off point than a jumping off or a jumping on.

    FF & Fantastic 4 I’m dropping for Hickman’s Avenger’s titles. Gillen’s JIM is ending, I’m going on Thor. AVX is ending, which gives me room for Iron Man. And I’m checking out Hulk where I used to be buying the normal Avengers title. This might be a jumping off point for some people — but I think when the buzz of what’s good and what’s shit comes along, you’ll be putting a few books back on. So it might slim you down for a while, but I imagine you’ll wind up buying new things.

    • I’m with you on this. I’m sticking with creators and not characters for the most part.

      I’m done with FF and F4 and on to Avengers. I’m done with Venom, Secret Avengers and probably UncannyX-Force, but will be reading Uncanny Avengers and Thor which I wasn’t reading before. If I drop Winter Solider I’ll probably give the Hulk a try.

      Due to the poor quality of DC books I’m pulling 7 instead of 12 (It will be 5 when Morrison leaves Action and Bat Inc). This is freeing up money for new Image/Valiant books so I can just flex my money spent monthly on Marvel.

      Marvel’s team writes good stories and typically delivers good art. As long as they do that their characters are interesting enough that I’ll always give something a try.

  21. I think you have this reaction as someone who has a ton of Marvel books on their pull list, but you had the opposite reaction with DC since you weren’t already invested in their lineup. DC guys like me were / are pretty upset, who knew I would ever find a jumping off point for Detective Comics? but it happened.

  22. Although I agree with the author’s sentiments, and already planning on culling my pull list, this article is just part and parcel of the attitudes I see expressed quite frequently by the writers on this site. No other comic website is as negative about the industry as this one, and I’m not sure why that is. If the big three are jaded regarding the Big 2 (and I count myself as one of the jaded ones), why not celebrate indie comics more often instead of denigrating the entire industry? I’m in my 30s, I get it, Marvel and DC are out of ideas, encourage the alternatives.

    • If you can find a major website that has been more excited about, and bigger boosters of, what Image Comics has been doing this past year, I’d love to see it.

      Also, personally, I’m not at all jaded about Marvel and DC. I’m realistic about what they are and what they are not.

      We also do a show every week dedicated to talking about, for the overwhelming most part, about the comics that we love.

    • Then you are not checking out other sites, I would say that iFanboy is the most positive site I frequent, and I check all the major ones.

      The beat, Comics Alliance, Bleeding Cool are good site’s with personalty all their own, but I would say they can be negative when regarding the Big 2, and are much more negative than IFanboy.

      CBR, IGN, ComicVine, and Newsarama just don’t’ have a personalities like iFanboy, they may be a little more positive on the whole but that’s just because they are re-posting Marvel and DC announcements, and have no real opinions.

      If you want to check out a site that is sick of the Big 2, check out Inveterate Media Junkies, they know how to be negative in a highly entertaining way.

    • @pmallory: I don’t see Ron, Josh or Conor as being negative on the industry as a whole. I think that because of their connections to creators and publishers they are very aware of the harsh realities of the current marketplace, so I can see how that kind of pragmatism might come off as negative. Overall, they do a great job being incredibly fair about what they like and don’t like, and they always seem willing to admit that a book might not be for them rather than simply rip it to shreds.

      However, I DO feel like I’ve been seeing a lot more lazy negativity (“meh”, “sucks”, etc) and “Fearful Fanboy” stereotypes in the comment threads lately and THAT is disappointing. For a group of people that (generally) don’t want others pre-judge them or their hobbies, there sure is a lot of pre-judging going on whenever Marvel announces a new Now! title.

      And maybe that’s a tactical error on Marvel’s part — the New 52 books were announced in the span of a week, right? Maybe the slow roll out of Marvel Now titles — and the subsequent uncertainty that follows from a slower announcement schedule (is New Mutants really over? Or is a new number 1 still unannounced?) — is making it hard for passionate readers to manage their expectations.

    • Wow, people sure see things differently! I still like iFanboy, but my only complaint is that they’re too POSITIVE about the industry and the Big Two in particular.

    • sometimes it does seem a lot of the columns are about a writers personal fatigue with reading comics, maybe thats what was ment in the original post.

    • I am kinda shocked you feel like ifanboy is a negative site, their love for the comics medium is so evident in everything they put up on this site.

      And saying they don’t celebrate indie comics enough just seems ill informed, they talk about indie books in every podcast I think and many of the older great video podcasts were about indy books.

    • I have to agree with the guys here Ifanboy is the most positive site I have been to. I read the big comic sites once every few days, and listen to the podcast every Sunday. All that in mind they have been one of, if not the most postive about the industry when almost every other site/podcast is talking about the drama ” Before Watchmen…Rob Liefeld… ect” the guys appear to make a very strong effort to avoid talking about any of it. I actually find it to be one of the things I dislike about their show and this site, but I have to give credit where credit is due, the guys have made a very postive website and community.

    • Jokersnuts: Yes, I was thinking of those types of articles. We all get fatigue. And don’t get me wrong, I have learned quite a bit with the podcasts. Nothing divisive was intended.

    • I give you that there can be some negative articles on fatigue by other writers which have bugged me (comics are fun and you get to chose what you read). With that said, typically they have indie comics as the light at the end of the tunnel.

      As for the big 3, Connor seems to be very positive about DC books and Ron can’t get enough of Marvel. I never got the impression that they don’t like the Big 2, but rather they don’t like bad comics.

      Josh has mentioned he’s almost done with Marvel and DC but I love that. He adds a bit of balance to the conversations and has different tastes that bring in a whole new perspective.

      The one thing they all agree on is that Image, an indie company, is producing great comics.

  23. I think Marvel Now has 3 things going against it for me,

    1) Marvel has spent 13 of the last 18 months with half its line tied up in two really uninspiring events.

    2) New 52 has not aged well over the course of a year, further trying my patience for Big Two storytelling.

    3) There are tons of great, new books from other publishers out there that I need to make room for in my pull list.

    I will probably buy a lot of the new #1s, probably more than I should or really intend to, but I am kind of secretly hoping most of them aren’t very good. I’m hoping I can cut way back on my Marvel team books but given the creative teams, I don’t love my chances.

  24. The first wave of Marvel now announcements impressed me positively. Then the announcement for Avengers Arena came, with that stupid interview and the battle royale “tribute” cover. Now I have that manure aftertaste which just won’t go away. I know, it’s childish, it’s silly, but it is what it is.

  25. Personally I will be dropping New Avengers, Thunderbo…Dark Avengers, the Punisher. But I will continue to get the FF books. So I agree, this would be a dropping off point for me as well. But all they need to do is have a huge announcement and I will be on that book too.

    And by big announcement, I don’t mean something with a creator they already have working for them.

  26. Although my reasons are slightly different (storage issues), I will be using this “reboot” to stop collecting floppy issues altogether. The new 52 got me 20% of the way there, and now I can drop the anvil. Time to sit back, listen to the skinny on books, and pick up everything interesting in trades.

    *sigh* The end of an era.

  27. I thought Marvel Now! would be a great jumping off foot but then the creative teams started to be annouced and they are doing it right. They are giving all of the great writers the books that should be great, i mean Waid writing Hulk that should be awesome or Remender taking Cap down to the dirt and punching him in the nuts, the only big book that i am unsure about it Iron Man.

  28. I agree with the sentiment of trying out titles from other publishers. If you’re in your 30’s like me then chances & you grew up reading Marvel & DC & you’ve pretty much seen it all. Good stuff does come from those publishers but it seems be fewer & far between. I am loving the Valiant relaunch & feel if people gave titles like these a try they could rekindle their interest in comics.

    • I agree; Valiant’s been the comic relaunch that’s been handled the best. Even better than the Dark Horse Gold Key line a couple years back. Can’t wait to see which titles they continue to bring back.

    • I have been really enjoying X-O Manowar and Archer & Armstrong. I want to being buying more of the line, but would need to drop other titles first, and honestly, Marvel might be giving me a good chance now to do so. Honestly, I wish that I was reading more indies in general . . .

  29. As a lifelong comics reader who spent a not insignificant amount of his hard earned on DC comics, the New 52 reboot gave me an escape route out of the continuity hell I had found myself in. It should be noted that the reboot occurred in conjunction with a change in my life, both financial and relationship. So, I can’t say for certain that I would have dropped so many titles without the strain on my wallet and time. That being said, I’m pretty sure that DC’s reboot has resulted in me buying less of their titles. I’m sure there will be Marvel readers who will do the same.

  30. For me, I’ve loved the DC reboot because I wasn’t reading them before and it led to me trying a lot of new books and really enjoying some. With Marvel, I was always reading and enjoying their books, but so many of their new ideas in the last year have left me disgusted with the company.

    $3.99 for a comic is too much from one of the big 2, unless it’s oversized. Double shipping in the same month has seriously hindered the quality on almost every title. Any book not starring Spider-Man, Wolverine, or Deadpool seems likely to get cancelled. With the cancellation of the cosmic line, and smaller books like X-23 and now Avengers Academy, I just don’t care about the other characters enough. If I were a Spider-Man fan, I’d have to read like 10 books a week to keep up with him (this is the biggest problem with DC, that it’s almost 25% Batman books). Now, the few books I’ve been enjoying at Marvel are ending (JIM, Avengers Academy, Red Hulk) and those characters are getting stuck in books that look bad or by writers I can’t stand (Fraction, Bendis).

    I’ll probably continue buying a Marvel book as long as X-Factor is coming out, but I look to the next few months as a time to get away from a company whose product is over priced and inconsistent in quality. Maybe if they abandoned the double shipping altogether I’d get on board and try more books, but I hate the effects it has on art consistency and the increased crossovers it seems to come with.

    • Tell me about it. I am a Batman fan and will get 14 Batman related titles in October. 2 are not in continuity, Legends of the Dark Knight and Batman: Arkham Asylum, but the rest are. And then I still get about 10 titles on top of that. Being a fan of a popular character is very spendy.

  31. Every jumping-on point is a possible jumping-off point.

    It’s an inevitable consequence of stopping the train, however briefly.

    As soon as people pause to think about it, it’s an enormous investment.

    I’m a Hickman fan, a Remender fan, an Avengers fan, and a Captain America fan.

    I’ve got a new short box just waiting for Marvel NOW!

    But I can’t say I didn’t consider jumping off as well.

  32. Hey kids! Want the complete story with no tie-ins? Or maybe you want a story that is one (or more if it’s a team) person’s vision told from beginning to end? Well, there ARE other comics on the shelves now-a-days, and a lot of them are good, and a LOT of them are by people whose super hero Big 2 stuff you’ve read.

    You don’t have to give up comics altogether — try Image, Dark Horse, IDW, Boom, Oni and tons of creator-owned comics.

  33. This exactly how I’m approaching Marvel Now. If not for Marvel’s subscription service I wouldn’t be able to afford some of Marvel’s books, what with double shipping and all. I’ll keep reading the Ultimate books and possibly Age of Apocalypse. I may try Uncanny Avengers, but anything else (unless they launch a Black Panther series) I’ll just skip or read as trades. I want to buy more indy stuff, and less stuff from the big two.

  34. Jimski, for once I almost totally agree with you on everything you wrote.

    Marvel NOW! feels very, very different from the New 52. It seems like everything Marvel has done to try to one-up the Distinguished Competition has backfired. For example, rolling out new #1s over the course of 20-some weeks just dilutes the excitement — it doesn’t prolong it. And being a reboot-that’s-not-a-reboot-but-it-could-be-if-you-want-it-to-be doesn’t placate existing fans while drawing in new ones: it actually has the opposite effect, because we see continuity just being either compounded and/or crudely ignored, whereas DC at least took a firm stance and said “Yep, this is (pretty much) a new continuity for y’all to explore.”

    Most of all, as others have said in the comments section, it’s Marvel’s twice-monthly $3.99 shipping that turns me off most of all. Granted, I buy Uncanny X-Force and Wolverine & The X-Men, and I love those titles. But jumping onto NEW titles published that often at that price just seems like too big of a commitment to risk, UNLESS the new title in question looks GREAT. And, really, none of the Marvel Now titles look all that great. There are a handful I’d buy if they were $3, or if they were only once-monthly, but… No, just no.

    Lastly, Marvel’s collected edition program means that as soon as Uncanny Avengers completes its first arc, the next week I’ll be able to buy a nice hardcover on Amazon for 40% off. So… why even give the title a chance at this point, when I’m not 100% sure about liking it anyway?

    There are just too many reasons NOT to stick around for Marvel Now. I’ll still read some Marvel titles that I’m already getting, but as with many, many other people, I will actually breathe a relief once it’s announced that, for example, Waid is wrapping up his Daredevil run. Because as good as certain Marvel titles are, I’m good with them just… ending, really.

    PS. But, really, Jimski, you admit that you’ll be checking out a whole slew of new #1s. And you work for a comic website. I’m thinking that you’ll get roped into reading Marvel still. If you’re around it so much in your job and media consumption, then the bug will probably bite you.

  35. I tell you what – I jumped off after OMD when I really should have jumped on BND

    • i jumped off after omd and did not regret it, i came back for big time and it felt right

    • I came back somewhere a couple years ago – maybe it was Big Time… maybe right before – I think it was a Deadpool appearance where Scottie Young did the cover – great cover. Been on ever since. This book is great (except for Joe Q’s OMIT – ridiculous).

  36. Chopped my pull list at local store. Feel bad for store, but I don’t want to take a risk on all the Marvel titles anymore.

  37. I’ve heard of Event Fatigue but I may just have Reboot Fatigue! When I see a #1 issue the frstthing I say is “AGAIN?”
    Just wondering, in the past lets say 5 years, which Marvel title had the most reboots/#1 issues?
    My money would be on the various Avengers#1, and or Thor

    • Yeah – Reboot Fatigue is almost as bad as Event Fatigue – sometimes worse.

    • This is one of the reasons that I am less excited about Marvel Now than the New 52. A Marvel title starting over at #1 really isn’t that big a deal anymore. I know someone who’s dropping titles with favorite characters simply because he’s disgusted by the thought of buying yet another New Avengers #1.

  38. Same here. When Hickman finishes FF and Fantasic Four and Rucka finishes the Punisher I’ll be down to daredevil and Ultimate Spuder-Man (and I’m thinking if switching to trade there).

    Money’s too tight and I’m just enjoying the Image books more.

    I’ll head back and check some stuff out if in trade if I hear its good. But the opportunity to lighten the load has come st the right time.

  39. I think the probably the biggest problem with Marvel NOW is the way it is being announced. This drips and drabs approach is ludicrous.

    Can anyone point me to a list, anywhere on the internet, that has every announced Marvel NOW title, the creative team, and when it is going to start? iFanboy had a list like that for the New 52, and I seem to remember that it was a very popular post for a good long time. (Hint, hint)

  40. I’m switching to “Comixology Sale Waiting” with Marvel books once Marvel NOW! starts.

    There are several books that have absolutely killer creative teams but I’ve got no faith the artists will be on for more than a couple issues because Marvel insists on double shipping everything.

    I also think it’ll be more satisfying to read in big chunks after hearing what stuff is actually good and worth catching up on, and Comixology sales are the cheapest way to do so.

    • I also hesitate to get excited about the new creative teams because we all know that it’s really just the writers who’ll be on the title every issue. The artists *might* make it for one trade’s worth (six issues straight), but they might not. Double shipping ensures a rotating artist roster and Marvel isn’t telling who the ‘lesser name’ artists will be.

      Recently they played me that way with both Venom and Scarlet Spider. I really liked both titles at their inception (great artists) and got hooked. The artists on those titles now do not give me as much pleasure. If Shalvey sticks around for a nice run on Venom, I may be placated however. But inconsistent art is a sure way to kill my enthusiasm for a title, even one that hasn’t hit the shelves yet.

  41. Ha, I actually jumped off single issues from the Big 2 two years ago when my twins were born and was thinking of jumping back on with the Uncanny Avengers, as I’ve always liked Rick Remender (Fear Agent, Sea of Red) but have yet to read any of his mainstream superhero stuff. I’m also thinking of trying out one of the New 52 books, although I can’t decide which one. Now that Scalped has ended and I’m switching back to trades for BPRD I have more room in my monthly single issue budget, so I have some decisions to make about what new things I want to try.

  42. As someone who comments on this site rarely, but is part majorly of another community with comics, I can say that another circle will be experiencing this as well.

    However a lot of unproven books A+X, Bendis’ X-men, and Captain America would of had me jump on if they were not 3.99 books.

    Marvel will be getting less of my money in the next few months, and that will be true of many. I’m sure number will rise for awhile though. You have the contingent that collects all number 1 issues. You have some people excited to try something new, or were waiting for Marvel to make this move for a year. Time will tell if it balances out.

  43. The New 52 got me excited. Marvel NOW has me apathetic. Partly that’s because the “new!” hype wears thin after a while.

    But what the New 52 had (and still has) that Marvel NOW doesn’t are fringe books. I got the most excited about the “dark” line of the New 52 and that’s what I’m still enjoying the most. I suppose I’m the opposite of the average comic buyer. An Avengers book is a hard sell for me. Give me a team of quirky D-listers and I’m all over it. Marvel NOW is all about the A-list.

    That said, I’ll probably try Uncanny Avengers (on the strength of Uncanny X-Force) and Red She-Hulk (on the strength of Jeff Parker).

  44. While I’m not a fan of this (not a) reboot I gotta admit I am going to buy more of Marvel by the end of the year. If it wasn’t for this Marvel NOW! I’d only be buying Daredevil. But come November I’ll be buying Hickman’s Avengers, New Avengers, and Indestructible Hulk. Plus I’ll be at least try out the #1 issues for Deadpool and Thunderbolts. So if the goal for this Marvel NOW! was to get people like me to buy more of their books….They succeeded on all fronts there.

  45. Writers leaving books are my usual jumping off points, so I’m jumping off book all the time.

    A little over a year ago I was reading close to 30 monthly books.

    I’m now at 10 or so but I’m trying to find books to read. I will be trying 3 or 4 of the Marvel Now books.

  46. Lets all relax, the only A-list writer Marvel lost was Brubaker. If you buy because you love characters, those characters are still there. If you buy because of creators, those creators are still their AND have fresh energy. The only titles that get hurt are B-List Characters/Teams that lose A-list talent like Uncanny X-Force, Venom and Winter Solider.

    They have freaking Hickman, Remender, Aaron, Waid, and Bendis which are all in the top 9-10 writers in comics IMHO.

  47. Good article, Jim.

    I was beginning to think I was alone in feeling this way. The comments here certainly seem to show otherwise.

    Of all that’s been announced from Marvel NOW the vast majority has been of no interest to me. Sometimes the creative team, sometimes the cast. Either way I feel pretty sure I’ll be picking up less books by the new year. And given how much I shelled out this year, that’s probably a good thing.

  48. My perfect jumping off point is right now after the issue zeros from DC unless it is Superman, Action, Batman & Detective all other DC books got cut. When Hickman’s FF run wraps no more Marvel. Waid’s Daredevil I am getting in the 12 issue HCs instead. Fables & Fairest get the tpbs & Deluxe Ed. treatment now. To boil it down simply after 30 years the single issue will wind down for me & move to collections in 2013. I am getting Saga & Fatale to support those series but little else around 10 books a months w/ some tpbs & HCs. I am just moving to another format that suits me as a reader best.


  49. Saying “Comics” as shorthand for just Marvel or Marvel/DC is the odd thing about this article. Sure, Marvel Now could be a good jumping off point for following Marvel, but calling the artcile “comics jumping-off point” is a bit broad.

    As for that, Marvel has had plenty of jumping off points before, and for me at least this is definitely one to step back from following X-Men as much at least. Still will read Daredevil and try a couple other titles of course.

  50. People definitely called DC’s New 52 the perfect jumping-off point, but I agree with someone above me, it’s more your perspective, what you’re used to reading. I think the main problem that Marvel has as of NOW is that they have mislabeled it and seem to misunderstand it. On one hand, you have your story events like AvX, that come out in a progression over months or weeks because they are telling a story in some semblance of order. On the other hand you have your sales events, where everything happens at once because the story is not integral to the event, like DC’s new 52 and 0-month. Look at Marvel NOW, which is it? Neither… By stretching this out over months they’ve missed a great opportunity to take over the stands with unified branding and cohesive marketing. I think I’d feel better about the whole affair if it didn’t feel like Marvel was trying to get one over on me/us; it seems like they can never give straight answers about anything they do, there is always an element of shadiness to it. If they just said “we’ve gotta get back to basics, new readers are now just plain f’ed”, I could get behind that.

  51. I’ve been weeding out Marvel books for awhile now (Venom, Cap & Whoever, Cap solo). AVX pretty much wrecked all of the Avengers and X books for me and I’m still stinging from that. I’m interested in a lot of what I’ve seen from NOW, but I’ll be priced out at $3.99. If anything, this will be a great time for me to switch to trades. I just hope Aaron’s Wolverine and X-Men can survive this. (Anybody heard anything?)

  52. I am just going to keep reading Hawkeye, Daredevil, Ultimate Spider-Man and everything will be chill.

  53. Definetly a jumping off point. I’ll be keeping a close eye on this site on what possible storylines might be good for tradepaperback purchases but it’s time for this 40 year collector to step back and take a break. The crossovers and mega events have just gotten annoying. Unlike DC where I gave a dozen books a chance(and now I’m just down to the Legion books because it’s as close to pre-Crisis as it’s going to get), I won’t be giving any of the new stuff a try right off the bat. Only Avenging Spider-Man and JIM(because of SIF) are currently on my pull list. I see a lot of Marvel Masterworks purchases and catch up reading in my future.
    I’m hoping reducing my reading and stepping away from the majority of the main stream will help recharge my love for this media.

  54. Graeme McMillan over at Newsarama responds with this at his website, which is basically a comment, but doesn’t comment here in the comments, because he is a goober:

    “Is Marvel NOW! A Good Place To Drop The Books? Really? Clearly, I’m being contrarian, but I can see as many books I’m curious to pick up (The new Iron Man and Hulk books, the new team on Journey Into Mystery, the new status quo for Red She-Hulk) as are disappearing in the reshuffle. I’m wondering if that’s because I’m not massively enamored with Marvel’s current output in the same way as many, but I’m opening this one to the floor. We heard similar “Well, this is the place to say goodbye” comments when the New 52 was coming up, so is this just the same thing for Marvel? Isn’t there even less reason to drop off considering that continuity stays in place with Marvel NOW!?”

    There ya go Graeme. I did it for you.

  55. Well, I’ve been culling Marvel titles for several months now. As with many others the primary reason is double shipping $3.99 books. Yes, if I love a series, I shall shell out the cash for it, but it’s a budget factor that can’t be ignored. I dropped both Iron Man and Captain America on account of it (though I’m trying to catch up on the latter in order to see Brubaker’s run to its end). I’m curious to see what Gillan will do with Iron Man, but I can’t justify it with my budget. Waid’s a great writer, but I rarely get excited about a Hulk book, so . . . At present, I’m reading Ultimate Spider-Man, Daredevil, Journey into Mystery, Captain America & Winter Solider. The first two I’m definitely staying with, and the third I’ll give the new direction a try. Winter Solider I’ll finish off Brubaker’s run, and then I’m not sure. I’d like to give the new writer a try, or I may simply let it slide. So, come 2013 I may be down to 3 Marvel books, while my DC titles hover around 10,12.

    What I truly wish I had more money for were indie titles. I’m buying some, but keep wanting to make room to sample more. Perhaps in the new year that shall be possible.

  56. The thing about the New52 was that I would have read those books anyway. I was already reading Snyder’s Batman, Eagerly awaiting JHW III’s Batwoman and Geoff Johns’ Aquaman, Would’ve definitely bought Azzarello’s Wonder woman and Lemire’s Animal Man

  57. Interesting because to me the New 52 was the perfect jumping-off point.

    I’m very excited about Marvel NOW!

    It’s the shot in the arm the creators and the universe needs, it’s somewhat organic in form, if you happen to care about continuity it’s not going to wipe it all out, it grows somewhat naturally out of the events of current comics I’m following, and I can enjoy the work of some of my favorite creators on some of my favorite titles.

    A Hickman Avengers era? Yes, please. Two Hickman Avengers titles? More, please, sir.

    A total of SIX Avengers-related titles in 616-continuity? I’ll take them all!

    Avengers, New Avengers, Parker on Dark Avengers, a Thunderbolt-led Thunderbolts, continuing Secret Avengers, and Rick Remender on something called Uncanny Avengers? Sign me up. I’ve already subscribed.

    Rick Remender bringing his brand of crazy to Cap as a counterpoint to Brubaker’s spy-fi? Again, yes.

    Hell, even a wacky Fraction era of F4 and FF sounds like zany fun. I’ll read those, too.

    Bendis bringing something new with ANXM? I’ll try it for a while.

    Plus, I can see sticking with Daredevil, Hawkeye, Winter Soldier (I’ll give Latour a chance), Scarlet Spider (digging the character), MUA: EMH (as long as it lasts), UXF (following Storm), W&tXM (it’s got a good buzz), Captain Marvel (I’m giving it at least a year to get going), Venom (was in it for Remender, probably done at the end of the next event/arc/crossover) and maybe even Captain America and Blank (I really can’t justify it, it’s on the chopping block).

    The only books I’m dropping are Amazing Spider-Man, Iron Man and Thor. ASM because that’s the largest chunk of Spider-Man I’ve bought in a long while, and that’s enough for now. Iron Man and Thor ditto. Those were great runs, but those aren’t my main titles anyway. I’ve always been more of an Avengers/FF/Cap guy.

    I’m pretty happy. I’ll be buying about 20 Marvel titles, a dozen or more by subscription, and no DC whatsoever.

    For me it’s Marvel NOW, Yes, and How; DCnU, No, Thank You.