Do comics suck again?

Comic books, and my deep passion for the medium, seem to by cyclical in nature. There are times when it seems that the creative teams are firing on all cylinders and can do no wrong. And then there are times when reading my monthly stack of floppies seems to be a chore, something that I do because I have always done it.I only mention this because I feel that comics, once again, seem to be on the downward spiral towards mediocrity. There are only two titles that I look forward to every month, Amazing Spider-Man and Secret Avengers. The other titles I am  finding only okay, neutral, a correct representation of what a comic book is but lacking that special something that brings readers back for more.

I was uninterested in 52 new titles. Action Comics is hanging on by a thread for me. I am tired of Final Crises and Fear Itselfs. I am tired of 47 part crossovers, of polybagged foolishness, and of artists only doing 2 or 3 issues. I am tired of reading a comic book in 5 minutes and wondering where that $4 went. In short, I want comic books to be better.However, I am fully aware that perhaps I am being too hard on the industry. Are all of you currently enjoying your books more than I am?

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Anthony Falcone
Anthony Falcone is a freelance writer living in Toronto and he is the Ayatollah of Rocknrolla. You should definitely follow him on Twitter.
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18 Comments

  1. Looks like you think comics can only be mainstream superhero comics. If you read comics outside that narrow focus you’d find a lot of wonderful material being produced.

  2. I don’t think that comics are only mainstream superhero comics. They are the majority of what I pick up monthly but I read a lot outside the capes and tights genre. What good monthly non-superhero stuff are you loving and looking forward to picking up every month?

  3. I think Superhero comics are cyclical in nature, the ups and downs are basically attributed to the fact that they need to keep sales up – which means crossovers and other gimmicks.

    Maybe it’s time to check out some creator owned stuff – branch out.

    I just have a quick question: with the exception of Geoff Johns on GL and Morrison on Batman what longterm teams have we seen on a dc title? Do you think that having long term creative teams on titles creates better comics?

  4. I do check out creator owned stuff, but most of it is not monthly. I do think that there just isn’t enough good stuff out there right now every month. And yes, I definitely believe that long term creative teams make a huge difference in quality.

  5. I think comics are pretty good right now.

    When the New 52 was announced, I decided I wouldn’t buy any of them except Batwoman. At last check, my pull list includes Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Super Girl, I Vampire and The Dark Knight.

    I Vampire is not a book I bought for myself. I picked it up for my wife, and surprisingly I am hooked on it. It is one of the best of the 52 to come out, just because it is different. It reads like a Vertigo book in the DC Universe. One of my favourite lines in the first book was when one vampire tells the other to keep a low profile or she’ll draw attention from Superman, Batman or Wonder Woman. It’s like a monster comic that is in a super hero world.

    I didn’t read Fear Itself, it didn’t interest me. After reading the buzz on Twitter about Fear 7.1, the Captain America issue, I picked up the book. That book explained everything about Cap and Bucky for the future in Marvel and I can’t wait to see Winter Soldier #1.

    Some of the other great books have been:
    – Daredevil has been really good with a new take on DD.
    – G.I. Joe has had some compelling stories with the death of Cobra Commander, and the search for a new Commander.
    – I’ve really enjoyed Kick Ass 2. I wish new books would come to the shelves quicker.

    As I said, comics are really good right now, but I see them getting better. DC is dominating sales right now and Marvel is going to have to do something. I imagine they are going to pull out all the stops to come out with some great stuff.

  6. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that they suck, but there’s no doubt the corporate comics could be a lot better, there’s a bottom line / market share obsession that’s creatively strangling both Marvel AND DC.

  7. So comics can only be a monthly periodical? Small press and independent creators have seen that they can’t sustain a monthly book.

    I’m only reading complete stories now.

  8. C’mon. Usagi Yojimbo. Although it’s not really monthly because Stan creates about 10 issues a year.

  9. Uncanny X-Force, Batwoman, Dark Shadows, Justice League Dark, Batman and Detective, all the “dark side” ones are very interesting right now.

  10. I agree many comics are terrible – so clichéd in their writing, and just empty of content. Sometimes I wonder if writers just don’t know how to tell a story anymore – pick up a GA Batman or horror comic and they tell stories – some are not good, some are great, but they draw you in regardless. The art today is also too much – the power of comics lies in doing more with less, and being able to render thousands of colors, textures, shades, etc just makes for pages where nothing stands out or has an impact. This is why Bone, simple, black and white, with a terrific story and characters, sells bucketloads. Also the “dark” approach in comics has worn thin. I like it done well, and the recent Suicide Squad titles were fun, but some clear-cut good-guys would be a refreshing break – hence the success of Smallville on TV. Sadly, on the back of the Dark Knight movie’s success, everyone seems to be doing a dark version of everything now, but I think this is going in exactly the wrong direction. Despite all this I love the new Catwoman, anything by Peter Milligan, and the recent hulked-out shark cover was inspired!

  11. I was under the impression that you were talking about superhero comics specifically, and I agree, a lot of them stink right now. Especially from Marvel. A lot of the new 52s are pretty good, but for every good one, there is a stinker. It’s about 50/50, ranging from Amazing to Awful.

    Marvel though, oh man Marvel how you suck. I just want to take Marvel and shake it and say ‘STOP IT’

  12. Wow a female comic reader. Reply if there are others out there cuz when I go to comic stores its male predominantly. I am a Marvel fan by the way and it pains me to hear these comments.

  13. Marvel and DC super-hero comics suck. They just suck. They expect to make high business selling off comic books on over-powered super-heroes in tights roaming around town, taking 10 years to defeat a simple enemy when the superhero itself has the powers of time and space itself. In fact superhero comics make you stupid these days if you don’t read the right ones…DC especially…Gets on my nerves with Flash and Super-man, continuously over-powering them. MARVEL follows their @$$es doing the same damn’ thing (New-52 is an exception). What a disgrace. MARVEL constantly kills off their super-heroes and brings them back again and again and again. BORING (PERIOD).

  14. I mostly stopped reading comics when they got too expensive and when I started reading science fiction and fantasy novels. They used to be on pulp paper and available even in corner grocery stores. I’ve picked up some once in a while and read some collections. What happened to writing for kids who used to be the natural market for comic books? The writers, pretentiously, try to be deep or important presumably to be respectable at NYC cocktail parties. They write comic books I wouldn’t give to kids. Others have no respect for the genre or what came before and deconstruct what used to be iconic characters. I think art should be clear and communicative, a lot of new art seems self-indulgent to me. If Disney and WB are in control now what will the guiding policy be? Will the Marvel and D.C. universes be strip-mined for movie material?
    I think somebody should write and draw some comics that 10 year olds could read and afford to buy at a news stand or grocery store where good guys are good and where they defeat the bad guys. Morals and ethics taught through exciting, imaginative adventure stories. Assuming the kids could be torn away from video games. A hero not in need of deep therapy would be a nice change.

  15. I pity anyone who can only understand comics as something “where good guys are good and where they defeat the bad guys”. Oh wait, that’s how the average American sees real life anyway, right ?

  16. Where are you gaining your assumption there? I read nowhere here in the article or these comments where someone boiled down comics as only something of traditional good vs. evil stories. I see people talking about the quality of writing (and personally, I would include art) of many comics in general. Both mainstream and the more independent stuff, if you ask me.

    Mainstream stuff nowadays try too hard to capitalize on the success of the movies, I find. Often times trying too hard to appeal to a “wider” market that simply isn’t there much beyond the core fan bases. A lot of stuff nowadays just sorta feels like a tie-in for an upcoming movie or something. I dunno. Just my take on it.

    And the more independent stuff nowadays are becoming overloaded with DeviantArt artists and fanfic writers–people who don’t master their craft and bank more on social messages like “diversity” more than any elevating the craft of comics. It’s like a whole generation of these “indie” comics that model their style after Steven Universe or something. So unappealing.

    Comics need some balls again, if you ask me. Both in its writing and in artwork. Everything’s generally getting too safe, too socially-engineered for diversity, and too lacking in gusto.

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