Karen: So some guy in Sales at Marvel has declared that they will kill off a major character every quarter to make more money. Is this really what comics have devolved to? I know it's a business, and they have a right to make money. But is there no one with any artistic integrity there? Isn't anyone willing to argue for an organic growth of stories, rather than following the sales figures and forcing storylines on books?
Karen: It's the same reason we have been plagued with company-wide 'events' for so long: the desire to get as much money out of the consumer as possible, regardless of whether the story made sense or needed to run over into every single title. I find it absolutely appalling.
Karen: I'm so close to just cutting new comics out of my budget. I find myself enjoying them less and less. There's the occasional nugget of gold, but for the most part, I'm beginning to find them so artificial and contrived that I can't enjoy them.
Doug: Karen asked me to toss in some comments from my perspective, and I think I've made this known in the past. I'll approach this from when new comics ceased to be fun, -- that is, as a recovering completist (I'm sure there's a therapy out there somewhere for that!), when did it become easy to just pile up the new books, with no real timetable for reading them? For me that began to occur in the 1990's, probably toward the middle of the decade. When I got back into comics in 1985 I really enjoyed a solid 5-6 year run of not only catching up on the stuff I'd missed during high school, but the new books were pretty well done, too. But I think it all began to go downhill around the time of the creation of Image Comics. Comic books now became exceedingly art-driven (and bad art at times) with less pay-off issue to issue. If you think that sounds funny coming from me, who is always commenting on our Bronze Age graphics, you might be right. But there became less bang for the escalating buck, hence the lack of interest in reading them right off the shelf.
Doug: Like Karen, the multi-part crossovers were becoming increasingly annoying, and truly pointless. Is there a memorable story in all that mess? Not for me. The repeated re-numbering of issues, the gimmick covers, and the ratcheting up of sex and violence destroyed what had been a childhood love. A few books held my attention: the Busiek/Perez Avengers (although I may not like it as much as other Avengers fans), the Legion reboot that alternated between Legionnaires and Legion of Super-Heroes, Bone, and the Ultimates (a guilty passion in the first 12-issue arc; the second 12-issue series really pushed the envelope for me). Oh, and a mini-series here and there, like Marvels and Kingdom Come, and Superman: Secret Identity. Other than that, much of what I bought should probably be recycled, as it will never be resold for even cover price.
Doug: A last remark -- economics kept me from buying a huge assortment of comics each month. As the price went past $2 and headed to $3 (and on up), I bought less and less. So I may not have as wide a background in modern comics as some of our readers. Given that, I'm sure there are many among you who might say that I was reading the wrong stuff. I've been out of the new-buys for over six years now, thanks in large part to what Karen has posited, as well as one Brian Michael Bendis and his destruction of my favorite characters. The "necessity" of the gimmick, see-through as they all are, to sell comics is deplorable. If the companies who make your household products marketed this way or made their consumers feel like some of us do, we'd take the same action we're taking here -- either go to a competitor or stop buying altogether. I'm smarter than to have my intelligence insulted by these underhanded (and lame) tactics like the "monthly death" that will "forever change the universe" and "shake the heroes to their very core!"
Karen: OK, we've vented long enough. What do you think about this plan of Marvel's?