Ok, it’s no secret. I am coming back into comics reading /collecting
after a 15+ year hiatus. So much has changed. Cap is dead and Bucky
has taken up the mantle. House of M, Barry Allen…..Superman dead and
resurrected, Luthor has been made president, Spidey a clone, had
kids, and then poof Mephisto changes things. A lot of these changes
are kind of hard to absorb and some of this, you just have to jump
into the water and swim with the rest of them and surprisingly, I
think I have been able to keep up with the current events.
However, one thing has NOT changed about comic books that still
doesn’t sit well with me. Multiple titles. Nothing has been more
irksome to me that looking monthly at the sheer numbers of titles for
one hero or group and try to figure out which ones to read that is
relevant to the story arc that you are presently into. This is part
of what drove me away from comics years ago. In the 80s and early 90s
when comics sales were taking a dip (especially after the prices
started heading up) what I really started noticing is how a story arc
could start in one title…and somehow cross between two or three
titles of that particular character and sometimes, it would somehow
end up in a totally different book…just so they could sell! I
vaguely remember an X men story arc that somehow wound up going thru
a FFIV title before it ended….well what if I don’t like Fantastic
Four? You mean to tell me that I have to buy that issue to keep up?
That’s not fair!
What if my particular store doesn’t carry that title? One of my
favorite story arcs which came out close to the time I was winding
down my comic collecting was Kraven’s last Hunt. The story took place
in Web of Spider-Man #31-32, Amazing Spider-Man #293-294 and
Spectacular Spider-Man #131-132. Guess what? The stores in my
neighborhood didn’t sell Spectacular Spiderman! I have to travel a
distance to get those two books! I am hoping that maybe comic
companies really don’t need so many titles out for one hero or group.
I mean, look at this….
Action Comics, Superman, Superman and Batman, All Star Superman, and
plus he appears in JSA and JLA comics
X Men Titles
Astonishing X Men, Uncanny X men, X Men Legacy, Young X men, New
Exiles and mind you this doesn’t even figure in the 4 or 5 books out
for wolverine right now!
And I am sure that there are other examples out there that you can
think of. Part of my point of this rant too, is sometimes with all of
the titles available, there is bound to be a lot of tripping up and
over that these companies do to sell their books instead of self
containing them. For instance, look at Astonishing and Uncanny X men.
Why do you need 2 books to tell the same stories about the same group
of people in San Fran? How many people will debate about whether
Astonishing is better or worse? On the flip, look at the Avengers
books, which has vastly improved since the 80s. The Mighty, The New
and The Initiative. 3 different groups named after the same team with
three totally different approaches. Dark Horse’s Star Wars has about
4 or 5 different titles and all are told in different time periods.
Just pick one and roll with it.
I will wind this down but coming from an old schooler, I am hoping
companies will seriously start considering consolidating some of
these books and it’s happened over the years because way back when,
it seemed like each and every comic character had multiple titles and
I see that comic publishers are trying to wean themselves away but,
there is more pruning to be done.
3 titles are more than enough especially when you have things like an
Ultimates line that sometimes can muddy the picture too.