Marvel? DC? Hunker down. We gotta have a talk.
Lately, both of you have been just … well, I don’t have a good word for it. Nanners? Batshit? Manchildish? I dunno. And Marvel, don’t give me that “But he’s done way worse that me!” crap. Just because DC smashed the cookie jar doesn’t excuse you from stealing some yourself, you feel me?
I know writing stories is hard. Trust me, I know. I have trouble writing five minutes of stupid dialogue for internet videos, so lord only knows what goes into twenty-some-odd monthly pages. Not to mention the pressure of a deadline, the pressure to turn a profit, the pressure to more or less keep comic books from drying up and blowing away … I know it’s a shit situation. I feel you.
But have you just stopped and looked at what you’ve done lately? Superior Spider-Man. The Batwoman debacle. Avengers Vs. X-Men. Trinity War. I mean, have you even *read* what you put on the stands? Seriously, I’m asking.
I’m not trying to just come out swinging, but Jesus, guys. You made Cyclops the new mutant supremacist (not to mention the guy who killed Charles Xavier for the billionth time). You turned three Justice Leagues against each other. And let’s not even get started on whatever it is you both have against marriage, because at this point it’s pathological.
Sure, you’re holding on to a core of readers … a rapidly aging core. But you know, you’re even losing us with this crap. I’m 36. For most of my adult life, I kept reading comics. More, I advanced to my friends and acquaintances that sequential art was in fact *art.* Watchmen. Sandman. Transmetropolitan. Honest to god transcendent works, both in word and image. I was an evangelist for you guys.
But I think you guys missed the point. Watchmen wasn’t monumental because of murder and madness and badassery. The Silver Age wasn’t beloved because nobody got married. (I’m serious, guys. Pathological.) In fact, for as much as you’re clinging to a bygone era by your fingernails, I’d swear you never actually read those books.
So here’s me, comic nerd extraordinaire … and I can’t point people your way anymore. Not when there are books like Atomic Robo, or Invincible (yes, I know it’s bloody but at least it’s not stupid) or Hellboy. Not when someone else is actually writing the kinds of stories you purport to love so well. I tell them to go elsewhere, to look at smaller publishers, or even just to webcomics.
What I’m trying to say is this: get the Porsche, order the Rogaine, date the 18 year old if you must. But your midlife crisis is not the stuff of which good stories are made. Storytelling has changed. The idea of perpetual stagnation died sometime after Buffy and Babylon 5, and that was almost 20 years ago.
Marvel, you gotta learn to cut your losses and let some shit go. Avengers is doing amazing on screen, but the comics they’re based on are almost a parody at this point. Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes had better storytelling than Avengers Vs. X-Men … and it was an all ages show. Let that sink in for a minute.
And DC … just what the fuck, DC? If you really think your audience needs to see boobs that damn bad, start a porn imprint and be done with it. If everybody absolutely must be an asshole, then at least bring in Ennis or Ellis or someone who knows how to write that kind of story … and even they would have the good sense not to fuck with the legacy you’re messing with. This is fact; go read old issues of Hitman. Ennis slung some shit, but he didn’t let one bit of it stick to Superman. How come you can’t do the same?
It’s Christmas Morning. When you were 10, all those toys under the tree were for you. But you guys are pushing 40 and 50, and so is your audience. Stop trying to hog the brand new Nintendo without letting little Johnny have a turn. It’s just sad, man.
If this is the only kind of story you know how to tell, maybe it’s time you told it elsewhere. Because if I’m the demographic you’re trying desperately to squeeze the last few pennies out of, you’re failing. You lost a guy who read comics since elementary school, who knew about the Cosmic Cube and Kryptonite before he knew about General Relativity. And when you’ve lost me and my ilk … well, if this is the kind of story you wanna make, you’re not gonna find enough new blood to replace us.
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