I have seen other comics bloggers post about this subject in the past, and it never seemed like a big deal to me personally at the time, but… I have removed all DC and Marvel comics from my LCS pull-list, save for two: DC’s Wonder Woman and Marvel’s Avengers Academy.
I’m not coming from a moral position about creators’ rights (although I do have very mixed feelings about the Alan Moore/Before Watchmen and the Avengers/Kirby Estate divides). Nor am I turning up my nose at the “New 52” or Avengers Versus X-Men events.
No, the bottom line is that I find all superhero comics from the Big Two (save for the two titles above) to be, well… boring and starring “heroes” that are, well… assholes.
For the record, I have always worn my love of “commercial” superhero comics on my sleeve as a badge of pride. I sing the old Marvel animation theme songs to my son (his favorite is “When Captain America throws his mighty shield…”) and pre-ordered 46 of the New 52 first issues in September 2011 to support the very principle behind DC’s big change: Innovation in storytelling.
But now, almost a year later, I find most of DC’s and Marvel’s output to be glum, humorless exercises in disillusioning and grievously wounding the good guys. Take Justice League #8, the Green Arrow issue, for just one example. The book plays Ollie Queen as a bit of an opportunist, but he seems to genuinely want to help the world, too. But Superman and the gang are too cool for Green Arrow, to the point that Batman says they have, essentially, “an image to protect.”
Seriously, Batman? You’re going to put your ego ahead of the world’s best interests? Hey, I agree, Green Arrow’s a jerk and a hypocrite, but he could still be another soldier in the frontline of defense against Darkseid or that evil biographer or whatever.
This Justice League doesn’t even want to share the details of their activities with the government, instead leaving that scrub duty to Steve Trevor (who attends business meetings in battle armor, apparently). Do you remember the last time giant agencies entrusted with the peoples’ futures decided not to come clean with the government? That’s right – it was outfits like Goldman-Sachs, which kicked off the worst recession America’s seen in close to 100 years.
Look, I don’t mean to dine out on insulting Justice League exclusively, but I do think that book is reflective of the endemic cynicism that’s ruining the other Big Two books for me. They star my childhood heroes, but they are not stories that I can share with my children.
Avengers Academy is a retro breeze of fresh air in comparison to everything else out on the stands, as far as I’m concerned. The tie-ins with AVX are a little long-in-the-tooth, but Christos Gage sure writes compelling young characters. And Wonder Woman’s reinterpretation of Greek myths is also interesting but, man, is it bloody. That one is getting close to the chopping block, too, I’m afraid.
On the flipside, though (and this should hopefully bring my retailer’s blood pressure back down), I am buying WAY MORE Indie comics, and not just because I write for BuyIndieComics.com. It’s because their stories just seem way more interesting to me. Looking ahead at Diamond’s August solicits, I plan to buy FOUR Image trades (Hell Yeah!, Glory, Prophet, and The Manhattan Projects ).
I’m not sure, but I think that’s somehow correlated to what’s going on (or not going on) at DC and Marvel right now…
Richard A. Hamilton is a Los Angeles resident for 12 years running and the writer/publisher of Return of the Super Pimps and Miserable Dastards. On his free time, he seeks out new Indie comics, local beers, and –on good days — both.