Monday, May 18, 2009

Comic Book Pet Peeves

While I'm the first to admit I love comic books, there are those things that really have a tendency to get on my nerves about them. Here's a few little quirks they seem to have that need to be seriously looked at.

1. Covers that have nothing to do with the story inside.

Look, I understand the need to sell books, and I know that a good cover does that, but why put two guys fighting on the cover when you know good and well they won't fight in the story?

When I was growing up I didn't understand this, and I still don't. It makes it hard to decide on a comic book to purchase online since I have no idea if the story will even be happening or not.

Or how about generic covers? They're just "hero shots", with poses of the hero on the cover doing absolutely nothing. I understand the whole "iconic look" thing that is supposed to say "Don't mess with me", but give us a reason to want to open the book!

Back in the day, heroes and villains fought on the cover and then you bought to book to find out how the fight went! Let's do it!

2. Wolverine guest starring in every other title on Earth.

There is such a thing as overkill, and I think we've reached that point and gone well beyond it with the world's most popular mutant.

Yes, I love the movie. Hey, I think the character's awesome! When I was a kid, if you wanted to sell me a comic book all you had to do was put Wolverine on the cover. I still remember that old X-Men story that had him facing off against the Hellfire Club alone in the sewers. It was the first real solo-type Wolverine adventure, and I loved it.

Then he got his own series. Cool! More Wolvie goodness every month! And then the X-Men got 2 titles...and he was in both. Then he showed up in Captain America...and Spider-Man...and Hulk (again)...and Daredevil. Now the character shows godlike omnipresence by being in no less than six different titles every month as a regular star, and guesting in at least 2 or 3 others. Maybe it's time to give him a little vacation?

3. The "vow of silence" we have on the covers of today.

They used to scream threats, or yell battle cries, or cry in despair of how the world would end if they didn't stop that villain! Today, it's nothing but one silent poster after another. Whoever came up with the idea that a cover should be nothing more than a static picture was obviously not a comic book reader.

I can still remember grabbing the latest issue of Spider-Man and seeing Doctor Octopus or the Green Goblin giving Spidey the what-for of how they were going to hurt him. The cover could basically be considered the splash page of the book.

Today, we get one more iconic pose after another. Maybe the villain is there, and maybe he's not. More often than not, you're left to basically interpret the cover for yourself. Is it meant to convey what's coming in the book, or is it meant to just show you the hero? Is there some deeper meaning in the cover painting, or did they just find an artist who'd paint a bunch of generic covers for cheap? Who knows.

4. The ever-increasing single issue price.

Look, I know we're in desperate times here and it's a financial crush for businesses everywhere, but what's going on with $4 for a regular comic book?

It used to be $3 a book, with the higher prices reserved for "special issues", but now Marvel has moved most of their titles to the $4 mark. I understand we're using this acid-free paper that makes the colors more vibrant and helps the pages last longer and junk like that, but throw that stuff back on newsprint if it'll bring the price down below $2!

They say comic book sales are slipping, and there may be a very good reason for that: anyone who follows a title regularly either has to skip eating or wait a few months and buy the collection in a six-issue trade paperback. Maybe you should find some of those talented unknown artists who hang out at comic book conventions and give them a shot at drawing some stuff. They'll do it for a lot cheaper and do just as good a job as most of the guys out there today.

What about you guys? What needs to be fixed in today's comic books?

1 comment:

Jason von Evil said...

Agree on all fronts, especially the price. I bet they still can't figure out why webcomics are so popular. "Their stuff is free and ours cost 4 bucks, what gives!?"

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