Well, I guess I am going to do another one of these after all. I will be reviewing many individual issues in the next week, but I wanted to make a comment about my entire haul for the week and why it looks like it does. This week, as the final week of August, not much new came out, but there were a couple of things I wanted to get my hands on from the previous couple of months, so I got myself down to the shop. Also, I knew that issue 23 of Justice League was coming out, and that is (for the moment at least) on my pull list. Below is a picture of the week's haul.
Two of the titles on the left are on my regular pull list (Thor and JL), but the others have not been on it. I have reviewed the first two issues of Lazarus by Greg Rucka, which I just bought last week, and they were outstanding, so I was very pleased to find issue 3 on the stands already. This comic is so good that it's already on my pull list (and I haven't even read issue 3 yet).
In the center and on the right are the first two issues of two new series about which I have heard good (though not stellar) things. Ghosted is apparently a story about a team of ghost hunters, and Jupiter's Legacy is about young superheroes trying to live up to their elders' memory. Both are new titles from Image Comics, one of the larger "independent" companies. As I've written here before, next month, which is "Villain Month" for DC, is "Independent Month" for me (I refuse to buy into DC's hype-machine, so I am skipping DC's New 52 titles in September). I just couldn't wait to try some, however, so I grabbed these this week.
While I was in the shop, I asked the owner to take Justice League off my pull list (even while I was plunking down $4 for JL 23). I am still probably going to read it for a little longer, depending on how it is going, but I am no longer willing to commit to it (at the same time, I put Lazarus on, so at least it is not a lost sale for the comic shop).
As we talked, I told the owner that I am probably going to start divesting myself of DC titles. He asked why, and I told him that I just can't stand the constant crossing over from book to book, the stupid universe-spanning events, and worst of all the gimmicks, gimmicks, non-stop gimmicks. Why couldn't they just write good stories.
His answer was not surprising but it did make me sad. He gestured toward the rack of this month's comics and said, "I wish good stories were all it took, but I can point you to dozens of good stories every month that just don't sell. The truth is that the gimmicks sell comics."
I'm sure he's right -- he would know. And that's why DC does it. But it's a crying shame.
I said, "That may be, but I don't have to like it, and I sure don't have to buy the gimmicks."
"Well, if Coke and Pepsi aren't doing it for you, there are lots of other brands of soda out there," he replied. Meaning, of course, if DC and Marvel don't satisfy me, there are lots of independents.
I pointed out that I was buying mostly image that month, so I do get that. And that's what next month is going to be all about for me -- sampling the independents and seeing what the companies other than the "Big Two" are doing.
This is not the first time the Big Two have made me so angry with their blatant PR moves and hype-machine based stories that I quit reading them. In the late 80s/early 90s, I gave up on Marvel for doing this kind of thing, and switched to DC. Then in the late 90s DC got so bad that in 1999 I gave up on them as well. The independent market was not so strong back then, and so when I gave up on DC, I forswore comics altogether. And this lasted for thirteen years.
This time, however, there is a very strong indy market with lots of top-flight creators turning in critically acclaimed (and sometimes, though not always, popular) material. There's no reason for me to quit comics. But it may be getting to the point where I'm going to quit most of DC. I will stick with Batgirl as long as Gail Simone is on it, because Gail writes such a great Batgirl. And I will probably stick with Supergirl just because it's Kara, and I love her (or at least, the memory of the original Maid of Might). But I'm not sure if there will be much else left from DC on my pull list when the smoke from "Indy Month" clears in October. We shall see.