Back in the day, when I first started seriously collecting comics (to me, that means going to the comic shop every Wednesday for the new books), I was pretty much evenly balanced between buying Marvel books and DC books. Then, I slowly started expanding the number of Marvel books that I would buy each week. I’ve been a fan of Spider-Man and the Fantastic Four for as long as I can remember, plus you can’t deny that characters like Daredevil, Hulk, and the X-Men are pretty cool, too.
Everything was going along fine, but then something wonky happened. Marvel’s books started getting…um…more complicated than I was willing to accept. Events and multi-title crossovers seemed to be popping up every other week and, I’ll be honest, my wallet couldn’t take it. The X-Men books were particularly notorious for these kinds of things–and, what makes it worse, is they seemed to relish using things like time travel and alternate timelines (I’m as capable of following a good time travel story as the next guy who grew up watching Quantum Leap and Back to the Future, but c’mon!). Anyway, I soon found myself dropping Marvel titles. For a while, the only Marvel books I was buying were the Ultimate titles (yes, I admit they have problems, too) and Daredevil. Then, something funny happened. Joss Whedon showed up one day with a new X-book, Astonishing X-Men. Was I going to buy it? Um, hells yeah! In the last few years, I’ve started reading Runaways and Captain America, too. I even tried my hand at the X-Men again (as well as the supremely awesome X-Factor), but was soon smacked upside the cerebellum with another endless stream of “events.” My Marvel renaissance was also retarded by the recent Civil War storyline. What can I say? The idea of hero fighting hero does not appeal to me.
So, what’s my point? My point is this: eventually the pendulum swings back. I imagine, within the next few months, I will be weeding out a lot of DC books and replacing them with Marvel books.
There are a number of factors at play here. First, DC is making the choice easier by canceling a bunch of the books that I read. Catwoman? Gone. Robin? Not long for this world. They’re also (potentially) messing up the status quo something fierce in a bunch of books. If Barry Allen is re-instated as The Flash, that book might have to go. I have nothing against Barry, but Wally West has been the only Flash I’ve ever read, and I’m not sure if I’m willing to read The Flash with someone else in the red suit. Then there’s Batman. Whoa man, what the hell is going to happen with Batman? Everyone’s trying to figure out how Grant Morrison’s Batman, R.I.P. arc is going to end. I’m saying this right now, if it ends with anyone else but Bruce in the cowl, I’m done. Y’all can keep reading, and I’m not going to curse Morrison for “killing my childhood”, but Bruce is Batman and that’s that.
In addition, Marvel’s really stepped up with a lot of their books lately. Daredevil is still frakkin’ awesome. Captain America (written, like Daredevil, by Ed Brubaker) consistently blows me away month after month with the story of Cap’s former sidekick-turned-Russian assassin, Bucky Barnes, taking on the mantle of Captain America after Steve Rogers is killed. I’ve been hearing a lot of good things about Amazing Spider-Man, despite some “energetic” fan responses to the recent “Brand New Day” storyline–personally, I like Peter Parker being a single loser again. Today, I picked up the newest issue of ASM, guest-starring the Punisher, and it was pretty much just what I wanted in a Spider-Man comic. I’ve also been checking out Uncanny X-Men (also written by Brubaker, as well as Matt Fraction), which seems to have recaptured the fun, free-wheeling X-Men of the ’80s–sadly, Kitty Pryde is still trapped inside the giant space bullet as it hurtles across the never-ending expanse of the cosmos (damn you, Joss!).
All I’m really waiting for is the dust to settle after Marvel’s current “Secret Invasion” story to check in with the Avengers and Fantastic Four and see if they grab my interest again, as well.