I never thought I would say this: Comic books are dead.
Here’s the backstory:
I have been a reasonably avid collector for the past 20 years (scary). Over that time I have read thousands and thousands of books and really enjoyed the art and the stories that were presented. But, standing in my local comic book store the other day I honestly couldn’t think of a valid reason to buy more books. The stories are tired (red Hulk anyone?). The art is mediocre and all the real fun is happening in video games, anime, and movies. Now, I know that for a lot of folks comics still hold the ability to engulf you in the story and provide a moment of distraction from the world outside. But, all the ability of the medium to hold my attention is starting to feel as thin as the paper it is printed on.
Your average video game engulfs you in the story. Draws you into the characters and then wraps it in delicious visual and audio goodness. Don’t get me wrong I want to love comic books. I love the whole idea of paneled art, the storytelling and the medium. I even have a partially finished series of books in my portfolio. But, I miss the original high of getting my weekly fix and then setting down for an hour or so to read and then carefully bag them. Maybe I am just a comic book junkie looking for another first time rush or maybe I am just getting older; but, I think the issue is that the folks making comic books have just gotten lazy and decided that soap opera is what we are all looking for in a story.
If I was a publisher it would scare the crap out of me to have a post like this on the internet. Not because I am anybody special; but, as a long time purchaser of the product in question I am about to check out and if I am thinking like that how much easier is it for the folks that are just getting into the medium. Comic books are a wonderful visual medium with a rich history and it pains me to see the stand crammed with all the me too garbage and thrown together art. Hopefully, Marvel, DC, Image, Dark Horse, et al will get their act together and start producing some solid books again.
Until then, I stand by my first sentence: Comic books are dead.