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mygif

I feel the same way. For a while, like maybe 2005-2012 or so, I was still able to find comics here and there that appealed to me. They didn’t feel like the comics I really, really loved, which are mostly from the late 1970s through the 1980s, but they had enough echoes of those comics that I could still derive enjoyment from them. But since then, Marvel has been taking incremental steps farther and farther away from the kind of thing I love, and I just don’t have any passion at all for it anymore.

The separate universe idea is a great way to describe it. When you see, for example, Peter Parker in 2014 talking about the first time he met the Fantastic Four, it feels like Alec Guinness’s Obi Wan Kenobi talking about the Clone Wars cartoon. They’re kind of the same thing, and a lot of the same names appear, but they are fundamentally different. The comics of today actually do feel like an entirely different medium than the comics of the 1970s. Like comparing Watchmen to Beetle Bailey.

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mygif

The Golden Age readers who continued reading comics probably felt the same way once the Silver Age came around! :)

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mygif

So I’m going to do what you don’t want me to do and I’m going to recommend something. It’s over now so you may have already read it.

A few months back I subscribed to Marvel Unlimited for a month. Doing so I read Journey into Mystery, Gillen’s Young Avengers and then finally Ewing’s Agents of Asgard.

After those three….I agree with you. I couldn’t get into another marvel book. (I almost did with Ant-Man but then SECRET WARS TIME ended it).

Like, I dunno. It just all felt…flat after those. :\

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Alexander Hammil said on October 25th, 2016 at 1:15 pm

I’m kind of the opposite. I started reading comics when Guardians of the Galaxy came out, and just cannot get into Bronze Age stuff. I get that people like it, but the art looks ugly as heck to me and they’re awfully overwritten.

I’m also 34, but I didn’t read comics as a kid, which I think is the difference. All of my comics experience is post-Dark Age.

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mygif

41 year old male here. I agree with you completely. It’s not them, it’s me. And like you, for the past 7 years, I have been buying mostly bronze age Marvels. And it’s been a race to buy obscure, random first appearances of characters before Marvel features them on screen. I’m still trying to get Hulk 254 for a first appearance of the U-Foes, even though the U-Foes will likely never be in a movie, unless it is a blatant attempt to rub it in Fox’s nose that they can’t make a Fantastic Four movie (so yes, apparently, the U-Foes will be in the next Hulk movie (damn)).

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mygif

So basically, you can’t get over the narrow standards someone else handed you when you were 11-ish? You’re right, it’s not them.

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mygif

I’ve been seriously reading comics since around 2002. At one point, I was reading EVERY Spider-man title, Astonishing X-Men, a ton of Ultimate titles, Daredevil, Runwaways, Fantastic Four etc etc.

I still buy comics, but the vast majority are Image and other non-superhero stuff. The only Marvel comics I get are Ms Marvel, Amazing Spidey and Daredevil, and I’ll probably keep getting those until they stop printing them in floppies. The ridiculous cost of Marvel issues is part of it. I mean, I think the latest Civil War is $6.00 US an issue? I can go to Book Depository and purchase a decent novel for that price.

The only DC comics I regularly get are Batman and Wonder Woman. So maybe I’m over superhero comics across the board? Don’t know.

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mygif

This article made me chuckle, seeing as how excited I was to get the Son of Satan Classic tpb yesterday. And Waid’s DD was the last Marvel book I was reading, also. (And Fraction’s Hawkeye, but I see that Clint Barton as an entirely different character from the Barton I knew).

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mygif

I should add that I’m reading an Omnibus of Invaders Classic at the moment and loving it.

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Candlejack said on October 26th, 2016 at 12:17 pm

I’m right there with you, for the most part.

I was a Marvel fangirl when I was a kid, specifically the X-books, and even more specifically the classic Excalibur*. Since getting back into comics, I find I don’t even have an interest in those. They just aren’t the same characters anymore. Probably goes without saying I have no use for the Illuminati stuff, either. It feels to me like Marvel indulges in a lot of character assassination these days, whether because they think the heroes are getting stale, or just because they need to put them in a place where they can continue to have massive hero vs hero crossovers.

But I do still find new titles I enjoy. Mostly they’re in the back-corners of the universe, away from the crossovers. Maybe what I really hate is just heroes who spend all their time fighting or plotting against other heroes?

*before some dude named Warren Ellis took over. He’d apparently never read an issue, and the characters I cared about became unrecognizable. And they were shoved to the side to make room for the addition of one of his standard-issue chain-smoking damaged smartasses anyway. Man, whatever happened to that hack? 😛

(I should add, I actually really like Warren Ellis when he’s writing his own stuff, and I loved the Authority. I just hate to see him write characters I used to know and like.)

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Justin Zyduck said on October 26th, 2016 at 9:43 pm

Jason: Star Wars is a good point of comparison because you’re right, it’s hard to hear Guinness talk about meeting Luke’s father and what a good pilot and friend he was and reconcile it emotionally with watching Jake Lloyd win a podrace. TECHNICALLY, you can say it all lines up, but it’s not the perfectly plotted cycle Lucas used to make it out to be. But really, I have no use for anything outside the original trilogy, but I begrudge no one the Expanded Universe of their choosing.

JCG (and this applies to Alexander Hammil as well, actually!): That’s precisely why I want to avoid framing this like contemporary superhero comics are somehow objectively bad. I don’t want to be Sean Connery in the 60s talking about needing earmuffs to listen to the Beatles.

Michael P: We are in perfect agreement.

DanielT: Hawkeye is another case like Waid’s Daredevil. I did really enjoy Fraction and Aja’s Hawkeye when I read it in trade, but in my head, he’s a totally different character, an adaptation of the guy for whom Stan Lee and Steve Englehart and Kurt Busiek wrote dialogue. Much like the CW’s Barry Allen is basically unrecognizable as “Barry Allen” (or even Wally West!) but I still like the show on its own terms.

Candlejack: Yeah, Ellis likes to tweak concepts to make them palatable to himself, and I respect that he makes no apologies for it. That’s why Planetary was such a nice sandbox for him to play around in.

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mygif

My Clint Barton would never, ever EVER have murdered Bruce Banner.

But my Clint Barton died as soon as there was a Hawkeye character in the Marvel movies.

It’s funny how the Ultimate line of comics eventually failed, but the movies were based on them (much more so than the Classic universe) so now the Classic universe is becoming the Ultimate one.

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mygif

Hell, I’d say even Matt Fraction’s Hawkguy would never have murdered Bruce Banner, but that’s a discussion for another day.

I’m kind of in the opposite boat, that I got into superhero comics through Marvel (technically, through Archie’s Ninja Turtles, but never mind) and I’m reading more Marvel now than ever. And I’ll admit, I was pretty close to writing out a “HEY MAN you just don’t UNDERSTAND” kind of reply, but then I realized that I have just the same response you have to the Marvel U at large but with the X-Men in particular.

I started reading the X-Men in the mid 90s, which was, well, not a high point critically, let’s say. It has a lot of the same marks of current X-Men: fractured teams, mutants in peril, plotlines that seem to fizzle out or go on forever with no inbetween. It didn’t bother me then, and doesn’t bother me in other books. And yet, nothing that’s coming out right now (maybe the All-New Wolverine title, which is really only tangentially an X-book) speaks to me any more. Maybe if I’d been reading the rest of Marvel back then, I’d be feeling that way about the other books too.

Except Vision. I feel like Vision would be a favorite through whatever permutation I might have been.

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David Harding said on October 29th, 2016 at 3:39 pm

Reading your article, it actually felt like you were interviewing me.

There has always been an ebb and flow to my comic collecting (I started in the mid-1970s)…but these days, it’s starting to feel like an parting of the ways of sorts.

A little over 3 years ago, I dropped my final DC book. After many years of reading their titles even though I wasn’t enjoying them – hoping like hell that they’d turn it around at some point – I grew to realise that I really didn’t like their characters anymore…at least the modern era versions. It was like I’d outgrown them…or they’d outgrown me. And it’s not just their comics either. I have zero interest in their t.v. shows and movies too. But as others have already said, I was almost surprised to learn that I still enjoy reading their old stuff.

Now the same thing is happening with me and Marvel. This time though, I don’t want to wait for me to get so fed up with them that I can’t come back. So I’ve been scaling back on my Marvel buying…which has been surprisingly easy to do. Marvel replaced the characters I liked with some minty fresh versions that I feel little or no connection to. They disbanded the Fantastic Four (that was the book that got me addicted to super-hero comics in the first place). The Avengers have so many teams now that it all feels a little diluted. They certainly look unrecognizable to me now. Everything is being reimagined with young characters infesting everything. I love the Inhumans, but they’re a fractured group spread out across multiple titles. I don’t mind other Inhumans being around…but it’s the Royal Family that I’m really interested in reading about. And that story is starting to repeat with most of what Marvel puts out now.

I don’t blame DC or Marvel for changing things…but my interest in their current universes has taken a maybe fatal hit.

People say to me…”You just don’t like it when things change.”, And maybe they are right.

But here’s the thing: If I wanted something different to read – new characters or genres – why would I buy from Marvel or DC? Why wouldn’t I do what I have done – branched out into other publishers where “new” pretty much comes with the territory? I mean, if I want to read about super-heroes going forward, DC and Marvel are going to be the first place I look. But if I don’t…or I just want to experience good and great books that aren’t connected to some greater universe; where the writers and artists are just trying to tell their particular story, it’s Image or Dark Horse or any of the many other (non-DC/non-Marvel) publishers out there hoping someone like me will give them a try.

And what I have learned is that there are a lot of terrific titles being published right now. It took some experimentation to get there, but in the end my overall title count is on the rise again. I’m happier with my purchases now than I’ve been in a while.

And I’m in the process of getting out of Marvel while I still (overall) like their characters. I still go see their movies (most of them anyways) and enjoy them.

I just can’t afford to hold my nose and buy anymore. Not when I’m clearly not the target audience anymore. I sincerely hope, for their sake, that this readership they’re chasing actually shows up and buys what they’re offering.

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Citizen Alan said on November 1st, 2016 at 2:13 pm

Two points:

1. The “reason” Hawkeye murdered Bruce Banner and got away with it is because for the purposes of CW2, Hawkeye ceased to be a well-developed character with his own history and interiority and was reduced to serving as a crude metaphor. Specifically, he is a cop who shot an innocent black who made a furtive movement and he was acquitted because Bruce Banner was, in the minds of the jury, probably a n***** who needed killing.

2. I quit comics cold turkey years ago because I was simply worn down by the naked mercenary cynicism of Marvel editorial under Quesada and Alonzo. The last straw was Civil War Frontline #11, a comic book which I thought was /evil/ in the message it conveyed. For those who don’t remember CWF, the viewpoint characters were two newspaper reporters covering the conflict between Iron Man and Captain America. And in the last issue, they confront Tony Stark with all the evidence they’ve acquired about his criminal and even treasonous conduct … and then reassure him that they’re burying the story because they support his agenda.

Imagine “All the President’s Men” ending with Woodward and Bernstein reassuring Nixon that they were burying the Watergate scandal because they were such fans of the Cambodian bombing campaign. And then, after they left, Nixon broke down and cried because of the awful burden of knowing what’s best for everyone in the world.

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mygif

Like Aulayan said, I would totally recommend Marvel Unlimited. While I still read most of the “new” books (a.k.a. the six-month old ones) on it*, I use it mainly to binge on Silver and Bronze Age books (of which there are lots of full or at least extensive runs). Over the past few years, I’ve gone through the first few decades of AVENGERS and FANTASTIC FOUR and am now through nearly thirty years worth of SPIDER-MAN. Add to that runs like TOMB OF DRACULA and the early Luke Cage/Iron Fist stuff, and I can stay on my iPad as long as I want to find more gems from those decades (having gone through Miller’s DAREDEVIL and Simonson’s THOR, I’m tempted to hop back to the beginning of either next).

Being a 36-year old in a small apartment, I don’t feel like collecting a bunch of hardcopy comics or trades anymore, but spending the annual fee to ‘stream’ all those books means that I can return to favorites almost whenever.

__________
*I agree with everything you saw about the current books – in recent years, it’s only really been Jonathan Hickman’s work at Marvel that sang to me, alongside others like Waid’s DAREDEVIL, Fraction’s HAWKEYE, and Aaron’s THOR, but I basically think of the “new” books as freebies “subsidized” by getting more than my money’s worth on the classic back catalog.

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mygif

Wow, I just really feel the same way. For me, I think the Marvel universe ended around 1991-93. I just don’t like much of what was coming out after that. It’s when I quit collecting, after an entire ten or twelve years of getting everything I could. The older books make me feel better. I like them more. I even like the crappy old-school coloring techniques.

But I’m glad new people like the new books. Mostly not for me, and that’s fine. I’m a bronze age boy.

My father-in-law, interestingly, loves Golden Age stuff more than anything. (And not just Marvel.) It’s what he grew up with. And he loves that other people love later books. Just mostly not for him.

Great post. Bronze age rules!

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cubic_balloon said on November 12th, 2016 at 6:24 am

My interest in Marvel comics started in the aftermath of House of M, peaked during Planet Hulk and mostly vanished during Secret Invasion.

Mostly the same with DC, but to a smaller extent, around the time Seven Soldiers was published.

I haven’t been part of their target audience for a long time, and I think it’s for the best. I find independent, creator-owned comics much more compelling.

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mygif

I know the feeling. In my ideal world, DC would still make comics the way they did in the last half of the Nineties under Paul Levitz and Marvel would still be like they were around the time that Spider-Man and Mary Jane Watson got married.

“My” Marvel was a company that stubbornly insisted that Bucky would stay dead. I remember reading an issue of West Coast Avengers (featuring the version of Hawkeye I consider the real one) where the writer ranted in the letter column about how lame Crisis On Infinite Earths was and vowed that Marvel would never reboot their universe. That felt right and proper.

“My” Marvel was very much a continuation of what they did in the Seventies, but with an understanding that nobody would dwell too much on the parts they didn’t want to use any more… sort of like DC in the early Eighties when Marvel guys took over some of their titles and they just ignored some of the dumber stuff from the Silver Age (resulting in things such as the best Teen Titans series ever). So, it was kind of a best of both worlds situation. You got to feel like you were part of a tradition going back to the Silver Age, but you didn’t need to know anything about Howard the Duck or Man-Thing or Rom if you didn’t want to.

Marvel stopped being for me somewhere around the time Quesada tried to get rid of costumes and secret identities.

The stuff they do now is not for me either. I can’t even enjoy the TV shows or the movies because I get annoyed that the characters aren’t basically how they were in 1989. I hated Guardians of the Galaxy because I couldn’t stop thinking about stuff like how Drax shouldn’t need knives because he used to be able to shoot beams out of his hands or how Yondu should have had a bow.

But some of that is just me getting older and reacting differently to stuff I would have liked as a kid. Take Ant-Man for example. I spent the whole moving thinking things like “shrinking only seems useful in certain very specific situations” or “Wouldn’t it be faster to just drive there in his friend’s van instead of riding his favorite winged ant?” or “Ant-Man’s life would be easier if he had a handgun.” If that same movie came out when I was eight, I would have loved the way Paul Rudd used the suit to cheat during fist fights.

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