Dude, do you even SHOP for comics?
The Star Tribune newspaper her in Minneapolis has a column about comics. I know, right? A daily newspaper in a major market giving column space to talk about funny books? Guess they want us nerd to start reading more than the movie listings.
They have a write up on comic books every week, and this one was an article by Joe Gross: And you can read it right here if you’d like.
The central premise of what he writes is encapsulated in this sentence: What was once a form that prided itself on being fast, cheap and out of control is now intellectual property worth millions, subject to the sort of five- and 10-year planning that would impress an aging Soviet.
Dude, do you even go into comic shops?
Yeah, Marvel and DC now have long range planning both story-wise and publishing-wise because they are businesses. Like it or not, they have to meet certain sales markers and corporate goals like any other arm of a media company. They build to big events because sales show it is what fans want, and when they are done right (Secret Wars, Civil War, Crisis on Infinite Earths, etc…) there’s nothing as fun and entertaining for a long-time super-hero fan than seeing a BIG EVENT where LOTS OF CRAZY STUFF HAPPENS.
But to claim that the entire art form is nothing but those sorts of events now makes you look like an uninformed moron.
Marvel has books like Ms Marvel, Squirrel Girl and The Vision which might tie in with big events peripherally, but are a singular vision of the creators involved. DC has similar books like Batgirl and their Vertigo line with books like Art Ops and Astro City.
And that’s the mainstream.
Head a little further down the rack and you get that 70’s style super-hero stuff with Savage Dragon at Image, mind blowing stuff like Captain Victory and the galactic Rangers, explorations of art in the new Grant Morrison edited Heavy Metal, the excellent storytelling of Saga, the batshit insanity of I Hate Fairyland and so on and so on and so on. Hell, Badger’s back and is just as nuts, but reads much better.
Get out of the Marvel and DC aisle if you are looking for stuff that is fast, cheap and out of control. There is more diversity in comics content since the Golden Age, the level of craft by the creators is higher than it’s been in ages, and there is pretty much something for everyone from kids comics to genre breaking art that demands more from the reader than most mainstream novels.
Oh, and if you want that 70’s stuff where they were making it up as they went along, you can always buy the trades of the old stuff. I doubt you’ve read it all, and while it hasn’t’ aged all that well, you can go back and get your nostalgia fix. It’s OK.