Saturday, November 2, 2013

Too Many Avengers. (Or X-Men, or Justice Leagues)

One thing that has certainly changed about comics since I began collecting, and not for the better, is the notion that there are so many titles for the same franchises, with no explicit rhyme or reason to them.

Yes, I acknowledge that my first superhero comic, West Coast Avengers #37, was one of those spin-off titles, but it also had a very specific and different purpose and locale. It also had a very consistent character line-up through most of its run.

Now, though, we get a dozen different Avengers titles, and the same for the X-Men, and half the time they all seem to come out the same week, at $3.99 a pop. Marvel might think that milking these cash cows keeps them with a huge profit margin, but ultimately, they're hurting themselves. Did no one learn from the glut of Punisher and Ghost Rider comics of the early 90's?

For one thing, shipping multiple titles of the same family in the same week is, in my opinion, just dumb. When I began collecting, that didn't happen. Web of Spider-Man shipped a different week from Amazing, which was a different week from the McFarlane book, which came out a different week from Spectacular. Uncanny X-Men, New Mutants, Wolverine and X-Factor all seemed to come out on different weeks, too, though I may be remembering that incorrectly. In recent years since some artists couldn't meet deadlines, there were times when we got two issues of Captain America or Amazing Spider-Man ON THE SAME DAY! Avengers fan when it literally costs $30 to keep up every month?
At one time, the Punisher had three ongoing titles.
2-3 years later, he had zero.
That's eight bucks right there. Joe Comics Buyer might think "eh, I might as well just stop buying these titles; it's too much to keep up with." But even if it's not the same title - how can someone be a true-blue

The other unfortunate side effect: If the readers are only buying Avengers, that means they're missing something else that might be new. It's a wonder titles like Daredevil even do business now, but that kind of was helped by word of mouth. It's not just Marvel, either: Why check out The Green Team or even a title that's been around a while like Stormwatch when you've got three or four different comics called Justice League to follow? (Never mind that Green Team and Stormwatch are kind of crap, I'm just trying to make a point)

People talk about how great Chris Claremont's long run on X-Men was... at a time, you'll note, when it was the only X-Men title. Once a month, although heck, if there's just one ongoing book I'd be fine with biweekly or only weekly. You know what's going on, which characters come and go, etc. Was there really a reason Astonishing X-Men existed after Joss Whedon and Warren Ellis left? Surely characters like Northstar could have just as easily been served in the core X-book, right? But back to what I was saying: ONE X-Men book, you could keep track of your favorite characters, even if it means it's a year and a half between Dazzler appearances. It's a coherent book, great for new readers. Whatever. Ancillary titles can and should exist, within reason. For example, I totally understand why All-New X-Men is its own thing, but why did we really need a new Uncanny? But at the very least, if they're doing that, don't have them all ship on the same day, please.

Either way, these multiple books will ultimately cannibalize themselves and then what will we be left with? It's just a shame... if I had the power to change comics, cutting down on the number of titles would be first on my agenda. A consistent schedule would be step two. Thoughts about my blathering? Leave comments below. And soon, another comics rant, unless I scared everyone away this first time.

1 comment:

  1. The All New Amazing Astonishing Uncanny Avenging X-Men theme is very confusing, I'll admit. But what's the solution? The X- universe (or Justice Leage, or Avengers) is just too big for only one book. Maybe they could have one X-MEN book, and then other books could be based around one character (Nightcrawler ((which Amazing X-Men pretty much is)), Cyclops, etc) and titled as such?