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.
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)
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.