When I was growing up and reading comics, Marvel had the upper hand in the industry. Jim Lee was in the ranks of Marvel’s army and they had great story lines. I was really in to the cartoon as well, even though the animation was pretty bad.
When I hit a critical age, I came to a crossroads. I abandoned comic books and started other hobbies, like playing guitar.
Years went by, I got married, decided to start reading comic books again and started this website. I had no clue what was going on in the comic book world… until I went in to a local comic book shop and picked up an issue of the X-Men. Marvel’s logo had changed, no more comic code authority stamp. Their paper had changed. They were in the middle of some odd series called the House of M, all their characters looked 10 – 20 years younger, the comics seemed shorter, there was less dialog, and the art looked more like paintings, which isn’t really a bad thing, but was just different.
I put the comic back on the shelf and figured it was just that particular title. I moved on to another and started paging through it, more of the same. I tried Thor, same. It was as if I had walked in to a comic book time warp. I was expecting to pick up an issue of the X-Men and jump right back in where I left off, with different story lines of course, but found something very different.
I looked around a little confused and left the store, assuming that I was just out of touch and needed to do a little research before making a purchase. “I’ll solve this problem on the internet. The good titles are just a click or two away.” I told myself.
I found nothing on the internet to convince me that Marvel was still worth reading, just a lot of comments on how Marvel has screwed everything up. Each time I went to the comic shop after that, I tried desperately to find a Marvel title worth reading. Tried and failed miserably. Meanwhile, the DC titles sat on their shelf looking rather inviting. Jim Lee did some of the covers, the art was more like the Marvel comics of old. Even the Superman titles looked interesting, and I usually hate Superman. But no! I couldn’t make the switch. I couldn’t abandon Marvel for the evil of DC… could I? I would toy with the idea, and then slunk off to the back to purchase old Marvel comics for a quarter each, or perhaps buy a graphic novel or two.
Then, just the other day, it happened. I went in to the comic book shop yet again and decided to find a new title or series to read whether I liked it or not. I was going to purchase a Marvel comic even if I thought it was total crap. I went directly to the most current astonishing X-Men issue, picked it up, paged through it… and set it down. I don’t know about you, but I like to read my comic books. I like actual words in them. Moments that have no dialog or narration is fine, but when a comic book costs $2.50 – $3.50 and you see one word balloon for every 5 panels, it feels cheap, like the writer was more concerned over the weekend and getting drunk, than writing an intense and interesting story. Every marvel title I looked through had this affect on me.
I was frustrated and mad. My quest was failing once again. I looked over at the owner of the store and said “I want to read something new. I can’t bring myself to purchase a Marvel book.”
“Don’t bother with Marvel,” came the nasally reply. “Have you read any DC lately?”.
So, I picked up the 80 page introduction to the Infinite Crisis, Omac #1 and Villains United #1. Reading these comics has given me a new perspective on DC. The writing is good, the dialog is good, and the art is great. And there are actual words in these comic books! The only problem is that I’m about 5 months or so behind on this story, so I have some expensive catching up to do.
For now I’m a DC fan. Hopefully one day Marvel will start caring about quality again, rather than worrying about their next film contract.