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Stale Comics


#1

I know that I am getting older and am more pessimistic about the story threads in today’s comics but I wonder if others feel the same as I do when I say that today’s comics, especially their storylines, are stale, dull, and unimaginative. The storylines of some recent comics (the past couple of years) have either been retreads of earlier storylines (e.g., D.C.'s multiverse crises, Marvel’s Infinity Crises, Marvels Secret Wars, etc.), thinly disguised constructs to reach new readers (e.g., Super-Sons, Miles Morales Spider-man, The New Superman, etc.) or just plain awful story telling (e.g., DC’s recent reboot of Superman, Dark Metal, etc.). Mark Millar’s comics, on average, have been very good, and a few others (Tom Cook’s Batman, Image’s Lazarus, etc.) are also original and have innovative storytelling but I am not finding many comic books that I feel are worth buying and/or supporting the artists.
How does everyone else feel?


#2

#3

There’s a fair bit of decompression that has begun to dominate comics, and when they want to be fun, they just go for humor. I’m not sure if that’s what you’re talking about, but that’s certainly a noticeable, fundamental shift that took place in the past few decades. There’s very little pure comics experience, as it’s traditionally been known, happening, where a big, straightforward adventure is happening. I think the last time I personally read it was in the pages of the first volume of Batman Incorporated. It was a new way of doing the old style, which I found exhilarating.


#4

My answer is simple: Go look for better stories instead.

We’ve never had as much comics material as we do right, distributed across many genres, available digitally or printed, plus lots of translated tales. Am I to believe that in all that you can’t find anything to like? I don’t buy it. Are there stories out there that are perfect for you that you have yet to find? Absolutely.

Nor is there a shortage of recommendations - there’s the thread Vik posted the link to, there are the numerous incarnations of the Trades Thread that’ll supply more titles than you can buy!

So, start hunting - you’ve nothing to lose, save money - and everything to gain.


#5

Nothing’s as good as it was when you were 12 years old

Comics are better now than they ever were - it’s just that once you have experienced the plots and tropes over and over, across the years, the effect wears off.

There’s always something out there worth reading though, even for the most easily jaded.


#6

This times an awful lot. @Schelfhoutsj, how far outside of superhero books have you ventured? There’s a lot of interesting things happening at indie publishers, and there’s a massive back catalogue of work out there to delve into.


#7

I have read quite a few independent, non-superhero books these past couple of years, like Lazarus, Thief of Thieves, Huck, Mage, and Saga. These books have all been good but, other than Huck and Lazarus, they have all slipped into mediocre storylines that are more soap opera than story. I will still continue to look for books to turnaround and for new books to come out.


#8

I feel like a lot of Big Two comics these days have scenes that are designed to be turned into memes. Cute, feel-good scenes of your favorite superheroes sharing a scone or playing video games or something. So that’s one thing that’s different about comics today.

Can’t know if the creators intend this in every case but that’s the feeling I tend to get from scenes like that. It makes me cringe so I drop any book or avoid them outright if they have a whiff of that.

And yeah, I know Claremont would have the New Mutants watching Magnum P.I. and stuff back in the 80s but the stuff I’m describing feels a little manipulative, empty, and sickly sweet instead of character-building.


#9

It is, i belive, a matter of age… or at least, a matter of how long you´ve been reading comics.
like all things, when you spent so much time in a medium (not only comics, but also TV, Movies and books); it´s impossible to not realize that things tend to repeat themselves.

Of course, as Borges Used to say “It´s not what you tell, it´s how you tell it” and, i belive that the comic book scene is quite healthy in that matter, with creators that put a spin in the way they tell stories that may come as “familiar”.

In that subject, i recommend “Mr. Miracle” by Tom King; wich is a exploration of a Marriage and the relationships between a couple, disguised as a Superhero Bokk.

And that is just mainstream…


#10

Funny that you should mention “Mr. Miracle” since that is the only other superhero book (other than Batman, which Tom also writes superbly) that I am reading right now. There are some good books out there. I think that I need a breather from it all to be able to enjoy the medium again. In the meantime, if I only buy two books, then I only buy two books. Maybe one day it’ll be three books.
I am cleaning out my old books by donating the under-$6-$8 books (almost 75% of them) to the local Girl’s Club, where they give them out as prizes to the girls who have earned enough good behavior points to exchange for them. Seems like a good way to get new readers and I get to clear out some attic space!


#11

There’s been quite a few smaller stories in recent years that either weren’t popular enough or just got overlooked and regardless of why ended as only one or two volumes:

  • Symmetry
  • Renato Jones
  • Near Death
  • C.O.W.L

Then there’s some great complete tales that are just one volume and that’s it:

  • Three by Gillen
  • Hadrian’s Wall
  • Black Summer

There’s more, these are just off the top of my head.