Comics Creators

What's the point of reading long-running superhero comics anymore?


Sounds like something I should track down!


You should! It was in the first set of 12 issues he did, probably towards the end, but my recall is hazy.


I love that I read “America” when I was around 17. Stopped reading for a long time when 2000ad went off the boil badly, came back 13 years later and the baby at the end of that story was ready to start academy training.

Yes John Wagner waited 13 years in real time to pay off a minor plot point.


Ah, I’m going to have to gain reread America yet again.

Seriously, just mentioning that story’s name is enough to give me a hankering to read it.


I haven’t read Dredd in a while, so maybe I’m talking out my arse, but I think the longevity of the character is something that’s actually hurting the strip now. Every epic seems to be the “will they or won’t they” kill him off in this now. And, the longer they don’t, the older the character gets and the bigger the problem becomes. He’s what, 70 now?


So what are the long running superhero titles? Which ones have been published, continuously, for longer than any of us (well, maybe not Miqque) have been reading comics? Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Captain America, Spider-man, Iron Man, and the X-Men (even Thor was MIA for a while there). I think everything else has been through peaks and troughs, and disappeared for a while before returning. I think that’s because these are the archetypes. Even in the face of many imitators, and live action interpretations of these characters, there’s nothing out there quite like reading a new Batman comic. That’s why I keep coming back, month after month anyway.

Edited to add:
And, to be fair, I read a lot of comics, in lots of different genres. Most of which are creator owned, and provide me with real change, real progress, and often real closure.

The superhero comics are my comfort food to go alongside those more unique flavours.


Well, the counter to this is they did kill him off, but Punisher Max had old Frank killing a whole lot of people before he went down.

They have practically prepared for it with successors to Dredd like Rico and Giant.


I dont see any problem buddy

I love longest runnings of my favorites superheroes, specially when they are well written


Comics are pretty incredible when you think about it. That both Marvel and DC have built a living universe featuring thousands of characters, and that within that universe they have told a hundred different stories every month for decades - it’s one of humanities most impressive creations. It’s no wonder the movies do so well having that base to work with. And it’s no wonder millions of people fall for the characters. They’re examples of our greatest stories. Pure creation, lovingly maintained and nurtured.

Comics are built on cycles, roping in each new generation, typically from 8 to 18 when sex and alcohol take over. So it’s a 10 year process, with an overlying 20 year process to each cycle doesn’t feel exactly like the last. We are in 1997 right now - right when the big two looked weak and interest was waning. This generation of fans are different, as comics have retained the core fanbase deep into adulthood, an entire generation who might have been reading comics for 20+ years. And as such you can’t satisfy both the new readers and the old, and the weaknesses in the entire creation start to show the more you read the various characters. The cycle model is failing. It’s wasn’t build for long term fans. Eventually we want to see progress in that model. Eventually you paint yourself into too many corners.

The other big effect is that you can consume the characters in so many more ways now, to the extent that it’s possible the majority of Spiderman or Batman fans have read few or no comics at all. The characters have escaped comics, no longer need comics. Just like we don’t need Dracula books any more.

I think this media expansion, plus the aging core base, alongside the huge amount of competition for out entertainment dollars is putting the comics industry at a nexus. I think both universes essentially need to be frozen in a status quo at this point in order to maintain the brands, and as such comics can’t sell on the illusion of change any more (which was the previously mentioned 10 year cycle). I think like Sherlock Holmes, Frankenstein and other literary greats you just tell stories featuring the characters, letting them do whatever and letting them be reinterpreted in different fashions. Forget continuity. Forget the ongoing story. This has already happened with Batman, and so he’s ascended to be the greatest comic creation of them all. There’s all kinds of Batmen, all types of Gotham’s, just the core of the story remaining the same. Any writer can write any Batman story and so long as the pillars of the story are there you can skin it any way you want. He’ll live on forever in that regard.

The same will have to happen to the other big characters. Each of the big 2 companies have maybe 30 brands this can be done with. And that’s what the goal of the next 10 years should be. As such you abandon the long running concept. Just tell a Hulk story. or a Green Lantern Story. Or a Fantastic Four story. Don’t worry about if it counts. Don’t worry where they are in the Marvel universe. And move away from the event driven continuity train. Tell the same thing in a different setting, like they’ve done with Dracula or Sherlock. The old business model is over, the big two just haven’t accepted it yet.


Take a look at, say, the first thirty-forty years of Action and Superman comics. Looking at them database-wise so the patterns appear we see that the same stories are almost told in rotation.

Things changed with Original Marvel. They added continuity and interaction. DC soon caught up. Let’s face it, there are a lot of stories! DC did some big crossovers, events, so did Marvel, and now it’s today and there’s squeaking about the sky falling again.

Hooey. I call HOOEY! The market shifts, adjusts, changes. Lots of folks love comics and the style of storytelling. We have more people all the time, so if just the percentage stays the same, the market will stabilize and grow.

I’m thinking one way to go would be to subscribe to a particular story, told by a particular team. Sort of a bargain; you create it, we buy it. Vague ideas only at this point, but the only thing that stays the same is that things change.


That’s not the case though Miqque. Few titles can sell enough to pay good wages to the talent. The bulk of indie books can’t sell 15,000 issues a month. The option money from Hollywood is drying up. There hasn’t been a breakout property in years. Retailers are facing closing down. This collapse is very real and clearly visible on the horizon.





That She Hulk run is Amazing! (Letting the comics be legal precedent was a masterfull move)
And the Art (By another argentinian; Juan Bobillo) is absolutely stellar.


I really liked his art too, very different, very distinctive but I wouldn’t be surprised if the sheer amount of crap he got from other people put him off working in comics. People went berserk over it.


I’ve thought for ages that telling solid stories outside continuity ( All Star Superman) was the way forward.

I can also remember reading the Avengers in the 80’s. One panel in one issue had them meeting, I think, the FF. Same panel showed the FF meeting the Avengers in their book that month. Continuity is cool, done well. The trick is not trapping characters within it.

Continuity has served the Marvel movies well.


Same here. I’ve mostly been enjoying King & Janin’s Batman run even though I haven’t liked a Batman run in years even the Batman is my all time favourite character. (I think the art is outstanding. I’m annoyed by how often they call each other ‘bat’ and ‘cat’, among other issues I have. Riddler CARVING a question mark on his chest? :roll_eyes: That’s so silly.) I adore Waid and Samnee’s Captain America and it’s been ages since I’ve enjoyed a Cap title.

I so very often dislike superhero comics that I often wonder if I really like superhero comics anymore. And not just because of reboots, but that’s a big irritation. But then, a run I enjoy will come along now and then that I love.

However, I do agree that these characters weren’t meant to last for really long periods of time, so reboots and other changes are necessary - I just think they’ve been doing it FAR too often. One reboot every 10 years makes sense to me. Or at least seven years.


I’m going with this one.

I’ll happily read a mini that has a great take on a character I know, but I stopped reading any monthly superhero books a long, long time ago.


That. When I think about it, I always went back and forth. For e.x, I used to read a lot of Batman, now I am after Judge Dredd and think I am finished with Spiderman for some time. In the meantime, it’s always refreshing to go with creator-owned comics, from Image or Vertigo.


Don’t stop there, there’s also:


The solicit thread has over 40 companies now too.