I think we need some time apart. We’ve been hanging out together since I got back into comic books (around 2007, after an almost 20 year pause) and during that time I’ve learned a lot. I’ll spare you any trite cliches about our problems: it isn’t me, it is you.
I read mostly Marvel comics in high school (West Coast Avengers, various Spider-Man books, Fantastic Four) but DC was always a part of my soul. My youth was spent watching Super-Friends; I even had sheets which my mom turned into curtains, too. In the 2nd grade, I’d watch the 1966 Batman series after school when I went to Tim Shriver’s house. The Superman movie (and Superman II) made as profound of an impact on my psyche as Star Wars.
But as I got into college, I stopped reading comics. Sure, I read the Death of Superman but that was the last series I read until Buffy Season 8 hit the shelves. I branched out and when I heard that Dick Grayson was taking over the role of Batman because Bruce Wayne had “died,” I dove in. Hadn’t read a Grant Morrison book before. Hadn’t read Batman since The Killing Joke and The Dark Knight Returns. I was blown away.
My local library has an excellent graphic novel collection (especially for a town this size) and I tore through all the comics I could grab. I read all the JLA trades (Waid and Morrison, mostly). I read Greg Rucka’s Wonder Woman run. I read 52. I read Red Son, For Tomorrow, Kingdom Come, Justice, Final Crisis, Identity Crisis, Superman for All Seasons, New Frontier… pretty much everything they had. I read the Marvel stuff, too, but I really clicked with DC’s storytelling, characters, and soul.
My pull list at Hall of Heroes (my local comic book store) was 95% DC titles. I was happy. My daughter had Billy Batson and the Magic of Shazam, Tiny Titans, SuperFriends, Scooby-Doo, Young Justice, and Batman: The Brave and the Bold.
I didn’t read Flashpoint but when the New 52 was announced, I was excited. I sat down with my copy of Previews and chose a ton of new DC titles. DC was the place where strong female characters had interesting adventures, where all-ages comics were plentiful, where the stories had heart.
Two years, DC. For two years I have watched the characters that I cared about be marginalized, poorly treated, or just eliminated. I love Superman but I cannot stand any book he is in now (except Adventures of Superman). Wonder Woman’s transformation was a tough sell but I’m on board now. The other books I was reading before the New 52 were either killed or the characters were put into stories and settings that were canned by DC itself or dropped by me because they stunk. And my daughter’s books were canceled one by one and replaced with nothing: only Scooby-Doo remains.
This week, I hit my breaking point. Why do you think I would want to read a Cyborg Superman book in place of Action Comics? Especially when Cyborg Superman has been in Supergirl for the last several issues. And why would I want to pay $4 for this just because of fancy covers? While the Bizarro book was decent, it still does nothing to conclude this stupid H.I.V.E. and Hector Hammond story. Now I’m getting Action and Superman again next week with new villains? At $4 each? And every week this month? If I refuse the books, my local comic book shop suffers because they had to order everything based on our current title pulls.
I’m done, DC. Done. The first year had some interesting books and stories. The second year squandered all of that potential. I’m dropping just about all of my DC titles. I’ll still read Batgirl until you squeeze Gail Simone out (again), Wonder Woman, maybe Supergirl and Adventures of Superman. I’ll finish J.H. William III’s run on Batwoman, and Scooby-Doo which is the only all-ages title you carry.
You know DC, Marvel is kicking your ass. Daredevil, Hawkeye, Indestructible Hulk, Fantastic Four, and FF are awesome, and when I want strong female characters who aren’t around for T&A value? Captain Marvel. Brian Wood’s X-Men. FF (3/4ths of the team is female and they are handling LGBT issues better than you). Young. Avengers.
Maybe DC, one day, you’ll get your stuff together. And maybe, one day, I’ll be in a comic shop and someone will say “No, really, you should read Superman right now. It is AWESOME.” And maybe, on that day, we can try again.