If you read my last post you probably learned that I am a great fan of Marvel Comics and comic books in general. I’ve been reading and collecting comic books since I was in tenth grade and I still have a ton of subscriptions. I spend more money than I should on comics and am constantly falling behind on them because I have so many. I think there’s another reason I’ve been falling behind though. I think I’m really starting to lose interest in certain kinds of comics.
There are a lot of flaws with super hero comics and I could blog about them for ages. One of the problems, the one that is affecting my interest in them at the moment, is the fact that in a big way they can be really repetitive. Most of my favourite super heroes (Thor, the X-Men, Spider-Man) have been around since the 1960s. I read Avengers comics fairly regularly and they usually feature Captain America and he’s been fighting Nazis and super villains and super villainous Nazis since 1941. That’s 74 years of stories, ret-cons, re-writes, and reboots. Most of my faves have been around for 50 years at least. That’s a lot of material and I have definitely not read most of it. Despite the fact that I’ve only been reading comics for around 9 years I’ve already started to notice some patterns. When I go back and read comics from before I became an avid reader I notice even more patterns. I’m not talking about patterns in the way characters act or react in their stories necessarily. I’m talking about the fact that story lines and even the actual titles of events are being reused every year. One of the recent major Marvel events was Avengers Vs. X-Men. It was the 3rd time, I think, that the Avengers and X-Men pissed each other off enough to fight. Although this time around it was for different reasons the reasons that did exist in the plot were rehashed from other plots. This time the Phoenix Force showed up and tried to latch itself to another red haired mutant and this freaked out all the non mutants. The Phoenix Force has also been the centre of at least three major Marvel plot lines in the past. Now the big event happening is called Secret Wars. Once again this is the third time there has been an event called Secret Wars published by Marvel. Again this version is slightly different than the others but it is still quite similar.
Even when the ongoing story lines of characters are happening (the ones not disrupted by major, universe shattering events) I find myself kind of bored. Don’t get me wrong though. When you get the right writer behind a character there can still be some really refreshing and interesting stories in the Marvel Universe. Matt Fraction’s Hawkeye (which I am guilty of not having read) has been praised by fans and critics alike. Jason Aaron’s Wolverine and the X-Men got me excited in a really big way. Aaron has written two separate Thor series that approached the character in a few very exciting ways. These comics are the ones that have kept me interested this long. Unfortunately these cases aren’t as common as I would like. I wind up subscribed to a lot of X-Men series that are the same boring old “humans hate us, but we must persevere” storyline that’s been running for 50 years now. Spider-Man is still trying to balance Work/school with his love life and crime fighting schedules. So many comics are still about the characters fighting the same villains they have for literal generations. Overall super hero comics are starting to get a bit boring for me. Like I said, there are a few really great series that come up now and again but there’s far more of the same rehashed material coming out every week.
I am currently subscribed to Secret Wars. I have absolutely loved the Avengers series leading up to Secret wars but I have this feeling that the series itself is going to be another tired old comic book trope. It looks like there will be some massive universe shattering event that causes everything to get wrecked. In the last issue something amazing will happen that will cause everything to work out fine but somehow restart everything bad that’s happened since the last time Marvel tried to reboot. (They don’t like calling it a reboot, but it’s essentially what it is.) In the way Avengers Vs. X-Men was AvX crossed with Phoenix Rising I think Secret Wars is going to feel a lot like Secret Wars crossed with the Heroic Age. If that’s the case I think it may be time for me to bow out as a Marvel fan for a little while. Rather than subscribing to all my favourite characters I’m going to wait for reviews and plot synopses before I read a story. Image Comics has been publishing some really amazing stuff that’s incredibly fresh, unique, and very not super hero oriented. I don’t blame anyone for loving super hero comics the way they are! I hope people keep loving them for a long time. I know I will. I just think I’ve just been through the cycle enough times to feel comfortable moving on to something new. Maybe read some of the older stuff I’ve never had the time for. Maybe read some good old non graphic novels. Whatever I do with my extra reading time, I hope it’s something as enthralling as comic books were for me when I first started reading them.