Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Thoughts on Marvel and DC (and the kitchen sink)

CBR judges books by their covers.

I looked through this post of the upcoming Marvel books for December and it seemed to summarise something I've been thinking for quite a while now.

Firstly, how samey they all look. With a couple of exceptions they're all fairly muddy, bland and generic. Secondly, how many X-books are there now? I rarely go into comic shops these days, getting down to Nostalgia & Comics about once every couple of months. But it seemed that, as I scrolled, all of the books for a bloody long time seemed to have X in the title somewhere.

But as I went down I kept looking, hoping for something interesting. The best I got was these two:

There was, however, one really funny cover in amongst the standard fare: I've got zero interest in reading it, I have no idea why the Hulk is red, but I love the visual gag that Frank Cho has thrown into the cover. That is funny.

After that it was back to being plain uninterested until very near the end and we have two comics that just don't count as Marvel Comics in the way we're talking about them here. Both of these I'll be picking up:

And that's it for my interest in Marvel Comics for the month. Bloody terrible. I was talking about this with people at the weekend at Thought Bubble. Obviously, from some of the recent reviews I've been putting up, I'm having a lot more fun reading small press comics at the moment. But this is only partially because the quality and energy in the British Small Press is so high at the moment. It's also coincided with a time when both major comic companies are going through a really bad patch.

Now slumps in quality happen all the time in Marvel and DC Comics. But rarely at the same time. Indeed, I recall reading something once in an interview Grant Morrison did about this very subject which postulated that there is a very definite cycle of quality and excitement with Marvel and DC. As Marvel waxes, DC wanes and vice versa.

The cycle continues and every couple of years, five at most, there seems to be a flip. Except, unless I'm talking complete horseshit here (and that is possible), I don't really see anything exciting from either company. They're both in the trough. And please, don't start mentioning odd titles here and there. I'm sure both companies have good books that I'm not aware of, but I'm talking more about the overall corporate face of the companies - the mean of the quality if you will.

Hopefully, as the financial situation rolls on we'll actually see a restructuring and I'm really hopeful that this will see change at both companies. Because from where I'm looking, any change at all would be better than the lacklustre performance we're being given by both of them right now.

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