Sunday, September 23, 2012

Relaunch Hyperoverload: The Amazing, Incredible, Uncanny Fatigue Of Marvel NOW!

On this blog last year, I was critical of DC for relaunching its entire line of comics. While the gambit has worked better than I expected, throwing up some excellent titles in ‘Action Comics’, ‘Animal Man’, ‘Batman’ – and yes, ‘Batwoman’ and ‘Wonder Woman’ – I still have a strong sense that I have been here all before with this widespread revamping, rebooting, relaunching, or whatever you want to call it. And at no point have I felt this more strongly than with the announcement of Marvel’s latest ‘re’-initiative, Marvel NOW! Over the next few months Marvel will cancel a large segment of their titles, and replace them with, surprise, surprise, a whole batch of ‘collectible’ #1 issues. Hey, a new ‘Avengers #1’ – that’s gotta be exciting, right? Except I already bought a new Avengers #1 in 1996. And 1998. And 2005. And  2010. Of course, that doesn’t quite top the six freaking new Captain America #1’s there will have been in the past sixteen years. This time the series could barely get into double figures before being relaunched (oh, relaunched … how I hate that word). And although the X-Men haven’t been relau … well, you know .. quite as often, we’ve still had a ‘Revolution’ (when Chris Claremont rejoined), a ‘Reload’, and a ‘Regenesis’.
Frankly, I’ve had it, and I bet a lot of other readers have too. When the new Marvel NOW! books come out, I may do something I thought I wouldn’t do for a good long time yet – stop reading the Avengers. In reality, I’ll probably pick up the first couple of issues just to have a look, but I’m pretty sure I’m going to cut out all other Marvel books, except for Mark Waid’s ‘Daredevil’ (which is not being relaunched, though it was less than two years ago). Maybe it’s time to finally grow up and move on, and only get my sequential art fix from the indie comics scene, where at least the work is not full of empty promises and insignificant sound and fury. I get that barely anyone reads comics anymore, and Marvel and DC are desperate, but this doesn’t seem like the right way to build a readership again. Who knows? – maybe some of the new books will work fantastically, but for the first time in nearly twenty-five years, I couldn’t really care if they do or not.

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