Hey guys! It’s me Dark-Monitor. I haven’t uploaded for a while. My life is pretty busy at the moment so I apologize if anyone missed me. Recently something happened in the world of comics that sparked a reaction out of me to write a new post. I am of course talking about Batman #50 aka the “Wedding” Issue.
In my earlier post called Jason Aaron’s Avengers Glaring Issue which critiqued Marvel in general, I went on to say how the mainstream industry is stuck between changing things for the sake of it (or for some agenda) and between going back to the old same thing with no sense of character progression. Despite both of those things being completely opposite, they lead to the same road. Both do not value their audience. What does this have to do with Batman? Heh.
Chapter 1 (of 7): Tom, You Failed Us
If you’ve known me these were the 3 main things I’ve always said. For one, I love Tom King. I fell in love with him when Vision #1 came out which weirdly enough was a time where he wasn’t all that known. For two, I hate Tom King’s run on Batman. He tried to make the character poetic in a way that ended up mocking the hero’s nature rather than celebrate it. For three, I found out Bruce will marry Catwoman. It didn’t matter how his track record made me feel I was ecstatic! This was a good thing. A popular hero finally moving on with his life. After almost 80 years, only we’re ready to give Batman a new motivation to latch onto, give him an evolved set of values. Say what you want, maybe I was stupid, childish or even naïve to even think DC Comics would let Batman marry, but I just wanted something good for the industry. Something that could make us go, “Wow. They actually delivered. They actually didn’t cop out. They actually made a change that worked to the hero’s benefit.” Figured if they did it with Batman, the rest would follow the lead.
And there’s a lot to be mad about. Even if these are just fictional characters, they still hold some significance to us. One person I can’t believe is Tom King. The dude is the man, but he made a huge mistake. As someone who is in the middle of writing his stories himself, as a writer you feel a sense of pride in trying to write something unexpected, jaw-dropping and amazing. You feel as if twisting the expectation will go down as the ultimate story everyone will remember. I get it. But to actually go through with it, after deep reflection, months of build-up there’s a part where a writer should realize that your EGO to write an artsy, unexpected ending has to stop. But no! He went on and did it. When I read the ending I thought to myself, “Wow. You really came off as entitled.”
Then to come out on social media and say, “Guys. Keep in mind this is a 100 issue story arc,” just goes on to justify my thought. I say NO! to that. I was never a person who had to be told to wait until the entire story ends. Instead, I was the person who told others to wait and see. When Captain America became a Hydra agent I said to myself, “This is a stupid decision only if they stick to it.” Well, we waited and they yet remain to change the fact that Steve was not a Hydra agent. All I can think of now is, “Great. Another 50 issues of this thing.”
But what? We’re supposed to take them seriously now knowing there are still 50 issues left to go? They clearly can’t do the Wedding idea again, although knowing the Big Two they might because one thing we know is they care little for continuity and trying to keep things artistically coherent when you actually should. The online community seems unanimous in agreement that trying to do the wedding idea again in the future isn’t the best creative take, but we’ve seen fans accept such executions regardless of their quality just because they give us what we wanted to begin with.
Chapter 2 (of 7): DC, You Failed Us
And now we need to kick DC Comics’ ass themselves. They’re the ones who were pushing this wedding promotion the most with their ads and multiple tie-ins and preludes. This definitely hurt the perception going in. This makes me feel a bit more sympathetic to King himself. DC continues to shun any change for the sake of keeping things safe. The problem: that’s the best way to tire a fan. Not to mention spoiling your most awaited comic of the year is another industry standard that’s pathetic.
Comics are the most abusive medium out there. Expensive, time-consuming. Yet it wasn’t until the 90s when the Big Two took things into the extreme. They lack editorial control when needed. Those cases are when Marvel and DC do not stop stupid ideas from making the page like Gwen Stacy being romantically involved with Norman Osborn, incest of Wanda and Pietro in the Ultimate Universe, New 52’s idea of erasing iconic, integral and fan-beloved characters, undoing Peter Parker’s marriage, pushover political opinions and etc. On the other spectrum, we have examples when the two publishers fail to cease their editorial control when needed. This can be seen when they distance themselves from character growth. Marvel and DC seem to find the idea of marriage as something toxic. This brings me to the next point.
Chapter 3 (of 7): Problematic Contradiction
Things wouldn’t be as unbearable if we hadn’t gotten the same old excuse: “marriage means happiness and our heroes can’t be happy if they wanna fight crime”. This is the sort of thing we’ve been told since they started wiping out marriage in comics. Publishers make up poor excuses when they have Reed with Sue Richards and Clark with Lois Kent to scramble it all up. At this point they’re both lying to themselves, creating silly excuses. This goes back to as far as the 90s with New Titans #100 where Nightwing and Starfire don’t get married to modern day with Peter and Mary Jane Parker, to even Batwoman and Reene Montoya, and now in the same month Kitty Pryde and Colossus, and Batman and Catwoman. This reason reeks of artist’s entitlement whether intended or not.
Even if we take into account Bane’s plan manipulated her it still makes no sense when we’ve seen Batman be: happy, in a relationship, and fight crime. It was everything right after Bruce proposed which was also written by Tom King. So even if we take away DC’s over exaggeration in marketing, the story is extremely flawed.
Chapter 4 (of 7): Dilutes What Works
Not to get all sour we did have some goodies. Takes from other artists found on every page gave you a sense of build up while crafting a spectacle out of the single issue. Naming locations after iconic Batman writers brought out the fan screech out of me. We also get a very powerful scene between Bruce and Alfred. Why do I bring up these positives? Because they all lost meaning by the end. The art and writer references were basically signs of gratitude. They were there to reward us, the readers. Those things within themselves were a celebration. The artists all highlighted the special bond Bat and Cat had.
The issue itself was telling us this will be it. A conclusion to one of the chapters. Instead, we got Mass Effect 3.
Chapter 5 (of 7): Fans, We Failed Us
When talking about “the failure of *blank*” we often see the fans getting the partial blame for something. I never see the need to point that part out for cases where it doesn’t matter all that much. This isn’t that case. I’ve heard some fans say to shrug this off and just accept that that’s how comics are in general. But what would be the point of that? Why must we have such low expectations? But that’s a thing I’ve been told to do since I was a comic book fan. Even if I did that like I have, it leaves us with nothing but more disappointment. We’re told Catwoman doesn’t want Batman to be happy (which is a messed up stance for someone who you’re supposed to love). But in reality, it’s DC who doesn’t want him to be. And we never gave them a reason not to. I really do believe getting punched in the face, and then not do anything prior as you know more will come is where we should take a good chunk of responsibility. Otherwise, we wouldn’t be here.
I’ve heard so many times when a fan would quit comics, or someone told me they’re coming back into comics after a long needed break. DC nor Marvel have realized how many customers they lose. Sure, the majority of us may accept it and stay but eventually, it’s also part of a reason why we decide to suddenly spend less next time we go to the comic book shop and until you know your dedicated fan base fades out. And it seems I finally got hit in the Achilles’ heel. The worst kind of one.
Chapter 6 (of 7): Goodbye
I’m quitting Marvel and DC Comics. Yup.
I said that. I obviously won’t be quitting the properties. I still love them. Missing out on their content would be a mistake. I will still watch their movies (Ant-Man and the Wasp looks great) I can’t wait to play their games (Spider-Man PS4 looks like the perfect Spidey anything). It’s the comics I’m mainly giving up on. I realized there’s no point in spending money on inferior versions to something we’ll get adapted later with something executed much better. Spider-Man PS4 looks like the culmination of everything there is to love about Spider-Man without the stupid plot holes, campy dialogue, repetitive storytelling and stagnant character growth. The trailers alone give off a richer yet less convoluted world than the comics.
I’ve been thinking about it lately. Marvel Fresh Start is an improvement in many areas, however, they too can’t move past a certain spot (and the new Avengers run feels like a slightly better Bryan Hitch run on Justice League). Even if some are entertaining, I do find majority of them forgettable. And I’ve been burned too many times. I am quitting my Marvel Unlimited subscription and will not join DC Universe which at a time I was hyped for.
I want to play with the same toys, not the same play.
Chapter 7 (of 7): What Now?
Indie comics BABY!!!! I am giving up on the Big Two and going straight into indies. I want to see an end to something. People who say we should just give into the nature of comics are very narrow-minded. That’s if they miss the fact that we have comics from Image in particular that go against every toxic trope of DC or Marvel. I’ve always been putting off indie comics on a back burner, and their “To Read List” would always get bigger and bigger because of that. I realized that’s not fair. I’ve only scratched the surface of it.
I realized more and more creators are creating their own creations. You may like or dislike Diversity & Comics, but Jawbreakers looks like hella fun. Ethan Van Sciver’s Cyberfrog also looks epic. Some may question why I’d support them, but if I’ve put up with creators who went on to attack their fanbase on social media for 3 straight years moving on to a couple people who can come off rude is the least of my worries. Plus, my goal will shift to searching for quality comics. The type that I can enjoy. This means I will also be giving Eternity Girl a good shot. It always looked cool, but because of the writer involved, I never gave it a chance.
There are series like Monstress, Saga, and Outcast (truly great) which I love, but haven’t kept up with because it doesn’t have Batman on the cover. It’s a major mistake. There is a lot happening in the world of comics lately and none of it interesting has come out of the Big Two. Now, I don’t wanna paint all mainstream comics as bad which is why I will be staying up to date with the ones that: go against the tropes or proved to be always delivering (Doomsday Clock, Mister Miracle, Red Hood & the Outlaws, finally finish Sandman, etc.).
Marvel and DC finally did. They broke me. It seems I’ll be joining the silent crowd who has left comics. I think partly why they’ve been so silent is because leaving comics has no longer become a big deal to get upset over like it once was. That’s probably how I feel. The reason I’m deciding to share my opinion is to let you know hey, it’s okay to stop indulging in something you’ve come sick of. I’ll probably one day return to Marvel and DC to then get disappointed yet again, but that won’t be happening any time soon. I’ll be finally going into comics unaware of what I’m going into. That within itself will be exciting.
I’ve said I wanted to shift my work to something positive, but I realized that’s difficult with the popular publishers. Kind of sad. Who else will rant over Marvel and DC’s stupid mistakes? Oh well. I’m sure someone will always find a way. My preference: fun, action, adventure, character development. If you have any personal indie recommendations the comment section is your guest.