3 Hardships for Modern Comic Book Readers

When you pick up a hobby (read: undertaking) like reading current comic books, you are immediately engaged in a medium so separate from television, from movies, and from the norm. Discovering new genres, new characters and worlds, and finding tastes among writers and artists is akin to experiencing new music and reaching deeper into your own soul. As with most hobbies, however, there are shortcomings of the business, the medium, and the nature of the readers that culminate into tragedies only comic book readers can understand.

Realizing the Universe is too big to comprehend

One of the great things about DC’s relaunch with The New52 back in 2011 was the immediacy and ease of access for readers who lack familiarity with the characters. Characters with extensive history such as Batman, Wonder Woman, Flash, alongside lesser-known heroes such as Aquaman, Catwoman, and Batgirl, were given new titles with new writers and artists to take them to a new audience. However, once universe-wide events began, there were a lot of new factors that made understanding your new book just that much more difficult. Events like Trinity War, Forever Evil, and The Culling can work against the reader; instead of being intrigued by the introduction of too many characters, you are overwhelmed with the lack of diversity or importance of all the characters. It becomes off-putting when a book you enjoy becomes dependent on you understanding every character the company has ever made. Sure, you could just be up to date and read every title in existence, every week, on time, but does that give you the opportunity enjoy a universe more or does it simply become a chore just to understand what’s going on with the characters you have invested in?

FOREVER_EVIL_1
Can you name everyone here? If not, then you may not know what was going on for DC in 2013. Image from Forever Evil #1

Understanding what creative differences mean

There are so many great comic book teams at work creating your favorite stories right this moment. Occasionally, they will jump together to new projects. Teams like Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie, Scott Snyder and Jock, and Rick Remender and Greg Toccini have taken their success from Marvel and/or DC to smaller publications to tell new and engaging stories outside of the superhero genre. However, some teams don’t match up or, more often, teams disagree with publishers on where the books should be heading.. This can lead to books ending prematurely, or one person leaving the team, leaving someone to jump in and scramble to make a finished product (read: meet deadlines). This can severely hurt a book that is wavering and the readers will take not. A book like 2014’s She-Hulk suffered from a shift in artist change, while the Marvel event AXIS, which was the finale of Uncanny Avengers, failed to hit well with readers because of Marvel’s upcoming company-wide relaunch. Books can be considered successful or not based on a multitude of reasons, but when the forces behind the project are not on the same page, it hurts everyone.

A bit ambitious and unfortunately, the achilles heel of Uncanny Avengers. Cover to AXIS #2
A bit ambitious and unfortunately, the achilles heel of Uncanny Avengers. Cover to AXIS #2

Series take hiatus/are suspect to bizarre scheduling

This is what can truly can a reader’s soul. Let’s look at Hawkeye by Matt Fraction and David Aja. An Eisner award-winning, witty, simple, yet powerful book that helped shine a spotlight on the Avengers’ least powerful teammate. Here’s a panel from the first page.

hawkeye01

 

Fantastic writing, great coloring, unique style in art, and an accessible introduction, Hawkeye was set to break new ground every issue. And it did until it didn’t. Here’s a look at Hawkeye’s release schedule from start to finish.

 

  1. August 01, 2012
  2. September 05, 2012
  3. October 17, 2012
  4. November 21, 2012
  5. December 05, 2012
  6. December 19, 2012
  7. January 30, 2013
  8. February 27, 2013
  9. April 10, 2013
  10. May 01, 2013
  11. June 26, 2013
  12. July 10, 2013
  13. October 16, 2013
  14. November 27, 2013
  15. January 22, 2014
  16. February 26, 2014
  17. March 12, 2014
  18. March 26, 2014
  19. July 30, 2014
  20. September 10, 2014
  21. February 04, 2015
  22. July 15, 2015

Hawkeye, a monthly released book, just finished its 22 issue run last month, meaning it took the book an extra year to do what every other book in Marvel’s publication line has done. What this tells the readers of the book is that the writer and artist have not been able to complete the project. The gaps dishearten readers who worry about the book’s longevity as a whole. It disheartens people who pick up the books as trade paperback collections, because they wait even longer for these books to release as a whole. Don’t think I am solely picking on Marvel; this happens on multiple books across publishers, big and small. While there are numerous factors that cause these delays, the readers ultimately suffer and this is never good. The equivalent of this situation is having a television show airing once a week and then shifting the show to premiere new episodes once every 3 months. It is unheard of and ultimately leads to cancellation.

Is the struggle too real? What has been hard about getting into comics for you, the Swole Patrol? Let us know what has been your comic book struggle in the comments below or sound off on the official NerdSwole Facebook and Twitter pages!

Interested in writing for Nerd Swole? Contact Brian at twentytwo.le@gmail.com for more information!

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