§ Tucker Stone looks back at the decade in comics:
Although it would be hard to look at the last ten years of comics and see much of the decade’s woes frankly expressed, it’s not hard to see the seams of conflict that float beneath them. Marvel spent its time messing around with the same sort of surface-y relevance that used to be the purview of the 70’s clunky DC Comics about race relations and drug abuse comics, with stories like Civil War that could be seen as an exaggerated version of Red Staters versus Blue Staters. (Or Secret Invasion’s religious nuts are a-coming. Or Dark Reign, which was probably planned by a group who assumed America wasn’t gonna Choose Hopefully.)
DC went in a different direction, embracing the public’s love for nostalgia mixed with Will Ferrell’s adult man-child films, and started telling various kids’ Crisis stories with hard R plot twists. Manga publishers underestimated their audience, then overestimated it, and are now currently in the throes of figuring out how big, exactly, it is. Companies like Fantagraphics and Drawn & Quarterly kept their toes in the new, but found that the market for high-priced reprints of classic comics was strong enough to make a Comics Criterion Collection viable.
§ IGN also looks back at comics in 2009, although they mention precisely 6 companies.
§ Speaking of looking back, Xavier Xerexes looks back at Past Predictions for Webcomics. How’d we do?
Tim says “I was easily reading 25-30 comics a week in 2008, I’m down to 8-10 a week right now.” Well I used to read 4-6 comics a week and now I am down to one — Morrison’s Batman — that I am getting, not be cause I like it, but because Morrison-Stewart and Morrison-Quitely have enough capital built up with me that I sort of owe them at this point. But just barely. Oh, and I get Detective Comics because the JH Williams art is awesome, but I also have this bad habit of just forgetting to buy it, which I supposed speaks to my involvement being minimal. It is the kind of thing I would like to admire in a nice hardcover. Because I am not invested in the story, only the art, I was never really “hooked,” though I will eventually get every issue.
§ Tim Callahan and Chad Nevett express similar feelings of burnout with the current state of mainstream comics with a piece called: Are Mainstream Comics Increasingly Lame, or is it Just Us?
I was talking about the general feeling I have that if you created a line graph of the overall quality of superhero comics from 2008 through 2009, you’d see a pretty high standard of quality for a while, and then it would start to dip in maybe February or March of 2009, and continue its downward slide through the summer and fall of this year. I base that not just on the amount of comics I just plain stopped buying this year (and while I was easily reading 25-30 comics a week in 2008, I’m down to 8-10 a week right now), but also the distinct lack of chatter about these superhero comics from the internet intelligentsia.
And The Decline of Quality in 2009 (Part Two) which notes the lack of breakout cult books.
You bring up Iron Fist, Captain Britain & MI:13, and Ghost Rider, and maybe those are missing: where are the critically acclaimed books that no one is buying except for us? Looking through my box of comics that I’m currently buying, there are the Vertigo books, the Marvel top-sellers, the two Bat-books, some mini-series, and… Secret Warriors. Is Secret Warriors all that’s left of the cult books? I know people talk up Incredible Hercules, but I tried it and didn’t love it… is what’s missing the third-tier books that we point to when people say superhero books from the big two are crap to say “But they publish this!”? Or am I just missing out on these books somehow?
§ ON a similar note, Roland Kelts asks, bluntly, Manga and Anime: DOA?
§ Comics Book Resources has just launched a totally bitching event calendar. You may have noticed we’ve stopped doing a lot of events listing here, mainly because it is a slow time of year, but also because we’ve been trying to focus on some other pressing matters, and we mostly posted about things that were local, which wasn’t fair. However, we know a lot of people get use out of it, so maybe it’s time for a new Events Intern?