Hello there, internet people, it’s your good buddy, RU, here for something a little bit different. Rather than helping you through the minefield of garbage comics I am going to ask why it is that we read garbage books to begin with.
As discussed in parts one and two, I belive that there are three, often overlapping, primary forces that drive collectors to purchase books that they do not like; habit, completeism, and hope. Morbid curriostiy will also be explored in the final article in this series along with some closing remarks.
My first major comic book event that I remember is X-Cutioner’s Song which set the tone for all events that followed, and how my wallet wishes that it had sucked. After X-Cutioner’s Song came, in no order, Maximum Carnage, Bloodties, Phalanx Covenant, Fear Itself, Identity Crisis, Final Crisis, Countdown, Zero Tolerance, and Onslaught to name a few. Why did I continue to purchase these books especially after it was clear that they weould suck (Maximum Carnage, you broke my adolescent heart?) Because X-Cutioner’s Song, Age of Apocalypse, 52, Siege, House of M, Civil War, and Messiah Complex were so good that I maintain the hope that events will be worth it.
I have yet to enjoy a Matt Fraction book, so why did I buy all of Fear Itself when after issue #1 it was obvious that it would be a clusterf*ck? Because, in my mind, it has to be good, or at least entertaining, because it was a summer event and they have so much potential. It’s the same reason I haven’t stopped pre-ordering Age of Ultron. Yes, the first two issues were ugly and read the same as House of M, but it’s an event book, and I am a sucker.
Hope can be the most self-delusional of all the overlapping forces. Beyond habit and beyond completionism comes the hope that Fraction/Land’s Uncanny X-Men would eventually be good because the book, Uncanny X-Men, used to be good, and I belived that it would again and I didn’t want to miss it. Hope and habit with a little bit of completionism maintained my Uncanny run for years in-between the good portions
How did I wean myself off of hope as a driving force behind my collection? I haven’t. I’m going to get all ten issues of House of Falshpoint (Age of Ultron), I’m going to keep getting Thunderbolts not just for Deadpool, but also because I’ve always loved the title and I know (hope) it will be good again (I learned to like Parker’s run eventually, maybe Way will turn it around? I hope.) But, again, this is my fault, not the industry’s; I am the one putting money behind the idea that Thunderbolts is a good book. I was the one that bought Fear Itself and helped Marvel continue with their “Event-A-Year” business plan.
This is one of the most important lessons I learned over the years: if I buy the books even after realizing they suck then it is my fault. I spent my money and read books I didn’t like, Marvel and DC didn't make me. When they produce a sub-par product it is incumbent on the customer to say so, and nothing talks louder than money or the lack there-of. Outside of Marvel’s marketing firm, Newsarama, I have yet to see a positive review of Age of Ultron that was stronger than some variation of “Bendis has done worse.” But, no matter what, Age of Ultron #1-10 will atop Diamond’s Top Ten list for their respective months. All because we hope that it will matter and lead to interesting and unique stories, no matter what history tells us.
We are now 3/4's of the way through this self-indulgent serise of op-eds. Tomorrow I'll discuss morbid curriosity and have some closing remarks. Until then, later peeps