Giving up.

§ July 24th, 2006 § Filed under Uncategorized Comments Off on Giving up.

So yesterday I mentioned that, after following the character for over two decades, I decided this new Flash series wasn’t good enough to keep me around.

And, as usual, that got me to thinking.

If I may generalize, readers of superhero comics tend to be a little more patient, a little more likely to “ride out the rough spots,” of titles they’re not enjoying, particuarly if they’ve been following the character for quite some time.

I’m not casting judgement upon you from high atop my ivory tower…there have been a number of times I’ve kept reading a book despite wondering, “Geez, why am I reading this?” The 1980s Firestorm series, for example…the first twenty issues were good, the last twenty were good, but the middle sixty were hard going, and I could probably have safely skipped those. But, well, I like the Firestorm character and concept, and, like what I’m sure some of you have done, you buy each succeeding issue thinking “Well, maybe this one will be better.” Well, I was right eventually, but was it worth slogging through five dozen issues?

Part of the reason for this is the need for comic fans to keep their collections complete, of course. In my case, there was that DC Comics series from about ten or so years ago called Valor, where I bought the first four issues, decided I didn’t need to keep reading it, but came back for the last few issues for the Zero Hour tie-ins (which I did enjoy). To this day, I still feel the urge to go back and fill in the issues I skipped. I’ve resisted so far….

Tied into that reason is that everyone’s got a character that they’ll stick with, through thick and thin, no matter how appalling the circumstances. You tend to grant special dispensation to your favorites. There was a brief run of Swamp Thing that was pretty dire, which would have caused any reasonable person to give up, but no, there I was, still buying the series, refusing to give up on my muck-encrusted hero.

What I’m saying is that, in some cases, things have to go pretty badly in order to get some of us sad old fanboys and fangirls to drop a book. I tried to read the post-Morrison Doom Patrol issues, but the weirdness of the book that seemed to come to Morrison naturally seemed more forced under the succeeding creative team, making it an unpleasant read. When Hal Jordan was replaced by Kyle Rayner in Green Lantern, I tried to stick around but ended up dropping the title. Not because I was offended by the change in character, but because I didn’t care for the writing. Previous writer Gerard Jones had brought some wit and maturity to the Green Lantern title, which was replaced by big, dumb, and unsubtle superhero slugfests, which I wasn’t enjoying. (Not saying big, dumb slugfests can’t be enjoyable, just not in this case.)

Then there are books that I followed, not because I had any particular attachment to the title, but because there was a creative team on the book I was interested in, and dropped the book when that team left. For example, when Kurt Busiek and George Perez took over The Avengers, well, how could I resist that? Even when Perez eventually left the book, I stuck around for Busiek’s writing…and when Busiek left, so did I. Not because I hated what happened to the book following Busiek, but because I was only there in the first place for that creative team.

Then there are completely irrational reasons. I dropped the current Hawkman series about issue three or so, whatever issue had the ninja elephants. I really thought that was a painfully bad idea and just never returned to the title (well, until it became Hawkgirl with Simonson and Chaykin). And I gave up on New Teen Titans when they ran that one cover with the blurb “IT FINALLY HAPPENS! STARFIRE KILLS!” or words to that effect. That just struck me as dumb, and since I was getting pretty burnt out on the title anyway, that was reason enough to give it up. I did pick it up again for Perez’s brief return, and again with the “Titans Hunt” storyline (featuring Marv Wolfman’s second wind on the title, which was really good), but, unlike that persistent fan-urge I have with Valor, I don’t have any desire to fill in the missing issues.

So, after all that blather, I have a question or two for you. Are there any titles you read/characters you followed for a long time, and finally just had to drop? Why?

Also, are there any characters, like me with Swamp Thing, that you’ll follow regardless of how dire things may get?

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