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Oh, Marvel comics, why does my heart keep holdin’ on?

November 6, 2010

Dear Marvel Comics,

Okay, I’ve been trying to write this letter for awhile now and I keep putting it off because, well, there’s absolutely nothing easy about it. But if you’ve been paying any attention then you probably saw this coming. I mean, you must have noticed that your presence on my pull list at my local comic shop has been dwindling more and more over the years. And the growing presence of that…other comic book company on said list. I know, I know, this is totally painful – it’s hurting me too. But the writing is on the wall and we just have to come to terms with it. Marvel, I think we need to break up.

Now come on, don’t get all upset and start throwing stuff and cursing me out, you know exactly why this is happening. And exactly how hard it is for me to be doing this. I mean, I’ve been with you for, what? 32 years? That is a long-ass time for any relationship to last! But if you really think back, it hasn’t been 32 years of uninterrupted bliss – this has happened before. Yes, it has, and let’s not pretend it hasn’t. Remember back in the early 90s when I split up with you? And you remember why, right? Because everything went from compelling stories and character development to endless crossovers and nonstop battles without any substance. And the artwork, man, it was heinous! But that was the early 90s in comics all over, so I won’t hold you entirely responsible for that part. But I do hold you responsible for making me decide I hated comics and didn’t want to read them for years. And then slowly, I let you back into my life. And you came back the same way you first got in – with the mutants; my beloved X-Men in all of their many iterations. You were letting Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely do these wonderful, weird, creepy and funny things with them. And that opened the floodgates for some truly great stuff to enter my life: Runaways! Astonishing X-Men! X-Factor! Young Avengers! Alias!

But then, after getting comfortable in your loving arms once more, you started to pull the same shit you did before. Yes you did! Don’t even try to deny it. First you give me House of M, which, while a fun read and a nifty little story, went and de-mutantized a zillion mutants as well as trotted out your really overly worn Incredibly Powerful Female Hero Goes Mad and Creates Mass Destruction on an Epic Scale storyline that you think were not all tired of. P.S. We are. And it pretty much went quickly downhill from there. You turned most of your X-books into generic catch-all titles for all of your little post-House of M story arcs (Endangered Species! Messiah Complex! I Used To Be a Mutant and All I Got Was This Lousy One-Shot!) and tossed aside almost any interesting character development for endless battle sequences, non-stop plots involving a dozen different anti-Mutant groups and other rehashed, been-there-done-that antics. (Seriously, you revived Nimrod. Nimrod! The petal-pink robot from the future who will Kill All Mutants!) Worse still, you crapped the bed on great titles like Runaways and New Avengers, letting them become watered down and lifeless. Or, worse still, you gave great characters like the original Spider-Woman her own title again only to do nothing interesting with it whatsoever and kill it after 5 issues! And don’t even get me started on what a waste it was for you to revive the New Mutants if you weren’t even going to try to recapture even a fraction of their former glory!!

Damn. I told myself I wasn’t going to get all worked up in front of you. Look, I know you didn’t mean to let this happen – and its not like you haven’t done anything good. X-Factor is still pretty damn great. And Uncanny X-Force seems like it could be a fun ride for awhile. And I’m enjoying Avengers: The Children’s Crusade because YA is such a good team and you really should just let them have their own book again. But, honestly, you’ve got vampires in the X-Men book (quelle originale!) and a thousand one-shots and spin-off minis from that. Uncanny X-Men is as boring as all fuck and Hope running around finding the “5 Lights” just doesn’t do anything for me. New Avengers got boring a long time ago and no amount of revamping can undo that. I mean, you went and took Jessica Jones, one of my favorite new characters you created in a long time, and turned her into a one note character. That is just unforgivable!! Agh!!! Okay, I’m getting all angry again. So I’m just going to go before this gets too hard. I’ll still be in touch to keep up with those one or two books I mentioned before. But it will kind of be like we’re Facebook friends – we keep tabs on one another but it doesn’t go much deeper than that. And if you see me around town with some folks from some of those other comics, well, try to see past your jealousy and hurt and maybe you could learn a thing or two about why I’m spending my time with them. You never know, maybe we’ll get back together in the future. But it’s really going to be up to you.

Love always,


4 Comments leave one →
  1. November 7, 2010 7:05 pm

    Ok, so I understand your frustration. The X-Men in general are pretty hard to follow and you really need to stick at it to understand what the hell is going on. I only started reading comics a few years ago and I had to do a hell of alot of background reading in order to catch up. But one of the greatest things about X-Men for me is the sheer number of characters and the depth of their history. Sometimes I feel like X-Men could break off from the rest of the Marvel Universe and inhabit their own mutated world. In this light the endless tie-ins and mini series are essential to the X-Men world. Some of my favourite characters like Rockslide are given the briefest of appearances. This is why titles like X-Men: To Protect and Serve are necessary to give all of its characters a chance to shine. As for the writing, every title has its ups and downs. You just need to ride those rough patches out.

    • November 7, 2010 11:08 pm

      Yeah, I’m not super interested in riding it out with X-Men right now because it’s been years since I’ve given half a shit about most of the characters or stories that they’re involved in. The problem, in my opinion, is that there are Too Many Characters. Even though Scarlet Witch went and reality warped most mutants into normal folks there’s still a buttload of characters on deck without much happening to keep them interesting. It’s actually almost painful to watch how badly the New Mutants title has gone. Why bother bringing all of those great characters back to do such crappy stories with them? And then there’s the way that folks won’t even attempt to have a tiny bit of continuity. Sam Guthrie is with his fellow NMers in their Fall of the New Mutants storyline AND he’s helping Hope find the “5 Lights” at the same time? So Marvel can introduce MORE mutant characters that they then do nothing with? I’m just kind of over it right now and I need to step away is all. Maybe when they start going back to small, ensemble-focused books like New X-Men or Astonishing X-Men (i.e. what Peter David is doing with X-Factor right now), then I’ll come back.

  2. dj m permalink
    December 23, 2010 2:47 am

    I agree with most of what you said my friend. The X- Men were, for the most part, a bad ass team. Mutants were the shit and even with the other new teams that cropped up over the lengthy titles I always thought they were the coolest. I’m only 19 , but I’ve read comics since I was 5 and seeing how all the X Men have turned into 2- dimensional pussies who cry at every turn (Cyclops and Hope) or could be really cool but are only given half a page or flat effortless lines (Angel, Armor, Iceman, Dust, The Stepford Cuckoos, and pretty much every other mutant left after the Scarlet Witch blew her lid). And on that note, I love women. I love powerful, kick ass women who don’t whine in my face on how they are as good as men but come one I can’t even read most of the crap they have the marvel chicks saying. Lyta Banner was deep and pensive like hulk wished he could be but now she seems like a little weenie and Medusa the Inhuman/ Kree Quenn and Shiar Supreme Overlord couldn’t be more of a power tripping bitch if she had the Infinity Gauntlet. And with the Runaways becoming so mainstream they’re really shopping up their stories, Young Avnegers as well. And back on the X Men: vampires? I honestly stood back when i saw that shit at the shop. Anything to try to get more sales…anything but write a good fucking story. I only bought the thing out of loyalty and I regret every moment wasted reading it. I wonder hoe DC is doing?


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