Posted by Timandm (3393 posts) - - Show Bio

Once in a blue moon I read the letters section at the back of the comics. Today I read an excellent letter at the back of Superior Spider-Man 3 (which I loved.) I'm going to type in a few parts of the letter here:

I got into Spidey during the Brand New Day era since that was when I first started reading comics. Ignoring the angry fans of the time, I picked up the book anyway and fell in love. The way I saw it getting into comics without giving Amazing Spider-Man a shot was like getting into rock music and never listening to Led Zeppelin. Make your own opinions afterward, but some things need to be experienced.

It's been many, many issues and even more dollars since then and Pete has become far and away one of my favorite characters. I own more issues of ASM than any other book by a long shot.

So that brings us to #700. I've avoided all spoilers, made sure I was ready to experience the story the way Dan Slott and Humberto Ramos wanted me to. I had learned to trust them by now. Unfortunately, that trust was misplaced. While an exciting read, this was not the end that Peter deserved nor the book that the fans did.

...some other good stuff....

(and he closes with) This book broke my heart in much the same way One More Day did to many others who were readers before me. And, much like those bitter fans, I don't know if I'm going to be able to put that heartbreak aside and continue on with the title. My pull list will now have a Spider-shaped hole in it and that's a huge disappointment.

Nathan H

This letter brings out two important points.

First... We, the loyal reader who have stuck with characters for years, become emotionally invested in the characters. We have spent many hours, and dollars, and thoughts on these stories. They hold meaning for us... When major reboots come along, or reality altering scenarios that undo characters or storylines that we love, it is as if they never happened.. and we feel as if that has been taken from us...

I know many will say, "you take it too seriously" or "It's just a freaking comic book." but if it the comic books we enjoy, don't hold intrinsic value for us, then we wouldn't be wasting our time and money on them, now would we?

People find value in many things that others think aren't important. Paintings? Music? Books? Artwork? These things give us pleasure, entertainment, and help us dream... So, while no lives are lost (in the real would) during a retcon, reboot, or stupid story like One More Fraked up Day, something of great sentimental value IS, indeed, taken from the reader...

Secondly, note how Nathan really didn't get why long time Spidey fans were upset with One More Day... He was new to comics and he just jumped right in and enjoyed them. He loved Spidey right from the word go... And good for him... It wasn't until he'd had that long time reader/fan relationship with Spidey and the Superior Spider-Man story came along, that he finally got what those fans were saying long ago about O.M.D....

So, here we are and Super Spider-Man HAS happened...( let me just slip in that it's only temporary and I honestly do believe this is going to bring about some good and long needed changes for Spider-Man when Mr. Parker DOES finally regain control.) We are seeing many people upset, angry, pissed and just plain made about it. They feel as if they've been robbed after their many years of support.... and then we have a large number of people saying, "What's the big deal, just get over it. It's only a comic book...)

I am guessing that the owners of Marvel and DC have a business plan focused on grabbing NEW READERS and losing the older ones about every 7 years... It's all turnover for them... That's why they are able to recycle so many of their stories... They are less concerned with losing readers, because they know they are always going to grab new ones... They do not think there are many (and there really aren't) like me, who have been comic book fans for decades...

Nathan, if you're out there, I feel your pain, Brother...

#1 Posted by Timandm (3393 posts) - - Show Bio

Bump... Bump... Bumpity... Bump?

#2 Posted by lykopis (10868 posts) - - Show Bio

Thanks for sharing that letter -- it does really highlight what many of us comic fans feel when characters we have grown to love have so much ripped away from them that we are left reeling -- stunned -- so much investment into a medium we truly enjoy feels like the worst kind of waste because the reason for staying a customer is no longer there. I have had people tell me that it's no big deal --- you don't like the direction? Fine -- stop buying it -- re-read all the comics you purchased up to now and re-live the love. Expand your horizons to include a new book altogether if your pocketbook can handle it.

Sure, I get that. Some good advice actually. But what they feel to realize is that I bought into the idea -- the ride -- the person who although fictional, I really identified with -- really liked witnessing their progression. To have a story line show up that is so nonsensical, truly bizarre (which to me, Superior Spiderman is) then it is well within rights to get more than just a little upset, quite right to make some noise and let it be known how unhappy you are. I can use so many analogies and metaphors here but I guess I would choose the example of figurines. Collecting a type of figurine over the years can develop into a real love of the hobby -- each one purchased and each new release so exciting and fun. Then, you are informed the company is stopping production. That's it. All that collecting and compiling and acquiring and then whammo --- kaput. It's gonna sting. Its gonna bother that poor collector. A lot. He/she really enjoyed it, looked forward to the previews of potential new creations, but then, it's over. Would you tell that collector to suck it up and get over it and to enjoy what he/she has already obtained?

Of course not.

So, the unhappiness expressed is valid. Having your favourite character hollowed out and behave so OOC is like having your favourite niece who used to play baseball with you suddenly bound down the stairs in the latest style of clothing and make up and bounding out the door instead of spending time with you like she used to. Things change and progress should never be considered a bad thing but when a character you are comfortable with in terms of personality and so on suddenly get taken over by a madman villain (I know the story so there's more involved here - calm down), its a bit much to take,

What I am saying is -- Nathan H is right to express his discontent. He represents a lot of Spidey fans who feel betrayed to a certain extent with what's been happening with Spock Ock --- I mean, Spiderman is seen shaking J Jonah Jameson's hand, lol.

Anway, great blog -- don't understand how it's fallen under CV's radar. I enjoyed reading it very much.


#3 Posted by akbogert (3302 posts) - - Show Bio

Aye, thanks for the bump. You definitely have my sympathies. Anyone who has read my blogs (the CV ones or the ones I linked to shortly after arriving) knows how I feel about Avengers Arena, how after briefly getting brought back into comics I strongly considered just leaving immediately because if this was how Marvel treated their faithful readers, I didn't want to stick around to get hurt like that. Meanwhile, in an act of pure irony, I jumped onboard the New 52 train at DC. I found that many of the fans I spoke with were still bitter over many, or even most, of the changes which the reboot had wrought on the characters they'd spent years coming to know and love. And I realized it's everywhere in mainstream comics, this disdain for emotional response from readers, the blatant disregard for the real thoughts and feelings (not to mention the time and money) bound up in these characters and their stories. Coupled with the cruelty of other readers who think nothing's worth getting upset over, and who even, at times, revel in the pain, and it's a gruesome situation.

If it were not for Comic Vine, and some of the great people I have gotten to know over the last month, I'd have done just what I said I would in my very first comic blog: treated Marvel NOW like a revolving door, and walked as far away from comics and their abuse as possible. But the community is keeping me here, and my desire to stay relevant with conversations (and to develop more common ground) keeps me buying, so long as I can stand to do so. But I have a feeling whenever my version of OMD arrives -- be it the killing off of X-23, or a reboot of the reboot with DC, or something new but equally terrible -- my ability to continue enjoying new comics will be vanquished.

Anyway, I appreciate your openness here. I apologize in advance for any flack you get for it, because for some reason there are always people with a handful of salt looking for wounds.

#4 Posted by Timandm (3393 posts) - - Show Bio

@lykopis: Yes, exactly! I'm so glad there's someone else in here that gets this.

@akbogert: "for some reason there are always people with a handful of salt looking for wounds." those are good words to remember! Makes me think of the german word "schadenfruede" - Taking pleasure in the misfortunes of others... or, enjoying the suffering of others. I guess it's good to be aware, if you're new to comics, that eventually there will likely be a 'OMD' coming... Honestly, I'm not sure what can be done about it... We just 'accept it' and... (shrug shoulders here) I can almost hear someone speaking at a funeral saying, "I suggest you focus on the GOOD times that you had and cherish those memories..." sigh...

I wonder... Think about a trilogy or novel series that you love... For me, there's Lord of the Rings, Dragon Lance, and (sigh.. I admit it) Wheel of Time (or Wheel CHAIR of time cause it's taken like three lifetimes to finish)... Now, imagine you get near the end and suddenly find out that your favorite character has been drastically changed.. or removed from history...

  • Gandalf was really just a puppet of Saruman
  • Frodo secretly loved the One Ring all along and just used the fellowship to kill Sauron so he could take over Middle Earth and rule
  • Aragorn stabs Frodo through the heart (from behind mind you) and takes the ring. He then forces Arwen to be come his first wife, Eowen his second, and Rosie (the hobbit) as his third...

How would that make one feel if they loved the Lord of the Rings and it suddenly took a turn like that in the third novel? It would be an extraordinary level of suckiocity...

#5 Posted by akbogert (3302 posts) - - Show Bio

@Timandm: You know, it's worse than that. It'd be one thing of Tolkein just went on a killing spree or something in Return of the King. But this sort of thing can be pinned directly on people like Quesada and Slott (in my case, on Hopeless). It's like someone else took over for Tolkein and then did all the terrible things you just mentioned, with no one to stop them. With creator-owned content, at least there's some excuse. I mean, I like a lot of Joss Whedon's stuff and he's notorious for ripping your heart out. But to take characters someone else created, and crap all over them, that's really the most infuriating part.

#6 Posted by Timandm (3393 posts) - - Show Bio

@akbogert: Yes, exactly... and we, 'the reader', can do nothing about it... except "stop buying the comic, but that doesn't undo the hat horrid feeling of something begin taken from us...

#7 Posted by blackwolf0925 (157 posts) - - Show Bio

You know this thread has put even more fear into me at starting to collect comics. If you guys who are long time fans get treated this way with your favorite series then it makes me even more hesitant to dive into this style of storytelling. I am a manga collector and worst about my hobby in collecting literature is the fact that the series I enjoy might not get translated here completely. I had I couple of series I'd enjoyed but ultimately never sold well enough to actually get completed.

#8 Posted by akbogert (3302 posts) - - Show Bio

@blackwolf0925: Welcome to the sadomasochist club. We'll keep telling ourselves it's worth the abuse...until, maybe, we wise up and get out like this Nathan guy.

/resists urge to grab blackwolf by the collar and yell "RUN! RUN WHILE YOU STILL CAN!"

#9 Posted by blackwolf0925 (157 posts) - - Show Bio

I like this community though it is active and even though I might not get to serious in collecting comics. I like hear everybody's opinion on the subject. Now all I need to do is find some comics that have an ending to their series.

#10 Posted by akbogert (3302 posts) - - Show Bio

@blackwolf0925: That's actually fairly easy to do, especially with DC having just rebooted in 2011 and Marvel having ended quite a few runs to make way for NOW.

The first comic run I ever read was Kyle/Yost's X-Force. I'm looking to get Remender's X-Force when it's completely available in trades -- everyone seems to say it was great. You're definitely in the right place community-wise, though. Some conversations get pretty heated, and some boards are just horrifying, but one thing is certain: you'll find no shortage of opinions. Of course there's no way you could have reached 83 posts without having realized that :P

#11 Posted by lykopis (10868 posts) - - Show Bio

@blackwolf0925 said:

I like this community though it is active and even though I might not get to serious in collecting comics. I like hear everybody's opinion on the subject. Now all I need to do is find some comics that have an ending to their series.

There are quite a few that are arguably considered long-lasting like Y The Last Man and the recently ended The Boys which depending on how you view things, is considerably more rough in terms of sex and whatnot but a pretty good interpretation of not very heroic super-beings. Once you get past that, it's a really good series. And there is another which depending on what you like called American Virgin which I really enjoyed as well however there are so many graphic novels which deserve mention too. All complete with endings. :)

#12 Posted by Timandm (3393 posts) - - Show Bio

@blackwolf0925:Well, it's good knowing going in that the writers may suddenly and drastically change things on your whenever they darn well feel like... And, in fact, if you read comics for a while, you can pretty much bet on this happening.... But notice that many of us are still here, in spite of our bitching...especially me... I bitch a lot but I'm still here.

Oh yeah! What Lykopis said. You would probably LOVE ' Y - The Last Man ' it was excellent!