Wednesday used to be one of my favorite days of the week, probably for the last 20 years or so. Why, do you ask? Well, Wednesdays have always been Comic Book day around the Latteboy house. Back when I used to go to the comic store, it was nothing for me to go weekly and drop 15 to 30 bucks on various comics and/or trade paperbacks (TPBs) before lunch (yes I was THAT guy who would sit in his car and wait for the store to open) and head someplace where I could eat and read through lunch. It was tradition and I loved it. I also loved finding new series in trade formate (The Walking Dead, Runaways, etc.) and laying on the couch and reading a block of stories all at once. I think I bought the first 10 TPBs of Walking Dead in the course of about a week and a half. I couldn't get enough. I've always been a DC boy at heart, and have boxes of old Teen Titans, JLA and various Batman titles in a closet in my dining room to prove it. I stuck with comics through the horrible mullet and pouches times of the 90's, I bought my die cut and metallic covers, I stayed with books I hated because it was the only place to see Black Canary or Donna Troy. I did so because I loved the idea that something really cool was just around the bend and that I would receive validation for holding on.
Then a couple of things happened.
1.) In September of 2011, DC Comics cancelled all of their titles. All of them, including Action and Detective, comics that have been around since the 1930s. All of the titles started back at number 1, and all of the titles received new creative teams and a new common shared universe. The majority of the characters received new "updated" costumes from Jim Lee, and all of the stories would be intertwined in some way. While upset by the cancellation of some long time titles (Action and Detective, just because of the perceived lack of respect it showed), I tried some of the titles, and talked about them on his blog 3+ years ago. Some of the titles shined (Batman and Wonder Woman, specifically) while others...well, they tried hard enough, but never seemed to have a genuine feel, like they wanted it too hard. A prime example of that is Geoff Johns' and Jim Lee's Justice League.
Justice League is a title I have TRULY wanted to love. It should be the company's flagship title. All of the main characters that are well known in the non comic reading community, fighting together against the biggest villains the company can offer. There should be drama, there should be action, there should be a reason that you want to root for the team.
Instead we have a group of douchebags that spend all their time grandstanding agains the other ones and arguing. No one seems to get a long, no one trusts anyone else. Now, for reasons I don't completely understand, we have Lex Luthor on the team (It's a long story), and the main goal of the JL having him on the team is so that they can find something on him to arrest him with? The feel of Justice League seems to be that of a group of comic book store employees sitting around after hours in the back of the shop, talking about "Wouldn't it be cool if...." It seems like there is no rhyme or reason to their thought process.....
But apparently, there is, which is reason number 2 for my nerd annoyance (not rage, which would imply overwhelming anger)
2.) Currently, in the DC universe, they are publishing not one, not two, but THREE weekly titles. These titles are supposed to be taking place in the past (Batman Eternal) the present (Earth 2: World's End) and the future (The New 52: Futures End). Some of these stories are intertwined somehow, but the whole thing is so convoluted and, again, when you add in the douchebag factor of some of the main characters, it makes it very difficult to even remotely care enough to figure out when these things are happening. It also doesn't help that many of the comic book websites are given information by DC TELLING THEM WHAT WILL HAPPEN! (ooh, there's a little of that nerd rage). Why bother reading the books if you already know in GREAT detail what will happen?!?! When you add onto THAT a story by Grant Morrison that is introducing multiple earths and timelines, and a planned event in April that will tie everything together over the course of EIGHTY NINE issues in NINE WEEKS, you can see where I would throw my hands up in the air and just say, "To hell with it." Alas, the 14 year old comic geek in me is holding out, thinking that if I just stay a liiiiiiitttttle more patient, everything will work itself out. I'll get back my old Superman with his red underwear on the outside. I'll get back Donna Troy. I'll get back a world where Superman and Wonder Woman aren't banging. I'll get my quality time on the couch back, where I can sit and read through all these books and feel the heroes I loved as a kid are still out there somewhere fighting the bad guys and keeping me safe.
But that's not all!
3.) The iPad. I read comics on my iPad now. The idea of finding space for all these books in my little house is overwhelming, and I don't want to throw away something I've paid a couple of bucks for every week. (I feel guilty enough doing that with magazines, and I only get MAYbe 3 of them a month. Having all the comics I'm reading in one place is lovely and it helps that I can read them anywhere, in bed or at Starbucks, and not have to lug a pile of the around. The iPad, however, has been a blessing and a curse. Because I'm not buying all these comics (I'll admit it), I don't have as much as an emotional dependency on the stories. It's nothing for me to breeze through a book barely reading the words, just looking through at the pretty pictures. I tend to do that mostly through the books of the Avengers right now. (We get it, Jonathan Hickman, you're clever. It's Captain America, not quantum fucking physics.) I find myself annoyed with titles more easily, but I continue reading them because, well, they're "free." The annoyance I have for these titles often dilutes some of the enjoyment I have for OTHER books and it makes the whole experience kind of.... muddied. BUT, I will say this - comics I HAVE bought digitally (say, for example, Saga or Fatale) have been a WONDERFUL experience, but that may be because when I'm reading them (or digitally purchased copies of books I read/bought as a child) I am totally focused ON them and that story. And that is not to say all of the books DC puts out are shit. Their digital first series Sensation Comics and InJustice: Gods Among Us are titles I look forward to each week, and I cannot WAIT for Wonder Woman '77, a series that will be based in the Lynda Carter television series. But for now, I read comics when I get around to it, not because there is any sort of overwhelming excitement about Wednesdays and what enjoyment I may be getting. Having comics on the iPad is kind of like going to an all you can eat buffet. You gorge yourself the first time you go, but in order to avoid a stomach ache, you need to refine your palate and find things that are more more enjoyable the second time around.