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  1. #1756
    Ultimate Member Ascended's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by J. D. Guy View Post
    In a sense, I see Dick Grayson like Johnny Storm. Johnny would make a stronger case, though (and Johnny would be more poly or pan than just bi).
    Dick *could* be. He's definitely confident, compassionate, and self-aware enough. But just because he's emotionally honest with himself and isn't intimidated by male friendship, that alone isn't a lot to go on. Some of us straight guys aren't scared to hug another dude yknow?

    I dunno, it just seems like saying Dick Grayson, DC's resident male sex symbol, is queer is.....it feels obvious, and a little lazy, to me. If we must accept character bending (and we do, because new characters struggle so much) then at least make it an interesting choice that isn't a cliche, and preferably a character who hasn't spent much of his/her publication life dealing with straight relationships. Dick's love life has been a big part of his character. Pick someone who's love life hasn't been much of a focus. Allan Scott works for this reason, and so would others.

    Quote Originally Posted by lemonpeace View Post
    if that's the case then the solution is simple, they are gonna have to nut up and start telling that demo that they aren't the priority any more.
    I won't defend the industry's inability to break into new audiences and demographics to get the kind of readers who would support the kind of modern storytelling we want here, because publishers have half assed that effort since before I started reading nearly 30 years ago, and that's part of why we're in such dire straights now. But that's not exactly a simple thing you're asking either. I mean, let's put aside the social considerations and look at production and distribution; newer audiences aren't going to support a $4 twenty page floppy that only ships once a month, which they can only find at specific hobby shops that don't sell much of anything else. Everything about the floppy format is out of step with today's world. Prices are higher than a lot of people will pay too. Even if the content was exactly what we want, the way it's packaged would keep newer readers from getting on board.

    In order to get those new fans the industry has to change everything about how it does business. Distribution, production models, pricing, scheduling, everything. The entire industry has to be taken apart and rebuilt from the ground up. That's a lot of jobs on the line, and characters that have helped define American pop culture for almost a century. No wonder publishers aren't anxious to take such drastic action; instead of saving comics it might finally kill them. Granted, they'll have to take this kind of action eventually if they want to stay alive, but I can understand why they're afraid to.
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  2. #1757
    Astonishing Member 9th.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vampire Savior View Post
    I confess that I never totally got into the whole comic book fan thing, either. Not for lack of trying, I think. Obviously, I loved the medium and it fascinated me, but...just...something never totally clicked with me. Ultimately, I think it goes back to what I kind of talked about earlier. It's probably because I felt I wasn't getting the content I was really looking for (that's why that's an important point for me). Had I been, I probably would have dived in head first, but I always felt there was some barrier. Because of that, I've always sort of had an outsider looking in perspective on DC and Marvel. Or maybe not that. It's like I had one foot in the door and one foot out, and having that view...

    I think what has happened with DC and Marvel is they're not selling people on good stories, like most fiction at least attempts to. Whether intentionally or otherwise, it seems the main selling point of these comics is "shared universes," and obsessions with characters, and I think that only comic book nerds appreciate that. Most "normal people" are just looking for good stories, yet DC and Marvel (especially DC) are obsessed with how their universes function. They get away with banal story after banal story because they have an audience that will tolerate that so long as they get their hit of their favorite character(s) every month. It doesn't matter whether the stories are good or not. Just have their favorite characters present and don't make them look bad. The companies will prematurely cancel a story you're just trying to enjoy because they are getting ready to shift their universes again (see Grant Morrison's Green Lantern for a recent example). They shift the universe about every two months or so these days. So, just telling a story takes a back seat to ever shifting universe. How can a person who is just trying to enjoy a story appreciate this? This leads me to another point...

    It also seems to me that DC and Marvel expect one person to buy an entire universe line of comics, which is absurd to me. Manga, on the other hand, isn't typically going to try to force the person buying Berserk to read Fruits Basket. That would be weird and dumb, yet comic book nerds fall for this, and I think they're the only ones who will. Most normal folks will check out if the reading experience becomes cumbersome and a puzzle, because that's not what they're there for. They didn't sign up to read Fruits Basket and they shouldn't be arm barred into doing that to find out what happens next. They're also not used to reading stuff that does that. If they buy Hunger Games, there isn't a note at the end that tells them that they have to read Harry Potter and Twilight to complete the story.

    There are also rules in this universe that are enforced by professionals and fans. For example, no matter how long this universe goes on, no character will ever be as important as Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman. Then there's Barry Allen, Hal Jordan, and Aquaman behind them. If that doesn't jive with you...well...oh well.

    Going back to expecting one person to buy a whole line of comics, I am usually staggered when I hear how some people regularly spend $400 a month on comics. I usually don't say anything, because that's their business and that's totally fine, but what I'm really thinking is, "WTF!? Are you like buying every single comic being printed!?" I think it's primarily people like that who are keeping this whole thing afloat. Most people aren't going to do that.

    I think what I'm getting at is that it's a special type of person who is going to actually like an arrangement like this. It's very different from any other reading experience, and while that does make these comics rather unique in ways, there are A LOT of things that I believe many people will perceive as negatives. You essentially have to be a comic book nerd to really be into it.
    Again, I don't think I'm that type of person. I'm usually just looking for really good stories that will appeal to me, and I find I don't often discover that in comics from DC and Marvel, and I don't like the bizarre idiosyncrasies of these companies. I don't mind shared universes, but I think comic companies often go waaaaaay overboard with that concept. All this said, when I do find comics I really love (very rare) there's like nothing better. Fun comics are REALLY fun!
    What kinda madman has that kind of income? I need their job because apparently I'm getting paid too little,
    Reading list: Far Sector (DC), Marauders (Marvel), X-Force (Marvel), X-Men (Marvel), Miles Morales: Spider-Man (Marvel), Venom (Marvel), My Hero Academia (VIZ), Killadelphia (Image), Bitter Root (Image), Black Hammer: Age of Doom (Darkhorse)

  3. #1758
    Astonishing Member 9th.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by J. D. Guy View Post
    I don't think that "shared universes are the devil", like the vibe I'm getting from the last few posts. It is a narrative tool, like any other. And it is fun. It can even be (and has been) genuinely frustrating when the aspects of a shared universe and continuity are not used to their full potential, if not outright ignored.

    Really, like any tool, it can be misapplied, mishandled, or misused. And that can be (and has been, and sometimes is) limiting and stifling, depending on the story, the creative team, and general circumstance. There's also the reality that one person's shared universe and continuity adherence is another person's "fan-wank" and yet another person's character/story derailment. This reality applies to creative teams just as much it does to fans and readers in general.
    I'm not against shared universes either I prefer it to everyone having their own universe with a few characters as the exception (Shazam and Milestone). What I don't like is a story getting derailed by a crisis level event every 5 months.
    Reading list: Far Sector (DC), Marauders (Marvel), X-Force (Marvel), X-Men (Marvel), Miles Morales: Spider-Man (Marvel), Venom (Marvel), My Hero Academia (VIZ), Killadelphia (Image), Bitter Root (Image), Black Hammer: Age of Doom (Darkhorse)

  4. #1759
    All-New Member Robin_Hood's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 9th. View Post
    I'm not against shared universes either I prefer it to everyone having their own universe with a few characters as the exception (Shazam and Milestone). What I don't like is a story getting derailed by a crisis level event every 5 months.
    I agree people who want events most likely don't care about a shared world outside heroes hanging out and dating each other.

    What I would like to see is ... an event universe ... you have an event book planned and you have a group of books directly tied to it , once that event is done you have a new event with new books tied into it.

    There would be no continuity needed, no need to reboot, think of it as a string of movies some are conected wile some aren't

    Then you can build up other unconnected words as there own products, focusing on there strengths, each with a clear target audience

    I have never known a company so desperate to reduce itself to only having a single product before it's quite baffling

  5. #1760
    Astonishing Member Adekis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ascended View Post
    Dick *could* be. He's definitely confident, compassionate, and self-aware enough. But just because he's emotionally honest with himself and isn't intimidated by male friendship, that alone isn't a lot to go on. Some of us straight guys aren't scared to hug another dude yknow?

    I dunno, it just seems like saying Dick Grayson, DC's resident male sex symbol, is queer is.....it feels obvious, and a little lazy, to me. If we must accept character bending (and we do, because new characters struggle so much) then at least make it an interesting choice that isn't a cliche, and preferably a character who hasn't spent much of his/her publication life dealing with straight relationships. Dick's love life has been a big part of his character. Pick someone who's love life hasn't been much of a focus. Allan Scott works for this reason, and so would others.
    I'm normally quite okay with expanding on characters' sexualities, but in this case I agree it feels lazy to do it for Dick. Dick is straight as heck, we know that because we know he's kind of a womanizer, and I don't see that trait as something he'd have suppressed for men all this time. He'd have had at least a few male love interests.

    By contrast, Superman and Brainiac Five are an iconic, if tragically doomed ship, and I'm totally here for it. That Legion cartoon from the mid '00s made it pretty easy to read Kal as bisexual. And for Brainy, well, it wasn't even started then. There was that ship between him and Invisible Kid in the comics too, and I also love that one.

    ... I don't tend to ship characters with just one other character.
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  6. #1761
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    Quote Originally Posted by lemonpeace View Post
    if that's the case then the solution is simple, they are gonna have to nut up and start telling that demo that they aren't the priority any more. if you want stories from the 90s or 80s or 70s then you should go read your old shit famo. the industry is taking a hit across the board. Marvel's had the right idea by taking bigger hits by radically changing the demographics and narrative elements they want to focus on, and while they do suffer from some of the same issues, they are far better equipped to draw in new readers than DC is. with the globalization of popular culture and the increased accessibility of prestige entertainment accross all mediums, the competition for eyeballs is getting too stiff for DC to be navelgazing and clinging on to a dwindling base. if I as a newer reader get fed up with the state of comics' storytelling culture I'll just pirate the titles I want and put my money toward the show or movie or manga I'll resonate with more because people invest in what they care about and steal what they don't. brand recognition alone only gets you so far.
    They did that with nu52. Im sure many long time readers werent happy with a complete reset of their books. I know i wouldnt be if i was enjoying what i was reading before.

    Dc and marvel arent the only game in town. There are about 500 new books published a month from all sorts of publishers and new publishers entering the market all the time + kickstarters + self published + ogns + euro material not available in usa 20 years ago + japanese material not available 20 years ago. There is more publishrd now that ever before. Read that instead of things you dont like....

  7. #1762
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vampire Savior View Post
    Most of mainstream comics' problems have to do with not being able to reach new readers. The average comic fan is probably a 45 year old (white) man who has been reading since the 1980s. That's not really an evil thing, but that type of person is likely set in their ways and just wants to see what they want to see the way they want to see it, so it becomes difficult to really advance things. What's more is that since the audience isn't growing, the companies are having to squeeze every bit of juice out of those fans that they do have with "shocking" events one after the other, which, ultimately, aren't good at all for storytelling and create an even higher barrier of entry for new fans. It's a really tough situation and I don't know if DC and Marvel Comics will ever really get out of that. Likely, what will happen if there is some revolution in comics, it will come from elsewhere (probably online somehow, with crowdfunding, webcomics, and so on). DC and Marvel will still be around I'm sure, and their IPs will always likely be successful, but I dunno' what will happen with their comics, especially if the Direct Market goes down.
    Quote Originally Posted by lemonpeace View Post
    if that's the case then the solution is simple, they are gonna have to nut up and start telling that demo that they aren't the priority any more. if you want stories from the 90s or 80s or 70s then you should go read your old shit famo. the industry is taking a hit across the board. Marvel's had the right idea by taking bigger hits by radically changing the demographics and narrative elements they want to focus on, and while they do suffer from some of the same issues, they are far better equipped to draw in new readers than DC is. with the globalization of popular culture and the increased accessibility of prestige entertainment accross all mediums, the competition for eyeballs is getting too stiff for DC to be navelgazing and clinging on to a dwindling base. if I as a newer reader get fed up with the state of comics' storytelling culture I'll just pirate the titles I want and put my money toward the show or movie or manga I'll resonate with more because people invest in what they care about and steal what they don't. brand recognition alone only gets you so far.
    I agree with everything said here. That said, most comic fans tend to go ape shit when told that they are no longer the target demo anymore for certain things. Hell, they even go ape shit on absolutely new characters simply because they're new. It doesn't help that a few of the most popular writers do nothing but rewrite old stories from the '80s and earlier, only adding more decapitations.

    While I agree that both Marvel and DC are going to be around for a good long time just so the movie studios that own these companies can attempt to make successful summer blockbusters of them, the industry really seems to be a snake eating it's own tail, which is why I believe that comics' real future lies with the indies, starting with Image. The aging fans who constantly only seem to want the same stories with the same characters over and over and over again age eventually going to die out and a new audience is going to have to be already in place to replace them.
    Last edited by phonogram12; 02-10-2020 at 02:05 PM.
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  8. #1763
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ascended View Post
    Dick *could* be. He's definitely confident, compassionate, and self-aware enough. But just because he's emotionally honest with himself and isn't intimidated by male friendship, that alone isn't a lot to go on. Some of us straight guys aren't scared to hug another dude yknow?

    I dunno, it just seems like saying Dick Grayson, DC's resident male sex symbol, is queer is.....it feels obvious, and a little lazy, to me. If we must accept character bending (and we do, because new characters struggle so much) then at least make it an interesting choice that isn't a cliche, and preferably a character who hasn't spent much of his/her publication life dealing with straight relationships. Dick's love life has been a big part of his character. Pick someone who's love life hasn't been much of a focus. Allan Scott works for this reason, and so would others.
    It wouldn't be lazy in and of itself (lazy tends to be a loaded word in contexts like these, though), if done well and with the care that's already been shown with the close platonic male relationships writers occasionally like to give Grayson. It feels more "potentially logical extension", following this hypothetical. (And as brought up before, a character like Dick Grayson would have never had the chance to be written with that fluidity, regardless of how little or extensive their love-life coverage was, because it was not accepted, let alone considered, to be anything other than straight, provided you were meant to be "normal".)

    It's just a thought exercise, anyway.

  9. #1764
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    Quote Originally Posted by 9th. View Post
    I'm not against shared universes either I prefer it to everyone having their own universe with a few characters as the exception (Shazam and Milestone). What I don't like is a story getting derailed by a crisis level event every 5 months.
    Right, that would be part of the whole misapplying, mishandling, and misusing of a narrative tool, which does happen and is frustrating. (Heck, this can even happen when you otherwise actively enjoy the event in question.)

  10. #1765
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robin_Hood View Post
    ...What I would like to see is ... an event universe ... you have an event book planned and you have a group of books directly tied to it , once that event is done you have a new event with new books tied into it...
    I miss Elseworlds for this very reason. There have been a lot of good stories that do too much damage to an on-going shared-verse.

  11. #1766
    Astonishing Member mathew101281's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robin_Hood View Post
    I agree people who want events most likely don't care about a shared world outside heroes hanging out and dating each other.

    What I would like to see is ... an event universe ... you have an event book planned and you have a group of books directly tied to it , once that event is done you have a new event with new books tied into it.

    There would be no continuity needed, no need to reboot, think of it as a string of movies some are conected wile some aren't

    Then you can build up other unconnected words as there own products, focusing on there strengths, each with a clear target audience

    I have never known a company so desperate to reduce itself to only having a single product before it's quite baffling
    Let’s be honest the vast majority of comic book superheroes wouldn’t be able to survive independent of a shared universe. Even B tier heroes like Black Canary and Cyborg would tank if all their shared universe connections were cut. DC really only has three maybe four characters that would do okay(but not necessarily thrive) in their own universe. Batman, Superman, Flash and maybe Green Lantern.

  12. #1767
    Mighty Member Robanker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ascended View Post
    Dick *could* be. He's definitely confident, compassionate, and self-aware enough. But just because he's emotionally honest with himself and isn't intimidated by male friendship, that alone isn't a lot to go on. Some of us straight guys aren't scared to hug another dude yknow?

    I dunno, it just seems like saying Dick Grayson, DC's resident male sex symbol, is queer is.....it feels obvious, and a little lazy, to me. If we must accept character bending (and we do, because new characters struggle so much) then at least make it an interesting choice that isn't a cliche, and preferably a character who hasn't spent much of his/her publication life dealing with straight relationships. Dick's love life has been a big part of his character. Pick someone who's love life hasn't been much of a focus. Allan Scott works for this reason, and so would others.



    I won't defend the industry's inability to break into new audiences and demographics to get the kind of readers who would support the kind of modern storytelling we want here, because publishers have half assed that effort since before I started reading nearly 30 years ago, and that's part of why we're in such dire straights now. But that's not exactly a simple thing you're asking either. I mean, let's put aside the social considerations and look at production and distribution; newer audiences aren't going to support a $4 twenty page floppy that only ships once a month, which they can only find at specific hobby shops that don't sell much of anything else. Everything about the floppy format is out of step with today's world. Prices are higher than a lot of people will pay too. Even if the content was exactly what we want, the way it's packaged would keep newer readers from getting on board.

    In order to get those new fans the industry has to change everything about how it does business. Distribution, production models, pricing, scheduling, everything. The entire industry has to be taken apart and rebuilt from the ground up. That's a lot of jobs on the line, and characters that have helped define American pop culture for almost a century. No wonder publishers aren't anxious to take such drastic action; instead of saving comics it might finally kill them. Granted, they'll have to take this kind of action eventually if they want to stay alive, but I can understand why they're afraid to.
    Pretty much everything here.

    I'll add that ultimately, these changes need to also be something that won't get undone for the Big Ship as well. It's why changing someone like, say, Lois Lane is always going to look kind of like pandering. Does anyone really think she's going to end up with anyone but Clark, if anyone at all? It's plate spinning until they're back together again. Dick is in a similar boat and while I'm a PowerWing convert, should those stars align it's only a matter of time before the USS DickBabs and HMS DickFire engage in ship-to-ship combat and the SV PowerWing gets stuffed into Davy Jones' Locker like so many before it.

    Even though I prefer Alan Scott remain a stern straight dude from the '40s who has to come to terms with, accept and grow closer to his gay son who he can admit he loves dearly, he's a much better candidate for swapping orientations because even his marriage with children is pretty undefined and nobody really cares about his relationship to his wife.

    Jay and Joan are too entrenched to mess with... Or I suppose she could be John and not much has to change. They never were able to have children and that could very well be because she's a man this time around? I'd certainly miss Joan, but yeah, it would work and have a better chance of riding out the resistance.

    Overall, characters without big ships the fandom will inevitably rubber band on are probably not the best bet. Could it work? Sure, but I'd argue you'd have more success convincing the readership that Connor Hawke was gay than Oliver Queen, for example. I think Dick's in that same boat and all his male relationships that have the affection sufficient for that have never really gone too heavy in that direction and kind of have other ships you'd need to untangle to make work (Wally/Linda is the biggest one here).

    As much as I like interpersonal relationships with comics, I grow really tired with shipping, but it does generate a lot of interest for a sizable chunk of the readership. We all have ones we're partial to. Orientation changes usually hit established ships the hardest, and for some characters (Nightwing certainly), the ship is a core tenant to what people find so appealing about them. I'd argue Lois and Clark's relationship is super important for a huge chunk of his audience, albeit to varying magnitudes therein.

    I'd still argue Tim is the best choice for a Robin to be bisexual in that while Arianna, Spoiler and some others exist... His obsession with Conner OYL and their overall bromance, his occasional awkwardness and general pretty accepting nature leads me to think that maybe he'd have that inclination. Dunno. I can see it way more with him than Dick Grayson who if he was in any way interested would have done so by the Nightwing phase of his life. He's fearless. If he had that urge, he'd act on it and see what it made him feel regardless of what others thought. The most unstable I can really remember him (other than when he was violated by Tarantula) is when he lets someone die or has to wrestle with becoming Batman. An attraction to dudes would have manifested in him by now. Just don't see it with Dick, sorry.
    Last edited by Robanker; 02-10-2020 at 08:49 PM.

  13. #1768
    Astonishing Member Adekis's Avatar
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    Yeah, I agreed that it was lazy or "too easy" for Dick to be suddenly bi, but Tim and Kon? That ship is real as it gets.
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  14. #1769
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    I feel like you will more likely get a Cyborg and beast boy pairing before they turn Dick Bi.

  15. #1770
    ...of the Black Priests Midnight_v's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lemonpeace
    If that's the case then the solution is simple, they are gonna have to nut up and start telling that demo that they aren't the priority any more. if you want stories from the 90s or 80s or 70s then you should go read your old shit famo. the industry is taking a hit across the board.
    They're taking a hit across the board because they've already tried doing what you suggest here. ANAD Marvel, Nu52. A few other desperate attempts that read off as "Hello, fellow teenagers".
    More importantly though. Its easier to say that when you don't have to take a MAJOR HIT financially to get there. Though, I actually feel like Marvel "DID" make a Flippin statement like "THIS DEMO isn't our priority anymore".


    That being said. . . they have the avengers movies and other media to get young peoples interests at least, but... really... Those 45 year-olds (and really 30 somethings) have money, and kids, hell some of them have grand kids. . and as much as companies look for "investment in the younger generations", the finance comes from the wealthy Boomers, and Gen-X'ers and they have a LOOOONG time to go and a very loooong time to be entertained.
    I personally could not suggest a current comic book from Dc Or Marvel to any young person when....

    Manga Exists, and One Punch man and My Hero Academia, and so many Others are full of new things and new characters that people both young and old love and are excited about....
    Thats why this statment rings so false to me to begin with:
    .... That said, most comic fans tend to go ape shit when told that they are no longer the target demo anymore for certain things. Hell, they even go ape shit on absolutely new characters simply because they're new. I...
    When Video Games exist... and frankly young people have SOOO many entertainment options. There are a lot of things to consider on the topic on the financial hits of the "Big 2" other than....
    "Those evil old Whyt fellas" hahaha its laughable.
    Its not about demographics its about accessibility, its about cost, and its about dare I say... "Quality" but when you start telling the truth about "Quality" people start saying reckless silly things like
    "Omg don't attack muh creatorzzz!!!"
    but I do agree with this though:

    It doesn't help that a few of the most popular writers do nothing but rewrite old stories from the '80s and earlier, only adding more decapitations.

    Its the wrong direction. One thing the comics company is caught between that DOESN'T blame the customers are ideas like this:
    Writing well is difficult. Copying is easy
    Civil War, Civil War 2, Crisis on infinite earths... Crisis on Infinite earths 2, Crisis on Infinite Earths New/Marvels Boogaloo, Secret Wars 3. Kree/Skrull war/ Emypyre. Ultimate Comics Children of Tommorow/Krakoa. Dark Avengers/Forever Evil (i'm compressing here we know how manytimes that premise is spewed)

    Secondly, ever increasing stakes looses interests to LOTS of people, every increasing violence loses its shock value... (especially when one of the main tropes is "No one dies in comics"), but in my unpopular opinion
    Manga does that better too... there are arenas and night clubs selling out to watch the big Goku Fight in some countries. DBZ manages to do "Ever increasing odds better", and meanwhile... people in manga have story
    arch. A beginning a middle and an end, and no I'm not suggesting spidey grow up and have kids or that Kingdom Come should be where we war in DC books right now.
    I'm saying that the medium we've chosen to invest in and love and follow has problems that go deeper than "Old Fans are holding us back" thats just a lie.

    The medium is held back by itself.

    I personally would LOVE instead of what we have now which... again my unpopular opinion... Doomsday Clock - Cop-out where get this *Everything* exists! ... I would have loved it if
    DC had said.
    *this* is our direction for the Next 15-20 years* We're going to write ourselves toward Kingdom Come ... Batman Beyond... Future's end a mix... Doesn't matter pick a future show some discipline and go there.

    You're not going to appease everyone... that shouldn't be the goal. The goal should be creating the best works you can and working on getting those works into people hands.
    My priority is enjoying and supporting stories of timeless heroism and conflict.
    Everything else is irrelevant.

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