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  1. #1
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    Default What is it like for old comic book fans?

    I'm 18 years old and have only been reading comics for about 2 or 3 years but those of you who have been around for the older comics, so let's say since Crisis in Infinite Earth's or since the 2000s or something, what has it been like over the past 34 years to read these ever changing and ever growing comics? And how much has comics changed since then?

  2. #2
    Obsessed & Compelled Bored at 3:00AM's Avatar
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    I've become far more chill about any creative decision I don't care for because I've seen enough revamps, reboots, and retcons by now that I know that, sooner or later, most characters and concepts will inevitably return to their most classic (and profitable) incarnations, so there's really not much point getting upset about them. Just read what you like, and ignore the stuff you don't.

    Big sweeping changes, and subsequent returns to the status quo are like buses. Just wait and another one will be around in 5 or 10 minutes. Sometimes you've got to wait a lot longer, but it's often worth it.

    I've also become less concerned about the details, like which specific character is wearing the costume than whether or not the story is good. I still have my preferences, but the story is the most important thing.

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    Astonishing Member WillieMorgan's Avatar
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    You realise that DC Comics are really not worth getting worked up about. The industry is cyclical and what goes around comes around. You don't like a current writer, characterisation, story-line or direction? Just show a little patience and the usual status quo will inevitably fall back into place in time. Reboots, retcons, underpants being removed from a certain characters costume, taglines like 'The DC universe will never be the same again!!', we've seen it all before. The normal order of things tends to reassert itself.

    You also develop an immunity to being constantly told that the industry is doomed. The markets been on borrowed time for as long as I can remember now. People were telling us that floppies would soon be a thing of the past over a decade ago. There will inevitably be a day of reckoning for the direct market at some stage in the future but decades of reading comics has also shown me that this is a resilient medium. It tends to find a way to survive and endure.

  4. #4
    Amazing Member gordonm's Avatar
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    Like most, I've become blase about "universe-changing" events, "shocking" deaths etc. No matter how much they promise this one will 'stick' you can start the clock on the return/retcon/reboot etc.

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    Doctor Fate Doctor Kent Nelson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheDragonKing View Post
    I'm 18 years old and have only been reading comics for about 2 or 3 years but those of you who have been around for the older comics, so let's say since Crisis in Infinite Earth's or since the 2000s or something, what has it been like over the past 34 years to read these ever changing and ever growing comics? And how much has comics changed since then?
    Kind of like this...


  6. #6
    Spectacular Member qwertyuiop1998's Avatar
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    Interesting question, I'm also curious about how old fans feeling about comics changing during those years since I'm just begin to read comics a few years just like you
    "Cobra!Rider System!Revolution!ARE YOU READY?Black Hole!Black Hole!Black Hole!Revolution!FUahhahahaahha!"--Kamen Rider EVOL

  7. #7
    Mighty Member Yoda's Avatar
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    Been reading since the early 90's on and off and on the whole I think comics are far better now than they were back then, with a few caveats. The stories and characters are so much better now, but the execution of a lot of it - decompression mostly - has improved collected comics at the expense of individual monthly comics if that makes sense. The stories on the whole are far better than their individual parts. It's a special occasion when a single issue is self contained. The lack of narration or thought balloons also has shortened the reading time of comics a lot. It can take 20-30 minutes to read some of the good old comics compared to being able to read one in 5 even if you're taking time. Compare something like Moore's Saga of the Swamp Thing with your average issue of a Bendis comic that is just dialogue.

    The shift in emphasis from artists in the 90's driving books to writers is another thing, on the whole, that is an improvement, but the lack of consistency in art can be a drawback. I think DC has gotten better at it lately, rotating art teams instead of rushed fill ins, but consistency in art is still important.

    I'm far far less concerned with continuity and what "counts" now than I was back in the day as well. A good story is a good story. I don't care if a bad story from 5 or 10 years ago contradicts it in some way or it can't be perfectly fit into some timeline.

  8. #8
    Incredible Member Adset's Avatar
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    Also been reading since the early 90s.

    I've noticed I don't get upset about creative/editorial directions I disagree with anymore. Stuff's gonna happen, and I'm just along for the ride. I'm a huge Wally West fan, for instance, and I couldn't possibly disagree more with what went down in Heroes in Crisis, but I've long since arrived at the point that there's no use getting upset about it. I'll buy Flash Forward and continue reading the further adventures of one of my favorite characters. I may or may not like it, but it's all one, long narrative with peaks and valleys along the way.

    So while I've calmed, it also cuts both ways -- I rarely get excited about upcoming projects anymore. I remember getting PSYCHED for things like the Age of Apocalypse, or No Man's Land, or whatever. I've now seen enough events fall flat where I'll pick (most) of them up just to keep up, but I rarely, if ever, go in with expectations. Or I'll skip an event, or series, and pick it up a year after the fact on a Comixology sale or something. I'm not TOTALLY dead inside -- I still get jazzed for certain announcements (Morrison on Green Lantern, and Hickman's new X-Men stuff), but I've definitely chilled.

    I also have a far greater appreciation for older/before-my-time stuff. I used to never bother, but I've been really getting into a bunch of Silver Age stuff in recent years.

  9. #9
    Ultimate Member MajorHoy's Avatar
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    High blood pressure, high cholesterol, arthritis, . . . oh, you wanted to know about comic books?

  10. #10
    Boisterously Confused
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    I've been reading since the 1970s, and it's clear that the audience has changed (or at least, who DC believes the audience is has changed). The complexity and sophistication of story have increased, but unfortunately, so has the sense of bleakness. The childishly naive notion that bashing our problems in the nose is a sensible answer persists, but the notion that we can meaningfully address human woes seems to have been left behind.

    The motivations of characters doing something positive because it's right has faded away. In its place has arisen a notion that protagonists must react to something wrong, whether that's a tragedy they suffered or a failing they must redeem.

    The art has changed. There has always been good and bad, but the modern trend seems to look more like movie storyboards than self-contained story-telling instruments. That's doubtlessly influenced by their role as mass media brands today. DC (and Marvel) comics have become minor components of larger Intellectual Property sales campaigns than entertainment media in their own right.

    Others have mentioned the shift towards arc (that can be packaged as TPBs). With tht has come a a sense of story first, character, if convenient. Don't get me wrong, story has always mattered. That said, part of this medium has always been about following characters who were distinct in some form (Justice League somewhat lost that late in the Silver Age, it it came back strong in the Bronze Age thru Nu52). The TPB Novelization approach, however, has enabled writers to distort characters to ease execution of specific story points they want to make (Identity Crisis was probably the most drastic example, but there have been plenty of others, both before and since). This results in an inconsistency of both characterization, and world building, because each new writer tends to drop or ignore what came before.

    ETA: Beginning with Crisis on Infinite Earths, comics have become increasingly event-centric. DC learned that they can get fans to buy more titles to have the complete story, and we haven't taught them differently yet. I suspect the TPB trend mentioned in the last two paragraphs has accelerated that. How intrusive those events got on the individual titles at DC waxed and waned over the years; in cases like Millenium, it got really heavy handed.

    The various, and cumulative effects of those last two paragraphs have contributed to shrinking of the comics world. There was a sense in the older comics that heroes inhabited an environment full of characters. That's shifted toward them existing against a backdrop that seems somewhat more shallow.

    One thing has changed for the better (IMO): comics are more widely accepted as a past time than once they were. For some of us, being a comics fan was something of a guilty pleasure we felt pressured to hide away. With big studios realizing there's gold in them-thar capes, comics in general, and superheroes in particular, are no longer something that's quite so niche.
    Last edited by DrNewGod; 08-08-2019 at 08:57 AM.

  11. #11
    Astonishing Member OBrianTallent's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DrNewGod View Post
    I've been reading since the 1970s, and it's clear that the audience has changed (or at least, who DC believes the audience is has changed). The complexity and sophistication of story have increased, but unfortunately, so has the sense of bleakness. The childishly naive notion that bashing our problems in the nose is a sensible answer persists, but the notion that we can meaningfully address human woes seems to have been left behind.

    The motivations of characters doing something positive because it's right has faded away. In its place has arisen a notion that protagonists must react to something wrong, whether that's a tragedy they suffered or a failing they must redeem.

    The art has changed. There has always been good and bad, but the modern trend seems to look more like movie storyboards than self-contained story-telling instruments. That's doubtlessly influenced by their role as mass media brands today. DC (and Marvel) comics have become minor components of larger Intellectual Property sales campaigns than entertainment media in their own right.

    Others have mentioned the shift towards arc (that can be packaged as TPBs). With tht has come a a sense of story first, character, if convenient. Don't get me wrong, story has always mattered. That said, part of this medium has always been about following characters who were distinct in some form (Justice League somewhat lost that late in the Silver Age, it it came back strong in the Bronze Age thru Nu52). The TPB Novelization approach, however, has enabled writers to distort characters to ease execution of specific story points they want to make (Identity Crisis was probably the most drastic example, but there have been plenty of others, both before and since). This results in an inconsistency of both characterization, and world building, because each new writer tends to drop or ignore what came before.

    ETA: Beginning with Crisis on Infinite Earths, comics have become increasingly event-centric. DC learned that they can get fans to buy more titles to have the complete story, and we haven't taught them differently yet. I suspect the TPB trend mentioned in the last two paragraphs has accelerated that. How intrusive those events got on the individual titles at DC waxed and waned over the years; in cases like Millenium, it got really heavy handed.

    The various, and cumulative effects of those last two paragraphs have contributed to shrinking of the comics world. There was a sense in the older comics that heroes inhabited an environment full of characters. That's shifted toward them existing against a backdrop that seems somewhat more shallow.

    One thing has changed for the better (IMO): comics are more widely accepted as a past time than once they were. For some of us, being a comics fan was something of a guilty pleasure we felt pressured to hide away. With big studios realizing there's gold in them-thar capes, comics in general, and superheroes in particular, are no longer something that's quite so niche.
    Reading since the 70's as well and couldn't have said it better. Good job.

  12. #12
    Boisterously Confused
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    Quote Originally Posted by OBrianTallent View Post
    Reading since the 70's as well and couldn't have said it better. Good job.
    Thanks! In fairness, a lot of that reflects conversations on multiple other threads around here. I'd noticed these trends, but what some of many of our companions on these forums have said helped me articulate my thoughts.

  13. #13
    Spectacular Member Dr. Ellingham's Avatar
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    I agree with Bored above 100%. But to add on, I am not a "lifer", meaning I've never read comics for more than 5 years straight without losing interest.

    I started reading DC a year or so prior to Crisis. I was into Dark Knight Returns, JLA, Green Lantern, Swamp Thing, Watchmen. But due to those series either ending or changing up, and the shift in tone at DC in the late 80s, I was left primarily reading Independent comics. Then lost interest in high school.

    10 years later I caught up, mid 1990s. But lost interest again 3-4 years later. And again mid-2000s to 2010.

    Now I'm in my 40s, and I just don't seek out action/adventure material anymore, in comics, movies, etc. I feel like I've seen or read most of the greatest content from my era, so more "modern" stuff tends to come off as...repetitive. I still love DC's superhero concepts, though. So I pay attention, at least.

  14. #14
    Ultimate Member Ascended's Avatar
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    Wow, I dont think Ive ever seen anyone ask this question before. Interesting.

    I've been reading since.....when did Superman die? 25, 26 years ago? That's when I came in; early 90's.

    Like others have said, the industry has become more Event centric, and everything goes in cycles; I've lost count of the number of times "dark and edgy and new" has replaced, and then been replaced by "bright and optimistic and nostalgic." Big status quo changes are usually short lived and just for shock, stuff that claims it'll change the universe forever is usually forgotten in six months. But I've noticed this kind of long-form development that happens "above" the level of continuity. Characters *do* change and grow, but it's over the course of decades, and you have to look for it.

    When I started reading, you could also find comics at grocery stores, retailers, mom n' pop's.......I dont know when that stopped but I feel like it happened early in my "run."

    Trades have gone through a sort of weird curve. They weren't really a consideration when I started, then they began to become more popular, then everything went digital and trades started to flag, and then a market found them and they're growing (a lot) again. Or so it seems to me, anyway, I didn't pay much attention to this sort of thing until a few years ago when I started studying business. And now everything is written with trades and movie adaptations in mind, which has allowed things to "breathe" a lot more on the page. When writing for the trade you can afford to spend a whole page on two characters staring uncomfortably at each other, but back in the day you had to move to entire plot along before that page ended.

    As for me......I've become a lot less interested in big stories that "matter" or in following the big, important and/or hot characters. I'd rather read a real strong, self-contained run of Mister Miracle than a big, sprawling epic with three different tie-in issues to three different super-crazy Events with Batman. I'm less concerned about who I'm reading about than I am the quality of it. I also drop books a lot faster than I used to. I've never had the collector's mindset of buying every issue just for reasons, but I used to give a book six months, maybe a year, before dropping it if it started to suck, hoping the story would improve or just not last long. Now, if issue 2 isn't good, I'm gone by issue 3, maybe 4 if I'm really into in the concept.

    And like someone else said, back in the day, reading comics was not gonna help make you popular. If you were lucky like I was, people saw it as a weird quirk they could ignore (I was an artist, so liking comics made sense to people), but if you weren't lucky it was often the main target for d-bags to pick on you. Now these characters make billions in the movie theater and everyone knows their names.
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  15. #15
    FF purist/snob CaptCleghorn's Avatar
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    The hobby isn't what it used to be. The attitudes towards it have changes considerably in the last near half century since I started collecting. The product and the "sophistication" of the storytelling has also changed considerably as well. But a major point is that ther is stuff I like and stuff I don't. This is true today and it was true 10, 20, 30, 40, and 50 years ago. Sure the serial nature and the universal every book storylines have filled the big two, but we also had the "same bat time, same Bat channel" need to see tomorrow's episode as well.

    The more things change, the more they remain the same. If you're doing this in forty years, think about how you'd answer the question.

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