you’ll always probably get told that the best era of comics is some time before you were born. some curmudgeonly guy in a comic book store will tell you that something is wrong with the industry right now and it didn’t used to be that way. Somethin’s killing it from the inside out! while there are a lot of theories the general consensus comes back to superhero comics time and time and again. i dont wanna send you down a hole where you spend all night clicking links from one website to the other. sometimes…you gotta trust a guy.
the “BIG TWO” have basically switched over to storylines that aren’t really whole until you can buy em in a trade. most comics are expensive now at around 3.99 an issue. every storyline from “THE BIG TWO” (marvel and DC) seems to be about lots of events involving several different books coming out on different days of the month. it’s not just really the big two either: even Image notably publishes comics that the authors intend to only really be collected and devoured once all of them can be viewed as a single collected product in a trade.
looks: trades used to be really cool to me. they were an avenue for reading older comics without resorting to piracy. the concept of a trade always sat with me as right there in the word. sit down, read this fuckin comic and then trade it to your friend. i am probably the only guy on the planet that thought that way and now you do too.
now the idea of a trade is the end point of every single comic book released by major publishers with little exception. we gotta push these storylines out to the shelves as fast as possible to get people buying trade. already Marvel is teasing their NEXT BIG EVENT before you can even get a trade of their current event on the shelf in a complete form. just to let you know they’re gonna have another big fastball up their sleeves as fast as possible.
every big story beat that comics out of superhero comics in the last decade is one that’s only meant to exist so it can be collected and re-read in a trade until the end of time. what’s killing the industry definitely has something to do with THE BIG TWO wanting to wholeheartedly focus only on event storytelling…but it’s easier to put event stories in a trade at the end of them than it is to collect “ANN NOCENTI’S DAREDEVIL.” there’s not a trade of the run Ann Nocenti did on Daredevil because they probably think nobody wants to read it…but also because it’s not organized around a single start or ending point. you can go out and buy seperate volumes that her comics are in with Jim Lee’s, but they aren’t collected.
side note: most trade paperbacks that do focus on creators focus strictly on the male ones if they’re advertised that way. Simonson’s run on Thor has a bunch of other creators involved…but it’s still sold as WALTER SIMONSON’S THOR. this is as much to do with him having a defining run on the character as it is his gender i’m sure, but nocenti’s run on daredevil is defining in a different way.
as a matter of fact, even if you’re interested in comics as a hobby relating to the aspect of how some authors have come along through the years to completely define a character’s future incarnations in their work on a particular series, there’s notably less trades being collected by the big two of works by newer influential creators.
again and again, trades are released that collect these massive event storylines that are published by THE BIG TWO meant to get people buying as many books as possible and then buying them again when they inevitably give up on collecting six fuckin books at a time.
reviewers play the exact same way. let me tell you something buddy: there’s not a more crass and painful to read genre of fans-writing-about-products as their is superhero reviews. if you thought game journalism was bad before a certain purple website came along a bunch of years ago, there’s no equivalent to reviewers interested in evaluating comics as anything besides products that do or don’t feature familiar characters. the old scourge of game reviews was the graphics/sound/playability review type that still exists today. the scourge of comics reviews is probably assigning an arbitrary number to things that almost can’t even be evaluated on the merits of an individual issue anymore.
this is as much of a cynical take on the comic industry as it is an announcement: that’s right: your pals at HTTP://DEEP-HELL.COM will be reviewing comics and not just Hentai/Ecchi.
the DEEP-HELL review criteria is this: if a reviewer even thinks for a second that a comic isn’t being written as a disposable story that can be thrown away or ripped apart from cover to cover, but is actually just a cheap cliff-hanger issue meant to go in a larger trade for sequential reading it’s an automatic zero.
yeah sure, we might talk about how great the art looks or how good norm breyfogles layouts are. you might even read (or hear) a group of us gross guys talking about how the narrative works for the issue itself or themes being employed. but if at any point the issue is subtitled with something like ISSUE 3 of 8 of DC’s INFINITE BUY-THIS: THE FAMOUS COVER EDITION , it’s still absolutely worthless.
this will apply to all comics published by either of the BIG TWO. this is employed at our discretion. this idea is free of use for anyone else who reviews comics too.