Saturday, January 26, 2013

Blogathon 20: 100 Issues in a Row (Part 1)

Augie de Blieck, Jr. asks: "What titles have you read more than 100 issues of straight, as they came out? Why did you stick around so long? Did you ever continue to buy the book in the hopes that it would get better again eventually? Have you no shame?"

I think I only have two: Hellblazer and Brian Michael Bendis's Avengers stuff (shut up, it's one run!). And both of those don't fall into the traditional category that Augie's speaking of. I buy Hellblazer in trades (as they come out), while the Bendis Avengers stuff was spread out over... six ongoing series, some event books, and a mini-series or two. I'd have to count how many issues of Thor comics have come out since I began buying it regularly again, but I don't think it's been 100. Even if you include Journey into Mystery.

So, those two. And I have stuck with both, because I enjoy them -- for different reasons. Hellblazer is a comic that reveals something about each new writer. John Constantine is malleable and interesting and shows off what a particular writer is interested in like no other mainstream corporate comic character. I've seen the title through... four regular writers since I began buying trades as they come out. Each has been unique. Some haven't been as great as others, but, hey, bad Hellblazer comics are still better than most comics. Something about the title. The Bendis Avengers stuff was because of Bendis. The quality would dip here and there, but there was a standard that it usually met and that standard was high enough (and interesting enough) to keep me.

I don't think I've stuck with any other title for so long, because I can't keep buying books too long in the hopes of the quality getting better. I may have some specific, funny tastes, but I know my standards and it doesn't take long before I will kick something to the curb that isn't meeting those standards. As well, the nature of mainstream corporate comics is rotating creative teams. My interest rarely lies in the specific title/character; it's usually the people working on the comic (specifically, the writer) that get me to buy the book. If a writer leaves, there's a good chance that I'm out the door, too.

I grew up as a teen in a time where I had people like Warren Ellis emphasising the creator -- to not mindlessly buying something. To giving something a fair chance to keep you, but, should it fail after two or three issues, drop it and don't look back. I haven't always adhered to that and have let things slide a little longer, but very, very, very rarely do they slide too much longer. Six issues at the most. Which is too long, honestly.

I've gotten some books that have been 100 issues or more after the fact. 100 Bullets is one. Some others that aren't consecutive issues. But, it's hard to find 100 issues in a row that are worthwhile. What writer can maintain that? What are the odds that a company will put enough good writers on a book in a row? What are the odds that the great things can last 12 issues let alone 100 in this market?

In 30 minutes, Augie may or may not answer these questions. I don't know honestly.

And, something else: NINE HUNDRED DOLLARS, PEOPLE! That is amazing. Stunning. Let's keep it up.

[Don't forget to donate what you can to the Hero Initiative (Details in this post)! After you do, let me know via comment or e-mail (found at the righthand side) so I can keep track of donations -- and who to thank.]