In case you haven’t already seen this, critic and Variety writer Tom McLean explains why he has left his weekly comics habit behind after decades:
After more than a quarter century, I found reading the last big stack of Marvel and DC books I brought home at tremendous expense to be the last thing I wanted to do. Trying to read the last few of them was incredibly difficult — the art was detailed but unclear, the scripting was clever but not informative, and the stories inched along at so slow a pace, with so little happening on any given page or in any given issue, that nothing registered as being remotely interesting. Six weeks later, or however long it’s been, I not only do not miss my weekly comics shop visit but I feel somewhat relieved. I no longer have to keep track of what I have and don’t have, what the big crossover of the moment is, or how much it’s going to cost and whether I can still afford it.
None of which means I stopped reading comics or have no more interest in comics. I’ve been focusing on artwork of late, and have found myself interested in the recent bounty of classic comic strip reprints. I’m well into the first volume of IDW’s The Complete Terry and the Pirates, by Milton Caniff, and digging the hell out of it. I also have a bunch of vintage graphic novels I plan to catch up on, including digging into the rest of Alan Moore’s run on Swamp Thing and an Al Williamson Flash Gordon volume I picked up a while back but never got around to reading. I also want to dig into the Williamson and Archie Goodwin strip Secret Agent X-9, and I still have a few holes in my run of 1960s X-Men comics to fill.
There’s a lot more in the link, but there’s something at the core of this post that makes me think of this unrelated message board thread at the CBR boards about buying comics that you don’t really want, just to keep up with everything:
I took a look at my pull list, which is stupid long, the other day and realized I am reading books I don’t even really like… just so I know everything that is happening in the MU.
One example of this is the Avengers. Frankly… I don’t like any of the current Avengers really and the story right now is freaking awful. Yet, I continue to buy it because it feels like I am missing something huge that is going on in the MU.
Another example… Generation Hope and New Mutants. Both of those books suck in my opinion but I keep reading them just because they connect to the rest of the X-men books and I want to know what is going on at all times.
Am I the only idiot that does this? I really need to stop supporting crap books just because they are “main” titles.
There’s something to this, I think, but I can’t quite put my finger on it; an idea that people who’ve been buying comics out of habit or inertia or something other than actual desire to read their purchases are, for whatever reason, realizing how much time, effort and money they’re investing in something that they don’t actually want to do, and changing their actions accordingly. This kind of thing is always happening, of course, but with both of the Big Two seemingly doubling down on line-wide pushes lately, I feel that the added pressure to pay attention and collect ‘em all – not to mention the increased frequency and price of releases – has increased the likelihood of fans saying “You know what? I’m just not liking this anymore.” Am I imagining this, or is this going to becoming a growing problem for publishers throughout the next year?