Marvel and DC are currently locked in a war for your entertainment money. That’s not really news to you, is it? I didn’t think so. It wasn’t a sudden realization for me either. It’s been going on my whole life and is just the nature of business. Actually, it’s a blessing for the comic industry that there is such a closely contested rivalry. Think of all the ways that rivalry has pushed these two companies to try new things and provide new services in the hopes of earning more of your money. Again, not news, and you’re probably wondering what my point is. Well, I’ve been a long time fan and although I’ve never followed any one company exclusively, I’ve always considered myself a Marvel guy. My first comics were Spider-Man, X-Men, and Fantastic Four. Sure, along the way I read some Superman, Batman, Flash, and Green Lantern.
As I grew older, there was the inevitable Harvey and Archie comics. And as I entered my teen years there was an increasing appetite for more independent titles. But it always comes back to those first titles, doesn’t it? Flash forward to the Marvel of 2007, 2008 and 2009 where we see an increasing use of story lines spanning a majority of the titles they put out, mega events that require purchasing ever more titles. I began to resent the constant intrusion into my buying habits. There are plenty of good books by other companies that I felt I had to set aside in order to keep up with what was going on at “my company”. My resentment grew through out the much-maligned One More Day storyline. Not because it was bad, but because it felt like an end to the character I had read my whole life. Since that time I haven’t read an issue of Spider-Man and I really don’t feel a need to go back to it. I still consider myself a fan of the character, but I’m not interested in reading any more about him, I guess.
Since One More Day both Marvel and DC have released a slew of events. And with each one I’ve slowly found myself drawn more to what DC is doing with their events. I’m not saying everything they have done has been perfect. Far from it, but the way they are approaching these events appeals to me. First, there doesn’t seem to be quite as much “break the bank” quality to the events. I don’t feel like there’s an overwhelming amount of product to buy in order to keep up. Second, the main event is contained within the main series or mini. I feel free to skip any extra titles or tie-ins without fear of missing key elements of the story. And finally, DC isn’t pushing the price increase quite as hard. Yes, there have been some pricier comics from them but they seem to be taking a back seat and following Marvel’s lead. I somehow find that more acceptable.
As event fatigue settles in and I grow increasingly weary of having to pick up extra books and pay more money for them, I have to wonder, how many others are feeling this? Could this be Marvel’s Blackest Night? DC has managed to keep things a little more self-contained. They aren’t pushing fairly large price increases on the consumer during a fairly large recession. My defection is complete, but I wonder as things continue down this path if there will be a larger migration from one company to the other, leaving Marvel to suffer reader backlash because it led the way down a path readers may not want to go. Mostly, I hope not. I wish the company well as they continue to produce comics about some of my favorite fictional characters.
I hope I’m wrong, I hope this doesn’t turn out to be Marvel’s Blackest Night, but I don’t think I’m going to stick around and be part of it.