Comics: Year End Negativity

Matt Streeter voices his disappointment with 2015's comic book offerings. 

I've become an old guy.  I'm one of those old guys who walks through the comic book store looking at all these new titles and wondering just how in the hell people can get excited over all this crap.  

Even the captions guy
doesn't know what's going on!
And there's a lot of it, let me tell you.  So many things about modern comics bother me, and I'm going to give you an itemized list of comics things that are pissing me off.  But first, I also have to recognize that my perspective has been skewed by my age, and I know that younger people reading these for the first time now may well be enjoying them the way I was enjoying X-Men in the '90s, which probably mistified older readers who loved Frank Miller's '80s Batman work, or the even older readers who were into Avengers or Spider-Man in the '70s, or the ancient fossils who couldn't understand why we all like these weird action-y comics when Archie was such a fun thing to read. Some of what I have to say has a lot to do with this, but there are a couple things about which I know I am timelessly right.

So now, The Worst Trends in Modern Comics!

I enjoyed neither Marvel's nor DC's annual “event” at all.  DC's Convergence was a mess of characters I didn't care about doing a lot of fighting for no reason on some planet that ended up not existing at all, or maybe it did, but I do know that reading it or not reading it, it made absolutely no difference at all.  It was just a stupid way to drum up some extra sales without actually doing anything.  Sure, there was some pretty great art (I'm a sucker for anything Andy Kubert draws), but (mostly because I was out of the country for more than 7 years) I didn't know who those characters were and thus didn't care about them at all, especially whiny-ass Dick Grayson being a bitch through the whole series.  He needed a pacifier shoved in his mouth and his diaper changed.  Someone make that loser a bottle, quick.

Don't worry, Marvel, Secret Wars sucks, too.  This god-awful boring parade was slated for 8 issues initially, and then as 6 or 7 came out (I don't remember which and I don't care to check because it just sucks) they decided they needed an extra issue to wrap it up.  WHY?  Why not make a fast-paced, exciting, action-packed 4 or 5 issues series instead of this zombie of a series, shambling forward with all the urgency of a napping cat.  I don't get it.  Nothing happened in the first three issues, it was just Dr. Doom, Dr. Strange, and a bunch of losers standing around moping about... something.  One would think that the end of the universe and Dr. Doom being the new “god” would engender more tension, more excitement, but not here.  Nope.  It's just dumb.  And remember when I complained about *SIGH* “Ultimate” Mr. Fantastic in that Avengers review I wrote a few weeks ago?  Yeah, he sucks here, too.  Just an evil genius who's an annoying step ahead of everyone because he's so scary smart and the plot needs him to be.  And the rest of the series sucks, too.  Boring boring, boring.

Sad Power Girl is....
just sad.
This isn't a new thing for Marvel, either.  Trying to read through any of their recent “events” is a lesson in boredom and frustration.  Frustration because you like the characters and want to see them in good stories but they aren't and they do and say INCREDIBLY stupid things just because the lazy writers need some way to further their stupid and/or boring plots, like Original Sin (dog poop), Fear Itself (dog poop in a bag left on a neighbor's porch), or even worse, Civil War (dog poop in a bag left on a neighbor's porch after being lit on fire).  Don't worry, I'll have my ultra-negative take on the Civil War comic in time for that stupid movie coming out.

Anyways, on with our list of year-ending negativity!  Gritty comics mean they're real!  Superman is lame because he's too powerful and happy, so we'll make him angry and weaker because it'll make him more compelling!  No, it won't.  It'll just make him Not Superman.  You can't really look up to a wimpy, kind-of-bulletproof guy with a feeling of hope and optimism when he's scowling at everyone and everything and just generally being not very super at all.  And don't forget about Batman, Batman that got off to a great start in City of Owls and then squatted down to take a big, ol', steamin' crap on all of it with that cute little story about Mr. Freeze.  That story pisses me off so much I stopped reading Batman.  Bad writing, lazy writing where they just use a gimmick for their stupid plot devices, is just intolerable, especially when it negates the brilliant writing that came before it with such an insulting retcon.  At least Superman had a saving grace, which I'll elaborate on more with a more positive column before Christmas.

The thing that bothered me the most since I've been gone?  How twisted-up the media got over Milo Manara's Spider-Woman cover like a year or two ago.  You remember the one, the one where she's posed in a way they would never pose Spider-Man.  Except yeah, he's constantly in wild poses, occasionally just like that one, almost every single month on his covers, and even inside when he's fighting bad guys or swinging through the city.  And never mind that despite his roots in eroticism, Milo Manara is an amazing artist with a huge international draw, not to mention that his 100,000+ Facebook followers are half women (just like their representation in the general population).  No, all that had to get ignored to fit the narrative, resulting in a lot of baseless bullshit being slung at Marvel over that cover.  Those in charge at Marvel lacked any kind of spine to stand up to their critics, and thus spent a lot of time since then sucking up to those media idiots, doing things like covering Carol Danvers from neck to toe and having her make cracks to her colleagues about how stupid she used to be to run off to battle with her ass hanging out.  Jesus, if I was bulletproof like Carol Danvers and smokin' hot like Carol Danvers I'd be running off to battle with my ass hanging out, too!  What's wrong with her having some confidence in herself?  In her own body?  Are confident women suddenly sexist images?

Oh my god!!!! Look at her butt!
Look at his too! They MUST work out!
This actually isn't a new thing.  DC had a similar dumbass episode with Power Girl being inexplicably incapable of explaining the hole in her costume over her magnificent bust.  She can't be proud of them?  She can't be like, “These bad girls ARE my symbol, any other person would kill to be able to show THESE off!”  Nope, instead she has to be ashamed, that drawing her in a costume like that is shameful and, perhaps, exploitative.  And that's ignoring that the whole exchange was completely contradicory to her character.  Where was her strength?  Her sense of humor?  Where was Power Girl's power?  Absent, because it's somehow embarrassing.  Where's the shame in being bulletproof, hot as hell, and wanting to cheekily show it off from time to time?  “Oh, but it's sexism, Matthew.”  Oh, fuck off.  Screw you.  It is not.  Ian Fleming's James Bond novels were heaping helpings of sexism.  These comic books are not, and this apologetic, shoulder-hunching attitude the weak-stomached writers and artists approach it with is revolting.

But mostly what I hate is that I'm getting older and they're telling stories aimed at a different audience.  A younger audience, one that didn't growing up reading X-Men in the '80s and '90s.  I've been going through my old comics and reading stuff I haven't laid eyes on in 10 years and it's been great.  It's been so much greater than picking anything up off my local shop's rack the past 6 months, but that's okay.  People are allowed to like what they like, and I'll just have to accept that.  Even though I am right that Secret Wars is boring as hell and Convergence made no goddamn sense.

-Matthew Streeter