Monday, December 13, 2010

Superhero Immersion Killers

According to Tom Spurgeon, "every comics reader that's spent time immersed in mainstream comic books has that one character that's the line between their involvement and everything that's come after." His is Venom.

It took me a couple of minutes to come up with mine, probably because I was thinking about Marvel after Tom mentioned Venom. The closest I could come was Sentry, but that's not accurate. I never connected to Sentry, but I continued to buy and read Marvel's weekly, continuity-immersed output for a few years after he was introduced. He doesn't represent the trends that eventually pushed me away from that scene. More appropriate icons would be Brian Bendis and Mark Millar, but naming them doesn't support Tom's assertion. I needed a character.

Then I thought about DC and Damian Wayne.

I don't hate Bruce Wayne's son. If I did, he wouldn't be That One Character for me. The point is that I don't care about him at all. Damian symbolizes the current status quo of Batman comics, traditionally my favorite corner of the DC Universe, and I just can't muster any feelings about him one way or another. Which, symbolically, means that I've lost whatever investment I once had for Batman and the ongoing continuity of the DC Universe at large.

(I'm being very careful to focus on comics that are all about continuity and universe-building with this. I still love superhero comics, I just tend to prefer ones - usually all-ages comics - that stand on their own stories rather than how they tie into the larger output of their publishers.)

Part of me wants to shoulder all the blame for that myself. "It's not you, Continuity-Immersed Comics. It's me." Because, sure...I've outgrown the need to keep up with the ongoing continuity of the DC and Marvel universes and it's not fair to say that Damian Wayne is responsible for that. Except that he kind of is.

There was a ton of continuity and oh so many Events that steadily broke me down, but Damian was the last straw. He didn't break the camel's back, but he sure as hell made the camel shrug his shoulders, lose the weight, and say, "That's enough. I'm done with this."

Well, him and four dollar comics.

What about you? If you're no longer immersed in the weekly superhero continuity scene, which character best symbolizes your break?


Ian Explosivo said...

The end of the main Daredevil title (Shadowland) could very well be my jumping-off point. I don't think I've ever felt like such a gullible sucker in all my years of reading comics.

I knew going in to it that the series was going to be no good, I just didn't realize they'd be using this 'event' to shut down my favourite title - for twelve years straight! - at it's conclusion. And man, what a ham-fisted, ignominious ending. And when I did find out, well I still had to go to the shop twice a month to pick up TWO comics I didn't want just to complete my set.

What a chump.

J.R. LeMar said...

It's hard to say. I think it I could say it was Captain Marvel, specifically The Trials of Shazam, by Judd Winnick. Cap is my favorite hero, and but DC has never been able to make him work for some reason. Having Billy take over as the wizard Shazam, making Freddy the new Captain Marvel, and turning Mary into a "bad girl," just ruined it for me.

I will say that Damian actually grew on me. I didn't like the concept @ first. But in the pages of Batman & Robin, Morrison really made the character grow on me.

Michael May said...

I'm with you. If Damian is the character who made me realize I'd stopped caring, what happened to the Marvel family was a huge part of what LED me to not caring.


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