That is something that I have been noticing with modern comics.
I picked up Wonder Woman 772 at the comic book store earlier this year to jump into her story. I was completely lost, I couldn’t read it. It’s part 3 of a 9 part arc and the book was doing nothing to catch me back up. I had to read the first 2 parts on DC Universe Infinite when they came out.
There is a Supersons Animated movie coming next year, hopefully that will wet some appetites.
In the old days
When a lot more kids read comics
They could afford them only occasionally
As a result
They were very few even two part stories
Justice League of America had a two part story with the JSA each summer
Fantastic Four went to multiple issue stories around the time of Galactus and the Silver Surfer.
Even then the first page of each issue would recap what happened and who the hero was.
After Crisis on Infinite Earth, DC abandoned that approach and lost the new reader.
Now to understand a series
You have to start with the first trade of that series in that era, not just any trade.
Or hope that any new writer tries to establish the setting so that a new reader can understand what is going on.
That is why there are very few new readers.
A newbie who has to spend five dollars on a comic and understands little is unlikely to give it a second try.
Event comics with dozens of issues are financially out of reach. Also it is likely that most new readers won’t get every issue even if they could afford it, since the comic book store may not enough copies.
I don’t know if it is on account of a kind of “imprinting” from watching the 60s era Superman, Aquaman and Batman animated adventures as a kid or what but I feel most connected to the DC heroes and comics.
That is not to say I have anything against Marvel characters. In fact, Spider-Man and the more cosmic heroes like Doctor Strange, Adam Warlock and Silver Surfer are faves of mine as well. But I still am most hopelessly warm-hearted for DC.
Due to space and budget constrictions for the last few years, I’ve pretty much bought only select DC comics on a regular basis. These days it’s been the terrific Nightwing series.
Also, I’m very lucky to have had access to the Future State TPB volumes on hand at my local public library.
And, yes, I realize that, thanks in large part to the MCU in theaters, Marvel is riding higher at the box office and comic rack sales. But I still can’t do without my DC Heroes fix!
That’s a great observation! I hadn’t realized Batman is missing in that group picture! I think that particular pin-up art was created to celebrate Superman’s co-stars in the “DC Comics Presents Superman” monthly comic. He and Batman were already regular co-stars in “World’s Finest”.
Oh my God@TurokSonOfStone1950, you just echoed my feelings about current comics. The only Marvels I now read regularly are also Fantastic Four and Daredevil. Spider-Man is currently on the bubble (and that is so sad). And I have recently pared down my DC reading list to The Flash, Blue and the Gold, and Superman '78. The decompressed storytelling employed by both companies, the event obsession, and ham-fisting agendas over narratives have turned me away from the “big two”. For the first time in over 55 years, I will longer be reading Superman and Batman on a monthly basis! And that is VERY sad.
And yes, Silver Age Marvel Comics were better than Silver Age DC Comics, but not by that much. Remember DC had a stable of writers and artists that jumped-started a new age of comics. DC fell behind in the sixties because editorial read the room (the buying public) wrong. Not all comic readers were 8-12 years old. Stan and company recognized this and wrote to a slightly older audience. This practice brought in new readers, keep the ones they already had, and probably poached a slew of teen DC readers. DC didn’t start to catch up until Infantino became editorial director and welcomed budding young stars like Denny O’Neil. Neal Adams, Len Wein, recognized what he had in Jim Shooter and Cary Bates, and brought in Dick Giordano, Jim
Aparo and Steve Skeates from a rival company. And finally polished off his poaching be luring The KIng–Jack Kirby–from “the house of ideas”.
That article also brings up Tara and Slade. I feel like a lot of storylines end up aging poorly. I recently bought The Book “Superman the War Years 1938-1945” and my friend said that this is the only time frame where she would not like Superman.
When you say comics aren’t for new readers, I think you’re actually not understanding the demographics. The truth is that most younger people don’t like the comic format; they’ve gotten comfortable with graphic novel format, due to manga. So DC and Marvel putting comics out that can be bundled into a graphic novel is the best way for them to get the younger readers. While I am older, I have a lot of younger friends and they almost never buy comic books off the shelf.
The first DC floppy I bought off the shelf was weirdly enough, the first NFT I got. An issue of Superman where he’s lost in space. An issue that wrapped up a storyline not touched in a couple decades that I knew nothing about until recently that an article on CBR talked up. Whole there may have been editor’s notes throughout, I don’t remember. I don’t know why he was lost in space, why he had long hair, who these other characters were, but I came back most weeks to continue reading this adventure. I bought older issues at flea markets. I bought other series that didn’t hold my hand explaining what was happening.
I picked up an issue of Green Lantern. This Kyle Rayner seems pretty cool with an awesome power ring. But who’s this older fellow named Alan Scott? There’s two Green Lanterns? Wow! Oh, a Wizard magazine! This helps explain a lot of characters!
I got into X-Men right before Age of Apocalypse. I got into Spider-Man during the Clone Saga. My first issue of Batman was during Zero Hour.
I love how complicated the history of the big two are. I had to go back and find out who these characters were.
Would 10 year old me be able to read comics with new eyes these days? Probably not. It has nothing to do with multiple part stories. It has nothing to do with being in the middle of a storyline. It has nothing to do with how iconic a character is or isn’t. It’s more to do with my money can go several ways. There’s multiple streaming services. There’s video games that are free.
But comics are what? $5 for a 5 minute read? I can’t justify that. My allowance can go to things that I can get a better value out of.