Big changes are just bummers
Prior to his dramatic demise, “Captain America” had not been selling well, said John Pratt, manager of That’s Entertainment in Fitchburg. The death of Captain America issue went on to sell 290,497 copies, compared to 44,700 copies of the title a year before.Keep going. First, what isn't mentioned here is that during 2002-2004, Cap was made to wallow through an unreadable slew of humiliating stories laced with anti-Americanism in the series that was published under the Marvel Knights label (which was largely discarded 2 years ago). Second, these publicity stunts, as they are, just don't garuntee long-term sales, especially with the way they're handlings things now.
“What better way to spike sales than with a national coverage thing,” he said.
Last month, Bucky, the Cap’s sidekick since their debut in 1941, became the new Captain America. That issue sold 127,524 copies.And what hasn't satisfied people is that, under the Cap guise, Bucky's been carrying a gun, which gets in the way of the more imaginative elements that made Cap such an enjoyable superhero in better times. Also, is 127,000 copies much compared with when comics could sell about a million 2 decades ago?
“If anyone has the right to be the new Captain America, it is Bucky,” said Kenneth A. Parson, manager of That’s Entertainment in Worcester. “So even for old-time fans, you hate to see a great character like Steve Rogers done away with, but I think the fact that they brought Bucky in to take his place has satisfied people who have been around for a lot of years.”
At least they admit what's wrong with Spider-Man now:
Last fall, in “Amazing Spider-Man” #545, Peter Parker (a.k.a. Spider-Man) makes a shaky deal with the devilish Mephisto to save his beloved Aunt May’s life. The catch is the pact erases all traces of Parker’s nuptials with Mary Jane Watson, whom he married in the comics back in 1987, and returns him to his days of single geekdom. The issue sold 124,406 copies, compared to 118,800 copies the year before. However, sales have been gradually declining since, and “Amazing Spider-Man” recently dropped to 97,881 copies.Well at least they get those parts right. Also, this last part is interesting, though it undermines itself at the end:
Mr. Pratt said the “hokey, lame TV soap opera plot” totally went against the friendly, neighborhood persona of Spidey’s character.
“Why would Marvel’s poster boy for doing the right thing because it’s the right thing to do make a deal with the devil? It doesn’t make any sense whatsoever,” Mr. Pratt said.
In addition, many longtime readers were put off by the interruption of continuity, Mr. Parson said.
“I think it’s always risky to tell them what they are reading for any number of years is negated, because a lot of appeal of comics is the whole continuity and episodic nature that you come back month after month and you learn something a little new and the story advances,” he said. “And it’s fun when you have been reading it for years because you feel that these are people that you know.”
Jason Cavanaugh, avid comic book reader and reference librarian at the Shrewsbury Public Library, prefers lighter comic book yarns to the increasingly darker ones of today.So do I. I'll have to note though, that it's a bit exaggerated to say that comics today have the best of writers and artists, especially when some of them even go the knee-jerk route with the editors in chief, the ones who are really responsible for the grim turning point in today's scriptwriting. Dan Slott may have turned out to be but one example.
“I just like the happy-go-lucky stuff I read when I was a kid. Spidey battles The Shocker. Yeah, The Shocker looks like he’s running around in grandma’s oven mitt that he made his costumes out of. It was just fun. The good guy won,” Mr. Cavanaugh said. “I think there should be wholesome and there also should be the hardcore stuff for the people who enjoy that. But I just find a lot more of the dark stuff is getting in there and a lot less of the whimsical.”
As far as superhero comics go, Steve White of Worcester also feels they have taken a turn for the grim in an attempt to generate new readers.
“Right now, you pick up a comic and somebody’s dead. I like good triumphs over evil. That’s what attracted to me to the hobby in the first place,” he said. “But, I will say this, the comics right now have the best talents they have had in history. They have the best writers, the best artists. I’m just hoping, at one point, they’ll find a happy medium and tell the more positive and upbeat stories like they did in the old days.”