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What’s Your Deal-Breaker?

April 21st, 2009 by | Tags:

“I’m never (expletive deleted) reading this (expletive deleted) (expletive deleted) again!  It’s (expletive deleted)!  I mean, (really filthy expletive deleted), man!  (expletive deleted) this!”

That is the familiar script of a comics reader who is taking his toys and going home.  You see it all the time.  Sometimes it’s sincere, but more often it’s just a temporary rage brought on by a few bad comics.

Is there anything that would make you swear off a book?  A writer?  A company?  Comics in general?

And, if so, what is it?

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28 comments to “What’s Your Deal-Breaker?”

  1. Personally, nothing would make me swear off comics for good. It would be like vowing to never eat food again if I had one bad hamburger. I might be done eating at that particular restaurant if they screwed it up enough times, but there’s just too much good stuff to be missed out on.

    Now, if something ridiculous, convoluted and stupid was written (such as a main character sacrificing a perfect marriage for the life of his octogenarian Aunt who was pushing death when she first appeared, or if it was called “Spawn”) , I’d stay away from that series for a while, and if someone tells me “hey, x is getting pretty good now” I’d pick it up again just to see.

    In the end I suppose it’s a matter of not getting too worked up about funny picture books.


  2. @Jordan: yeah gotta agree with everything stated right here.

    I mean in the past there have been some writers that have gotten me pretty worked up where I swear I won’t come back but some point or another I’ll come back. like with ASM, I was all “huff puff quesada sucks” but hell they have Waid and Kelly. and as much as I loathe Loeb’s current stuff, I know I’m going to pick up Cap White when it comes out


  3. Honestly, the dealbreaker is when comics get boring. When they are good, I read them. But also when they are crap I will still read them if I still /care/. It is just when they are boring that I can’t be bothered to pick them up anymore.

    This is why I read Daredevil religiously but then dropped it in the middle of the Mr Fear arc. Yes I am sure that makes me a bad person.


  4. I know I gave up on Bendis for the forseeable future over the “Tigra gets video-taped getting beaten” bit. Final straw in a long string of annoyances from him. Other writers I avoid I can’t place the exact moment I gave up on them. Public declerations where they come off as asshats (hello Orson Scott Card) can also do something…

    I generally try to avoid giving up on something like a company or a title “forever”. Though I think the World War Hulk X-book was when x-wangst reached the point where it was so laughable I can’t see myself getting back into the regular line of x-books for awhile…


  5. The tsunami of retcons and mediocrity that follows Grant Morrison’s run on any mainstream superhero title.


  6. Following from Jordan’s comment . . ASM and the devil with the devil really did it for me. It’ll take a lot to get me back to ASM now. Strangely enough it was issue #30 when JMS started that got me back in and Pete & MJ’s reconciliation. JMS actually characterised Aunt May really well prior to the retcon.


  7. OMD did it for me. I don’t buy any more Amazing Spider-Man comics.


  8. Mostly prices but also the godawful OMD/BND retcon.


  9. Bad writing’s about it for me, really. Creators acting a fool in public can help, but I don’t notice that anywhere near as often as I used to.


  10. Not to sound like a broken record, but the ASM deal with the devil did it for me as well. Haven’t picked up the book since, which is strange b/c Spidey was always my favorite character as a kid. Oh, and Chuck Austen almost got me to give up on the X-men at one point – so I guess I agree with David on the bad writing thing.


  11. Bad writing is obviously a given. In terms of artwork, Greg Land and Salvador Laroccca are my two big artists that can kill a book for me; that excessivley photoshopped-looking shiny tracework just pisses me off.


  12. Thought bubbles. They’re a hallmark of childish writing and the hallmark of a bad writer, or a sort-of-good writer being lazy. Why, you ask? Listen to this story. In the original draft script of “Reservoir Dogs”, the opening sequence where the entire gang walks towards their car with “Little Green Bag” playing would have been interrupted with a screen caption – similar to the chapter headings of “Pulp Fiction” – which read: ‘One Of These Men Is A Cop, And By The End Of The Story, All But One Will Be Dead’.

    This brief interruption was, in the end, cut from the film. For the same reasons, no commercial comic book has ever risen to fame and recognition if it has used thought bubbles; you won’t see them anywhere in Watchmen or The Sandman.

    I will grant that in certain places, the thought bubble can be used to some good effect – for instance, as a method of juxtaposing emotions, as in ‘Ice Haven’, or separating third and first person narratives by putting the one in captions and the other in thought balloons, as in ‘The Acme Novelty Library’. But if you’re just using them, by themselves, to reveal thoughts or plot exposition, then your characters might as well have signposts nailed to their heads.


  13. Teen Tony made me swear off comics for about 3 years.


  14. My lines have been crossed. The result is that I stop being a fan of X or I become different kind of comics fan.

    These days, I’m finding that fewer and fewer comics are written “for me.” Rape scenes involving Dr. Light, crossovers that end in whimpers but never a bang, and extreme tardiness are examples.

    Now I collect less and less. I peruse the new (and still dig some of it, to be honest) but I backstroke, Scrooge McDuck-style, through the old.

    Thank goodness for the exceptions.


  15. I quit “Teen Titans” after the “Wonder Dog eats Marvin and Wendy” issue. Haven’t picked it up since then. I don’t mind a little death and/or sadism in my comics, but it was becoming clear that death and sadism was the only thing DC knew how to do with that title.


  16. I stopped getting X-Men a few issues after Claremont came onboard in the late-90s/early200s? (I forget). I didn’t have the nostalgia factor as I was still pretty young, so I just found them to be awful, awful comics written by someone who seemed to be a bit too much into S+M, to a tedious degree.

    So, I guess my deal breaker is Chris Claremont? Or just bad writing, in general.


  17. My deal breaker used to be Judd Winick, but I found myself enjoying his Exiles and Outsider runs. I still can’t stand his Green Arrow stuff and his Batman stuff didn’t make me too excited.

    Now, I’m not sure… I’d be more than willing to give stuff a try. Mostly, though, I wait for the trade and read most of my stuff through spoilers, reviews, previews, and friends’ copies.


  18. Yes. It’s called Brand New Day. I haven’t touched Amazing Spider-Man since. :)


  19. Brand New Day, of course, but I’ll still stick to any Eddie Brock appearances just because.

    I’m finding that bad art has more and more of an effect on what I want to read. Usually I pick up X-Factor by the trade, but I just can’t bring myself to pick up the Secret Invasion tie-in just because of how godawful it all looks. Howard Chaykin’s run on Punisher: War Journal came incredibly close to making me drop the series and I won’t even touch Greg Land’s Uncanny X-Men no matter how much I love the writers.


  20. Y’all Brand New Day haters are missing the best Spider-Man stories in 20 years.


  21. I dropped Spidey after BND, but not because I felt ‘betrayed’ or whatever. I didn’t think the story was great in and of itself, I admit, but it just felt like a natural jumping-off-point for me. It’s cool the books are doing well, but there’s been about thirty issues by now and I can’t see myself catching up.

    “Continuity and storytelling are mutually exclusive” is probably my deal-breaker of late. I’m asked constantly to care about shared universes enough to pay for successive crossover events, yet I’m not supposed to care how characters hold together from one appearance to the next? I can’t help but feel there’s a conflicting message there coming from the editors and creators.


  22. The spider-avatar crap finally got me to swear off Spider-Man, (the Gwen Stacy clone got me to swear off JMS), which meant I didn’t HAVE to swear off OMD/BMD.

    I no longer bother with any book that regularly crosses into the big company events, which suck, interrupt plot lines and arbitrarily change status quos for no good reason.

    Books that have huge crossovers or long storylines (Sinestro War, Blackest Night, New Krypton) are totally off my list until they’re in trade, so I can evaluate better before I commit to a costly saga. Dropped Robinson’s Superman for just that reason, but maybe the trades will appeal</shrug) …


  23. Well, if some company wanted to make it very clear to me over the course of a few years that I’m not their target audience anymore at all, they could do that pretty easily if they wanted to. Marvel’s done it twice.

    Absolutely disagree with the comment on thought-balloons. Absolutely.


  24. Faces of Evil: Prometheus, and the slicing in half of Anima.

    I think Sterling Gates is a good writer, but that book meant something to me. To see her so crassly exterminated and referred to as “trash” just to throw cheap heat on your pet character?

    THIS is why I hate Geoff Johns so much. He created this environment. DiDio forces everyone at DC to imitate it. And blames the fans when sales continue to plummet. Never once thinking that hey, maybe, they should try harder to offer a more varied product.

    So forget it, DC. call me when Geoffy Boy takes a vacation.


  25. Simply put: Bart Allen

    The rather raw deal he got in being shoehorned into the Kid Flash role. At first I was iffy and really didn’t like the way it was going, but I kept my eyes open to see if/when it would change. It didn’t.

    And then the doubly bad squeezing him into the Flash suit and his death. At that point, it was clear things were going in directions I very much did not want so I stopped buying comics at that point.

    He’s alive again, yes, but DC still hasn’t be able to convince me that he’s actually back. And since that seems ever unlikely now, I probably won’t go back to buying any time soon.


  26. Two dealbreakers off the top of my head:

    1. Chuck Austen . . . is he still writing? Watching him hack through Exiles, and then realizing he probably looked over Judd Winick’s scripts, the ones that would later see print? Ugh. And then I looked through Action Comics and cringed. Nothing says “awesome” like Superman quoting Hillary Duff.

    2. Jim Lee . . . why? Two stupid reasons. One, he relaunched Gen13 with Clare Claremont as the writer. I can understand bringing in new blood as Adam Warren’s run failed to generate huge numbers, as awesome as it was. But Claremont? For real? Then there was the time I saw him with a Royals cap, and he admitted to me that he have one favorite MLB team per each division. That’s what Bill Simmons of ESPN.com would call “sports bigamy,” which is a huge no-no. That, and the garish art, got me buying George Perez’s Final Crisis covers. Now, getting the Heroes hardcover with Alex Ross’s art on the cover instead of Lee’s? That was just common sense.


  27. And once again, I mixed up the HTML tags. Sorry, Esther.

    I did bail on Judd Winick’s work and haven’t picked his stuff up, but he’s not a dealbreaker. He just needs to write stuff that would draw me in, like Joe Kelly has been doing with I Kill Giants, Four Eyes, Bad Dog and Bang Tango. I reckon Kelly works better away from the mainstream, and that applies to Winick as well. He wouldn’t even have to do Barry Ween stuff . . . just something cool enough so that “Winick” is no longer a four-letter word.


  28. […] has an interesting question: What’s your deal-breaker? What would cause you to drop a book, or a writer, or a publisher, or even comics […]