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Wednesday November 19, 2008 12:41 am

Are Comics Over?

Death of Captain Marvel

I wonder if there will be comics in our future. The reason for this is that it seems that no one wants to write comics anymore. No, what they want to write is the Great American Comic Novel.

As the proud owner of Phoenix Comics in beautiful Eastchester, New York (shameless plug), I have the great fortune, or misfortune, of reading just about everything that DC and Marvel publish. Back in the day, going back as far as 10 cent comics, a huge percentage of books were what we would call today, stand alone stories. Batman caught the bank robber, jewelry store heister, or murderer in one issue. Superman battled the evil monster and/or fooled Lois about his secret identity in one book. A two-issue story was a major event. Even as a youngster, I realized Superman was fighting a never ending battle against evil and we all moved on to the next story.

Starting with “The Death of Captain Marvel,” the first mainstream graphic novel, everyone seems to be writing 120-page comic novels and slicing them into six parts. Before the ink is dry on part six, the whole thing is published in a trade paperback. At least you had a good read on an airplane. But even that doesn’t seem to be enough.

Now we have continuing sagas that seem to go on forever: Crisis on Infinite Earths to Infinite Crisis to Identity Crisis to 52 to Countdown to Final Crisis to….? And don’t even start with all the tie-ins. When they hit Final Bar Mitzvah I quit.  Of course the X-Men books have been doing this for years. They even put numbers on the spine so you can keep reading, and reading, and reading and the story line goes on forever. At my age I have to keep reading the books because I would hate to miss a possible ending. Some of my customers have given up and just read the trades as they come out.

Is this progress?

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