Folks, I’m issuing a mandate: If your comic books are stressing you out, stop buying them.
Stop going on message boards. Stop reading press releases. Take a chill pill. Breathe, relax, and return.
I’m a member of various message boards, and it’s the recent talk of the Marvel NOW! publishing initiative that has people tearing their hair out. Now, I’m blogging about this instead of message boarding right now just to avoid confrontation (yup, there’s my yellow stripe showing), but bear with me.
Folks can look onto an image like this and say that they don’t think good things are going to come of it. I get that. If you don’t like Cyclops’ new helmet with the X-visor or Hulk wearing armor or Rocket Raccoon carrying a Gatling gun, fine by me.
What I can’t handle is people saying that the announcement of multiple Avengers titles suggests that Marvel “hates the X-Men” or that Iron Man’s new armor means the death of the character as we know him, and gosh darn it, it just won’t be good anymore because this is all of the information we have. People are freaking out, thinking that the announcement of Uncanny Avengers means the cancellation of Uncanny X-Force or that All-New X-Men is replacing Uncanny X-Men. Marvel just loves that adjective. And y’know, maybe those things really are going to happen. But if they do, so what? If the new comics or publishing direction isn’t to your taste, don’t buy it.
Look, I’m no neophyte when it comes to internet message boards, but it’s this slave mentality that kills me on message boards. Comic book readers seem to have something that the best (and yet most offensive, alas) analogue I can think of is the mentality that comes with battered women’s syndrome. I’m talking about comic book readers who feel burned by the parent company because of however many stories they didn’t like but continue to pour money into the company anyway on the thing they didn’t like. Every person you know is going to tell you to leave that “abusive” relationship. So do it. You don’t have to worry about your kids or your financial stability if you walk away, so what, my dear comic reading friends, is keeping you?
If comic books are seriously stressing you out this badly that your heart races at the terrible, most worrisome things you think this publishing decision could do to your favorite characters, you’re probably well past the point where you need to back off your comics and find something that gives you peace instead. If worst-case-scenarios are all that come to mind every time a press release is announced (“Oh god! First X-Men is just another excuse to publish Wolverine!”), but you feel compelled to buy it anyway, step back and reconsider what kind of animal you’re feeding within yourself.
Folks, if you feel burned because Havok has a headdress again, don’t buy Uncanny Avengers this October. If you can’t stand that there’s going to be a rotating roster of 18 Avengers that will have two issues per month, don’t spend your money on the December-debuting Avengers title.
I mean it, because I need you to tell me to do the exact same thing if you see me doing this a few weeks/months/years from now.
Finally, for the folks who shot back at the people who complained about the people who were doomsaying (complaining about complaining about complaining, as it’s otherwise known), hold on a second. The number one mandate about comics is that they’re supposed to be fun. If your hobby isn’t fun for you anymore, sorry to hear it. If people have an issue with doomsaying on a forum because it dampens their own fun, well, I’m with those people. You can say what you want about a publishing decision that’s occurring between three and six months from now. But if people think your negativity is bringing the fun level down, I won’t give them any backlash for saying you’re being negative.
Comics should be fun for you, and if they aren’t, you’re the only one who has the power to change that. Try new comics that you think will be fun instead of the ones causing you distress. Find a different hobby, because god knows every other hobby is less expensive than this one.
Or, better yet, relax your grip on the safety bar, and sit back and see where the ride takes you. You may like the scenery. You may not. But at least you didn’t give yourself a freakin’ heart attack on the way there.