There is an interesting article over at Newsarama that asks fans why new characters and concepts struggle. Obviously, this is a problem not only for comics, but pretty much every corner of the entertainment world. I am absolutely sick of remakes at the movies and on TV. Reading the article got me to thinking about my own buying habits, and I’ve decided to compile a list of reasons that will make me try or reject a new book. Here goes:
- I’ll grab any book off the racks with an intriguing cover. I may not go past the first few pages, but a startling cover is an absolute necessity.
- I’ll buy the first issue of almost any Vertigo title. That said, I never come back for seconds on at least 50% of these.
- I’ll pick up almost any book that is a western or an urban fantasy. I’ll avoid almost any book from the crime or sci-fi genres.
- I have no interest whatsoever in political comics. The biographies of Barack Obama, Michelle Bachman or anyone running for any office anywhere are completely out of my radar.
- I’ll pick up the first issue of anything by Mike Carey, Geoff Johns, Bill Willingham, Brian K. Vaughn or Scott Snyder unless the book is negated by some other category.
- New superheroes are harder. I tend to stay away from Marvel superheroes, but have occasionally given one a try. However, right now the only Marvel book on my pull list is The Dark Tower. I tried a lot of the New 52 from DC, but many of those books never made it past the first issue. Since everyone is always talking about the Blue Beetle, I’ll say that I tried his first series after Infinite Crisis, didn’t really care for it, and didn’t even consider it when his new series was launched in September. It would take a compelling cover and an even more compelling character/story for me to pick up a non-DC superhero. But it has happened.
- Above all else, for me to buy a second issue, the writing has to be superb. Books that are edgy for the sake of being edgy do not make it onto my pull list. If I can’t identify with at least one character, the book is done. The best titles hooked me on the first issue for an entire series. Severed is the perfect example of this. I read the first issue and added it to my list. I’ve been reading Superman since 2004 and I can’t say if I’m going to keep up with the New 52 title after the first story arc, but I’m sticking with Severed for the long haul. Why? Excellent artwork, brilliant storytelling and compelling characters. It’s the same story with The Unwritten, Fables and many other titles. Of course, what anyone considers to be excellent is subjective, and it’s the job of the publisher and creators to figure that out. I will not suffer through a book because I’m “supposed” to like it. I’m sure Brian Azzarello is brilliant, but his work is just not for me. I picked up Loveless, for example, because it was a western with cool art, but I quickly detached from the story because, well, I hated all of the characters.