February 2, 2009

Boycotting DC?

Category: Opinion — By @ 8:11 am

The New Teen Titans vol1 #39People can get very worked up about their hobbies, and comic books are no exception. Final Crisis, for instance, has inspired some very passionate responses. Between that and Barry Allen replacing Wally West*, I’ve seen a number of people say things like “I’ll never read another DC comic again!”**

I don’t understand this reaction.

To clarify: I understand dropping comics because you’ve lost interest in them. (I’m down to one ongoing DC book, Flash, and it’s technically been canceled.) I also understand dropping a series because of something you disliked in that series. If you don’t want to read it anymore, then by all means, you shouldn’t be obligated to read it anymore (but be prepared for people to tell you that you aren’t a “true fan,” whatever that means).

What I don’t understand is protesting something that happens in one book by refusing to buy other books. It just doesn’t make sense to me. If you like, say, Booster Gold but dislike the direction that Batman is going in, dropping both series isn’t going to encourage DC to make more books like Booster Gold.

Maybe it’s because I’ve never been one to refuse to buy a company’s comics. I might have held Marvel and Image in disdain back in my teenage years, but if something looked interesting, that didn’t stop me from buying it. (Not that I found much of it interesting, but it wasn’t a hard-and-fast rule.)

So I’m curious: Who out here has done this? Or are you planning to? What tipped you over the edge? Why did you decide to drop all of the company’s books and not just the ones that bothered you? Did you extend it to other brands owned by the same company (Vertigo, Icon, etc.) or only the particular division? How long did you keep it up, and if you went back, what did it take?

*Yes, Barry is replacing Wally. Wally has highlighted the main Flash book for most of the last 23 years, and after Flash: Rebirth is over, Barry will, and it looks like Barry will be taking the Flash spot in Justice League of America as well, leaving Wally in Titans. Just because they haven’t actually killed Wally doesn’t mean he’s not being replaced.

** Update: Lying in the Gutters reports that a lot of retailers have been hearing this, too — from their customers.

11 responses to “Boycotting DC?”

  1. Luke says:

    I have never done this myself. But, I have put a threat out there that if Marvel moves to a $3.99 price point across the board I will drop everything Marvel which I read. In that case the message is that $4 is too much for a normal monthly comic book, so it is a business line problem and not a content problem.

    I guess that is a different animal than what you are talking about but I thought I would contribute.

  2. batmansgirl says:

    I dropped all but a couple of comics over a year ago because I couldn’t afford anymore, not because I didn’t like the direction the books were going (although Countdown was disrupting most of my favorite books anyway). I’m strictly a trade-buyer now, and I’ll buy it when I hear someone’s particular run on a title was really good. But mostly I can’t afford to buy most comics as much as I used to. :(

    I do keep up with what’s going on by visiting great sites like this and Wikipedia, visiting message boards for discussion, and constantly checking out Newsarama and CBR for previews to piece together all the stories.

    .-= batmansgirl’s latest Twitter post: batmansgirl: Cutest Valentine’s Day comic ever! http://tinyurl.com/dle7hs =-.

  3. Kevin says:

    I agree a lot of people get worked up over what they are passionate about, and it is not just comics but every form of entertainment. For me comics is just like a book for me as long as it is a good read I will continue to buy it but if it isn’t than I may drop it if the writing has been bad for a few months. Though I have titles I am loyal to (Spider-Man, Batman, Nightwing and Teen Titans) that it is hard for me to drop I still wont cry over it.

    The thing that I take more into account is the price of a comic relative to the quality of the comic.

    .-= Kevin’s latest blog post: Captain America #46 Review =-.

  4. Jason West says:

    with Geoff Johns writing “Green Lantern” right now (and Ivan Reis illustrating), you can pry that book away from my cold, dead, comic-loving fingers! i think Geoff is gonna be SO amazing at portraying Barry in “The Flash” that by next summer we’ll have an “All-Flash” (or some other name) title, starring Wally (and probably Jay) the same way GL is about Hal/John and GLC is Guy/Kyle…

    i AM however (and have been since i was…13) boycotting Marvel. i can’t get into it. i’ve tried F4, Spidey, Avengers, Cap, IM, Thor, X-Men, Wolverine, etc. i can’t get into Marvel the same way i get into DC!!! with The Flash and Green Lantern and Plastic Man and Batman and Superman and Hawkman and Green Arrow and Aquaman and the Justice League and the Justice Society and the Teen Titans and the Outsiders and the classic villains/Rogues all around like Luthor and the Joker and Bizarro and Sinestro and the Riddler and the Rogues!!! i just freakin love DC!

    .-= Jason West’s latest blog post: The Final Crisis! =-.

    • Kelson says:

      @Jason West: It sounds less like you’re boycotting Marvel and more like you just aren’t interested in their characters. That’s the distinction I’m wondering about: when readers actively refuse to read anything by a publisher, not when they just don’t care.

  5. I’m boycotting every book I don’t like. And asparagus, too.

    WTF?

    .-= Richard Pachter’s latest blog post: Planetary 27: Soon Come? Maybe! =-.

  6. Simon says:

    What power do customers have to change what a company does? Buying power, so if we stop reading one series it may only be $100 a year; but, if we stop everything they’ve lost $500 a year.

    • Kelson says:

      How successful is that at an individual level, though? Successful boycotts generally take a large group of people, plus some sort of letter-writing or other campaign to make it clear to the company what the complaint is.

      DC can look at a drop in sales on Flash: The Fastest Man Alive and say, “Hey, people didn’t like when we replaced Wally with Bart, so let’s do something different.” But if the entire company line drops by the same amount, they’re likely to assume it’s just a decline in the overall market, and not make the connection to the Flash.

  7. papa zero says:

    I bought everything back in my collecting days… but quit collecting altogether because of the cost. The funny thing is, that was when they were $1.50 to $1.75 for fancy schmancy prestige format. I wanted to continue to collect Flash but really felt little connection to the storyline having bought my way 40 issues into the second series with nothing I found of compelling interest other than Chunk and Speed Demon. It’s too bad they didn’t belt out the Professor Zoom story early on in Wally’s run. This would have brought him “out of the shadow” eariler on while giving the Barry Fans (not that I considered myself a Barry fan as opposed to a Wally fan at that time. I was grateful that Wally took the mantle but never thought they did anything interesting with him while I collecteed the title) a few crumbs. All I had to look forward to on a regular basis for years was Digger in Suicide Squad, and it was a fair bet that he would eventually become wormfood there…
    I’ll pick up Rebirth for the Barry/Flash family story, but not likely to stick around at $3/$4 a pop.

  8. Jesse says:

    I agree with not dropping an entire company’s line – and the reason is, it’s not fair to the creators. It’s not the Blue Beetle creative team’s fault that Grant Morrison makes reading Das Kapital look like a breeze. So it wouldn’t be fair to punish those other writers and artists.

    That said, if there ever was a time to drop DC, it’s now. And it’s not because of one title, but because of poor editing and marketing decisions across the board. But if you’re going to drop the whole line, write in to DC and tell them why.

    After Countdown and Final Crisis, I’m going to be re-evaluating every book I buy and probably skewing more towards graphic novels, too.

    PS> I have to say, after being a DC junkie for decades and never reading Marvel growing up, in the last 5 years (since Bendis, prolly) they have been getting better and better, especially when compared to DC. The % of my books that are Marvel keeps increasing.

  9. Jason West says:

    @Kelson: yeah, you’re right…i tried haaaaaard to get into Marvel stuff, but i’m just a DCU nut at heart…or, rather, a Flash nut! woot!

    in response to my comment before about “prying Green Lantern away from my cold, dead fingers”…yeah…i’m giving up GL. i’ll pick up Rebirth and try to get a subscription to The Flash. that’s it. back to basics for me…in fact, i had all of the gn’s of Vol. 2 except Born to Run, Crossfire, Blitz, and Ignition (and Impulse: Reckless Youth…), but i put em in my closet. either i’ll sell most of my graphic novels or i’ll just box em up…i haven’t decided. i’m keeping Kingdom Come and prob GL:Rebirth…that’s it.

    anyway…rambling…

    .-= Jason West’s latest blog post: The Final Crisis! =-.

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