The Comic Queen

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Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Queenly Declarations: Hey Marvel, No More X titles

It’s time we “comic queens” put our self-proclaimed titles to use and make a declaration. This is sure to benefit all of comic fandom, not just us, because we care about you, our royal subjects. We here at the Comic Queen are thoughtful and approachable royalty; more like Princess Diana and less like Prince Charles. With that in mind, I hereby declare that Marvel is forbidden from publishing more mediocre X-Men titles.

Flipping through the September Previews catalog of November release, I noted 19 X titles. These include the regular X books like Uncanny X-Men #452, Ultimate X-Men #53, and plain old X-Men #164 and the title starring just one X character like Rogue #5, Jubilee #3, and Gambit #4.Good Lord Marvel! Slow it down. 19 titles of anything surely loses fans. Who can keep up with that many books? That is a commitment that I don’t have either the wallet or the time to support.

Both the Uncanny and Ultimate titles were on my pull list until recently. Both, but Uncanny especially, were getting extremely boring. Also Uncanny had boatloads of history that was nearly impossible for this feeble minded Queen to remember. You can’t attract new readers when you make obscure references to ancient story lines. The art is good sure, but the art is always good. The stories were boring and some seemed to drag on forever. After one too many six-issue storylines, I cut both of them loose and started picking up two other, better books.

Here is my idea. It might be naïve, but it is worth a shot. Marvel should focus on 6 member teams. Cut out all the Xtraneous characters. No more massive Xtravaganzas. Have guest stars, but don’t expect readers to know every X character and their history. Take these 6 characters and explore the heck out of them. What makes them tick? What is their motivation? Tell us about their friends, their family, their childhood, and their enemies. Show them fighting hard and often, but give us a break from all that as well. Show us a more personal side. That is what makes Marvel titles like Daredevil consistently good, but a lot of the X titles sub par.

Also, give us more one shots and two and three-parters and less massive six part storylines. Stop dragging stories out to six issues when they clearly could have been done in four. I hate wasting $6 on parts four and five only to be strung along with Xtra junk, not relevant to the plot at hand. Keep the stories neat. Most importantly, wrap them up and move on.

While I admit I haven’t read all the new X titles or even the majority of them, I can still see the problem. X3 isn’t even shooting yet, but the market is inundated with titles. I want to see more focus and creativity. I want quality, not quantity. Put out one excellent title and it will sell more than three lame ones. Granted, I don’t have any facts to back that up, but if I’m going to use this “Comic Queen” title to its full extent, then I get to make unsubstantiated biased demands every now and then. Therefore, Marvel let it be so.


  • At 5:18 PM, September 15, 2004, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Here, here! The only X comic I'm getting now is Astonishing, this my lowest total since there was only one X-men title, period. (Yeesh, guess I'm dating myself.) The glut is the exact reason I have cut back. I feel the X-universe is a giant quagmire of quicksand that I should avoid stepping in, no matter how tempting a title might be. (Some random thoughts I have pused aside lately: I could go for another Gambit series. Hey, they brought Captain Britain back. Ooooh, Alan Davis art.) As soon as Joss steps aside, I have a feeling that the only X-book I will get will have "Ultimate" in front of it.


  • At 7:16 PM, September 15, 2004, Blogger Steve Pheley said…

    "Who can keep up with that many books? That is a commitment that I don’t have either the wallet or the time to support."

    I agree the number of X-Men spinoffs screams "glut" right now, but there's no need to feel pressured to buy stuff you don't want. I don't think there's been a full-blown crossover event in years, and the books are all effectively self-contained. District X, for instance, is a great read without requiring knowledge of current events in any other book.

    Vote with your wallet. It's the only thing that works. :)

  • At 8:38 AM, September 16, 2004, Blogger Kerry said…

    I agree with you about District X, Steve. I've been picking it up and I dig it so far. It's my only regular X title right now.

  • At 8:54 AM, September 16, 2004, Blogger Dupree said…

    I totally agree with the number of X-Titles. There are far too many. The only one I pick up is Ultimate X-Men because I enjoy the Ultimate universe. Unless you count Cable and Deadpool.

    It is also my opinion that all of Marvel books need more one or two shot issues. There are WAY to many 5 and 6 part stories. Well the 5 or 6 part stories wouldn't really be too bad if they weren't so drawn out. Venom is a great example of a drawn out boring story. Heck I picked up Ultimate Nightmare and I felt like I wasted my buck fifty. Nothing happened. I like things to happen dammit.

  • At 11:09 AM, September 17, 2004, Blogger Nik said…

    Yeah, I'm down with that. I get Astonishing (which I hadn't expected to like as much as I do) and I think I'll get the rest of Peter David's "Madrox" mini since the first ish was pretty decent. But geez, who needs a "Jubilee" or "Nightcrawler" ongoing? Wasn't the point of the original comix to have a team rather than focus on all these members individually?


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