I suppose it just goes to show that on a big franchise, the title is all. Unless they’re uber-stars like Joss Whedon or Jim Lee, artists and writers don’t seem to matter that much. They didn’t to me when I was a kid. When I was 11 years old and buying X-MEN, I could go into nerdy, ridiculous depths about the details of Wolverine’s back story, but I don’t think I could have told you who the writer of the series was. I hope this means I was an unusually ignorant child, but I doubt it.
Now, I didn’t read comics when I was 11, so I can’t even participate in this poll, but what I would like to know is: if you did, did you pay attention to the credits? (as a side note, I would like to know: how many 11 year olds are buying Marvel comics anyway? I thought the “problem” with tha Big Two these days was that kids don’t dig on ’em no more?)
I’ll lay my cards on the table–every superhero fan I’ve ever met seemed extremely (even pathologically) interested in the creators of the books they read. Alex sees 117 thousand sales for Grant Morrison’s X-Men and 107 for Austen and she infers that this happened because people don’t care who’s writing the book.
My assumption is that people who loved the Morrison run bought the next one just to see how differently Austen would handle the characters. That’s what I would have done back in 1989.
In the mid-eighties, just before I discovered Grant Morrison’s Animal Man, my favourite superhero series was Gruenwald’s Captain America (my other big favourite was Cerebus), and I became obsessed with buying up back issues of the title, even though I had problems with many of them for what they were in themselves (Cap as a hard-charging patriot, instead of the symbol of the “infinitude of the private individual”? what the hell is this?), simply in order to keep track of how drastically the author had changed the character.
The exercise was valuable to me, because I approached these texts “historiographically” (or, as I’ve put it elsewhere, I was building up my “awareness of the tradition”), and I think this practice is fairly common amongst superhero readers.
Am I off my nut?
Please do let me know!
Good Afternoon Friends!