Reading List: Crisis, Then and Now

Well, I picked up Infinite Crisis #1 yesterday. Aside from the fact that I think I’d be lost if I hadn’t been reading the various mini-series that led up to it (and the big reveal depends on knowledge of the original Crisis), I started thinking: I’m reading more comics right now than I have at any time in the last few years, but very few of them are DC Universe. And I’m not entirely sure I’m going to stick with the ones I am reading, post-Crisis.

Back in 1985, when Crisis on Infinite Earths was first published, I was reading these ongoing DC books on a regular basis:

  • The New Teen Titans
  • Tales of the Teen Titans

That was it. I was also reading Groo the Wanderer and Transformers.

In 2005, with Infinite Crisis arriving, I am reading these ongoing DC books on a regular basis:

  • Teen Titans
  • The Flash

The more things change…

There were times in the early 1990s that I was reading 5-10 books a month, all DC. New Titans, Flash, Starman, Hawk and Dove, Justice League Europe, L.E.G.I.O.N., Darkstars. I even read Legion of Super-Heroes during the “five years later” period.

So what happened?

Well, thinking about it, most of those books were strongest while I was in high school. And, more importantly, most of the books I’m reading these days are fantasy or horror, not super-heroes. Most of the super-hero books I do read are cross-genre books. Astro City is told from the ordinary guy’s point of view. Noble Causes is a super-hero soap opera. Planetary is metafiction about the past century’s adventure stories. Supreme Power is a cynical look at how the “real world” might deal with the sudden appearance of super-powered beings. Powers is about cops dealing with powered-up heroes and villains.

That leaves Flash, Teen Titans and Astonishing X-Men. Flash and Teen Titans because I’m a long-term fan, and Astonishing because of Joss Whedon. (Seriously, I’ve only bought one other X-book in the 21 years I’ve been reading comics: The X-Men/New Teen Titans crossover.)

DC and Marvel mainly publish mainstream super-hero books. Anything else either gets published under another label (like Vertigo or Wildstorm) or has to look elsewhere to get printed. End result: very little of what I want to read gets published with a DC logo on it.

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