For most of my life, I never thought I would ever stop reading comic books. But these days I find myself buying fewer periodical comics than ever before. That’s because every time I pick up a highly-touted first issue in a new direction, I flip through it and think, “That’s not [FILL IN THE BLANK] to me,” and put it back on the shelf. I have a “point” for almost every long-running title from the “Big Two” I can think of. Some of them are decades old and I only realized what they were in hindsight; others I knew immediately. It’s sometimes difficult to determine because, sometimes, runs on this side of the line can be quite good.

For example, the Wolverine limited series might have been a good stopping point for some.as far as that character’s story arc is concerned.

I personally feel that the “Elektra Saga” should have ended after her resurrection in Daredevil #190.


Like I said, I have “stopping points” for just about every major series, but right now I want to hear from you. Mine are all spread out, but yours can be a particular year (“1968”) or an event (Crisis on Infinite Earths), or it can be a specific storyline (“Sins Past”) or creative team or whatever. I’ll be back to this topic from time to time going forward, but after today I’m going to be offline until next week, so let’s hear it. Where do YOU draw the line (assuming you do)? Also, if you disagree at any time where I draw the line, I invite rebuttal.

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...Thomas, is there anything up anywhere telling a person what comics are offered in the DC Nation app? If some of DC's Atomic/etc. age genre comics is a cop/private eye/cowboy vein that feature art from the likes of Leonard Starr and Alex Toth and the usual could be read on them - or Shldon Mayer's humor comics - stuff that I suppose is unlikely to ever see a book, but maybe could sneak on something like this ' well, that would be churce:-).

When it comes to “drawing the line” in regard to long-running series, there are two precepts I keep in mind. First, most long-running tiles can be divided into two “classic” runs. The first is invariably the early, seminal run of the series under question. The second may be decades later, but one that stands as a high-water mark for the series. For example, for Fantastic Four, the two classic runs are 1) Lee/Kirby, and 2) John Byrne. The second precept is that, for me, anyway, at some point the series ceases to become about what happens next in that character’s “life” and more about a story that is written by a writer and drawn by an artist. (I’ll provide examples of what I mean in the days to come.) Today I’ll start with…

GREEN LANTERN:

For me, the first classic period is (of course) the John Broome/Gil Kane originals. The second classic phase is from the ‘80s, Len Wein/Dave Gibbons into Steve Englehart/Joe Staton. The title became Green Lantern Corps with issue #201, but the stories remained pretty good throughout the rest of that series run. The character next appeared, serialized, in Action Comics Weekly by Peter David, but that series never really clicked with me. By the time Gerard Jones and Pat Broderick took over with “a new #1” in 1990, for me it ceased to be about what “happened” to Green Lantern and what Gerhard Jones wrote. It was also this series that eventually led to “Emerald Twilight” (albeit by another writer)

I draw the line at Green Lantern (Corps) #224.
...Thank you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!:-)
...I meant " cherce ", a la Spencer Tracy.

I drew the line in 2007. I stopped buying new comics cold turkey. I was only buying a couple regularly at the time anyway. Savage Dragon by Erik Larsen and Powers by Bendis and Oeming. Soon after I stopped, I sold most everything I owned that had come out since '90. I realized that's around when I had lost interest. I'm looking at you Image. I started buying back issues from publishers like ACG, Archie, Atlas Seaboard, Charlton, Dell, Gold Key, Harvey, I.W. Super Comics, King, Modern reprints, Skywald, and Tower. Mostly from mycomicshop.com. Lost my job of twenty years in 2015. I've since gotten a new job for half the pay. I can't afford back issues anymore. There's a thrift store by my new job that has a large book section. I find trades there for two or three bucks and single issues for a buck. Here's a sample of what I've bought in the last few months. Some good, some not so good.  

Asterix The Gaul

The Book of Genesis Illustrated by R. Crumb

Myth Adventures One

Our Cancer Year

Mercy Thompson: Homecoming

George R.R. Martin's Doorways

The Best of Archie Comics Deluxe Edition Book Two

Letter 44 Volume II: Redshift

Crimson: Heaven and Earth

Doctor Who: Agent Provocateur

Doctor Who: Tesseract

Anne Mercury: The Cutter

Crimson: Loyalty and Loss

Daughters Of Fly In My Eye

Incognito: Bad Influences

Star Wars: Obi-Wan and Anakin

Star Wars: Episode III: Revenge of the Sith

Doctor Who: The Hypothetical Gentleman

Adventure Time with Fionna and Cake

Faust 777 The Wrath

Pretty Deadly Volume 1

Star Wars: Shattered Empire

Air: Letters From Lost Countries

Arrow Volume 1

Uncanny X-Men: Broken

Batman: I Am Bane

Flash: Move Forward

Star Wars: The Force Unleashed

The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl: Squirrel Power

Hatter M: The Looking Glass Wars

Raw Volume 2 Number 3

The Adventures of Tintin: The Shooting Star

Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood

The Nameless City Volume 1

Street Angel's Dog

Jeff, that's a great explanation of drawing the line. It's not to say there are no good stories written after it, but that prior to the line, the stories were "real," and afterward, they're just stories being told. For me, there's a divide between how I approach DC and Marvel comics, in that with Marvel, I'm usually just looking for a good story starring cool characters, whereas with DC books, I sometimes check in with them to "see how my friends are doing." 

With Flash, I wonder if I don't draw the line at the conclusion of The Return of Barry Allen. There are plenty of great stories after that (including many by the same writer!), but that's really where Wally's maturation comes to a head. Everything past that is variations on a theme. (And definitely when we get to the Identity Crisis crossover, it was something that I could look at and say, 'oh, that's a clever twist' rather than 'what the hell? Barry would never do that...!')

You should also investigate your local public library. They would likely have some of this stuff in their physical collection. And if they offer the Hoopla service there are a wide variety of e-comics. That's how I do most of my reading these days.

Con Sarolas said:

I drew the line in 2007. I stopped buying new comics cold turkey. I was only buying a couple regularly at the time anyway. Savage Dragon by Erik Larsen and Powers by Bendis and Oeming. Soon after I stopped, I sold most everything I owned that had come out since '90. I realized that's around when I had lost interest. I'm looking at you Image. I started buying back issues from publishers like ACG, Archie, Atlas Seaboard, Charlton, Dell, Gold Key, Harvey, I.W. Super Comics, King, Modern reprints, Skywald, and Tower. Mostly from mycomicshop.com. Lost my job of twenty years in 2015. I've since gotten a new job for half the pay. I can't afford back issues anymore. There's a thrift store by my new job that has a large book section. I find trades there for two or three bucks and single issues for a buck. Here's a sample of what I've bought in the last few months. Some good, some not so good.  

Asterix The Gaul

The Book of Genesis Illustrated by R. Crumb

Myth Adventures One

Our Cancer Year

Mercy Thompson: Homecoming

George R.R. Martin's Doorways

The Best of Archie Comics Deluxe Edition Book Two

Letter 44 Volume II: Redshift

Crimson: Heaven and Earth

Doctor Who: Agent Provocateur

Doctor Who: Tesseract

Anne Mercury: The Cutter

Crimson: Loyalty and Loss

Daughters Of Fly In My Eye

Incognito: Bad Influences

Star Wars: Obi-Wan and Anakin

Star Wars: Episode III: Revenge of the Sith

Doctor Who: The Hypothetical Gentleman

Adventure Time with Fionna and Cake

Faust 777 The Wrath

Pretty Deadly Volume 1

Star Wars: Shattered Empire

Air: Letters From Lost Countries

Arrow Volume 1

Uncanny X-Men: Broken

Batman: I Am Bane

Flash: Move Forward

Star Wars: The Force Unleashed

The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl: Squirrel Power

Hatter M: The Looking Glass Wars

Raw Volume 2 Number 3

The Adventures of Tintin: The Shooting Star

Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood

The Nameless City Volume 1

Street Angel's Dog

“Jeff, that's a great explanation of drawing the line.”

Thanks, Rob. I plan to keep this up for a while yet, then revisit it occasionally. As always, others should feel free to jump in as the mood strikes. As far as Marvel is concerned, I’m tempted to draw several lines with “Heroes Reborn.” That’s when Fantastic Four became Jim Lee’s Fantastic Four, Avengers became Rob Liefeld’s Avengers, and so on.

“Most long-running tiles can be divided into two ‘classic’ runs.”

…and some long-running titles can be divided into three.

For Thor I count…

Stan Lee/Jack Kirby
Walt Simonson
Dan Jurgens/John Romita, Jr.

Where I draw the line for Thor is…

Last week when I mentioned DC’s status quo-changing storylines (the “Death of Superman,” “Knightfall,” “Emerald Twilight,” etc.) I really should have pointed out the end of the 1989 Legion of Super-Heroes series, by which time the entire Earth had been destroyed and the surviving population was living in a series of domed satellite cities. That’s not a very optimistic future, but where does one draw the line?
 
First of all, I consider everything through the end of the 1984 series (#63, “The Magic Wars”) to be “real,” but that issue had no real closure. From that point, the next series jumped ahead “Five Years Later.” That’s the reality that came to an end with “Zero Hour” in issue #61.

Those post-Zero Hour series (Legion of Super-Heroes and Legionnaires) were pretty good, but a whole different reality than the one I consider “real” (as was “Five Years Later” AFAIAC). Then there’s the Mark Waid version, yet another reality. But eventually, Geoff Johns took over and re-introduced a Legion that was, for all intents and purposes, my Legion in Action Comics #858. So, after a lengthy gap, I “draw the line” with Action Comics #863.

There was a really good Paul Levitz series after this point, but that eventually became the “Flashpoint” Legion which is definitely out.

Oh, we diverge here. That Johns Legion -- the "retroboot" among Legion fan circles -- is one I've drawn the line against. I really liked reading it, but the 5 Years Later Legion is "my" Legion. As is the post-Zero Hour Legion. The Threeboot and the Retroboot are clever variations on a theme to me, but not the "real" Legion. 

I'm thinking the new Bendis/Sook Legion might register as the "real" Legion to me, too. A different one, but real, in that it's grounded in one of my favorite runs of Superman in ages. 

“Oh, we diverge here.“

Fair enough. (I figured we would based on the comments you posted last week.) I’ve never before encountered the terms “retroboot” or “threeboot,” but I don’t hang out in fan circles… just here. ;)

In your case, I’d draw the line for “Five Years Later” with LSH #61 (above), and for the post-Zero Hour version at… whatever issue it was they jumped into the “Siege Perilous” or whatever. (I don’t recall the exact issue off the top of my head.)

The problem (for me) with the Bendis Legion is just that: it’s called “The Bendis Legion.” That’s not a slam against Bendis, it’s just that the creator role is elevated about the series itself. For that reason, it can never be “real” to me. Havinbg said that, I am looking forward to the first issue of the new series tomorrow.

May I assume you’re lumping the Paul Levitz’s “recent Legion in with Geoff Johns’ reboot?

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