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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“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?

A slight divergence:

What did you think of the Zero Hour event? IIRC, the Parallax version of Hal Jordan took Earth back to the Big Bang (!). The only thing that sticks in my mind about it is that now Batman didn't know who killed his parents. Is this when they dropped the original Superboy? 

Personally, I liked Zero Hour a lot. It's not usually thought of alongside DC's other "Crisis" seires (Crisis on Infinite Earths, Infinite Crisis, etc.) because the subtitle ("A Crisis in Time") was downplayed, but I think of it in those terms. It had a huge impact on many of my favorite characters and teams at the time (such as the JSA), plus a few good series sprung from it (LSH, Starman).

The Superboy both pre- and post-Zero Hour was Conner Kent, but the "original" Superboy (or at least the one from the "pocket universe") did play a part.

Yep, the most recent Levitz run is all retroboot. I liked it, but I'd never trade it for my beloved 5YL run.

And yeah, Retroboot & Threeboot are what they're called on the LSH fan pages on Facebook, of which I am on Too Damn Many.

And I'm with you for the elevated creator status being in conflict with the "realness" of a run -- especially this early on. I think the way to see whether the "Bendis Legion" has legs will be to wait until it's had a few more writers at the helm... which I am in no hurry to get to.

Jeff of Earth-J said:

“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?

Avengers is another exception to the “Heroes Reborn” rule. The tile was nothing to write home (or anywhere else) about in the months leading up to “Onslaught,” but I just cannot bring myself to ”draw the line” at #402 because what followed (“Heroes Return,” I mean) was so much better.

My line is #56/471 (Kurt Busiek’s last issue).

IRON MAN:

Tough call because I wasn’t reading Iron Man prior to “Onslaught/Heroes Reborn” although I did read that “Teen Tony” crap, and I definitely think the line should go before that. As with Avengers, Iron Man improved greatly post “Heroes Return” under the aegis of Kurt Busiek, but I drifted away again after he left. David Michelinie and Bob Layton reunited for a few Iron Man limited series and one-shots during and after Busiek’s tenure so, under the circumstances (AND THIS may seem like a cop-out), I draw the line at Iron Man: The End.

Hunh. This is a hard conversation for me to contribute to. I don't fit any of the models presented so far.

Captain Comics said:

Hunh. This is a hard conversation for me to contribute to. I don't fit any of the models presented so far.

Really? I thought you stated things pretty clearly in this thread: "The Day I Stopped Buying Spider-Man"



Jeff of Earth-J said:

“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.

I don't think I could go title by title, but I have some hazy cut off points in my mind.  The "real" Marvel Universe concludes for me around the time Jim Shooter was fired.  Plenty of good runs after that but the cohesive feel of a shared universe migrated over to Valiant with Shooter.   With DC it's a bit more clear cut, "Post Crisis doesn't count."  I just never really took to being told that the Universe I grew up with no longer existed in it's original form.  Byrne's Man of Steel is emblematic of that. I hated that series. Again, plenty of good stories and runs came after but it wasn't "my universe" anymore.

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