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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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.

"Post Crisis doesn't count."

I never did really understand that POV… until Flashpoint, that is. One of these days I’m going to do a comparison/contrast between Crisis on Infinite Earths and Flashpoint pointing out the differences between the two (as I see them).

“Byrne's Man of Steel is emblematic of that. I hated that series.”

Man, we differ on that, ‘Tec! “My” Superman doesn’t really begin until Man of Steel. Beyond that, I’m pretty “liberous” as to what I include. [If DC ever sees fit to reprint more Silver/Bronze age material, that situation may change.] Having started so late, I pretty much go right up to Flashpoint (yes, I stopped a few issues shy).

In order not to drive myself crazy, I separate Superman into these versions:

  • Superman I (Golden Age/Earth-Two)
  • Superman II (Silver/Bronze Age/Earth-One) aka "my" Superman or the "real" one!
  • Superman III (Post-Crisis) he did grow on me but his "death" complicated things
  • Superman IV (Zero-Hour/Earth-Zero) Mullets and Multiple forms and Marriage...Oh My!
  • Superman V (New 52/Rebirth)

You may want to add a version or two if that makes things easier!

In that case, I would draw the following lines:

SUPERMAN I:

SUPERMAN II: SUPERMAN V:

Thinking of Superman, and where I draw the line in a different way. For me, and my reading experience, Superman isn’t really “my” Superman until the Bronze Age. When I met Clark (in the comics, as opposed to TV), he was working at WGBS, but had lots of friends and co-workers at the Daily Planet. Before that -- the Golden and Silver Ages, basically -- there are some brilliant stories, but I can take or leave them as canon.

This Superman is valid for me through Crisis.

Then, after that, there’s the post-Crisis Superman. And those stories ALSO work for me, and gradually HE becomes “my” Superman too. And I think he persists until the Jurgens/Ordway/Stern/Simonson run ends. When Loeb, Johns, Kelly and DeMatteis take the reins, the magic is over, and he’s a character being written by people again. And it’s not till Kurt Busiek takes over for a bit, in a run that recalls when I first met Superman in the 70s, that he feels “real” to me again. (Then again, the Johns stories over in Action don’t have that same feeling, and still seem concoted to me, rather than true. As fun as some of them were.)

Then my post-Crisis Superman came back with Rebirth, and hasn't left.

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