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Smelley writes...

Hey Greg,
You have writen that you quit reading comics cold turkey altogether in 1996. What were the reasons for such a decison? Although I acknowledge that there is a lot of crap in the industry, there is so many fresh things being done, both with superheroes and with DC Vertigo and small press titles. You're missing out on Quantum and Woody!

Greg responds...

Well, it's probably a long story.

But the main thing was that the number of books I was reading was dropping like a stone. I had dropped every marvel book except Incredible Hulk by that time. And then suddenly they were bizarrely reworking the whole Marvel Universe. Or dividing it in two or something. I never missed an issue of Hulk, and yet suddenly the book was incomprehensible to me. So I dropped it. Which left me Marvel-less for the first time ever.

DC wasn't much better. Sandman ended. And I wasn't as fond of all the other Vertigo titles as others were.

Love & Rockets had ended. Others too.

Finally, I was only picking up a couple of independent titles a month. Some that weren't even monthly. My local (i.e. near work) comic book store closed. And the next closest one wasn't convenient at all. So I stopped going there once a week. And when I did go, well... It was very frustrating. I'd get an issue of Cerebus. Watch for the next issue, and when I finally found one, I'd get it home and realize that I'd missed one in between. Then I'd have to go back to the store and try to order it or something. It just got intolerable.

Ironically, where comics lost me was when I stopped buying in volume. That stopped the need for me to go in every week. And eventually I didn't go one week. Then didn't go the next. Then the next. Then the next. And eventually I realized that I wasn't really missing it. Which, frankly, is too damn bad. Because, once upon a time, I was a true loyalist. And I was a professional. If they couldn't keep me... Well, it just doesn't bode well for the industry as a whole.

BUt I did just pick up Scott McCloud's "Reinventing Comics" from Scott himself at the San Diego ComicCon. Like most of Scott's work, it's pretty darn brilliant. And I'm enjoying his on-line Zot! comic a lot. Check it out at


Response recorded on August 21, 2000

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