Friday, May 5, 2017

The End

At 6:25 this morning, I completed a project that has been ongoing for the past 10 years...and completing it has me in a rather foul mood, to be honest. In August 2007, I began a project of reading or rereading every DC Comic from 1975 on. Originally, the plan was to stop at Crisis. Then, when I was still enjoying it, to stop at Zero Hour. When I was still enjoying it then, even though by that point there was very little I hadn't already read once (or more) before, I decided to go to the end. Of course, when I began, in 2007, I didn't know there would be an end. Who knew then that DC would throw away everything I loved about the universe with the New 52 stuff? In 2011 I found out that the project would end. Today, for all intents and purposes, it did. I still have a little bit of reading left to do, but it's outside the continuity or a bit of a throwback.. Ahead of me is DC vs Marvel and the Amalgam books, and I will conclude with the Millenium books, the reprints of important DC books issued in the year 2000. Finally, for the something like 7th time, JLA/Avengers, my all-time favorite comic book story.

But really, this is the end.

Now what do I do? This project- and DC Comics- have been a part of my life since Day 5. My brother read me my first comic at 5 days old and I've been reading DC ever since. (Well, in the early years, he read them to me). While I despise the New 52, I did stay on with the Green Lantern titles, but I bailed on them in 2016 when it was just the same 4 stories being told over and over again. For the first time in my life, there is no DC Comics to be read on my horizon, not a presence in every day.

I do have a plan. I have a bunch of comics I've never read. More than 500 Marvel, several hundred others, that I was given but never read. I have not even seen them since 2002. The last time I had them out, I was doing a survey of my collection when my dad lost his battle with cancer. I put them away and have not taken them out since. My plan, once I finish the Millenium books, is to get them out and read them. It would be nice to say I've read every book in my collection.

But it won't be the same. I won't be reading an entire history of a universe in chronological order. Don't have anything to look forward to in that regard. Many of the books are just single, random issues, possibly/probably partial stories that I may or may not even like. I've never really been a Marvel fan. I've read a few stories from time to time and to me they are just "simpler" than DC's books...not as complex, and more condescending to the reader. Granted, it's a small sample size. Also, there is nothing I hate more than spiders. Considering that one of Marvel's mainstay characters is Spider-Man, that does not bode well for me. I certainly do enjoy the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the JLA/Avengers series, though.

It's possible that I will enjoy what I read, and start to chase titles that aren't DC. I'm not sure, though, I may have a mental block against non-DC books, to be honest. Also, due to health concerns, I don't have a lot of money to spend on any hobbies anymore.

One other thing I'm going to miss....For DC's third continuity, I've been keeping track of how many cover appearances each character makes. Not just heroes, but villains and supporting cast as well. When I type in the October 2011 cover date books, I will do a post about that as well. I'm going to miss compiling that information. Since 2003 or 2004 (I can't remember exactly) I've kept track of first appearances.  My brother created the chart years ago but eventually got sidetracked and trailed off. I took over and built off what he created. (The cover count was something he created as well, but was lost at some point. I recreated it as a gift to him)

There were a couple of things I'd do differently were I to do this project again. Most importantly, I'd keep track of just how many books I'd read. I didn't do that, and now, I wish I had. I suppose counting them would be possible, in retrospect, but it would be a challenge to get at the books and I may accidentally count a book with multiple covers more than once, or count one of the non-continuity books I didn't read. Of course, I can also count a stack of something multiple times and get different results each time as well! If the idea had occurred to me, I would have kept track of how many issues of each title were included. (Yes, I'm OCD!)

Secondly, I have my scanner plugged in at all times. I wish I had made a visual recognition guide of each character, especially the obscure characters. I look at the listing of the cover appearances and there are names I have no memory of, and this is stuff I typed up myself! The idea came to me too in earlier this year. Why didn't I think of that sooner?

I do know this project is a once-in-a-lifetime event. I will never do it again...there are books that I really, truly hated. I never plan to read them again. Legends. New Guardians. (Not the Green Lantern series), The Wanderers, Dial H. Pretty much every Doom Patrol title post Crisis. I could go on. What may surprise some is that I include Crisis on Infinite Earths among the list of titles I don't plan to ever read again. I've read it either three or four times in my life, and with each rereading I despise it more and more. So much was much that never recovered from. Yes, there were some great things in DC's Third continuity, but the Silver Age was something special...and it was mostly lost because of the Crisis.

There were some titles, however, that I never really thought about- but I ended up loving. The 1978 Black Lightning series is one of the best ever. I am not even sure I knew the series existed before I did this project, but it turned out to be one of my favorites. Sadly, it ran only something like 11 issues. There are other great titles but that one really stood out.

My favorite series, during the project, was All-Star Squadron, at least until the Crisis killed it. Before that started, it was Legion of Super-Heroes and later, when they finally got their own series again, the JSA.

My favorite single issue was the 1978 Brave & The Bold Special. It was so bizarre that my brother and I still talk about it, even though I read it in either 2007 or 2008. In it, Batman fought historical criminals, and Guy Fawkes, the only one who didn't succeed in killing anyone, was leading all the worst people in history. Really? It was so bizarre. Hunt down a copy and read it for yourself!

My favorite line, and I don't remember which issue, is when Aquaman is going to meet some of the other heroes, and thinks to himself "I hope they aren't eating sushi!". This was in a 70s book but I don't remember which one.

My favorite in-continuity story is 1991's War of the Gods. Building out of and around Wonder Woman's title, it was incredible...and it could have been so much more. The writer/artist, George Perez (My favorite artist in DC history, mind you) had a temper tantrum because DC ran two crossovers in 1991 and quit mid-project. I constantly wonder what might have been, what we got was nothing short of incredible. Yes, I'm aware I used that word twice in regards to this storyline. It earned it.

My favorite out-of-continuity storyline is JLA/Avengers. It's beyond incredible. I have read it more times than I can remember. And I will read it again, as noted above. And I will read it again after that at some point, for sure. While I mentioned above some storylines or titles I never want to read again, this one is one I will read again and again.

My favorite character evolved over time. In the 1990s, when the books were being published, was Impulse. As time went on, they took away what made him interesting, though. Eventually, Golden Age Captain Marvel took the #1 spot, but technically that wasn't DC, but Fawcett. I'm not really sure who I would list as my favorite DC character. I like most of them, pre-2011.

My favorite team, by a wide margin, is the JSA. I will always be happy that my first letter in a DC comic appeared in a JSA book. (I also got one in Red Robin). In fact, it was when I read that not only was there no JSA title in the New 52, but that they had never existed in DC's 4th continuity...I knew then I was done.

And because of that...I'm now done with my project. I wish it wasn't ending, but I have no control over that.

Thanks for reading.


  1. Dang Billy.. That's quite an accomplishment. I'm sorry to see it end. I've been sad when finishing a book that I did not want to end, and I can remember how sad I was watching the last episode of Gravity Falls. Fiction can get under our skin. Hmm...

    1. Thanks! It was a lot of reading, but I wouldn't have it any other way. I know exactly what you mean about not wanting books to end.

  2. It is always sad to something you love have a definite ending. But you have to just take a wait and see attitude for the future. There is always hope that something great will catch your interest as much as this project did.

  3. Wow! That is quite a feat!