Every so often there will be an update about the long unrealized DC Comics story treatment written by Alan Moore entitled Twilight of the Superheroes. These newsflashes ultimately conclude with the suggestion that the DC Universe is moving closer and closer to actually seeing the story's integration into the "new" mainstream DC Universe. Oddly, I often think about the superhero twilight, at least in terms of my purchasing and interest, that my own collecting continues to go through...
As my tastes have matured, my own interest in traditional superhero comic books has fluctuated. Recently, when I look over my "pull list" I realize that even of those titles I do currently collect, very few are what could be called "traditional" superhero books. Of those books, even fewer are ones that I truly look forward to reading each month; more frequently, they are books that I have collected for runs and out of loyalty (or gullibility) continue to follow.
For the most part, I would strongly suggest that the traditional superhero comics that I grew up reading and enjoying are no longer being published in mainstream (by the big two, Marvel and DC). Gone are the heroics, adventure, and fun of the Eighties, having been replaced by dark, violent and continuity-less events. This is an old complaint, but it makes me wish for the halcyon days of Marvel Mayhem and their Distinguished Competition.
Currently my local comic shop "pull list" (plus the occasional one shot or miniseries) consists of these twenty-seven (27) titles: Boom Studios!: Planet of the Apes:Cataclysm; DC Comics: All-Star Western, American Vampire (Vertigo), Animal Man, Batman, Batman Incorporated, Dial H, Earth 2, I, Vampire, Justice League Dark, Swamp Thing; Dynamite Entertainment: Lone Ranger, Lone Ranger: Snake of Iron, Masks; IDW Publishing: Doctor Who, Godzilla, Godzilla: The Half Century War, Revival, Transformers: Regeneration One, Transformers: More Than Meets the Eye,
Transformers: Robots in Disguise, Image Comics,Walking Dead; Marvel: Dark Avengers, Fantastic Four, FF, Ultimate Comics' Ultimates; Oni Press: Sixth Gun.
Of those twenty-seven titles, four are purchased for my stepson (all three Transformers books and Doctor Who), nine of ten (excluding Vertigo's American Vampire) DC titles can be loosely desribed as "super-heroy", and all four Marvel titles can also be thought of as fitting into the traditional superhero genre of comic books. Of those fourteen titles, if not for decades of readership, all the Marvel and a few of the DC titles (I actually was brought into the DC fold by the "New 52" intiative) would be history. A I consider the financial investment I make each monthly in my life-long hobby, it probably won't be long before that number is also halved.
Fortunately, as I wrote earlier, my tastes have matured and new offerings have filled the gap in my long boxes left by the loss of traditional superheroes. More and more publishers are offering new titles from a diverse array of long ignored sub-genres such as Westerns, pulp action and science-fiction, to satiate my thirst for good comic book reading. I do, however, hold put hope that at some point, we will see the return of Silver Age heroics, and that this will happen before the move to digital comics--the point at which I stop purchasing "new" books in favor of "old" ones I can still hold in my hands...