I admit I've been keeping an eye on Rob Liefeld's Twitter feed since the creator publicly walked off his DC Comics titles last week. In part, like everyone, I'm simply fascinated by the mayhem. But even in a situation that's clearly bad for reader enjoyment of comics overall, there's a part of me reading Liefeld's tweets like I do solicitations, hungry and excited for clues to upcoming storylines -- Liefeld's tangent about proposed but cancelled intersections between Grifter, Stormwatch, and Superman, for instance.
Liefeld's departure overshadowed a much quieter but far more tragic exit from DC Comics, as I've mentioned here before, that of writer Judd Winick. Winick is also a controversial figure, I know (though at least for his work and not for his after-hour comments) but I have thoroughly enjoyed his Outsiders and Green Arrow and most recently his Catwoman and Batwing, and indeed I feel DC has lost something special here akin to when Greg Rucka left shortly before the DC New 52 relaunch.
These departures -- and George Perez's negative comments, also as we've discussed -- are depressing for a DC Comics fan. More troubling for me, however, have been the "false starts," if you will -- series whose creative teams and directions changed after the first collection. Paul Cornell left Stormwatch, though I think Paul Jenkins continues in the same general direction; however, Savage Hawkman and Deathstroke both get a second collection reboot, as to an extent has Superman, Green Arrow, and others.
This sometimes makes me wonder why I should even spend my money on these collections knowing, for instance, the first collection of Savage Hawkman may not have much impact on the second -- and then, with Liefeld leaving Hawkman essentially after the second collection, the second collection and third may have differences, too. All these departures -- some would say, disorganization -- makes it hard to read some titles at all.
I've been trying to think, before comics had a twenty-four hour news cycle, how did we deal with creative changes on books? I remember when David Micheline replaced Roger Stern on Action Comics, I thought the stories got a little more violent, but otherwise the Triangle Titles kept rolling on as usual. Definitely the tone was different when Jon Lewis replaced Chuck Dixon on Robin, but the characters and setting stayed the same for the most part. Gail Simone replacing Dixon on Birds of Prey turned out for the best; so did Geoff Johns replacing Mark Waid on Flash.
If you want to get really esoteric, I followed Justice League from Dan Jurgens to Dan Vado to Gerard Jones. Who knows what went on behind the scenes? Creators came, creators left, the books maybe struggled for an issue or two, and then we were off to the races again. In cases like Waid and Johns, the writers got to wrap up their storylines before they left; in other cases, not so much, but it worked.
The conclusion I came to is that you have to love the characters. You have to love the characters. Superman is going through three writers in about twelve issues -- if you don't like reading about Superman, what's the point anyway? Hawkman's going through a couple of creative teams -- none of it matters if you don't like Hawkman. An interest in Fire and Ice and Guy Gardner and the rest took me from Jurgens to Vado to Jones on Justice League, and I still have an affinity for all those runs. It was just a matter of sticking with the characters.
Got to keep our heads down, ignore the hubub, and keep reading, is the best I can figure.