December 10, 2011:
1994 Fleer Ultra X-Men #132 Mesmero
Not a character I'm familiar with. No shame in that, but that's my main struggle with comics. I stopped buying new comics about four years ago, partly because of the expense, but mostly because of the futility I felt trying to keep tabs on any single story, character, or universe. Without even going into crossovers, comics are notoriously difficult for a new reader to get into. I started buying them in 1997. I was in college and I found a five dollar bill in the street. No, really, I did. I bought a couple of Green Lantern comics, and I was hooked. In the 14 years since then, I've gained only a fraction of the understanding of what's going on in either (DC or Marvel) universe. Major crossover events used to be a once-in-a-decade phenomenon, but now it seems as if a universe has a monumental upheaval every year. The DC reboot that took place in recent months only served to further alienate me. Readers get fooled into thinking that the characters they love are supported by a sense of history, but that's not the case. Think about Action Comics. It was primed to hit issue #1,000 by the end of this decade, but the reboot stalled it at #904. What a slap in the face to loyal readers!
Let's go back to Green Lantern. If I wanted to be up on just that one character, I'd have to have read his comic, GL Corps, Blackest Night, all of the tie-ins, and probably a bunch of other stuff I don't even know about. That's a commitment, both financial and temporal, that I just can't make. And we wonder why video games have taken over...
(Yipes... what a rant. I actually like comics, I just prefer to buy them at used bookstores now. Next time I see Mesmero on a cover, I will pick it up, if only to learn.)