There are a number of things that I wonder if I just do out of habit.
The thing that I’m thinking of this morning is reading X-Men comics. Online subscriptions are a thing, not that I couldn’t get other ways I want to, but I’m getting closer and closer to being caught up to the present. I think, right now, what I’m reading is near the middle of 2017, so I’m not even a year and a half in the past now. It’s taken me a number of years to get from the beginning to here, with easy, essentially unlimited access, and there have been a lot of great stories along the way. That hasn’t always been the case. It isn’t currently the case.
Keep in mind that I’m talking about the X-Men piece of the Marvel universe, specifically.
The 1960s X-Men were, frankly, immature, though fun. After all, it was the early days of superhero comics, so you got a lot of straightforward stories without much twisting us and very rarely dealing with anything beyond surface appearances.
In the 70s, and 80s, the storytelling was bigger, sometimes epic, broader, and mostly better. In small ways, at first, it began to deal with societal issues in ways that viewers of 1960s television would recognize: not very subtly and not very deeply.
In the 90s, things branched out even more. More titles, more frequent, just more. The universe became staggeringly huge, too big for any one person to take care of, to keep up with, to remember everything in. Continuity issues became constant, and those go on into today. Characters disappear only to reappear with a complete overhaul after years of absence and no explanation of what happened to them in between, no justification for why they’ve completely changed or why they hadn’t. Even if they’d been dead.
In the 2000s, the storytelling went downhill, and that continues into the present, too. You get multi-issue story arcs that resolve nothing and don’t even do anything to grow the characters because any character growth that happens disappears again as soon as the next story arc starts.
Honestly, reading the X-Men titles from say the past 10-12 years has been looking for the one good story mixed in with 10 mediocre and 14 crappy ones. I might be misrepresenting the ratios a little bit since mediocre versus crappy tends to matter of taste, but the good story arcs are definitely few and far between.
It really doesn’t seem to me like most the writers actually care about the characters. “I need the character to act this way for the story I want to tell, and I don’t care if it makes no logical sense, or if they would never do that. That’s what the going to do.” Consistency is actually important, folks.
And time compression is worse than soap operas. I’m honestly supposed to believe that the primary characters have gone through the comic events of the last thirty years while aging only a few months.
So if I’m really that unhappy with the state of the X-verse, why am I still reading?
I think it might be out of habit. Reading X-Men comics is something I do, so I read X-Men comics. And I seem to keep reading them no matter how frequently I’m disappointed in the result.
I wonder if that may be part of what keeps me coming back to other things as well. Habit.
Am I allowing myself to become stuck in various ruts?
Is it time to let go of some of them?
Are there things that would be a better use of my time?
That last one, at least, has an easy answer. Yes, there absolutely are. So that leads me into another question: why aren’t I spending my time on those things?
Be well, everyone.by