Rob Boffard is tired of keeping track of comic book universes
Pop quiz. Two- part question. In the X- Men comic book universe, how many times has Professor X died, and is he currently alive or not?
I have no idea. I’m a big fan of the X- Men ( and comic books in general). I’m able to give you the names, powers and history of most team members and supporting characters without thinking, but I’ve come to a point where I genuinely don’t know whether Charles Xavier is dead or alive.
I’m not talking about the really big stuff: the new Thor, the new Cap, new Spidey. Them I get. It’s the common, day- to- day stuff, like Professor X dying – be honest, he does it a hell of a lot. And Google can’t help here. Are we talking Uncanny X- Men, Ultimate X- Men,
or just plain X- Men?
It’s not just Professor X. It’s virtually every character, in every series. I love superheroes, but as someone who doesn’t make a habit of reading every single one of their escapades every week, stuff happens faster than I can keep track of. I pick up a new book then ditch it within three pages because I simply don’t have the knowledge base to understand it.
And that’s just Marvel. Don’t get me started on DC, which is a dark and foreboding realm filled with horrors.
According to Comicsbeat, 2015 saw a rise of around 7% in sales worldwide, totalling several hundred million dollars. So in theory, nothing’s wrong with the industry’s current model – publishers are making money, and there’s a metric butt- ton of new titles every month to prove it.
But by now, the Marvel and DC Cinematic Universes are in full swing, so it’s hardly surprising that the readership is growing. And nobody keeps data on how many of those readers end up bewildered and frustrated. The big publishers continually seem to reboot their franchises – DC’s New 52 is all- but- dead, and Marvel decided to kill 33 titles after their whole Secret Wars storyline got massively out of hand. That, to me, says: we have a problem, and we don’t know what to do about it.
I tell you this: bringing Professor X back to life for the thousandth time won’t solve anything.
Professor X very much alive – and attracting a crowd.