If the world were going to end this fall, would you still read Flashpoint #3?

It’s been almost a month now since the big DC news, and to say it’s been on our minds would be an understatement. In fact, I think I’m going to remember this June as “that month when we talked about DC news continuously for an entire month.”

Our general conclusion here at the House is that we can’t really know what we think of the relaunch until we get to read the new books, but the announcement has raised a lot of questions about what we read and why. One of the most interesting (to me) is the question which usually takes this form:

“So does this mean I should just skip [Flashpoint/all DC books this summer/all DC books forever], since none of it is going to matter?”

(Best representation of this perspective: this hilarious take from the webcomic “Gutters”)

I thought about it for a while, and my answer surprised me. I realized that I think

this is a fantastic opportunity

to re-evaluate our pull lists, because

we should only be reading books we would want to read even if the world were going to end this fall.

If I knew the clock was ticking and we were all doomed, I would be pretty busy with the wailing and gnashing of teeth, but I would still need to know what happens in the next “Unwritten.” Because I love that book with a love that is more than love, whether or not it affects anything else; whether or not it ‘matters.’

Of course I understand the pain of investing so much of our lives into ongoing stories and then being denied the futures of those stories; that collective shared reality and the idea that these things will matter are major contributors to the power and distinctiveness of comics as a literary tradition.

But this is our hard-earned money we’re talking about, and as grateful as we are that DC ignited the trend towards un-crazy-fying the price point (VERY GRATEFUL), even $2.99 really adds up.

We should never be reading a book just because, a year from now, we’re going to need to know what happened in it.

This is your chance, fanboys and girls! In the spirit of the upcoming holiday, declare your independence from the obligatory purchase list, and exercise your right to buy and read those comics and ONLY those comics which you specifically want to read.

The next time you stand in line at the House (if you’re not too busy admiring our Competitive Discounts, Excellent Selection and Friendly, Courteous Staff! </corporate shilling hat>), no matter what company’s logo is on the books you’re holding in your hands, stop and ask yourself the question,

“If none of this mattered, would I still want to read this comic?” and if the answer is “No,” put it back.

Life is too short and there are too many wonderful comics out there (addictive little buggers). Reward only the work that’s engaging you consistently; put your money where your mouth heart is, and as a bonus you’ll be doing your part to shape a better, more compelling comic book industry.

And if you’re curious: if the world were going to end this fall, would I still want to read Flashpoint #3?

Are you kidding? Are you reading this storyline? That exchange between Wayne and Gordon in “Batman: Knight of Vengeance” #1? The surprisingly poignant “World of Flashpoint?” The awesome soap opera stylings of the Aquaman/Wonder Woman backstory? Are you, like me, a total sucker for alternate universe re-imaginings?

Of course I would.

Stupid addictive comics.

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