Now, more than ever, comics companies are paying attention to what fans like or want. After all, they’re trying to sell as many copies as possible to stay afloat!

I sometimes get a kick out of what’s popular at any given time. I could go back over the last several decades and point out all the ways comics producers have been after your last buck or two, but that would take several columns in and of itself!

There are a several interesting trends going on right now – some I like, some I don’t!

WHAT IS A FAD?

The first thing we need to understand is exactly what a “fad” is. Here’s the definition of the word from dictionary.com: “a temporary fashion, notion, manner of conduct, etc., especially one followed enthusiastically by a group.”

Right off the bat, I want to state that this doesn’t mean a fad is good or bad: It’s just temporary. For instance, all TV shows can be considered fads. They come, they may last a while, but then they are cancelled. A good example is CSI (otherwise known as Crime Scene Investigation). It started out as one program, blossomed into versions in Miami and New York, but is now coming to its close soon, I believe. NOTHING on TV lasts forever. Even Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy will one day leave the airwaves. That makes them fads.

The same holds true in comics. Granted, some books have apparently been around forever. However, even Detective Comics was on the chopping block back in 1978, so we need to enjoy the comics we like as long as possible.

MY FAVORITE CURRENT FAD

Marvel, DC, Deadpool, Spider-Gwen, Gwen Stacy, Spider-Man, Batman, Joker, Bat-Mite, CSI, Wheel of Fortune, Jeopardy, Ryan Reynolds, Green Lantern, TMNT, creator-owned, Detective Comics, secret identity, SupermanWhen a comics company finds that something they’re doing does well in sales, of course they’re going to keep that fad going as long as they can! It’s show business, after all!

The one that I’m particularly enamored with currently is what I call the “Gotta Get Gwen” fad. Spider-Gwen has performed well, so now word has come out that there’s a Gwenpool comic (based on Deadpool, naturally) along with several variant covers on her arriving in comics shops in the not-too-distant future.

As much as I like Gwen Stacy (and have for years), I just don’t find this all that appealing. I mean, the Spider-Gwen costume was cool and all, but Gwen Stacy as a female Deadpool? Really? I mean, I get the fact that the Deadpool movie is coming so there’s a lot of attention being focused on the character right now, but a pink-wearing, woman Deadpool? I don’t buy it!

(A quick aside – I’m also entertained by the same people who despised Ryan Reynolds in Green Lantern now think he can’t possibly fail in Deadpool. We’ll see about that!)

I don’t blame Marvel for making money off a trend that sells no matter how long it lasts, and there’s already a Gwenom in the works. But what’s next? Captain Ameri-Gwen? The Totally Awesome Green Gwen? The X-Gwens? Iron Gwen? Will Marvel become the Mar-Gwen company under Disney, renamed as Dis-Gwen?

I’m exaggerating (I hope), but this all reminds me about the Bat-family and the various comics that have been made featuring them, including giving titles to everyone from The Joker to Bat-Mite. Not even those books have lasted very long.

But hey, if you like it, go for it! Just don’t expect the “Gotta Get Gwen” fad to last TOO much longer! I’m reminded of the guy I met at a comics shop who bought five boxes of Dazzler #1. Hopefully he can get his pet birds to poop on them once in a while so they still have some value!

OTHER TRENDS

One thing that still drives me crazy is the limiting of the number of issues a book can reach. The idea is that collectors (and maybe many readers) simply don’t care about a title after it hits, say, #25 or so. I’m going to be very curious to see how the new Marvel books deal with this in a year or two.

Also, I see more and more miniseries’ being produced to test the waters rather than committing to an ongoing title. I don’t mind seeing this format being used for a special event (such as Star Trek/Green Lantern or Batman/TMNT), but some books just scream out for a “regular” series, seems to me.

I’m also happy to see more and more ladies getting to take the lead in new comics. Anyone who listens to my podcast knows I’m big on that! This is a good thing, I believe!

We’re also seeing fewer and fewer heroes with secret identities in comics. I’m okay with this, but in real life, this would never fly unless you have literally piles of money to spend on security. Either that or you have no friends of family! I’m not sure how they’re going to resolve this in the Superman titles, but I’ll be watching!

Creator-owned books are all the rage as well! You know, I’m good with this one! I don’t think company-owned characters will ever fade away, but a lot of comics people really do have great ideas, so why not give them their time in the sun?

What other fads/trends are going on that you like or don’t care for? Feel free to share your thoughts in the space below!

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The Author

Wayne Hall

Wayne Hall

Wayne Hall creates the Wayne's Comics Podcast. He’s interviewed Scott Snyder, Greg Capullo, John Layman, Kyle Higgins, Phil Hester, Jimmy Palmiotti & Justin Gray, David Petersen, Christos Gage, Mike Grell, and Matt Kindt. Each episode also includes reviews, news and previews. On this site each week, he writes his "Comics Portal" column (general comics comments and previews) and reviews comics.

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