It's been over a year and a half since I actively collected and read comic books. Oh, sure, I actually bought a couple of items, plus some freebies, during Free Comic Book Day back in May, but that's been it. After more than 40 years of reading comics, I had decided that I had to step away. There were a number of factors involved.
1) Too many "events". To borrow a line from 3rd Bass' "Pop Goes the Weasel" (1991), comic books have become too much of a "complex structure like a pyramid". Marvel & DC, for example, build everything in their core lines around a specific "event", expecting the faithful readers will shell out the extra dough for every crossover chapter to the storyline, even if it means buying a book they ordinarily wouldn't be caught dead reading. I know. I made that mistake when DC first issued Crisis on Infinite Earths back in 1985-6. Of course, back then, the books were cheaper than they are now, so it was easy to get roped in. In today's economy, not so much, unless you're willing to max out your Visa card.
2) Overpriced comics. The average DC or Marvel monthly now sells for either $3 or $4, depending on which book it is. Archie Comics is trailing behind at $2.50 per issue, which realistically should be the industry standard, not the exception. IDW (Idea & Design Works) skews toward $4 or $5, and always has, largely because of licensing fees that the publisher has to pay.
3) Stupid editorial ideas. Take for example what Marvel did with Spider-Man. Editor-in-Chief Joe Quesada decided that after 20+ years of marriage, the web-head wasn't meant to be that way, so he had Peter (Spider-Man) Parker's marriage to Mary Jane Watson, an event unto itself in the late 80's, erased via a deal with Marvel's figurehead representation of the Devil. That's just one of the lame ideas that Marvel, formerly nicknamed "The House of Ideas", foisted upon the readers. Another one was clearly meant for shock value. The Rawhide Kid, a Western hero who'd been around since the Silver Age, was depicted as being gay in a poorly received miniseries. What Quesada is looking for, besides a few extra dollars at the checkout counter, is media attention. Let's not even get started with all the historical shuffling DC has done with someone like Hawkman. You think Rubik's Cube is challenging? Trying to make sense of "retroactive continuity" (retcon) would actually require a college degree and a private investigator's license.
4) It's not fun anymore. This actually ties into #2. I just can't shell out $3-4 per book on a weekly/monthly basis anymore. It got to the point where I finally said to myself, enough is enough. If they could roll back prices like Walmart and bring the standard cover price back to the levels they were 15-20 years ago, maybe I'm still in the game. I've had people try to tell me that I will get back into it. No, I won't. Not at this stage. It may be that the only time I actually indulge myself will in fact be at Free Comic Book Day, if at all. Coming up on 20 months and counting.
I will still check out comics-related blogs, mostly because that's where the fun is now, and read the solicitations of coming releases on the 'net, just in case there's something that might pique my curiosity, and that doesn't happen very often. I realize that comics has become big business, and as such, the bottom line at the corporate level is the motivating factor behind a lot of the "events" that are on the racks now. I can remember when I spent 12 cents for 1 book, and if it was a continued story, I couldn't get the next issue if the local distributor didn't deliver it to the corner store. That was the breaks of the game then. Today, I'd rather swim against the tide and hold on to the memories I have of simpler continuities and done-in-one stories.