The recent announcement about the impending changes to the Marvel Universe
has served to drive home something I've known for a while, but haven't truly unpacked and considered until now. For those not following the state of Marvel comics, it was announced last week that the primary Marvel continuity (the 616, as it's commonly referred to) will be destroyed at the beginning of the upcoming Secret Wars event, and a 'Battleworld' will be stitched together from chunks of that Marvel Earth and dozens of alternate Earths. Supposedly this change is intended to be permanent and will be the setting for Marvel comics going forward.
It's possible, of course, that this will end up going the way of Heroes Reborn and the changes will be walked back. I fully believe, however, that Marvel really is intending to try and make this the new status quo especially after DC's linewide reboot a few years ago. Either way, come May neither of the main super-hero universes I grew up with will exist any longer. Both will have been replaced with newer, 'fresher' versions.
This serves to really drive home the message that I am no longer the target demographic they're after, and I haven't been for a while now. At 37, I no longer qualify as a young adult, and my habits aren't what's driving the decisions big media companies are making. You see the same thing with movies, where properties like Transformers and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles have been re-imagined in ways that are utterly unappealing to me. Why should I expect them to appeal to me? They're not for me; they're for the teenagers and young adults of today.
This isn't to say that no one is making media for me. Certainly nostalgia has been big in recent years, and there are plenty of cool Kickstarters and indie projects aimed squarely at us children of the 80s. But the big companies, the Disneys and Warner Brothers, the EAs and Sonys, they've moved on. Any interest of mine in their products is now a happy bonus for them, not the goal.
It would be easy to become bitter and rail against the perceived injustice of this abandonment, but that would hardly do me any good, and it certainly wouldn't be healthy. Thanks to the internet, niche products can survive and thrive, so there will always be new things for me to read and watch and play, I'll just have to look a little harder to find them. And I'll have to learn to let go of the things that are no longer for me. I'm going to continue reading Marvel's books at least until Secret Wars, and then I'll have a decision to make. It's possible I'll decide that this new direction is something I enjoy and want to follow, but I don't find that likely. If it's not, I'll have to close the book on Marvel and move on. It's good to know when to let things go.