I love comic book stores. I love comic books. But I don't think I'm alone in my disdain for the modern comic book industry. Mostly over the last 5-10 years. I killed my pull list about 8 years ago. I did keep one comic on it for a while longer but ended that and completely stopped going to my LCS a few years ago also. I used to drive 30-40 minutes one way every week and spend upwards of $400 a month, sometimes more on comic books. Now I spend $0 unless I get the itch to hunt some silver-bronze age issues I'm missing.
Why did I stop?
There are a lot of reasons. Today's writing/direction is all pretty terrible IMO. Creators have basically become activists non-stop and it is annoying. I'll never forget being relatively new to Twitter and following my favorite writer of all time. Non-stop political drivel. "They" are basically driving American comic books off a cliff and do not care. I'll just leave that at that for now, don't want to ramble on about controversial issues, but there is more than just the cultural and political differences that make me not want to collect modern comic books.
I was in the nearest Dollar Tree with my wife. She was trying to find coloring books for our niece's birthday. And I notice... they have some Disney comic books. (Excuse the bad picture.)
For those not familiar, everything in the store is $1 pretty much (though they recently made it all $1.25... inflation!) So these comic books are literally $1, maybe $1.25 brand new.
They have to be crap right? I mean Disney owns Marvel and cover prices on regular comics are what now? 3.99, 4.99, 5.99?
Holy crap the physical quality of these are good. They are 100% full color, glossy pages, and thick quality paper. The cover paper stock alone was better than any comic book I have ever seen. The interior pages were actually every bit as good as regular comic book COVER paper quality. To make it even worse, I'm not even sure it is shorter than regular comic books. When I flipped through it I didn't pay a lot of attention but I don't think there were any ads at all! So the actual content may have been standard length, though overall pages were a little bit less.
So even with advertisements, regular comic books are 3-6x the price of these higher quality Disney comic books at the Dollar Tree.
So what is my point?
It is not just the cultural and political divide that people like me have quit buying comic books over. They're honestly just not worth it anymore. The quality of the content is bad. The quality of the product is bad. I'm just not going to pay the asking price for the product anymore. When I enjoyed the content I was happy to overlook the physical quality, even though sometimes it was really bad, because it was $2.99 or so. But even if I did like what they were doing now I don't know if I would find it worth the price they're asking.
I don't entirely hate everything that is going on in comic books today. The modern art in particular is pretty incredible. I also like a lot of the newer character designs. It is just too bad they're written so terribly...
I miss my LCS. I miss collecting comic books. But what exists right now is not what I miss. What I miss does not exist anymore.