Mike Sterling at Progressive Ruin (Hi, Mikefans!) recently allowed as how the recent reboot of the Flash has prompted him to give up on a character he's been following for two decades. This realization has, in turn, inspired him to consider what makes us follow a particular title. What characters or titles did we follow for years, then ultimately, reluctantly drop, and why? What characters, if any, would we continue to follow no matter what?
There was a time I felt obligated to follow everything I could. Oddly, this period matched the period in which my parents were subsidizing my buying habits. Once it became my money I was spending, I cut back significantly, often discarding the hobby completely for months or years at a time.
I used to be a huge Spider-Man fan, but the clone saga was too much for me. It was Straczynski who brought me back to Spider-Man, and then started nudging me away with the Spider-totem. He finished the job by having had Gwen Stacy and Norman Osborn bump uglies, a character decision that still doesn't feel right to me. Norman would do it, just so he could tell Peter all about it later if for no other reason. (And, after all, it was Gwen flippin' Stacy.) But I can't think of any good reason on Stan's green earth for Gwen to have done it.
That is, I think what happens is that I'm attracted to a character for the writing (that is, how the character is handled and developed over time), and I drop a book when either (a) I cease to care how the stories resolve, or (b) the character begins to act in ways that appear to be OUT OF character (as I define it). The Clone Saga ran me away from Spider-Man for reason (a): JMS brought me back when he made Pete a teacher and let Aunt May discover The Secret: Sins Past ran me away again for reason (b).
Civil War is making me interested again, but so far not interested enough to actually buy it.
I was a big DC fan back in the middle and late Silver age, but when Vince Colletta became their art director, everything began to look like Vince Colletta. Crisis was a opeful sign, but I always felt like they kept the wrong earth. Identity Crisis, of all things, brought me back, and the ongoing drive to use every character they own is fascinating to watch. (Detective Chimp? Cat-Man? Dr. Thirteen? Captain Comet? Command-D?)