Tuesday, September 20, 2005

"Comic heroes used to smile."

There's a great series of posts in the Retailer Talkback section of icv2.com about the content of modern comic books, pricing, the marketplace...quite a few good ideas in there.

UPDATE: A wrapup of the discussion: http://icv2.com/articles/home/7551.html


KennKong said...

Interesting points in some of these, but largely I think it’s much ado about nothing. I recall that brief moment in comics hizzZZZtory in the late 80s-early 90s (?) with comic adaptations of The Ring (Wagner’s Opera, not the goofy horror thing), The Hobbit, James Bond, etc.

It was an attempt to get more ‘literary’ with the comic bookys and I think it pretty much failed. I recall the days of yesteryore with Classics Illustrated (I still have my copy of Crime & Punishment somewhere—got mileage out of it in my AP English class, but I’ve always had a warm spot for prop comedy).

I guess my two cents tell me, the reason that Henry, and Archie comics and whatever else that isn’t selling and we aren’t seeing right now in our local comic shops is because no one wants a steady diet of that. The heart wants what it wants and what it wants right now is gritty comics. Live with it.

And part of the reason is in the action. Action is easy to assimilate even if it is redundant or rehashed. Something like Calvin & Hobbes as a comic? Yeah, you’d read that for two, maybe three issues and you’d drop it, because it has no real resonance.

Complain about diversity all you want, but that’s not the way business works, and I doubt anyone howling for it would support it in the long run. It’s just not the way things work.

I think a lot of the old timer’s complaining and harkening back to the days of old has more to do with what they ‘think’ they remember about how good comics were ‘back when’ rather than the reality. The Western is dead and so are the comics these guys are pining away for. That is unfortunate, perhaps, but it is also reality.

Now, look at titles like Ex Machina – there is real drama on those panels and it’s almost too good to be a comic.

Part of the problem with Marvel and DC is the ever-expanding world of heroes. The idea that the titles are all copying each other is valid and it is due in part to the attempts at breathing life into old characters that are essentially the same as three or four other characters who are the same as two very popular characters, and so on. Trim the waste from the ‘universe’ and be done. This recent work at DC, for example, with Identity Crisis and Villains United et al., while well done, illustrates this problem—they’ve dug out all the nothing villains and heroes and brought them to the fore in what amounts to a big marketing to-do to generate interest in a bunch of B-list bozos. Who wants ‘em? Not me. I’ve always believed the ‘universes’ on both sides were too big to maintain their own weight, and it spawns ridiculous characters like Namor and Aquaman (and worse—do you really need Elongated Man AND Plastic Man????).

I guess my point is, if there’s some sort of grass-roots movement towards the tales of yesterday, then pony up and get what’s out there. Archie is still there. Ren & Stimpy, The Simpsons, etc., go buy them. Vote with your wallet.

Me, I’ll stick with Supreme Power and Conan.

Kaiju said...

I never got into the DC universe. Make Mine Marvel!

The last superhero book I read was probably Battle Hymn #1(I guess you could still call it a superhero book).


KennKong said...

Yeah, and BH #1 set us up, and then #2 and on have really let me down.

Here was a good start at 'revising' the Golden Age in my mind, but instead they wanted to immediately drag it down into the gutter. This has already been done in Watchmen and done much better there, I think.

I was really hoping for a gritty but patriotic tale, instead of another These Heroes Are All Too Human After All kinda treatment.

Yeah, we get it--people are shits, but not ALL people are shits, some are actually deserving to the term hero.

I digress and grumble (but BH really pissed me off).

I was always a DC guy, because of Bats and the many WWII comics they did (though I was also a big Magnus fan) as a kid.

But I gotta admit, DC really has a goofy presentation of its 'universe' and I find myself less concerned with it with each passing Marvel title I read.