Super? Maybe. Heroes? No way.

(This is a slightly altered version of an email I just sent to the subscribers’ list for my new comics subscription business, Jacey Services.)

Chris Sims has written a fantastically on-target review of a new book which celebrates the 75th anniversary of comics’ iconic superhero in a manner which reflects much of why mainstream superhero comics are becoming unreadable (hint: because they aren’t heroes any more).

For more contemporary evidence, see Marvel’s current Spider-Man run in which the villain who has done away with Peter Parker–yeah, right–is a better and more efficient hero than Parker ever was. Or watch Arrow on TV in which killing the bad guys is just what you do; the introduction of the Black Canary character began and ended with her snapping necks.

End of rant, Here’s the link.

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2 thoughts on “Super? Maybe. Heroes? No way.

  1. That’s an old story. Gwen Stacy dies. Antiheroes like Punisher and Wolverine arise with the “grim and gritty” period. Fans demand more dark and edgy. Creators get pissed and give them AzBat to show them how bad an idea this is. Kingdom Come explores the idea of a new wave of superheroes who kill the supervillains and comes to the conclusion that the old guard were doing it right. That theme gets rehashed a dozen times.

    Yet we’ve still got Superman flying around being Superman and we’ll soon be getting Peter Parker back (just in time for the next movie, of course) and the only thing holding Astro City back is that Kurt Buseik hasn’t been the same since he got sick. Sure, you can read dark and edgy if that’s what you want. But there’s a lot of variety out there. Sure, things and characters change and evolve, but they’ve always done so. And yet, even as Batman has gone from wielding a gun to pulp detective to campy fun to having strange adventures in space to grim and brooding Dark Knight… he’s still managed to somehow always be essentially Batman.

  2. As for the article… the point is that the editor of the book cherry picked a certain type of story which is actually not representative, and did a poor job of it because he often cut out important chunks of material by only taking one issue out of a larger story. He was looking for important and iconic moments, and many of those involve villains either being introduced (they always get the upper hand when that happens) or having an usual triumph (which is remarkable specifically because it isn’t the norm). Maybe the book could have been put together better, but it seems to me the whole point of the article is that it’s not truly representative.

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