Rant III (aka "Even More Reasons Comics Can't Change Their Image")
By Glenn Carter
Part V: Superheroes - The Final Solution
Let us all just face up to a few facts. A few little things that everyone who's interested in comics knows but most won't admit to themselves. Things we all have to be realistic about.
Much as we all love superheroes, they have to go. It is a requirement for comics to mature past the stuff of adolescent power fantasy to a mature and developed medium. That's the main reason why I propose a bit of superhero culling.
There are, of course, other good reasons for dispatching a few of our superheroes. Currently 90% of all comics are about superheroes and, aside from a few attempts by Alan Moore etc. the basic concept of them hasn't really changed since Superman, so my question is, isn't it all starting to get a bit old? We all know they've run out of ideas and are just rehashing old ones so what's the bloody point?
The worst offender is, of course, the X-Men. They've had one basic plotline since their conception and they've never really deviated from it. That old, muties against the Humans and prejudice, chestnut. They even split the original X-Men comic into many to further exploit the rather dumb readers of it, who don't realize that whenever they do a new issue no. 1 it’s just part of a shallow marketing ploy. Marvel realized long ago is that people are far more willing to buy an issue one - because they think it'll someday be valuable, so do as many number ones as possible. Eventually they'll make every single comic they make a number one. Why do think there are so many X titles now? X-Factor, X-Mutants, Generation-X, X-Man, X-Men, X-this, X-that. Doesn't this just grate a little bit? Personally, I find X-Comics fucking tedious.
Anyway, that's a whole other rant, the point of this one is to demonstrate how superheroes damage the reputation of comics and I've gone off on a tangent. Sorry.
The point is that, by and large, superhero stuff is puerile, unbelievable and stupid. The plots are often thin, the scripts are largely badly written and they are mostly all-out action affairs lacking in depth, characterization and other qualities that adults need to pay attention to a media.
One thing is, that mature readers require a little more depth than a black and white "goodies vs. baddies" concept and superhero stuff is utterly unsuitable as a vehicle for more in-depth and intellectual stuff. At a time when comics really need these things in order to progress, the spandex and superpowers have to go.
I won't deny there are some good quality superhero tales. I can't fault "The Dark Knight Returns", "Watchmen" or "A Killing Joke", but the shit really needs to separated from the quality for any appreciation of superheroes to happen, and it is getting harder and harder to find ANY quality. So that leaves all the shit. We don't need them, get rid of them. Let them meet their end in unpleasant ways and let comics get past their pre-teen and teenage roots.
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