Saturday, April 18, 2015

About this Superhero thing...

Ramblings Post #289
Peter Parker is Spiderman. Period. I know the kids really like Miles Morales, but let’s just keep our heads here people. For a less iconic superhero I might be okay with a change – see all them damn Green Lanterns – but Spiderman is more than a suit and powers. He’s the original hard luck hero.  The hero with bills. With great power comes great responsibility. And there are just some stories that should not change. Omigod, I cannot believe I just wrote that.

I love comic books.

I started reading comic books back when they cost fifty cents and every plot didn’t involve tearing the universe asunder or a galaxy spanning conspiracy. Back when Spiderman was referred to as “your friendly neighborhood Spiderman” and good and evil were a bit more cut and dried. And I was more of a Marvel guy than a DC guy as well, as I thought them more grounded. Even so, I moved on from the big titles to smaller ones as I grew older, the smaller titles usually less grandiose in their ideas of what villainy might be, where every scheme didn’t involve global domination. I’d still pick the stalwarts though from time to time to stay current – Spiderman, Batman, Wolverine, the occasional mini-series or trade paperback. I dabbled more than anything.
But as of today I think a little movie success has caused them folks at Marvel to lose their minds.

In setting up their new Once a year super crossover “hey, let’s get you interested in a another character so you’ll buy that book too!” you got to be kidding me jeez not again with this crap again Spectacular, they’re going to so far as to stop printing thirty three regular titles. Sigh. I’ve never really been one for the retcon – the comic book writer habit of rewriting years of established history to fit the story they came up with last week – but this is one for the books. (that pun was not on purpose.) Reading through the promo I’m not even sure how it all fits together, and I'm not even sure I want to find out.

I bought the first Secret Wars series, which made sense to some degree, taking all the top end superheroes and facing them off against the high end super villains away from the billions in destruction they would have surely cause on Earth. Okay, it made comic book sense. It gave us Venom and Carnage and new character arcs. The second Secret Wars kinda made sense as well, the impetus behind the first Secret Wars coming to Earth, although it might be better executed with the broader scope writers of today are afforded. But this monstrosity of crossover, I'm like really? This is a complete and total exodus of the idea of subtle and nuanced for the grandiose demonstration... which if you're paying attention will be undone three years from now in another grandiose demonstration. I understand crossover pollination, but damn. I'm scared to go the Comic Book store and get caught up in this mess.

It's like the Hollywood mentality is taking over comic books and not the other way around. Comics are a hard medium to write for, as the characters are so firmly established. And the nature of the medium means the world can't be at stake every month, you have to build up to things. Film by comparison is short, picks and chooses from the canon what it wants to use and seemingly necessitates the spectacular with every outing. This is both tiring and messy for the fan to watch even as we're excited to see our favorites come to life. And now it seems like those film directors who didn't understand the characters they've been handed are infecting the writers and editors who were passed down the characters they were supposed to care for that we've come to love.

I want comics to get back to stories that developed character and involved small things, or at least didn't involve extra dimensions and six different clones every issue. A little skirmish. Every battle need not be World War Three in fifteen pages to be interesting. Maybe I got spoiled. Or maybe I just need to stick with the independents and the small stories.

Just one more Spidey though. I can quit anytime.

Barkeep. A mixing bowl, a spoon, a big box of Rice Krispies, some sugar and milk. Seriously.

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