Since my favorite comic character, Green Lantern (Kyle Rayner) was killed off last week, I was inspired to post my thoughts on modern comics…
I’ve been a comic book reader for years. I first started back in the 80’s, became a hard-core collector in the 90’s, and continue to this day every Wednesday to get my weekly stash. The biggest draw that comics had for me when I first discovered them was that they had a fun sense of adventure. Colorful superheroes had a huge impact on me and I still love ’em.
But now-a-days, comic books are a serious matter. Gone are the carefree days when heroes always came out on top. Both Marvel and DC have gotten so dark, Marvel has even named all their comics “Dark” this and “Dark” that. And DC’s big cross-over event this year is “Blackest Night”. Most main stream comics have gotten too dark for me, and I’ve gradually had to drop all kinds of titles from my pull-list.
In a way, it does save me money every week. I mean, c’mon, four bucks for a comic!!! Luckily, the few issues I continue to collect are still hanging on to the $2.99 price point. In case you’re wondering, the titles I’m still loyal to are:
Green Lantern, Green Lantern Corps, Nova, Guardians of the Galaxy, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, Star Wars: Legacy
That’s pretty much all I can afford. These titles are still fun for me, but even they can get a bit dark at times. I used to get Spider-Man, X-Men, Avengers, Superman, Flash, Justice League, etc… All kinds of titles that had plenty of fun and adventure.
Not any more…
I guess that after 9-11, when the terrorists made Dr. Doom cry in Amazing Spider-Man #36, (you know, the one with the all-black cover that addressed the tragedy in the Marvel Universe), comic book companies decided that “fun-time” was over. Time to get serious!
The problem I have, is that most comic book super heroes were created years ago and were considered light-hearted, escapist entertainment. They wore vibrant, colorful costumes and always defeated the bizarre villains they encountered. Those comics made me feel good after I read them.
After I read DC’s “Blackest Knight” #1, I felt sick! The violence alone made me nauseous. Somewhere along the line, the tide turned and super villains became ultra powerful. Now they defeat the good guys practically at every turn!
Anyway, the thing that just doesn’t work for me is that these costumed characters that have been around since the 60’s seem out of place in such dark settings. Who would have ever thought that a DC villain called Dr. Light, who used his light powers to rob banks in the old days, would have gone on to rape Elongated-Man’s wife, causing the DC heroes to have an “Identity Crisis”!?! Or that a small time Marvel villain named Nitro from who-knows-where, would have nuked a bunch of school kids, plummeting the Marvel heroes into a “Civil War”!?!
The code-names, crazy powers and costumes seem silly now in such serious stories. Just imagine if this dialogue had been featured in a 1960’s comic:
“I am Dr. Light! The world shall tremble before the awesome might of my light ray powers! What to do, what to do. I know, I think I’ll go rape Elongated-Man’s wife!”
It just doesn’t work!
I will admit, I don’t mind giving comics a bit more maturity than they were given in the “Golden” and “Silver” ages. I just feel that the writers of modern comics are taking things further than I am interested in.
Here are some examples that are depressing me from the past few years worth of modern comic continuity; in Marvel, Iron-Man hates Captain America, Spider-Man loses his marriage with Mary Jane to a demon, Captain America gets killed… Then over in DC, Batman gets fried by Darksied, Superboy and Kid Flash both bite the big one, and countless other DCU heroes are currently getting there hearts literally torn out of their bodies by Black Lanterns in “Blackest Night”… I was so pissed to find out that my boy Aquaman died at some point and is now a zombie! WTF!?!
Things have gotten so dark, I just don’t see comic companies returning to a happier tone without a complete re-boot. When I read a comic, I don’t want to be reminded that the world can suck. I read comics to escape reality. I want to see the characters I love reading about enjoy their lives. Shouldn’t being a super hero be fun? When I was a kid, I used to daydream I had super powers. Hell, I would never want to be super hero these days! Tragedy and suffering would be all I’d encounter.
Please, Marvel and DC, let the super heroes have their fun back!