Letting Go of Superman: Popularity of Superheroes Might Ruin Comics

It’s that time of the year again. NYC Comic-Con is coming to town.

So prepare yourself. You are likely going to see someone in the train holding Thor’s hammer, wearing Batman’s cape or sporting the Doctor’s bowtie. Possibly someone having all three.

The fact that we now live in a world where there are massive Comic-Cons in both coasts, widely covered by various outlets (including by ReviewFix, just keep that in mind), is further evidence that as comic-scribe Warren Ellis recently said, “Geek hasn’t beaten the mainstream, it’s the new iteration of the mainstream.”

It’s weird to imagine there was a time in my life when I questioned if we’d ever see our favorite comics adapted to the big screen, inside television shows or into games.

Now it’s a question of when. Other times the question is why do it? I’ve found myself sometimes not even asking questions but making declarative statements like, “Please don’t. No mas, no mas.”

Nevertheless, in a world where actual comics no longer have the monopoly on superheroes, it’s logical to ask what superhero stories can comics now offer that the other mediums can’t. I mean, that’s got to be in the editors minds.

And if the past decade has been any indication the answer that DC and Marvel seem to have come up with is interlocking stories from different perspectives existing within a comprehensive fully realized universe.

You know, something epic or epic-ish.

Disregard for a moment how those event comics are used to drive in the money, sometimes appearing to be very gimmicky.

From another perspective, you have to admit that serialized comics do lend themselves to this storytelling strategy with different characters sporting their own titles all happening in the same world.

Arguably with the big two having such a large cast and so much history, no other establishment can tell those types of stories in a short amount of time and cheaply. So it’s almost doesn’t make sense not to do it except sometimes it really doesn’t make sense.

The proliferation of big event stories every year isn’t only causing event fatigue. It’s often causing terrible writing and probably having a hand at terrible management choices down at DC.

The aftermath stories that come out after can be worst than needless, or drawn out. They can be plain old unimaginative. (If I hear another schism within the X-men…)

And those retcons and revamps trying to keep the illusion of a fully realized world with consistent rules and a logical timeline often does the opposite and highlights the inconsistencies breaking the spell. I personally cannot believe I lived through two Crisises and one Flashpoint in just a few years.

I’m not saying don’t have events, crossovers and the like. I’m just saying do it right. And trying to write a world-shattering story that everyone can get in on shouldn’t get in the way of just writing a good story.

Remember, I can get my superhero fix other places now. I mean, there’s Batman Origins and maybe whatever else comes out at Comic-Con that’s ironically not comic books.

About Cesar R. Bustamante Jr. 29 Articles
Multimedia journalist with a special interest in data-viz & visual storytelling. Kind of a geek. crbustamantejr at gmail.com LinkedIn page http://lnkd.in/XHEKv6

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