Ok so it's a been a while since I had a good rant, lol I really do try to avoid them these days, but i've read some stuff this week that's boiled over a bit. the first is this article on Mark Millar's new comics/entertainment magazine called CLiNT. [link]
Now it's not a bad article by any means, and I don't think it was intended to attack what I'm about to mention but I just didn't like the under-tones of it. It pretty much said that stuff like Kick-Ass could only be enjoyed by a certain less mature age group. as if to say once you get in your 40's there's no way this magazine or comic could relate to you and if it did it's some lower form of storytelling. And I see this alot, action stories can't possibly be meaningful or critically acclaimed. especially ones involving characters in spandex. it's as if the notion to even dream of someone being noble enough to attempt such ridiculous and non-normal feats is very adolescent. The only way that it becomes successful is if it's scrutinized and made "real", i.e. Watchmen. the only superheroic tale that's given literary merit. And what does Watchmen say about heroes, that if they were real their heroic ideals would all be corrupted by human shortcomings, and that the only way they could save the world is through a lie. Now there is the ending with Rorshach's info getting to the papers but honestly in a comic that tropes realism and a world where Ozymandias is much more respected and powerful than the convicted and insane, Rorshach, do you honestly think that article will have that much of an effect. Hell Ozymandias probably owns the paper that was going to print it anyway.
Now I'm not saying Watchmen wasn't great or a monumental necessity for the capes and spandex world. Just that why does it have to be the only one that people truly respect. Sure Kingdom Come, Dark Knight Returns, and Batman Year One, gets alot of nods. But not on the Watchmen level. and to be honest I wish they did, cause at least the message in those is that heroic ideals can work. that in spite of some of the horrible things that can happen because of them, heroes' crazy goals can lead to good things. That men and women can achieve such silly dreams. So what's so juvenile about that. Why does being an adult mean you can't accept such things. And on a side note I think there's been a good bit of superheroic storytelling that's just as good as Watchmen but without the nihilistic context. Comics like Warren Ellis' Authority and Nextwave, and Morrison's Final Crisis and definitely All Star Superman. Now with these four series we have a good spectrum of superheroic view points. Ellis work is cynical but still says these ideals can work. While Morrison's are completely optimistic that even in reality's crumbling due to a dying dark god, the heroes still fight to save it all. Or like in all star Superman, where Superman upon finding out that he's dying, does everything in his power to leave the world a better place, wrapping up his human ties, i.e. telling lois who he is. dealing with his father's death, and well just not being whiny, negative, and super-introspective about it all.
Ok well that was a tangent, but back on track. so then i read this article [link]
about an anonymous, possibly big time comics writer's lamenting on the state of mainstream comics. and i get it, not every book superhero book is good. or great. But why is it the one entertainment medium that's supposed to be so dang-gum perfect. It's like every book is supposed to open the door to super-heroic enlightenment. lol i'm sorry that you can't go into any shop and pick up a random book and it not be gold. But then again when can you ever do that. You surely don't go to a bookstore thinking the first random book you pick is going to be great. But in super-comics good lord they're all supposed to be good apparently. And that's the bias I'm talking about. everyone's looking for the next Watchmen and if it doesn't meet that standard then it's crap. (ok that was a bit extreme but you get what i'm saying) The sad part is that there are alot great superhero books out right and I really think the average one is written alot better than the average of the past. Now what alot of them lack is imaginative and often crazy ridiculous concepts of the silver and golden ages. Ya know stuff like Superman's new mermaid girlfriend or Batman's shark repellent. Things that added random fun to the issues. Of course the downside to this is that that's all those stories could be, fun, useless one or 2 issue romps but nothing too serious. and the problem with modern books is that it often gets wayyyyy to serious and real, but then again that's the lasting effect of Watchmen again, things have to be more "real" now. And honestly i think the answer lies in between the fun concepts of the past mixed with the realism of Watchmen. Hence why I think books like all star Superman and Nextwave are sooo good. but anyway my point is that no other genre of comics has to stand up to such scrutiny. Of course not every super-book you read is going to be good, but the same could be said for indy books, manga, mini-comics, etc. I've said this for years but there's good and bad comics in all genres.
So what Im saying is either give superhero books a break or please hold the other genres to such scrutiny.
And to end this on a more positive note, here's a great article about Mark Millar's run on Fantastic Four. I truly love when superhero books are critically analyzed with respect and not with condemnation. [link]
Ok long rant complete.
Super-cool points for reading this.