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Author Topic: Is it even desirable at this point for the Multiverse to return?  (Read 16427 times)
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jamespup
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« Reply #48 on: January 31, 2007, 02:27:56 AM »

What was really strange, was that when i first clicked on these links, an Archie comic came up.....with gasoline at $1.30 something

oh, ok, I see them now

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« Reply #49 on: January 31, 2007, 10:00:54 AM »

in terms of hideous fashoin statements, Vartox's outfit, reminiscent of Mr. Slave from South Park, has all the nineties guys beat hands down.

Touche.  A poorly advised attempt to do a "timely" costume design based on a Sean Connery outfit from a sci-fi movie.  On the other hand, for sheer variety and weirdness, Vartox's costume and "patch" are unique, and are not emblematic of a culture obsessed with morbidity and violence like the fashions I described.  They are both in bad taste, but Curt Swan's Vartox displays a bad taste culled from a culture of libidinal freedom and self-expression (or at least a middle-aged corporate cartoonist's version of same).

I don't want to tar the entire Iron Age with same brush --Jerry Ordway has certainly done some charming, consistent, and relatively clean-lined art for kids comics (heck, even some of the covers by other artists that Super-Monkey linked to display great design, simple lines, etc).  And certainly previous Ages had their share of bad or ugly art --although there seemed to be more of an effort to maintain not only a "House Style" (not always for the good) but also to cultivate better and more professional cartoonists on the part of the editors.  And let's not forget the Comics Code and the idea of intended audience (not that Superman comics pre-1956 were really at the heart of the moral panic over crime comics, despite a few mentions in Seduction of the Innocent).

I think we may be speaking at cross-purposes: I'm not saying that ridiculous elements of super-hero comics (from any Age) undermine the entire concept of superhero comics or my ability to enjoy superhero comics per se.  Just that the chief visual sign of superhero comics (superhero costumes) serve to undermine more complex narratives intended for a teenage and older educated audience. 

There really is a problem with an audience that can't appreciate quality science fiction, fantasy, adventure, or crime comics (to name only a few genres) unless the characters are wearing some version of a superhero costume and the stories take place in a shared universe inhabited by similarly-clad characters.  This is the state of the traditional comic book marketplace today and for the last 30 years.  An ever-shrinking marketplace that is not renewing itself and appeals disproportionately to nostalgically conservative older readers.  Gladly, young people are still seeking out stories (science fiction, fantasy, etc) told using comics --the majority of them are just not being published by the traditional publishers or by their imitators.

Related: Thanks to film, the interweb, the early-90s comic glut, and a general culture of nerdiness, there are probably more potential superhero-literate readers in existence right now than there have been in 50 years.  That doesn't mean that the superhero comics industry should cater almost exclusively to a fan culture.  I can quote chapter and verse comics trivia (through osmosis I even know more about the Iron Age than I want to), and appreciate the few well-crafted comics that also contain a hefty dose of knowing references to Silver Age lore (whether formally deconstructive, parodic or more seemingly heartfelt as in All-Star Superman), but I don't think I should have to in order to enjoy the latest offerings from DC.  We should not be the ideal readers of this stuff.  We should be the exceptions, no? : Wink
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JulianPerez
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« Reply #50 on: February 08, 2007, 06:51:15 AM »

Quote from: TELLE
On the other hand, for sheer variety and weirdness, Vartox's costume and "patch" are unique, and are not emblematic of a culture obsessed with morbidity and violence like the fashions I described.  They are both in bad taste, but Curt Swan's Vartox displays a bad taste culled from a culture of libidinal freedom and self-expression (or at least a middle-aged corporate cartoonist's version of same).

What was that quote in RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK?

"Take this watch - worthless. But bury it for a thousand years...ah!"

Quote from: TELLE
There really is a problem with an audience that can't appreciate quality science fiction, fantasy, adventure, or crime comics (to name only a few genres) unless the characters are wearing some version of a superhero costume and the stories take place in a shared universe inhabited by similarly-clad characters.  This is the state of the traditional comic book marketplace today and for the last 30 years.

Yes, this is true. But the fact superheroes are so popular can't be held against them (or their fans).

It bothers me that a lot of creators (Warren Ellis, Keno Don Rosa and Scott MacLeod come to mind) have a passive-aggressive distaste for superguys because of how big the superhero genre is.

Quote from: TELLE
Related: Thanks to film, the interweb, the early-90s comic glut, and a general culture of nerdiness, there are probably more potential superhero-literate readers in existence right now than there have been in 50 years. 

I disagree, because of how widespread so-called fan interest things like movie monsters and science fiction have become in the greater culture, comics are no longer that unique: they have to compete with X-Box and the Sci-Fi cable channel.

Compare that to the situation in the past where, if you were a science fiction fan, the only place you could get your fix for movie monsters was on late late night local shows.

In the past, the only place you could really get superheroes was in comics. Some of the superhero shows were on television (Wonder Woman, Superman) but let's face it, those shows were pretty LAME. Comics on the other hand, had an infinite special effects budget: if you wanted to get the "true" super-experience, you pick up comic books because they're the only medium that gives you "proper" superheroism.

Nowadays, however, big-budget movies can give you an experience as great as any of the comics.

Quote from: TELLE
That doesn't mean that the superhero comics industry should cater almost exclusively to a fan culture. 

I both agree and disagree. Yes, I agree in theory with the statement that there should be a comic out there for everybody.

HOWEVER, there is nothing whatsoever wrong with comics that appeal to the strengths of the fan audience. Just ask LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES, TEEN TITANS, X-MEN, ALL-STAR SQUADRON, or AVENGERS.

Also, you talk about "appeal to a fan culture" as if it and widespread popularity are mutually exclusive characteristics...and they're not. Isn't there a comic that can be both for the diehards and average people? The answer is yes, and they have been:  Kurt Busiek's AVENGERS was just about the top-selling comic of its day yet it was beloved by both Average Joe Comics Reader and hardcore Avengers diehards like Yours Truly.
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« Reply #51 on: February 08, 2007, 05:26:10 PM »

Quote from: TELLE
Thanks to film, the interweb, the early-90s comic glut, and a general culture of nerdiness, there are probably more potential superhero-literate readers in existence right now than there have been in 50 years.

I disagree, because of how widespread so-called fan interest things like movie monsters and science fiction have become in the greater culture, comics are no longer that unique: they have to compete with X-Box and the Sci-Fi cable channel.
[...]
Nowadays, however, big-budget movies can give you an experience as great as any of the comics.

This is what I meant by the above.  There are more people who could appreciate superhero comics (or other media representations of superheroes) because there are more people knowledgeable about superheroes.

Quote from: TELLE
That doesn't mean that the superhero comics industry should cater almost exclusively to a fan culture. 

I both agree and disagree. Yes, I agree in theory with the statement that there should be a comic out there for everybody.

HOWEVER, there is nothing whatsoever wrong with comics that appeal to the strengths of the fan audience. Just ask LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES, TEEN TITANS, X-MEN, ALL-STAR SQUADRON, or AVENGERS.

Also, you talk about "appeal to a fan culture" as if it and widespread popularity are mutually exclusive characteristics...and they're not. Isn't there a comic that can be both for the diehards and average people? The answer is yes, and they have been:  Kurt Busiek's AVENGERS was just about the top-selling comic of its day yet it was beloved by both Average Joe Comics Reader and hardcore Avengers diehards like Yours Truly.

Both are subsets of the superhero comics fan culture.  I agree that there is nothing really wrong with both general-interest superhero comics (Busiek's Avengers, All-Star Superman) and extremely arcane fan-fic miniseries about what happened between issue 53 and 54 of some now-cancelled comic starring a group of mutant rollerskates from the Disco era that you need a decoder ring to figure out.  My point was only that it seems that simple superhero comics for kids, or teen science fiction (or fantasy, or crime, or ninja, or sports) comics would go over even bigger to an even bigger audience.

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Great Rao
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« Reply #52 on: February 08, 2007, 10:56:57 PM »


Nowadays, however, big-budget movies can give you an experience as great as any of the comics.


I disagree.  One of the reasons I have been disapointed with most Super-Hero films is that aside from a few enjoyable exceptions (like The Shadow or The Phantom, where the big-studio moguls weren't calling the shots) is that they have been limited by imagination.

The Fantastic Four movie didn't have an invasion of monsters from the center of the Earth, led by a myopic little man; nor an interstellar Entity trying the eat the planet - The Superman movies haven't shown Superman shrinking and dropping into an incredibly advanced miniature city (imagine that in live action!), they haven't shown any wonders inside his Fortress - we finally get to see a Fortress in a movie, and what's in it?  NOTHING!  How pointless!  Nor have they shown any intergalactic threats; no alien civilizations; no mermaid romances, nada!  The time travel has been lame - why not travel 1,000 years into the future, or into the past?  How about a million years?  How about some space exploration?  Visit another solar system or galaxy or try some dimensional travel.  Would Superman flying in space have some sort of hyperspace effect like the Millenium Falcon does?  They haven't even shown him go up against any Nazis in WWII!  At least Captain America had that much!  Where are the giant robots?  The interplanetary Zoo?  The space fleet attacking Earth? The Kryptonian Thought Beast?  Brainiac stealing New York City?  The Sun-Eater?  With all this supposedly great FX technology, they could show so many incredible things from any era or from any time or place in this Universe or any other - and what do we get?  A bald man with an inferiority complex.
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« Reply #53 on: February 09, 2007, 12:06:00 AM »


The Fantastic Four movie didn't have an invasion of monsters from the center of the Earth, led by a myopic little man;

No, but the Incredibles did! Smiley
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« Reply #54 on: February 09, 2007, 12:11:03 AM »

Quote from: TELLE
This is what I meant by the above.  There are more people who could appreciate superhero comics (or other media representations of superheroes) because there are more people knowledgeable about superheroes.

The problem isn't awareness. because science fiction adventure is and always has been a "niche." The problem is, at the moment, comics have competition and that wasn't true even a decade ago.

What your saying is, "superhero comics are doing something wrong, because look at all these people with an interest in superheroes thanks to movies, etc."

Well, maybe. But superhero comics aren't unique as they once were and just because there's interest doesn't mean people will look at the source material. When George Pal proclaimed in the 1960s that one day, science fiction/fantasy movies would be among the highest grossing films, he was laughed at: that was the mentality until recent times. Even the over the top elements that previously only artists could show us, can now be duplicated by movie special effects budgets.

To say nothing of video games. Now people can go from reading about people bashing each other to being the person that is giving the bashings.

Comics have to compete with a science fiction saturated world where science fiction novels go to the bestseller list, and there's an entire channel exclusively for science fiction.

In summary, the profusion of science fiction in our pop culture is bad, not good for comics.

Anyway, comics fandom has to really get out of the whole "comics are threatened" mentality...because they're not: THE ONION AV CLUB gives regular coverage to ONE YEAR LATER. Roger Stern, when he first started working in comic books in the 1980s, thought comics weren't going to last for two more years, and he was off by about 25 years and counting. Superhero comics outlasted the pulp novel and the radio show. They're not going anywhere.
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« Reply #55 on: February 09, 2007, 04:17:29 AM »


What your saying is, "superhero comics are doing something wrong, because look at all these people with an interest in superheroes thanks to movies, etc."

Yes.

Quote
Well, maybe. But superhero comics aren't unique as they once were and just because there's interest doesn't mean people will look at the source material.

I agree --I think efforts to piggyback on movie success are misguided and historically doomed to failure, the exception being the bump Batman and Superman got when successful tv shows drew kids to the newstand.  A similar effect happened in the 80s with GIJoe/Transformers and today with the cartoon network and anime/manga sales (Bleach, Naruto):
http://precur.wordpress.com/2006/10/30/twice-in-a-lifetime/

But this is tv, not movies.  Adults intrigued by superhero movies will not find cultural happiness in the traditional comic shop.  Maybe in the mass marketing DC or Marvel does to the bookstore crowd.

Quote
When George Pal proclaimed in the 1960s that one day, science fiction/fantasy movies would be among the highest grossing films, he was laughed at: that was the mentality until recent times.

From the 1960s to 1977 and the dominance of the Star Wars paradigm, a short 17 years, at most.  That was 30 years ago.

Quote
In summary, the profusion of science fiction in our pop culture is bad, not good for comics.

Yes, sf shows up the problems in modern superhero comics --I just think there should be more sci-fi comics, considering. 

Quote
Superhero comics outlasted the pulp novel and the radio show. They're not going anywhere.

Their audience just continues to shrink and the genre becomes more decadent.
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