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Author Topic: More info on Superman's new continuity  (Read 33204 times)
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JulianPerez
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« Reply #32 on: May 31, 2007, 12:48:00 PM »

Quote from: nightwing
A cute "what if," except that in the 40s the average comic reader was probably under 12, after which they moved on, something fans of today are simply unable to do. 

Editors of the time assumed their readership turned over every 7 years, and I'm betting they were right.  Today's publishers cater to 20- and 30-something true believers, which certainly guarantees an audience (if a small one), but it also guarantees you can never do anything daring or creative without generating a firestorm of protest from an army of armchair quarterbacks.

I don't think that's true. Teens and adults have always been a big portion of the audience for superhero comics even in the Good Old Days (TM).

The name of the work escapes me (it was one of those slim "coffee table" overviews of comics heroes), but there was the interesting claim that a major portion of the audience of the Silver Age JLA (and a big reason for that book's unreal popularity) were adults who remembered the original JSA, as well as the original characters the JLAers were Silver Age variations of. These guys were thrilled to see the heroes of their youth in action again.   

And you'll never believe how many of the letters pages of the original FF were from old-timers and G.I.'s reminiscing about when they first met Namor during the war, or about younger fans saying stuff like "I showed my Dad FF#6 and he thinks you guys are awesome!"

Absolutely there's a lot of turnover in readership, but there were even more adults that clutched their comics and never let their Moms throw them out. Among them Roy Thomas, Steve Gerber, and others that sent old issues of JSA and CATMAN AND KITTEN to each other through the mail.

One attitude I've never quite understood is the idea that today's fandom of teenagers, twentysomethings and thirtysomethings that love superhero comics is somehow something NEW that comics history's never seen before.

Stan Lee remembers IN THE SIXTIES going to colleges where counterculture kids made the Hulk the mascot of their dorm, and gave a special Marvel Achievement Award to one college kid that did his Volkswagen Beetle to look like the Thing's skin.

Quote from: TELLE
In 1986 I remember feeling, "Thanks Rao, I don't have to read superhero comics anymore and have my heart broken when a writer or artist leaves my fave series or a new artist who I used to like comes on board and radically changes everything the last team did."

Quote from: SuperMonkey
I remember feeling the way around 1986

Quote from: carmine
I remember in 1986 thinking "thank Rao I dont have to read comics anymore becuase they stop publishing superman. I can save all that money I used to waste!!!"

I'm calling B.S. on that, because at the time Crisis happened, it wasn't immediately known what the DC Universe was going to look like, and certainly not enough was known to have a giant drama "I AM LEAVING COMICS FOREVER" fagsplosion. At least, for those of us without psychic powers.

What's more, at the time when CRISIS happened, it just wasn't a big deal. I've mentioned this before, but a friend of mine told me that when CRISIS came out, nobody cared because everyone was paying attention to SECRET WARS.

What's more, the most popular DC comics, LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES and TEEN TITANS, were negligibly affected by CRISIS. And the two major characters that died in the CRISIS itself were a pair of (let's be honest here) has-beens: Barry Allen's book was canceled, and Supergirl had been a supporting character for nearly a decade at the time of her death.

It's easy with 20-20 hindsight to say what the ultimate effect CRISIS had was. But at the time, in '86? I doubt it. The majority of people I've spoken to about the '86 reboots of characters like Superman and Wonder Woman were optimistically curious and even excited...even if they grew to dislike the reboots later.
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davidelliott
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« Reply #33 on: May 31, 2007, 02:29:44 PM »

Quote from: carmine
I remember in 1986 thinking "thank Rao I dont have to read comics anymore becuase they stop publishing superman. I can save all that money I used to waste!!!"

I'm calling B.S. on that, because at the time Crisis happened, it wasn't immediately known what the DC Universe was going to look like, and certainly not enough was known to have a giant drama "I AM LEAVING COMICS FOREVER" fagsplosion. At least, for those of us without psychic powers.

What's more, at the time when CRISIS happened, it just wasn't a big deal. I've mentioned this before, but a friend of mine told me that when CRISIS came out, nobody cared because everyone was paying attention to SECRET WARS.

*****************
It's easy with 20-20 hindsight to say what the ultimate effect CRISIS had was. But at the time, in '86? I doubt it. The majority of people I've spoken to about the '86 reboots of characters like Superman and Wonder Woman were optimistically curious and even excited...even if they grew to dislike the reboots later.

Sorry Julian,  I have to chime in on this one... like Carmine, I saw first hand what the changes were in the MOS mini-series... I read beforehand about the changes and you know what?  THOSE CHANGES (and the whole DCU change) SOURED ME TO COMIC BOOKS!  DC became a pale imitation of Marvel's Universe, but it sounds like you're more of a Marvel fanboy anyway, so you have your own slant on things... but your slant is your slant.  Don't tell me what my feelings and thoughts were in 1986.  I didn't need psychic powers to READ all the information coming out in Direct Currents.  The editors at DC said "With the Crisis, everything changes... we have a clean slate" "Heroes will live, heroes will die" and Byrne himself AT THE TIME stated that he will be ditching all of the survivors of Krypton, all the colored Kryptonite and revamping Krypton itself.  I remember all this.

Sorry about the rant, but you touched a nerve. Don't tell me what I thought at the time...

FWIW, I gave MOS and the post Crisis universe a chance.  I loved Byrne's work on FF (even though I'm a DC fanboy I still collected some Marvel) but his vision of Superman, post-Crisis, isn't Superman.  I stopped collecting back then.
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MatterEaterLad
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« Reply #34 on: May 31, 2007, 03:23:20 PM »


The name of the work escapes me (it was one of those slim "coffee table" overviews of comics heroes), but there was the interesting claim that a major portion of the audience of the Silver Age JLA (and a big reason for that book's unreal popularity) were adults who remembered the original JSA, as well as the original characters the JLAers were Silver Age variations of. These guys were thrilled to see the heroes of their youth in action again.   

And you'll never believe how many of the letters pages of the original FF were from old-timers and G.I.'s reminiscing about when they first met Namor during the war, or about younger fans saying stuff like "I showed my Dad FF#6 and he thinks you guys are awesome!"

Absolutely there's a lot of turnover in readership, but there were even more adults that clutched their comics and never let their Moms throw them out. Among them Roy Thomas, Steve Gerber, and others that sent old issues of JSA and CATMAN AND KITTEN to each other through the mail.

I do agree with you on some of your points about Crisis, it really was an unfolding of new things post-Crisis that led to people embracing or leaving the stories, just like I left comics in 1972.

I strongly disagree with the points above and would love to know what the citation is (the slim coffee table book).  While I have no doubt that comics geeks that would later become a part of the industry held on to their comics or that Marvel published letters from people who did remember fondly (I mean really, would they publish letters from G.I.s who wrote "gee, I didn't really care THAT much about the Human Torch and threw out my comics in 1946"?), the number was probably minuscule.

There is no way the sales of Jimmy Olsen or Action in the 60s had a significant adult component.  I was at the drug store spinner racks with lots of other kids, and unlike the comic book store of the 90s, there were no 25 year olds whatsoever.  Mostly it was mothers saying "Eddie, I bought you 5 of those comics LAST month"...
« Last Edit: June 01, 2007, 03:59:20 AM by MatterEaterLad » Logged
nightwing
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« Reply #35 on: May 31, 2007, 04:51:40 PM »

I'm with Matter Eater Lad on this one.  All I have is anecdotal evidence from my own experiences, but I too am a fan who never saw a grown-up at a spindle rack in my youth, and never see a kid in a comic book store today.  Something certainly seems to have happened along the way.

I'll grant you older fans are not a wholly new phenomenon.  Besides Roy Thomas and Jerry Bails, there was Biljo White, Bill Schelly and all those guys who started up the fanzines in the 60s.  But I'm betting they were the "fringe element" back then and not at all typical of the comics-buying audience of their day.  As Gerard Jones says in his "Men of Tomorrow" book, the evolution of "geeks" from obscure niche to the movers and shakers in entertainment -- as audience and creators -- is something that's happened within the lifespan of us 30- and 40-year-olds.

The big issue for me is not that older fans are collecting...more power to them...it's that younger ones are not.  There may well have been older readers in every "age" of the industry, but historically there were a lot of youngsters around as well, driving a majority of sales in the here and now and (a certain pecentage of them) eventually growing up to fill out the "adult" fan base.  I don't see that cohort now; the fans of tomorrow.  Without them, I don't think the future's very bright for comics, at least as monthly periodicals.

As for Marvel's appeal on the campuses of the 60s, I've always believed that was exaggerated hype from the House of Ideas.  It seems to have been part of bigger movement to re-examine artifacts of pop culture that were previously considered "disposable" and treat them with academic curiosity, albeit with tongue planted firmly in cheek.  Marvel may have seemed to college kids and teachers to be the only publisher who "got it," but what they "got" was the inherent foolishness of the medium.  Early Marvel, for me, was most remarkable for its ability to have fun with the conventions of the genre and to poke fun at itself.  A lot of what historians now call "a new maturity" in 60s Marvels looks a lot more to me like post-Modern irony, something succeeding Marvel writers lost as they took themselves and their work entirely too seriously.  Anyway, I'm highly doubtful that colleges in the 60s suddenly "realized" that comics were a "serious art form."

 And frankly, anything that comes out of Stan Lee's mouth is suspect by definition.

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Aldous
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« Reply #36 on: June 01, 2007, 01:23:23 AM »

"....exaggerated hype from the House of Ideas"?  Shocked Bite your tongue, Nightwing.

Quote
And frankly, anything that comes out of Stan Lee's mouth is suspect by definition.

Maybe. If you're talking about Stan's shameless promotion of his company back in Marvel's heyday, I don't agree, because I doubt if anyone with half a brain didn't realise he was being provocative and outrageous. And it worked.

His behaviour was backed up by the quality of the comic books; in some cases, exceptional quality. Your analysis ("post-Modern irony") is really interesting as always, but there is enough of a history in place now, not wholly from Marvel, to suggest they WERE very big among college people, particularly (maybe even only) "The Amazing Spider-Man". I don't relate to that personally because I was never an American college student.

You may be too smart for your own good, because young college students would have read those comics, when they first came out, without your insights, at your age and experience, and in the 21st Century. I have recently been reading (yet again) "The Amazing Spider-Man" from the 1960s and very early 70s (up till the death of the Goblin), and I am struck (again) by how exceptionally good those comics are. I could read them for the soap value alone, with Peter and Harry, Mary Jane and Flash, and (sob) Gwen, not to mention all the other crazy characters and their twisted relationships -- Osborn Senior springing to mind.

They're just a good read, plain and simple, and they are definitely works of art. I sincerely doubt that any 1960s college student ever held up a Spidey comic in class and said, "Hey, dad, dig this post-Modern irony!" More likely a college student had Spidey comics because they were just great comics. The proof is there, Nightwing; anyone can read those same comic books and see for themselves.

And you are right that Marvel wasn't taking it too seriously, but that was obvious, and Stan never kept it a secret, let's face it. It was ticking over nicely till the Goblin's actions put an end to Marvel's Silver Age in '73.
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carmine
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« Reply #37 on: June 01, 2007, 02:08:32 AM »

well DER! Julian I wasn't being 100 percent truthful (I was making a joke of the guy who posted before me) However I did pick up pretty quickly after crisis that I wasn't going to be enjoying superman and stoped reading (though I am not the type who has to own every comic ever published so it wasn't a big loss)
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MatterEaterLad
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« Reply #38 on: June 01, 2007, 03:29:30 AM »

His behaviour was backed up by the quality of the comic books; in some cases, exceptional quality. Your analysis ("post-Modern irony") is really interesting as always, but there is enough of a history in place now, not wholly from Marvel, to suggest they WERE very big among college people, particularly (maybe even only) "The Amazing Spider-Man". I don't relate to that personally because I was never an American college student.

I still strongly disagree and wonder what the documented history is here (regardless of the quality of the stories).  Even in the 60s, for every 500 students at Stanford who protested the war there wes another 18,000 with crewcuts and the ambitions of their parents.  If more than 5 proudly proclaimed their loyalty to The Fantastic Four as great literature, I would be shocked.

I simply disbelieve historical underpinnings written by a tiny majority of people who made it in the comic book "industry".
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Aldous
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« Reply #39 on: June 01, 2007, 04:16:02 AM »

Quote
If more than 5 proudly proclaimed their loyalty to The Fantastic Four as great literature, I would be shocked.

Thank you for the reply, M.E.L., but I can't see where anyone has said this.

I think if you and Nightwing believe that young children bought 1960s Marvels, and college-age youths did not, based on your own experiences at the local spinner rack, that is OK.

The character of Peter Parker (with all of the emotional and relationship problems associated with someone of his age group, firstly at high school, then at university) created a resonance with readership of a similar age, whether you'd like to admit it or not. And this is what helped to make Spider-Man (and Marvel) so big.

For your own research, you could start with the letter columns of the time and work outwards from there.

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