Thursday, August 25, 2011

THE DEATH OF SUPERHERO COMICS?

           Grant Morrison (Zenith, 52, Batman and Robin) has foretold the death of the super hero comic.  In a recent interview with Rolling Stone, Morrison spoke of the New 52 and his run on the newly relaunched Action Comics.  When asked by Rolling Stone whether or not he thinks the industry is in a “death spiral” he replied

“Yeah. I kind of do, but again, you can always be wrong. There's a real feeling of things just going off the rails, to be honest. Superhero comics. The concept is quite a ruthless concept, and it's moved on, and it's kind of abandoned, the first-stage rocket.”



           When asked what he thought comics were being abandoned for he replied,  “…movies, where it can be more powerful, more effective.”

            Are things really that bad?  Is it truly a “death spiral”?  Comics have taken hits before.  In the years just after WWII, superhero comics fell out of fashion and only the heavy hitters like Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman managed to survive in stand alone books (Marvel giants such as Spider-Man and The Fantastic Four wouldn’t appear until the late 50’s to early 60’s).  It took a few truly talented creators to pull the industry up by its bootstraps and introduce characters that are today household names. 

            From one angle, comics can be viewed as an economy.  There are naturally ups and downs.  It could be that we’re just in the middle of a comics recession.  With time and a tightening of the belt on the number of books put out, in another five to ten years, comics may bounce back.

            It could also be that it’s time Marvel and DC take a breather.  I’ve never personally read Mark Waid’s Incorruptible or Robert Kirkman’s (The Walking Dead) Invincible but I’ve heard nothing but praise for them.  It could be that these are the heroes of this new generation.  Maybe for current comic readers, Marvel and DC’s long history and character baggage is just too burdensome.  Maybe for them, these new heroes are fledgling enough that they can jump on and get into these heroes in a big way.   Which circles back around into the rational behind The New 52.   Only time will tell if the relaunch is a good idea, if it was worth it.  But anything that gives Aquaman his own book is worth it in my eyes.

Michael Knoll is a contributing writer for Champion City Comics. Currently, he is developing a webcomic titled Red Racer.

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