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Sunday, August 07, 2005

I Still Like Superheroes -- Those are the words of a reader who subscribes to the Comic Book Galaxy Mailing List and recently dropped me a line to thank me for his prize in a contest I ran exclusively for subscribers to the mailing list. Here's the exchange between John and I:

Mr. Alan David Doane,

I just wanted to thank you for the envelope of comics and books I got
yesterday! I have to admit that I had forgotten about the contest,
and so I was very surprised (and excited....perhaps going farther into
the "giddy as a schoolgirl" mode than was appropriate. But man, new
comics!! How cool is that, especially when you're not expecting
them?!). I looked through them last night, and it looks like a great
variety of stuff, none of which I've read, and some of which I'm only
vaguely familiar. I can't wait to get reading!

I came into comics as a fan of superheroes, as I expect many in the
hobby did. And I still like superheroes. Sadly, it seems that most
of the creators writing them don't like them, as they handle them
rather badly. I realized the other day, as I went through the new
Previews, that less and less of my money each month goes to
superheroes, and more and more goes to other kinds of comics. Hmmm.
I say sadly as though I am saddened that I'm branching out, which is
not true. I'm truly enjoying the different options out there, and am
finding the comic book form to be more fascinating and adaptable than
I ever thought possible. Still, it's sometimes hard to know exactly
where to look, so getting packages like this, giving me a lot of
different options, is a great way to point me in a few different

Thanks again!


And then I replied...


Thanks very much for taking the time to write, it's nice to know the
books are so appreciated! I appreciate very much that you are a part
of our mailing list, and interested in the site.

You know, I really don't think some of today's superhero comics
writers dislike the characters, so much as they just read ONLY
superhero comics as preparation for their comics careers, and thus do
not have the more expansive, creative imaginations of people like Alan
Moore, Jack Kirby, and other noteworthy creators. So, while I despise
the majority of work by people like Geoff Johns and Brad Meltzer and
even recent work by Brian Bendis, I do think that at this point the
readers and publishers are more to blame than the hacks that are
turning this stuff out and apparently making money doing it, although
to the longterm detriment of at least their sector of the industry.



And then John wrote back...


Interesting point. I would certainly agree that the publishers have
to shoulder quite a bit of the blame. I am aghast at much of this
year's output. The mega crossovers make me ill, as they serve only
the aging fanboys, a dying market. They don't court new readers, and
the major companies seem to not be concerned by this. The major
companies also don't seem interested in pushing forward. The return
of Hal Jordan at DC this year really crystallized things for me. Do I
think that what happened to Hal Jordan many years ago was wrong? Yes,
it was a bad story. But it happened years ago....it's time to move
on! Let's put it in the past and make new stories, featuring new
characters! It's one of the things I miss about James Robinson's
superb Starman series. He was able to use the past, but instead of
wallowing in it, he used it to help build a future.

And, of course, you're correct. Readers are to blame somewhat.
Luckily there are websites likes yours, ones that can point people
toward other comics. Hopefully more readers will begin to see the
vast selection of styles, formats and voices out there, and they'll
experiment. Speaking from experience, that can be quite rewarding.

Thanks for your time!


Finally, I responded once again...

Interestingly, the JLA cartoon on Cartoon Network shows us a vital,
interesting and three-dimensional Green Lantern in their version of
John Stweart, but to adopt him to the DCU "proper" would be to admit
that Dwayne McDuffie and Paul Dini know more about how to handle their
characters than DC editorial does...which, of course, they do.

And it is heartening to find DC's stable of great characters and the people who enjoy them being treated to exciting, well-crafted adventures on Cartoon Network. I can't wait for full-season DVD sets of the Justice League series, both the original and the Unlimited version. Given that the Batman Animated DVD collections have continued with the release of a third set, I hope that all the DC Animated material of the past decade or so eventually finds its way to DVD. Both so I can share them with my kids, and because, of course, I still like superheroes.



Blogger John Detrick said...

And I never responded to that last e-mail, not in an attempt to be rude, but simply because your comments were so well said, that nothing I could write could really add anything intelligent to them. However, I will add my hopes that full season discs of the Justice League and the Justice League Unlimited come out soon. The Batman and Superman sets are excellent, and these series deserve a nicely packaged collection, with some smart extras.

08 August, 2005 09:02  
Blogger Shane Bailey said...

"I can't wait for full-season DVD sets of the Justice League series, both the original and the Unlimited version."

As someone who caught on late to JLU, I'm waiting as well.

11 August, 2005 09:33  

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