Comic Books - Not Just for Grownups Anymore?

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Laura Hudson considers "breaking up" with mainstream superhero comics this week at Comics Foundry, citing the growing juvenility of superhero comics versus the independent comics she reads.

I can, I believe, relate. The remarkably silly (and pitifully sexually gratuitous) take on marriage we saw in Green Arrow/Black Canary: Road to the Altar is only one in a string of examples I could list of places where I feel embarrassed for superhero comics (which I overall love, and read, comics-wise, almost exclusively).

Sometimes, reading Blue Beetle or Checkmate, for instance, I'm amazed at a writer's characterization and insight; reading Hawkgirl or the offending chapter of Green Arrow/Black Canary, I can't help but wonder: Are the writer and I on the same planet? When the writer came up with this, did they expect it to be taken seriously? I don't think I'd "break up" with superhero comics as Laura posits, but sometimes I feel more connected than others.

This feeling of juvenility is--bringing this back to trade paperbacks--one of the reasons I became a wait-for-trader. When I read a magazine, I don't mind advertisements for cars or food or the like, but wouldn't it be strange to open the latest Jhumpa Lahiri novel and find a magazine advertisement every fourth page?

As I read comics, I became increasingly tired of increasingly more childish video game and candy advertisements interrupting my comics reading--my book-reading, that is. In a way, monthly comics are a strange hybrid form of book/magazine--you read them like a story (like a book), but they have advertisements and letters (once upon a time) like a magazine. But more and more, monthly comics felt like a magazine not meant for me--and so I switched to trades.

That's only one of a couple reasons, but I thought Laura expressed her frustration very well.

What might cause you to "break up" with superhero comics?
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3 comments:

  1. Probably when stories get so far-fetched that they get ridiculous or if they are so heavily tied into an ongoing continuity that it makes it impossible to follow along...

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  2. I've wrestled with the idea of dropping my monthly books and going exclusively trade for what is probably years now but I love the format too much to just stop.

    The trip to the comic store every thursday (I'm British!) has become ritual. The thought of missing story and being able to take part in discussion etc means that my floppy habit is here to stay until the publishers change their strategy which surely must only be a matter of time.

    I'd rather ads weren't there but understand why they are and I've learnt to blank them out in all honesty

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  3. Not going to the comic book store every week is something that I miss being a wait-for-trader, though nowadays trades come out almost weekly, too!

    For me, not going to the store has to do with the rising cost of comics -- comics are so expensive, I'm willing to forgo the weekly trip and get my comics in the mail monthly, if it saves a few bucks.

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