Thursday, May 3, 2012

Free Comic Book Day 2012

DC comics had an article with five reasons to go out and support the upcoming free comic book day, and when I was 8, this would have been awesome news. Now that I'm 4,000 years old, comic books don't have quite the same appeal that they once did. Granted, it's a clever gimmick to get people into shops (and to perhaps create awareness that yes, indeed, comic books DO still actually exist!) but what's the point when comic books have taken such a dive over the last few decades?

Anyhow, when I was much younger, I used to stock up on Spiderman and Justice League many, many years ago, but I've since grown a lot more cynical about the state of the industry. For one thing, mainstream comic books today seem to have far too much leftist ideology. It's not just goofy things like Obama on a Spiderman cover or Superman renouncing his American citizenship (although that defiant bit of writing from DC in and of itself is pretty disgusting) but it's the fact that, from so many of the books I've leafed through (either at Barnes and Nobles or the library) veer too much into grayer areas of morality and right and wrong. It's difficult to tell who the heroes and villains are anymore. Heroes second-guess themselves, and the villains aren't that bad after all. If I read a story and detect a leftist ideology, I'll generally check out who the writer is, make a note of it, then skip the book, and anything else by them. Does that make me narrow-minded? So what! It's my choice what I want to read or support.

Also, looking at a lot of books today, these definitely don't seem appropriate for children. Again, leafing through comics at the shop, I can see they've come a long way from a few decades ago in terms of violence, profanity, and adult content. But what's deviant is that you get companies like DC that present characters like Batman in lovable, Leggo format, to draw kids to following these characters, and then as they get older and start reading the more mature titles, they get up to the Batman stories where spines are snapped, necks twisted 180 degrees, eyes gouged, etc, etc.

Marvel Comics seems to be making it big with the franchise films, but what's interesting is that they've done this with their more mainstream, popular characters like Spider-man - the more virtuous good-vs-evil characters, whereas the 'Punisher' films, as I understand, were something of flops. I've wondered if the films have brought people back into reading the comics more, or, are the films merely a segue out of reading print comics into the realm of cinematic video/audio only?

I guess there's no point in being nostalgic for comics of decades ago, as I don't think the industry is going back to anything like those days anytime soon. It's a shame, as I really savored those days of going to the local drug store and picking up a soda, a Spidey, and finding a fun, very affordable (newsprint paper!) bit of escapism for under a buck (and by that I mean both the soda AND the comic together for under a buck, too).

Gone are those days, I guess.

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