I was big fan of comic books fifty years ago. I read Superman and Batman, Green Lantern and the Flash, Wonder Woman and Aquaman, and many more. If I had, today, all the silver dimes I handed over for comics during those pre- and post-puberty years, I’d be sitting on a pretty darn good retirement nest-egg. Had I kept all the comics, I’d have been able to retire years ago.
My comic-book reading tapered off once I discovered science-fiction and Mad Magazine. It’s probably been forty-five years since I read my last comic. But I’ve never forgotten the characters, the Superheroes who fought against evil and for truth, justice, and the American way. They were clean-cut, compassionate, and sometimes, like Clark Kent, their alter egos were even a little dweeby. The comics and the heroes reflected the mood of the nation and it’s people. When you lost yourself in their world, you knew that no matter how bad things might seem at the moment, the Hero of the moment would find a way to save the day.
Apparently comics have changed with the times, something I discovered this morning as I opened the newspaper and found this below the fold:
Lois Lane shacking up? Superman graphically tortured in an electric chair? Batman and Catwoman having sex on a roof?
DC Comics has relaunched 52 of its comic book series, with popular characters and story lines starting over from scratch and getting a decidedly edgy makeover. In the six weeks since the rollout began, more than 5 million copies have sold, stimulating a stagnant market. DC officials say sales are the highest in 20 years.
But the changes aren’t pleasing everyone. The blogosphere is abuzz with complaints about the extreme violence, hypersexualized women, and bad language in the new issues – the sorts of things that the Superman of yore would have swooped in to conquer, never countenanced.
Long considered family entertainment, superheroes over the years have become darker and racier, geared more toward young adults than youths. Though the superhero makeovers aren’t as raw as some of the others DC has reissued – “Voodoo,’’ for instance, seems like soft porn – the content is nonetheless aimed at a more mature readership than ever.
It’s said the more things change, the more they stay the same. I guess in the case of comic books, that does apply. It would seem the current crop still reflects the mood of the nation, a nation that has become crude, rude, over-sexualized, self-absorbed, narcissistic…well, you know.
I feel bad for my kids. They’ll soon start having children of their own, and those kids will grow up in a nation bereft of character, populated far too densely with the dense, the self-absorbed, the narcissistic, and the clueless, who will spend their youth reading about Superheroes who are just like them instead of serving as inspiration for them to strive for something better.
Anyone have any thoughts about this?
Anyone see a patch, even a sliver of sunshine in the dark clouds covering America?
Or am I overreacting again, as some folks like to tell me?