Sunday, July 21, 2013

Sixth Blogiversary Rant--This Isn't Hard: Let Heroes Be Heroes

So, 6 years ago today I began my little cow-town puppet show of a blog.

And one of the reasons I did was to express some trends of the Big Two, especially DC and their increasingly cavalier attitude about having heroes kill, and having killers become heroes.

Well, I can finally declare victory. After six-tenths of a decade of profound silliness, overlong rants, and laser-like focus, my goal is accomplished. Sanity has been restored to the comics world, especially DC.

Why, just check out this response to a fan question during the Trinity Wars panel at SDCC:

What crossovers do you look to for inspiration? Johns and Lemire agree Identity Crisis is their number one inspiration - a big world-shattering event but with a mystery at the heart of it.

Wait a moment...that can't be right.

DC's Chief Creative Officer and one of the more popular writers amongst fans both have, as their #1 inspiration, the series that had a hero's wife raped by a villain, and later murdered by the ex-wife of another hero because she thought that was a good way to reconcile? The one that had heroes and villains forcibly brainwashed, their memories erased, by a "hero"? That's their number one inspiration for crossovers?

All right, that's just a couple of guys on one panel, and I guess people are allowed to like Identity Crisis, somehow, for some reason.

But things elsewhere at DC are just fine. Why, let's check out the DC Comics 101: Essentials panel, with John Cunningham (VP of Marketing), Bob Harras (Editor-In-Chief) and Bobbie Chase (Editorial Director). C'mon, "Comics101"! "Essentials"! Surely these bigwigs know what a universe of heroic fiction should be, right?

When asked about Villain’s Month and the longevity of the New 52, the overarching response from the panel was that the goal was for the reader to gain a greater understanding of what the villains actually do, what it is that makes them the way they are, and that ultimately our heroes are defined by the villains.

What?"[U]ltimately our heroes are defined by the villains."?!?

Dammit, I guess I'm not done here after all. This looks like it might take another 6 years...

Look, I could go into an extended rant here. I could decry the nu52 as merely a Elseworlds for "What If The DC Heroes Had Lost Legends."

I could kvetch that the constant treatment of heroes as enemies and outcasts has dampened, if not extinguished, the inspirational (and aspirational) aspects of your intellectual properties, alienating both long-time fans and casual readers, a fact that is only hidden by the constant churn of seemingly continuous #1 issues and "event" months with cover gimmicks to artificially prop up sales.

I could ask DC to analyze why, in his 75th anniversary year, their big budget Superman movie will be lucky to earn 70% of what the second Iron Man sequel did, and ask them to consider whether the unrelenting grimness (and gratuitous neck snappage) might be killing their golden goose, both in comics and other media.

But hey, I'm not in a ranty mood. Let's just let these panels from Invasion: Book 2 (1988) (plot & pencils by Keith Giffen, script by Bill Mantlo) speak for me:

See? Is that so hard?

For your edification, DC bigwigs, here are a few dictionary definitions of "hero" (please forgive the gender bias shown by some): a person who, in the opinion of others, has heroic qualities or has performed a heroic act and is regarded as a model or ideal

Merriam-Webster: a man admired for his achievements and noble qualities 

Oxford Dictionary Of American English: a person, typically a man, who is admired or idealized for courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities

Cambridge Dictionary: a person who is admired for having done something very brave or having achieved something great

 Admired. Regarded as a model. Idealized.

Enough, DC. Every character doesn't have to be 1970s Spider-Man, hunted and feared. Enough having heroes kill, or being made to look like they killed. Enough secret government agencies dedicated to controlling/fighting/eliminating heroes. Enough fear and distrust by the press and public when these guys have saved the world seven times over. Enough.

Let. Heroes. Be. Heroes.