A few months ago I began reading a few comics, after years of really not paying a lot of attention.
What got me interested again is the new title Thor: God of Thunder, written by Jason Aaron with fantastic art by Esad Ribic. I saw a few pages online and it made me curious to see it. Great stuff. One reason I’d avoided comics is that the titles have become very confusing. You have to buy LOTS of comics to keep up, and they are expensive. Thor: God of Thunder is more or less standalone, and really does a great job of getting at what makes the character tic.
Which brings me to DC Comics, and their “New 52” – yet another attempt to reinvent the DC Universe and characters and make them interesting to contemporary readers. I’ve checked out some of the books, and with one exception (Constantine) I don’t find them interesting or compelling.
I could go on and on with reasoning, but comics are a visual medium, so let me just present you with two images of Superman, THE iconic superhero. On top, Superman from the Kingdom Come series, and below Superman from the New 52.
Do I really have to say it?
The Kingdom Come Superman looks like Superman. He looks tough. He looks powerful. He is iconic.
On the other hand, “new” “superman” below looks, well, not like Superman. Seriously – does anyone actually buy this bullshit? This is what Superman would look like if a fashion designer created the character. What’s with the hair? And armor? His costume is supposed to be some kind of Kryptonian battle suit. Uhhh…did they forget that he is invulnerable?
Every time I see this shit it just makes me want to hurl.
DC has done the same thing to each and every one of their classic characters. What an abortion. Flash, Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, even Batman.
The great comics series don’t really “reinvent” their characters. Rather, they rediscover what makes the characters great. Kingdom Come did this. It rediscovered the greatness of the original Justice League characters. Rather than trying to turn the DC Universe into the Marvel Universe, KC celebrated the awesomeness of the DC characters, and contrasted them with the “new” sort of superheroes.
Thor: God of Thunder does the same thing. Jason Aaron got it right. He took a Marvel Universe character and got back to the basics — to the fundamental concepts that have made the character popular for decades. Kingdom Come got it right too.
Hopefully soon it will be revealed that the whole New 52 was simply one of Jimmy Olsen’s nightmares, and he’ll wake, and the whole thing will be over.
You’ve just described exactly why I don’t read superhero-based comics, Bob. The constant reinvention, retconning and endless sprawling stories just get on my nerve. It’s hard to know just where to begin and expensive to keep up.
But Constantine – yeah, that’s a great series.