Hatin’ on Superhero Comics?

Yesterday’s post on Literary comics made me think more about superhero comics and why I don’t read more of them.

When I read what I want is:

  • Escapism – to be entertained and swept away for a longer amount of time
  • Twists –  to be surprised, to have a new light flicker to life in my brain
  • Characters I care about and can relate to in someway

I have a hard time being swept away by something that I feel has a fixed outcome. The hero wins. and wins. and wins. If not at the end of an issue, at the end of the series or chapter.  That’s why the big stories people tell about super heroes are the ones where they die. Where they lose. Where there’s no coming back (there’s always coming back).

Character-wise, I have a hard time relating to superheroes. Weirdly, I have an easier time relating to super villains, or at the very least, I find them more interesting.

The funny thing is that I enjoy superhero movies, and even cartoons! (Come on, the Justice League was pretty cool stuff.)

When I go see a movie, what I want is:

  • Escapism – to be entertained and swept away for about 90 minutes
  • Visuals and effects – I want to enjoy the landscape and eye-candy and big explosions

I want more depth out of a book or comic than I do out of a film or television show. I’m far happier with superheroes on the screen where the conflict can be the conflict. Where the set up can be done in advance.  I have no problem at all with shallow characters and small arcs, and  happy endings. That’s what I want out of a movie.

I think there’s more to it than this, particularly about the lack of female superheroes and my need to relate to the characters. But this is probably most of it. I just read Gail Simone’s Batgirl. And it was beautiful. Really well done. But in the end, I didn’t feel like I needed urgently to keep reading the series. It didn’t grab me past the end of the book.




3 thoughts on “Hatin’ on Superhero Comics?

  1. The majority of movies and books and stories in general have predictable outcomes and unrelatable characters. It’s the nature of the beast. Most mass media will be trash but a relatively small number of books and movies will be memorable and worth your time. The same is true of superhero comic books. The majority of stuff that is printed is probably not worth the ink. It sounds like you’ve only sampled a small portion of the run of the mill stuff that the industry churns out every week and have used that to judge the whole.

    There are a lot of great superhero comics with depth that are well worth reading. Yes, even modern monthly stuff will rise up above the average for a run of a few issues. If you want any recommendations just let me know. There is a ton of great stuff out there.

  2. Pingback: Trusting Readers With Subtlety | A.K. Anderson | Science Fiction and Fantasy Author

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