Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Comic Book Issue (R.I.P. Fantastic Four)

I have a confession to make, I read comic books. Not just occasionally either. I am a semi-regular reader of comic books. My comic book collection, which is pretty decent in size, waits for me at home. Even as I type this, Green Lantern issue number 61 lays next to my computer. I'm no regular at my local comic book shop, but I visit enough to feel secure in my nerdliness.

I grew up loving Batman and watching X-Men and Spider-man cartoons, it was only a matter of time until I opened up a comic book to see where these characters came from. It's a medium that, when handled right, could be both powerful and awesome. So how many of you, dear readers, have decided to continue reading? I've asked you all to care about a lot of esoteric topics so far but comic books is a lot to ask out of you. Well, for those that have stuck with me so far, here is the news in comics.

Comic Code Authority dropped:

DC Comics is now the last of the major publishers to drop the Comic Code, in favor of an in-house rating system. The Comics Code Authority was created in 1954, when parents all over America were afraid of two things: Communist and comic books. They saw the colorful magazines as corruptors of America's youth. Part of this was thanks to Fredric Wertham and his book, Seduction of the Innocent. With Wertham's book as a rally cry, the Comics Code Authority was created to protect the innocent from horror stories and a gay Batman.

Times have changed however. The Code became antiquated and irrelevant with the arrival of independent comic books. As the Modern Age of comics pushed forward, The Code was becoming less of a public relations stunt and more of a pain in the ass. The comics still have their own code, but now they are no longer having to deal with the CCA. Even Archie Comics, which has never had to worry about the CCA, dropped it for their own rating system. To put this into context, that would be like each movie studio abandoning the MPAA and each creating their own system. We should all be thankful that we are progressive enough to not have to worry about paranoia from the 50s holding us back. Down with censorship!

Digital Comics and Wizard Magazine moving to online:

Wizard Magazine, the leading magazine in comic book coverage and all things nerdy, closed its doors. Since 1991 Wizard kept fans informed on the medium. Recently, however, the staff and writers of the magazine were fired and publication ceased. The magazine is going to reinvent itself, according to a press release, into an online only publication. While this has worked for sites like Cracked, Wizard is a different breed.

This whole blog is basically a Cracked ripoff.

Wizard covers comics. A magazine covering magazines should be in paper form. There is something special about having the physical printed pages in your hand, and by conceding into the digital realm Wizard might as well to calling for the death of comics itself. Thankfully, with technology encroaching on every aspect of life, comics books are finding a way to work with the new media. The comic book world recognizes the fact that modest comic book shops are the life-force of each company. Unlike with journalism, the digital side of comics is not looking to put the printed side out of business.

Fantastic Four member dies (SPOILERS):

Comics books are like one big soap opera with super powers. And just like soap operas, they depend heavily on melodrama. With this comes a new superhero death to mourn, that of the Human Torch. Which is a shame because the Human Torch was everyone's favorite character. The Thing is interesting but too sad to be lovable, Mister Fantastic is a dick, and Invisible Woman is a girl and girls don't count. That leaves only one likable character in the whole 50-year run of the comic series.

To be honest, I was never a big Fantastic Four kind of guy anyway. The characters never resonated with me and, as I stated before, Reed Richards was too unlikable for me. Yes he is the smartest man in the Marvel Universe but that doesn't mean he has to be so smug about it. The only thing separating him and Hank Pym is some wife-beating. And the only interesting thing to happen to the Fantastic Four in its 50 years of story telling is the Galactus Trilogy, which gets rehashed so many times it's lost meaning.

It's their only real claim to fame.

And as sad as it is seeing Human Torch die, every comic book fan can't help but roll their eyes at the idea of a superhero death. We've seen it too many times. Hell, Bruce Wayne even died but now he's back and traveling the globe. Every member of the X-men has died at least once before, and Nightcrawler, who died not too long ago, is bound to be back some time. Remember when Superman died? The issue itself sold millions of copies. But come on, it was Superman and nobody expected him to stay dead.

There's even a whole Wikipedia article on the phenomenon. Comic book characters never stay dead, they only come back later in a dramatic fashion (Captain America's resurrection was hyped incredibly). There was a saying, that nobody stays dead except for Bucky, Jason Todd and Uncle Ben. Well, Bucky is the new Captain America and Jason Todd has returned as a villain. All that leaves is Uncle Ben. Thank god he hasn't resurrected though. He might not react well to Aunt May being such a whore.



  1. Is Bruce Wayne Batman again? I stopped following everything (batman wise) except Gotham City Sirens after he died, waiting for his eventual return

  2. Yea he just returned as Batman recently. Dick is still the Batman in Gotham though. Bruce decided to franchise Batman across the world