13 March, 2009

Spiderman Must DIE!

(Read part two of this article here.)

Comic Book Resources columnist Augie De Blieck Jr played Devil's advocate this week by suggesting that comics fans save money by buying their comics online or even... re-reading their old comics!

No matter how facetious the argument, Augie makes a good point.

Mainstream comics publishers are forced to reconcile their relentless pursuit of commercialisation with their unwillingness to retire old 'properties' by endlessly recycling material. Many DC and Marvel titles are as old as their publishers and many others are spin-offs of those titles.

Four factors keep the costumed hero genre dominant in mainstream comics publishing:
  1. History - characters such as Batman and Superman have historic significance, of course, as the first costumed heroes.
  2. Fans - the affection which the current generation of comics readers feels for these old characters.
  3. Commercial conservatism - the unwillingness of publishers to risk alienating this market and merely to market their existing 'properties' to new audiences.
  4. Creative conservatism - it is safer for publishers to shackle creators to existing concepts, to have them 'interpret' old characters - viz Frank Miller's Daredevil and Batman - than gamble on their ability to innovate.
No matter how one feels about old characters (or the superhero genre in general), should they overshadow another generation of creators and readers?

(Read part two of this article)