I think what made me want to write and create more than anything was my love for comic books as a kid. Every Monday night, my mom and stepdad would go bowling and on the way we would stop by the comic book store and I would spend my entire allowance on that week’s releases.
We are talking about 1978-1985 here. A bunch of you probably were never born yet and those who were know how cheesy those comic books were. Remember “Assistant Editor’s Month?”
I don’t care. I was a kid and I loved comic books. I wanted to see who my favorite superhero (Spider Man) was fighting that month. I wanted to see what my favorite team (it always alternated between The Fantastic Four and The Avengers) was up to that month. I lived through my comic books. I drew my favorite characters and tried to create my own.
My creations usually sucked. I was 12 – what do you expect?
Then I stopped reading comics. In 1995, I started college and one of my editors at the yearbook owned a comic book store. I went in and looked around. I was hooked again. The comics were a little more mature now. A little darker. They were being geared towards an older audience. I found newer, more mature titles that seemed to be aimed towards adults. But I still found love in the costumed super heroes. I am a sucker for the good vs evil storylines.
I lasted about two years this time, dropping in every Wednesday to pick up the new titles. Then I ran into financial problems and that hobby was the first to go.
I still read comic book stories, but the only comic I buy monthly now is Buffy the Vampire Slayer. My reading now is done through graphic novel collections. I caught up on some stories I had missed through my time away. Sandman. Preacher. The Walking Dead. 100 Bullets. There are more I am going to check out soon.
But there is something about the business that bothers me.
The Civil War.
The Super Hero Registration Act.
Ok, Marvel wants to tap into the paranoia of the Patriot Act and the 9/11 horrors. So, they start this new storyline that pits hero against hero. Suddenly, the characters I cheered for as a kid were fighting each other. This was not a one-off hero turning bad. This was good people fighting each other.
Iron Man was fighting Captain America and according to Marvel, Iron Man was supposed to be the one in the right.
But how could that be? When the Mutant Registration Act was passed into law, it was seen as a bad thing. The X-Men were the good guys and the act was a considered a bad thing. It was the government that was bad.
Now, it is the government that is good and anyone who goes against it is wrong? Captain America was killed by a sniper after surrendering. When Spider Man was convinced to unmask in public to show his support of the act, it put everyone he loved in danger. A secret identity is supposed to protect you from the bad guys. He unmasks and then Aunt May is shot. Peter and Mary Jane are in constant danger. How is that a good thing?
And Tony Stark is the good guy?
This is all fine and dandy for people who want their comics to be more grown up and mature. But this story arch stretches across the entire Marvel Universe. These comics aren’t for kids anymore. The editors actually said once that kids won’t understand the political structure of the stories, they will just love the super hero fighting!
As a kid I loved to watch my favorite super heroes fight the bad guys. Now they are fighting each other. No one trusts anyone. Costumed heroes were made for kids. Now they have been taken away from the kids.
As a result I don’t love these comic books anymore. I still read the graphic novels that are meant for adults. I am looking forward to starting Y: The Last Man and Ex Machina. I look forward to continuing my journey through the worlds of The Walking Dead and 100 Bullets.
Just don’t show me what the costumed super hero comics I loved as a kid have turned into.
I just don’t care anymore.