I hope to get to reviews of some comics later tonight, but pet issues have cropped up. Kiki the dog went to the vet tonight and I have to take Grayson the cat to the vet tomorrow. This is just a little preamble before I get to a thought that I have ruminating in my head.
It seems that we have gone from the Silver Age where the heroes were almost perfect, to a time when heroes had their own personal issues, to anti-heroes and now I'm seeing the rise in popularity of non-heroes and even evil people.
Looking at just this week's books and we can see Boys #3, Ant-Man #1 and Criminal #1. Add to that mix the Punisher series and Wolverine and we can see a rise in popularity of people who are actually bad people. As an adult reader I find a lot of this material interesting and often entertaining, but it is a trend which I'm not happy to see. Add to that the new Showtime TV series where the star is a serial killer and two other TV shows where the criminal is the star (Smith and one other I can't remember) and it seems as though the bad guy is now the good guy. Prison Break even has a little of that element. except the good guys who are running from the law where framed by the government or something.
Wolverine under Millar was especially brutal, where Wolverine was just turned into an insane killing machine and I hear (as I did not finish reading the series) that he killed tons of people, both good and bad. Not much of an anti-hero now. Ant-Man appears to be a lousy Shield agent who is using the costume and powers for private gain. The Boys are a group of hired freaks whose job is apparently to take down the super heroes. During the course of this series we will apparently see that the "good guys" are apparently perverted twists who deserve to be taken out. Garth Ennis (who is a good writer) apparently hates super heroes and is using this book to portrayal them as twisted and sick individuals, so when his group of twisted sick individuals kill them or whatever for the government we won't mind. Criminal is a little bit different because it is a creator owed book that is highlighting the bad guy and showing us his side of the story. While I like Brubaker I think 100 Bullets is covering this territory in better fashion.
I guess I wouldn't mind all of this if it wasn't for this feeling that we are making the bad guys the heroes in way too many forms of popular culture (and I haven't even touched on video games). Anyone who knows me, knows that I don't always follow the rules, but I don't take actions that will hurt other people or demean them in any fashion (I'm sure I have missed on that on occasion, but you get the point).
I'm not one to try and tell everyone what the right thing to do is, but I think if our popular culture is glamorizing the bad people it has to make an impression on people and maybe immune them to violence or something.
Bottom Line I get concerned when the ideals of Superman (truth, justice and the America way) or Spider-Man (with great powers comes great responsibilities) are almost mocked and we cheer and laugh when the Punisher kills someone. Two great Marvel icons Iron Man and Mr. Fantastic are now being made over into bad guys. In Boys number 3 a JLA/Avengers type group male members were shown to be forcing a young female hero to perform an act for them to be allowed into the group. Obviously the Boys will take them down one day, but I feel like maybe it is over the line.
This type of material is okay, if at the same time we weren't always trying to tear down our heroes. I really hated the way some people have tried to paint the founding fathers as evil white men or something else ridiculous.
We need heroes and ideals. We may not always be able to hold up to the ideal all the time, but if we strive to reach the ideal we are doing good. It's okay to not be as good as your ideal, but I don't need to always see their feet of clay. Now in real life, I have no problem letting me know what is behind some of these bozos that are our elected officials, but in fiction I want the heroes to still be heroes.
Perhaps naive or a little pollyanna, but there it is.