Monday, March 18, 2013

The Kid’s Are Not Alright – Avenger’s Arena #6 – A Commentary – Part 1 of 5 The Week of March 13 in Review

So of course before we jump in I need to give you links. The clean and simple list is at Cosmic Comix and the detailed list is at MidtownComics. The best books this week are all in the Alternative department with Chew, anew series called Five Ghosts, BPRD, Strom Dogs, Saga, Harbinger and Judge Dredd Year One. A quick side note.  I watched the new Dredd movie and it was great. It was a Judge Dredd story translated to the movie screen. I can see why it didn’t do well as I don’t think Judge Dredd has a really broad appeal, but I think they did the character justice.  One more note I have added a Random Thoughts Post as Part 2. I like to get this stuff out there when I can and if I let it sit too long any news items looses its immediacy.

Okay and now onto the Week In Review.

I’m reading Avengers Arena #6 and (SPOILER) Kid Briton gets decapitated at the end. Now this series started with the ending of the story and we know who is alive at the end or do we? The comic book world is full of the twists and turns that guarantee no death has to be real. The entire book, which I worry about, could be a lie. We could be in a matrix type storyline of any other one of a thousand different ways to say the whole thing is a set-up and it only happened in their minds or some such crap. It could be Bobby Ewing stepping out of a shower at the end.

Of course I find that I actually have nothing vested in these characters and whether they live or die is meaningless to me. I’m very ambivalent on whether I want to continue this comic or not. One on hand Kev Walker’s art is great. I love his style. He is not in the Kirby/Ditko/Neal Adams or Toth/Mignola style, he has his own quirky feel to his artwork. He knows how to tell a story and keeps all the characters distinctive. He can also portray action and emotion with equal aplomb. Dennis Hopelesss is telling a good story and helping me to learn who these people are as he kills them off. The downside is that I don’t really give a damn who there are, they all have a “loser” vibe to them as eternal “D” list characters. If I continue to buy the book and they are not dead I will feel cheated. Decisions, decisions, this one is a tough one. Of course I get so many books dropping one should not really matter. Damn I will probably hang on a little longer.

This book made me realize that Marvel has sucked when it comes to making kid characters I care about. I have limited interest in Young Avengers, especially when the core of the book appears to be about a gay romance. I don’t give a whit about them being gay, I just don’t want to read Young Romance and if I do read Young Romance I’d rather read something I can relate to a little more (of course a happy marriage about a guy in his fifties and his wife would probably not sell). The bottom line is that regardless of the story I find it hard to stay with Young Avengers and Avengers Arena. Oddly Kate Bishop in the Hawkeye book appears to no longer be a kid hero and I love her in that book.

Kid characters in general are boring me. First off, it is probably long overdue given my own age bracket. Still I had an interest in watching my kids grow up and now I’m seeing my grand kids get their start in life, so youth is of interest to me in that way.  It is just that even the DC kid characters seem boring to me. Of course with Scott Lobdell on Teen Titans you are guaranteeing that I will not read that book.  I believe it goes back to the fact that the kid sidekick was an outgrowth of the original comic book market. Super hero comics were targeted for 8-12 year old boys. Kid sidekicks were a great way to give that audience someone to relate to. The other genres that were starting to grow and spread were gutted with the comics’ code. The aftermath of that was very few super hero books managed to be published. DC continued with Superman, Wonder Woman and Batman and I’m sure a few others. Robin was a core character during all of that time. When DC started the revival of super heroes and the silver age it almost seemed to be a nature to model things off what had been done before and to ape the Batman model. The Golden Age that DC was doing a reboot on had tons of kid sidekicks. So Flash, Green Arrow, Batman, Aquaman and many others gravitated to continuing that tradition. Marvel was not intent on rebooting any golden age and the roots to their “Golden Age” were more tenuous. Therefore Martin Goodman wanted to just get some super hero stuff out there to compete with DC. The twist that Stan Lee/Kirby/Ditko and others did was to make the heroes more realistic and write the book for an older market. Marvel books read more adult, not like today, but compared to the Golden Age and what DC was putting out. Also Marvel let their characters grow in age and maturity over time. Peter Parker graduated from High School in issue number 28. Kid sidekicks did not make sense in the more realistic version of super heroes and therefore kid heroes were not developed. The current crop of Marvel kid heroes lacks any dynamic as their creation was a marketing driven idea decades into the history of Marvel comics and not based on any true organic outgrowth. I think X-Men does the best job on introducing new young characters as that was a core dynamic of the original series. The continual introduction of young heroes being funneled via the X-Books feels more like an organic story.

Kid sidekicks are an anachronisms and don’t play well with the modern tone of comic books. The writing in comics is now geared to the 24-35 years old demographic and the level of “realism” fans want in their comics is at a higher level. Yes it is all just a fantasy based scenario but within the scenario make it “real”. Batman having children with him fighting crime is ludicrous and it takes away from the nature of the character to think he would endanger a child. It is why the Batman movies shied away from that convention. The kid hero is now being targeted to the tweener generation via the young adult stuff like Hunger Games and Harry Potter. Even in those stories (well at least Harry Potter) the kids grow up and older. I assume in later Hunger Game books the character is getting older, but I have no clue as I only saw the horrible Hunger Game movie and did not read any of the books.

The fictional cape and cowl stuff has changed and with that change comes a shedding of the old ways and trying to hang onto the kid convention or kid sidekick makes no sense. It works better if we have a new hero who is at least 18 and is introduced slowly into a book via a group book or a guest star here and there over time. DC’s Young Justice line has been a disaster and most of Marvel’s kid books have had zero staying power. I think Young Avengers has a shot as the art is strong and Gillen has stated that kids are older at this point and that helps. No longer the “Teens” buy the “Young” is a fine line difference but one that improves the sense of the book.

I think it is time for the kids to stay at home and leave the crime fighting to the adults. The conventions that are based on things that are no longer true should not be held onto just for the sake of never ending traditions. If that was the case Superman would still just be leaping over tall buildings.

Part 2 Random Thoughts to amuse and entertain you.   

1 comment:

  1. It's sad when you're no longer the target demographic of the hobby you love. Don't we still have buying power out there that should keep the fan favorite creators employed? The worst kid character for me is Franklin Richards -- he's been a young kid for ages, except for the future-self version. Talk about no growth.