I am torn between my love of comics as a vehicle for superheroics and my love of comics as an art form. Comics as a medium can support both, but for me, I will always associate comic books primarily with superheroes (and vice versa). Over the course of the past week or so, I’ve been reading all appearances of the Abomination in chronological order, and last night it struck me that the superhero comics of today are just as different from the comics of my youth as the comics of my youth were from those of the Golden Age. Using the introduction of Superman as a starting point, midway between 1938 and today is 1975, juuust about the time I was really getting into comic books.

Last night, I pulled the next stack of comics I plan to read out of one of my “recent” boxes. I am up to the five-part “Dark Mind, Dark Hearts” story written by Bruce Jones (Hulk #50-54). I had kind of forgotten that this story existed, but flipping through it (I don’t plan to re-read it in its entirety until this coming weekend) I was reminded of the plot elements. Excuse me if I get some of the details wrong (I’ll correct myself next week if I do), but essentially Bruce Banner has an affair with the Abomination’s ex-wife. There are several fairly graphic (yet tasteful) sex scenes, some of which end up on looped video tape played back to the Abomination to torment him in captivity.

I compare this to the Abomination’s first appearance in Tales to Astonish #90-91, which I read for the first time (reprinted in Marvel Super-Heroes)… right around 1975 (comics “midway point”) come to think of it. That was definitely my first exposure to the work of Gil Kane, and there’s a particular one-page sequence (you’ll remember it if you’ve ever read it) of a prostrate Rick Jones hugging the Hulk’s ankle and begging him for help as the Hulk drags him across the missile base, that remains as powerful today as when it was first drawn in 1966.

Anyway, the topic is “Are Today’s Superhero Comics Too ‘Realistic’?” and the floor is open for discussion.

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Remember the outrage when they showed Nightwing and Starfire sleeping in the same bed in the Baxter Teen Titans #1. Of course, that's from a book with the word "Teen" in its title.

Then there was the obliglitory shower scene in practically every Huntress story.

I still don't know how DC got away with Flower and Spirit in Kamandi.

And then there's Watchmen! Just because he's Doctor Manhatten doesn't mean I have to see Staten Island all the time! ;-)

And, my final comment, since music CDs are OT to the topic, I think that many young people now are too impatient to sit down and spend an afternoon listening to a whole album, or couple of albums, by one artist or group of artists.  They do want the hit single.  No Tommy or Quadraphenia for them.  And, that same attitude carries over to comics.  They don't want detailed stories or plots, they want quick hitting action and a story that zips by.  Again, I'm overstating things, but not by much.

ClarkKent_DC said:

Allen W. Smith said:

Well, I've overstated my case with respect to the music CD, but am not that far off.  CD sales have been dropping, sales of digital music is what is driving the music industry to a large extent, through things like iTunes and the like.  The music CD will be like the vinyl record within a few years, more than likely.  I mean, it's only been thirty years or so since the CD was the hot new thing, now it's on the way out.

 

What he said. It's rather odd; the big driver for the record industry in the '50s, '60s and into the '70s was the three-minute hit single. In the '70s, the impetus began to sell albums. The CD came along in the '80s and took over. But in the iTunes era, when people by and large WANTED singles -- and, for that matter, the musicians wanted to sell them -- the record companies fought them with everything they had!

Yes.  Agree with Mr. Silver Age.  Excuse me, I have to find my cane and my geritol, and go take a nap.:-)

     Allen Smith

ClarkKent_DC said:

ClarkKent_DC said:

I got fed up with Daredevil when he took over the Hand and was still stupid enough to think he could keep them in line.

 

Mr. Silver Age said:

I got fed up before then, when Mr. Fear drove DD's wife insane and he committed her to an asylum and in the next issue began flirting (and had an affair, I think) with Dakota North. Nah, not my Matt Murdock. From what I've heard, I didn't miss much since.

 

It was less an affair and more like a one-night-stand -- but still out of line.

SECRET AVENGERS #26: First let me say I liked this comic; I liked the art, I liked the plot, I liked the script. But I am ambivalent about the portrayal of drinking in this issue. In the interest of full disclosure (for those of you reading this who may not read the “BEER!” thread), I have been known to imbibe from time to time myself. Nor do I mind the occasional depiction of Marvel heroes imbibing. (One particular scene of Jarvis serving a flagon of mead to Thos during the Shooter era comes to mind.) It’s the way drinking was portrayed here.

I like the idea that Valkyrie is now an Avenger (she makes good partner for Thor), but on page three the two of them come staggering into the common room of the Avengers’ outer space quinjet (Valkyrie more so than Thor). You’d think one of Odin’s hand-picked Chosers of the Slain would be able to hold her liquor better, but she is depicted leaning against Thor or holding onto the wall for support in three panels (of an eight panel scene of which she was in five), like a binge drinking sorority chick.

Thor is no better, using “peer pressure” to convince Captain Britain to join them and ridiculing Beast (“Come, leave McCoy to his night sweats and tea… tonight we warriors drink!”) like a bullying jock at a high school party. In all fairness, Thor does redeem himself with his pep talk to the entire team three pages later.

I’m not “offended” or anything, and although I did enjoy the comic as a whole, I don’t think the scene was appropriate.

...Figs , I am frankly forgetting now whether this is the line where you extol Archie while admitting you have never bought one !!!!!!!!!!!

...other thread...

 

I firmly believe that everyone should read Archie comics.... except me!!!!

Allen W. Smith said:

And, my final comment, since music CDs are OT to the topic, I think that many young people now are too impatient to sit down and spend an afternoon listening to a whole album, or couple of albums, by one artist or group of artists.  They do want the hit single.  No Tommy or Quadraphenia for them.  And, that same attitude carries over to comics.  They don't want detailed stories or plots, they want quick hitting action and a story that zips by.  Again, I'm overstating things, but not by much.

I don't see this as necessarily something to be condemned. A while back, I read The Best Rock 'N' Roll Records of All Time: A Fan's Guide to the St..., and the author noted that he had to struggle to include work by '50s and '60s artists such as Little Richard, James Brown, and the Motown lineup -- the Supremes, the Temptations, Little Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, etc., and so forth -- because they were all about the hit single. You can't tell me their output is inferior because they didn't focus on making albums.

Likewise, bring it back to the topic, the Golden Age and Silver Age of Comics is built on countless thousands of single-issue stories. You can't tell me those stories are inferior and not satisfying or entertaining because the creators didn't go in for multi-issue tales and long story arcs and years-long plotlines. 

Jeff of Earth-J said:

SECRET AVENGERS #26: First let me say I liked this comic; I liked the art, I liked the plot, I liked the script. But I am ambivalent about the portrayal of drinking in this issue. In the interest of full disclosure (for those of you reading this who may not read the “BEER!” thread), I have been known to imbibe from time to time myself. Nor do I mind the occasional depiction of Marvel heroes imbibing. (One particular scene of Jarvis serving a flagon of mead to Thos during the Shooter era comes to mind.) It’s the waydrinking was portrayed here.

I like the idea that Valkyrie is now an Avenger (she makes good partner for Thor), but on page three the two of them come staggeringinto the common room of the Avengers’ outer space quinjet (Valkyrie more so than Thor). You’d think one of Odin’s hand-picked Chosers of the Slain would be able to hold her liquor better, but she is depicted leaning against Thor or holding onto the wall for support in three panels (of an eight panel scene of which she was in five), like a binge drinking sorority chick.

Thor is no better, using “peer pressure” to convince Captain Britain to join them and ridiculing Beast (“Come, leave McCoy to his night sweats and tea… tonight we warriors drink!”) like a bullying jock at a high school party. In all fairness, Thor does redeem himself with his pep talk to the entire team three pages later.

I’m not “offended” or anything, and although I did enjoy the comic as a whole, I don’t think the scene was appropriate.

 

There's something that no-one has mentioned yet about Roger Langridge's out-of-continuity Thor comic, which seemed to be aimed at younger readers. The Captain Britain team-up issue was based around a good old P%%%-up in a British pub. The characters get absolutely 'langered'* for no good reason other than that's what twenty-something young people in the UK tend to do as a method of socialising.

 

Was it just the art and the absence of 50 years of backstory that made people assume the comic was for kids? I think I've seen it thus recommended here!

 

If a comic is aimed at over -18s I'm fine with the social drinking going on. Comics tend to routinely show even less psychologically healthy pursuits, but I suppose if there is ambiguity about the readership, maybe it's not such a good idea?

 

As to Avengers getting faluttered** on the Quinjet - what the hell, worse things have been shown in Avengers comics by this stage. What's a little alcohol-enabled bonding between consenting adults? Booze is a legal drug for everyone over 21 in most of the free world.

 

* Blotto

** Legless

I see your point. It's more Valkyrie's staggaring and Thor's attitude I object to than the social drinking

It sounds like an enjoyable scene.  Fairly unusual, at least.  Yes, it's normally bad form to show a female superhero being less rough and tough than her male counterpart, but even to be standing in some shape or form after attempting to keep up with Asgard's mightiest God (Presuming Odin is still dead these days, or dead again, maybe?) isn't so bad, for a 'Norse god' that has only been around since 1970.

 

'Night sweats and tea' is a great line though.  Bullying jocks are rarely so eloquent.

 

Presumably it was a long journey for Thor to be giving pep talks three pages later?  And how much would he and Valkyrie have had to drink for it to show?  A couple of bathfuls of Mead each, I'd imagine. 

 

Mmmmm!  Mead!

 

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