This has been kicking around in my head for a while, and I think I did this on a past incarnation of the board ... let's take a stab at creating a "Mindset List" for today's fan of comic books and related pop culture.

We begin by following the baseline that the Beloit College Mindset List uses, of a typical reader being 18. I know it's a dubious standard for this exercise, but we've got to start somewhere ... and place a reasonable limit on what's relevant and what isn't.

So, to begin, here are the first entries in The Captain Comics Round Table Mindset List!

Our typical comics reader this year is about 18 and was born in 1997.

  • Jack Kirby, Curt Swan, Wally Wood, E. Nelson Bridwell, and Don Newton have always been dead.
  • Image has always been a major comics publisher.
  • The DC Universe has always been post-Crisis.
  • A "dollar comic" is a digital download.
  • Harley Quinn has always been part of the Batman family of titles.
  • "Batman and Robin" has never meant Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson.
  • Wonder Woman has always been able to fly and has little need for the Invisible Plane.
  • Steve Trevor has never been Wonder Woman's love interest.
  • Tony Stark has always been a recovering alcoholic.
  • Howard the Duck has always worn pants.
  • The first Batman they saw in theaters was Christian Bale.
  • The first Superman they saw in theaters was Brandon Routh.
  • John Wesley Shipp plays The Flash's dad on TV, not The Flash himself. (But Mark Hamill plays The Trickster).
  • Helen Slater plays Supergirl's mom on TV, not Supergirl in the movies. Likewise, Dean Cain plays Supergirl's dad on TV, not Superman himself.

Thems for starters ... any more to add?

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Ron M. said:

Have we reached the point where Thor never had a blue costume and Hawkeye never wore a skirt yet?

I don't know, but for most of the stretch we're concerned about, Thor was never Donald Blake.

They still know Superboy was very important to the Legion, they just think he was already called Superman by then, since that's how it was in the cartoon. Few will bother to look up the fact that they couldn't call him Superboy at the time.

I'm guessing the Supreme Court chose not to hear the Siegel Family's appeal since it's been a year now.

They know Iron Man had a clunky old suit but think he quickly replaced it with something super advanced (from the 1990s I think.)

They think the Hulk was always stronger than Thor.

They think the Guardians of the Galaxy always had a tree and a raccoon on the team.

They probably think Tony Stark and Namor have always been evil.

Who's Dr. Strange? (Someone asked me that question after seeing the lineup of new films.)

They wonder if Nick Fury was originally black or white. (A lot of people keep asking that question on youtube.)

They think Whiplash was always related to the Crimson Dynamo. (I believe his parents actually ran a bakery.)

Ron M. said:

I'm guessing the Supreme Court chose not to hear the Siegel Family's appeal since it's been a year now.

Right. The Supreme Court did not take up the appeal, as noted over here, in the thread "The Siegel Family Gains Some Superman Rights".

  • Superman and Lois's marriage is the natural order of things, disrupted by the New 52.
  • Wally West is the Flash they grew up with. Kyle Rayner is the Green Lantern. They were both pushed out by editorial mandate.
  • Hellboy is a classic, been-around-forever character. 
  • Bone is one of the books that got them into comics.
  • Comic strips were always in the gag-a-day format; it's hard to even conceive of how a drama or action strip would work. 
  • Birds of Prey and Suicide Squad are foundational, tentpole books in the DCU, not interesting things at the edges. 
  • Legion of Superheroes, on the other hand, is a curiosity on the outskirts, similar in stature to the Doom Patrol. (sob!)
  • Superheroes have always been in comics, video games, cartoons, and movies. Live-action TV is still pretty new for them.
  • The Guardians of the Universe have always been a suspect, shady group prone to factions, in-fighting, and shortsighted decisions. 
  • Batman can do ANYTHING. 

Spider-Man's comic strip is still out there but it's been a couple of decades since I've seen it. Most readers today probably don't know he has a comic strip.

The fact they think Batman can do anything can be seen in a video the Creeper episode. When Creeper knocks Batman down without even noticing who he is, fans went crazy, either screaming it's a lie or making up excuses for him. "He let Creeper hit him." "It wasn't the real Batman." "The writers are trying to ruin Batman's reputation."

Think the Simpsons has always been on the air.

Think (if they've ever heard of it) that Hanna Barbera was an imprint of Warner Brothers.

Happily watch the goriest of movies but are deathly afraid of clowns.

Think Fred Jones of Scooby Doo was always a trap obsessed doofus.

Think Fred and Daphne have always been a couple.

React with shock and disgust when they discover 13 Ghosts of Scooby Doo (with Vincent Price as a wizard) had Daphne and Shaggy living together in the same house and Fred and Velma nowhere in sight. (Warner retconned it into a summer where Fred went off to camp and Price's character (no longer voiced by him) is now a fraud and a coward.)

Think Michael Jackson did the narration in Thriller since they never heard of Vincent Price.

Are shocked to find the comedy routines and musical numbers on Family Guy didn't originate on the show, and that the show has quite a few similarities to the HB series Wait Til Your Father Gets Home. "Sergeant, will you on your glasses and get off of me!"

Can't believe the Vision is an old character because he wasn't in the earlier movies. Same with Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver.

Are shocked that Vision and Scarlet Witch were married.

Think Johnny Blaze was called the "Spirit of Vengeance" and had all the powers first used by Danny Ketch.

Probably didn't know Luke Cage called himself Power Man.

Think the Hulk was always grey whenever he wasn't stupid.

 

  • Death is permanent only for civilians and some supporting characters. For superheroes, death lasts about two to three years, on average.

Doesn't know that Marvel has made a lot of other types of comics besides superheroes.

Thinks the only non-superhero comics DC has ever made were connected to Warner Brothers cartoons.

Doesn't know Archie has tried (and failed) at making superhero comics many, many times before.

Probably has no idea what the Comics Code was.

I remember when they first brought in Kyle Rayner I heard two guys in a comic book store complaining and insisting the only true original Green Lantern was Hal Jordan. When I mentioned the original was Alan Scott they gave me a dirty look and walked off.

I believe Alan Scott is now believed to have always been connected to the Guardians (his lantern is now possessed by one of them I think.) Before Crisis I don't think they ever explained exactly what his lantern was, where it came from, or why it talked to him in his first story (but not, I think, in any later stories.)

Denny O'Neil wrote a story about it in Green Lantern #112 (cover-dated for Jan. 1979). I don't personally remember the details. I think I found it cheapening. The GCD says the meteor from which the lamp was made was revealed to be "part of the Starheart, a conglomeration of magical energies that the Guardians removed from our universe". My recollection is the Starheart was sentient.

Seems if they removed something from their universe they wouldn't want somebody in the next universe to find it either. Just because Scott called himself Green Lantern didn't mean he had to be connected to the Guardians. (Especially if there were no Earth-2 Guardians.)

And their predecessors before them, by economics. But neither really matters to the 18-year-old cohort we're talking about.

CharlieKweskill said:

  • Wally West is the Flash they grew up with. Kyle Rayner is the Green Lantern. They were both pushed out by editorial mandate (as were their predecessors)


Rob Staeger (Grodd Mod) said:

  • Superman and Lois's marriage is the natural order of things, disrupted by the New 52.
  • Wally West is the Flash they grew up with. Kyle Rayner is the Green Lantern. They were both pushed out by editorial mandate.
  • Hellboy is a classic, been-around-forever character. 
  • Bone is one of the books that got them into comics.
  • Comic strips were always in the gag-a-day format; it's hard to even conceive of how a drama or action strip would work. 
  • Birds of Prey and Suicide Squad are foundational, tentpole books in the DCU, not interesting things at the edges. 
  • Legion of Superheroes, on the other hand, is a curiosity on the outskirts, similar in stature to the Doom Patrol. (sob!)
  • Superheroes have always been in comics, video games, cartoons, and movies. Live-action TV is still pretty new for them.
  • The Guardians of the Universe have always been a suspect, shady group prone to factions, in-fighting, and shortsighted decisions. 
  • Batman can do ANYTHING. 

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