There are things about the comic industry that really bother me these days.
In an excellent post at Big Hollywood, comic writer Bill Willingham decries the current state of superhero comics saying that they are, in fact, "superhero decadence" (using a term coined by Dirk Deppey). I couldn't agree with Willingham more and I have frequently been not only disgusted by the tone of some of today's superhero comics, but downright incensed by them. To quote Willingham:
"The ’super’ is still there, more so than ever, but there seems to be a slow leak in the ‘hero’ part."
The post is here and I recommend everyone read it.
Now, this state of affairs is certainly bad enough. We have characters whose definition of hero seems to be "hitting someone before they hit me". But I have a gnawing suspicion that things behind the scenes at comic companies are far worse.
There is an atmosphere of fear at these companies. They've become places where individuals are afraid to express their own opinions or, even worse, ones that oppose the Managerial dictates. It all has to do with job security and the reins of power being tightly held in the grips of a very small amount of people. People who, it seems, have no problem exercising that power and being very small, petty individuals.
This saddens me. Not only because it is wrong and goes against so MANY of those ideals that America is supposed to uphold (just like superheroes) but because no one should be afraid of losing their livliehood because they speak their mind. This is the problem with the power being centralized to so few people. It is closely resembling a dictatorship, one that I am surprised has not brought about pictures of Didio or Quesada as Hitler or Mussolini. Except that most people who produce political imagery don't usually depend on the targets of their criticism for their jobs.
Willingham suggests that creators refuse to produce work of "superhero decadence" anymore. Which is good assuming he can get wide-spread support of such a ban. After all, if there is one thing that the comic book industry is notorious for it's that there's always another wave of fresh-faced kids willing to do whatever it takes to write or draw Spider-Man or Batman. For the rest of us, I'd suggest we just stop buying this stuff. These are characters with DECADES of rich publishing history behind them. Go buy some back issues and pass up the next "Crisis of Secret Final R.I.P." garbage.