So I just read an article talking about how comic books need to become more like the movies in order to survive. Now I understand that thought. I even agree that it might help sell some books but is that really the only way to stay alive?
Now I'm not old but I'm not a high schooler either. I'm 26, so yeah whatever, let's not talk about my age. It isn't important! What is important is that when I was a kid, comic books were a hidden world. It was something special. Something that was ours and no one else knew about it. I mean ok, we had the X-Men and Batman cartoons. Not to mention a lot of lesser known ones and those were cool, they were but the books were better. Now everyone knows how I feel about books. Even as a film maker I am a big believer that there is no movie or tv show that match the level of greatness of the corresponding book. It's just how it is.
Me and my friends use to trade comic books and talk about parts of the characters life that no one else knew about. We would spend hours on hours arguing about weird little details that no one knew about. Why? Because we cared. We did. These people were in our house month in and month out and they meant something to us. Movies are great and can be powerful, they can. But they don't live with us. They don't come back over and over again and if they do it is spread out over years. TV is better in that it lets us live with characters week in and week out. But then they go away for a while before coming back, at least till they end for good.
What the writer of the article doesn't seem to understand is that comic books, at least the great ones have been around far longer than us. There is a sense of history to it. A sense of being apart of something bigger than us. When you read a comic book you love, take flash, you can go back and find old stories. There is always something to read. Something to discover. It is a world so much larger than our own.
Larger than our own. That is what comic books do better than anyone else. They create a whole world. Stan Lee use to talk about it a lot in the silver age but it goes back to the golden age. Namor and the Human Torch fought each other. Oh and if you think I'm talking about Johnny Storm than you aren't comic book fan. Your a movie or TV fan. Let's put a pin in this and finish the point of this paragraph. Comics come together and cross over in a way that even the Marvel movies and Arrowverse can't do as well. I mean they come close, they really do but not as well as Marvel did it in their prime.
Back in the day Marvel, I can't talk about DC as much because I don't really read DC comics, I just don't. Anyways, back in the day Marvel cared about the universe. If the Thing was starting his own book, he was leaving the Fantastic Four. If Wolverine was busy in his title he was missing from the X-Men book. Now Wolverine, well he is dead but still manages to be everywhere. Deadpool and the 30 different Spider-Men are running all around. If you read 2 different X-Men titles in a week you see the same characters appear. What order do they take place? Are they even connected? This is what is causing the downfall of comics. Not disinterest. Well it is disinterest, just not from the audience, it is disinterest from the writers and editors. They don't feel connected in the way they once did and it is truly a loss for the art as a whole.
Now as for the point of their arguments, movie and tv have more fans and by directing the comic books towards the stories happening over there they can pull in more and more people to read them. Uh no. Movie and TV fans aren't going to go read the comic books. And if they do they won't read the same story they just watched. They are fans of the movies and shows. Not the characters. It's a sad truth but one that we should be honest about if you want to seriously talk about throwing away stories that have been growing and expanding since 1937, when the first issue of Detective Comics came out. 1938 if you want to start with the first super hero, Superman in Action Comics. These fans that you want to change the whole industry for are fair weather fans at best. They will watch the movies and shows and love them while they are on but the second that they go off air, even for a week they forget all about them. The talks that I use to have with my friends about these characters are not the ones being had now. They just don't care. All you will do with this course of action is drive away the fans who have been living in this world for so long.
Look at what Marvel is doing, not in comics but everywhere else. They are looking at the movies and changing everything to fit them. If you are a fan of the X-Men or Fantastic Four than Marvel doesn't care about you anymore. No toys, no characters in games like Future Fight. In the comics the FF are gone and the X-Men are shit on more than ever. To the point where they aren't even relevant anymore. The Inhumans are replacing them more and more every day.
If you really want to bring comics books back from the brink than look at Ms. Marvel. She is a new character and doing extremely well right now. Instead of making 15 different people calling themselves Spider-Man or having two Captain America's or two Punishers let's create new characters. Have new stories to tell. We don't need a civil war 2 just because a movie is coming out. Have something new happen, or stop with the major events for a while. Back in the day events were a must collect thing. Now they chase me away from buying comic books because they happen every five minutes and every title ties in. News flash, just because they say they tie in doesn't mean they do. They trick you into buying books that you don't care about. How is that good for business?
Originality is what made comic books great, it is the reason why the films and shows based on classic characters and stories are doing so great. Let's not forget where it all started from and let it be. Let comics live on their own without having to bow down to the big two, TV and Movies not Marvel and DC.
Make reading comic books an experience again. New stories built off of the old ones, not the same two stories over and over. Let the books continue, I use to love getting issues in the hundreds and going back to hunt down the ones I miss. Now I have 15 different Iron Man #1. What the hell is the point of that? Stop with the comic book season and go back to the one long long story that got us into this world to begin with. Let the universe connect. Not just everyone doing whatever the hell they want. Comic Books have always been looked down on, let's not kid ourselves that just because the shows and movies are doing great that the books can match that. Don't. Stick with what has been working since the 60's. Avoid the pitfalls of the 90's and we will be fine. Long Live Comics!