Superhero comics should be fun shouldn’t they?

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I grew up in what is lovingly referred to in the Bronze Age of Marvel comics. it was a sweet sweet time. The previous generation, the 60’s was the silver age, and saw the birth of Marvel comics. By the time we got to the bronze age Marvel and DC we’re slugging it out on the comic spinner racks with a multitude of amazing titles as they battled for superhero comic book domination.

My first introduction was the comics Marvel UK put out. Every week I’d pick up 3 or 4 of these black and white beauties, each containing 30+ pages of Mighty Marvel Madness. I was getting a lot of superhero stories pumped into my central cortex. And I couldn’t get enough. Soon I was hunting down shops that carried the the full colour monthly US comics. Supply and distribution were unreliable but this Marvel fanboy would be willing to bus, peddle and nag parents to drive to my carefully curated network of corner shops to enable me to hoover up as many of these treasures as possible.

Today Marvel, DC and a slew of other publishers, put out incredibly well written and beautifully illustrated superhero comic books. The craft has never been higher. 

However, at the risk at sounding like the increasingly grumpy old man I’m turning into, back in my day superhero comics were about escapism and fun and over the top spectacle with dynamic mind blowing art from Kirby, Buscema, Steranko and many others. The stories were easily accessible. That doesn’t mean they were dumb. My eyes we’re opened to a lot interesting and radical thinking and there was pushing of the medium by both writers and artists. But not at the expense of being readily accessible to new and existing readership. 

You could pick a comic book up, read it, enjoy it and move on.

I think we can sometimes lose sight of how ridiculous the concept of superheroes are.

This isn’t a genre that was designed to be taken too seriously. That’s not a bad thing. I love it so much because superheroes are meant to be escapist entertainment. The stories can tackle nuanced and social issues and the like but they should do it within the context of the genre. Don’t try and dress up superhero stories as something they’re not.

Don’t get me wrong, comics as a medium has never been stronger and I enjoy reading so much of the current output. But superhero comics at their core are fun popcorn entertainment. Which ironically, is what the Marvel movie success is built on.