On Superman and getting older.
I don’t read as many comic books as I used to. Reboots (argh) aggravate the hell out of me, so with storylines and histories that I’d become invested in cleared away in the name of attracting new readers, I expressed my dissatisfaction by not giving comic companies my money any more. I collect one Marvel title (Captain Marvel), one DC title (Aquaman), and two independent titles (Saga and Red Sonja). Four ongoing comics. That’s all. And with much of my time devoted to fatherhood instead of browsing the internet, I’m behind on comics-related news.
So I may be late to the party on this, but it’s only recently come to my attention: what the hell have they done to Superman’s costume?! AGAIN?!
I have an unhealthy amount of nerd-rage when it comes to Superman.
Superman is my favorite superhero, and he was my first. When I was a little boy I had a Superman doll almost as big as I was. I watched VHS videos of the classic Max Fleischer Superman cartoons. Christopher Reeve was, and still is, my Superman. I watched the Superfriends with the devotion of any child watching a Saturday morning cartoon. The giant S, the red cape, the blue outfit with the red boots and red shorts on the outside. This is what informed me what a classic superhero looked like, and how one should act: with honor, compassion, and trust. Classic.
The “New 52” reboot (argh) changed his look to something less classic and more modern. I was aggravated, naturally, because I believed his iconic outfit wasn’t broken and thus didn’t need fixing. The lack of red shorts on the outside, the shift from tights to a slightly “armored” look, the collar… it didn’t speak to me. But I didn’t think I could get any more aggravated. I was wrong. In the wake of (yet another) universe-changing crossover event… at least I think there was another one, I don’t know, I’m so numb to these things nowadays… anyway, Superman is now sporting t-shirt and jeans. No cape. No tights. He looks like a buff Superman fan with a crewcut. Ugh.
Reboots (argh) are meant to draw in new readers, I think. So what aggravates me about them is that they are, to me, a statement that my years of support have meant nothing. That my devotion to stories and character designs that I was invested in can be swept aside at any time to appeal to a different audience. It’s a stark reminder that I’m getting older and, sadly, I’m not in their demographic any more.
I understand that superhero comics are a business, but the emphasis feels more on sales over stories than it has been. Or maybe this is just the first time I’ve noticed it because the iconic stuff I grew up with is being changed or pushed aside in favor of something different, something “younger.” Maybe it is better, and I’m just too attached to the classic stuff to notice it. Maybe I’m just an old man yelling at a cloud.
But do not get me started on Man Of Steel.