There I was watching an awesome little web show called Atop the Fourth Wall and the host Linkara said something that got me thinking. Here is a link to his site (press here for fun). Anway he asked about what happened to comics being fun? It seems everywhere you turn things are all dark and gritty. Now I like dark and gritty and I think it has a lot to do with my favourite comic character and how I discovered him but surely there are comics out there that don't need to be changed.
I've always liked comics, I can remember being a fan of X-Men, Batman and Hulk but I didn't true lover of comics until a fateful day when I was eleven. (que flashback music) My dads work had a donation of comic books and rpg's, of course dad pulled a few strings so I could go and select a few things to take home with me. Not only on that faithful day did I grab some World of Darkness role playing books (that started something as well) but I was drawn to another comic Hellblazer issue 13, I also picked up a trade paper back calle Mythos: Final Tour. Both these comics had a character called John Constantine and I was in love. A prick who tried to do his best but while succeeding on the bigger picture would constantly lose friends and loved ones. Now this comic can get pretty dark and influenced my tastes. (Don't forget Deadpool being your second favourite character.) (Thank you yellow text.) (That's all right.)
I'm also a fan of The Boys and The Authority which has superheros (if you can call them that) killing villains left and right. I think this all leads up to the question that Linkara asks. Sometimes just people tearing each other a new one and always having dark and gritty worlds can get to people and you begin to wonder if there isn't something out there which is a little lighter. I think probably the poster boy of intriguing stories yet a fun vibe would have to go to Superman. Yeah not my cup of tea but he is so pure, noble and will always do right; it's actually refreshing. I've heard people ask if they should change it so Superman kills, but then it wouldn't be Superman. While I dig some of the darker material (loving the current X-Force run) I understand that not all characters can be this way. Superman killing people is just not right.
A character from the DC that I have a lot of time for is The Flash particularly Wally West but Barry Allen is also great and i've taken the time to read some of the back stories. My favourite stories were often those that had him teaming up with Green Lantern and those that pitted him against Professor Zoom (oh god was he a brilliant villain). Anyway if someone was to come to me and tell me that they were making a grittier Flash who now killed people or was a loner or that they were making it a grittier story like Sin City, I would cry shenanigans. That just wouldn't be the Flash in any of the incarnations.
I think the trouble comes from multiple areas. Readers who just want that one flavour that suits them over and over again. Marketers who view violence and gritty stories as the in thing and push for more of the same crap. Finally some writers who might be afraid to write the story without violence and stay true to the original vision. (mind you the last one is a tough one) Honestly I'm currently enjoying The Flash Rebirth as it's put a smile on my face and made me think of all the fun I've had with some titles. Yes I will always be a someone bent on violence and grittier titles but I know there are other things out there and will try to support comics as a whole.
In fact I might get some of my Flash stuff and have a read tonight.