“Spider-Man isn’t a super-hero. He’s just a kid who got his powers in an accident on a field trip.”
“No. He’s earned his place as a super-hero. He’s saved lives. He fights crime. And he uses his powers to do it.”
“Still, I mean he shoots webs and swings around and that’s about it. He’d probably be dead without his spidey-sense. You know what would make Spider-Man scary? If he shot spiders instead of webs out of his web shooters. Criminals wouldn’t fuck with that.”
The above conversation didn’t take place in a local comic book shop. The two people talking weren’t nerds. They were high school cheerleaders on the bus I was on yesterday. If I had a time machine and could talk to the me in high school and tell him that about twenty years from now the conversations you have with your comic book friends will be the conversations cheerleaders are having I would have called future me crazy and questioned the wisdom of the guy who played Chaplin being Iron Man.
People who haven’t been collecting comic books for the last twenty-five years might not be aware of this but up until this century, if you knew something about super-heroes, you weren’t likely to be a high school cheerleader. Also, if you wanted to watch a movie based on a Marvel Comic, they looked like this.
Comic book characters aren’t only cool, they’re cooler than they’ve ever been. And it’s not just a passing fad. Both Disney’s Marvel and Warner Brothers’ DC Comics have movies planned all the way through the year 2020 with top tier talent involved. This year’s top selling movie has almost made a billion dollars worldwide and it’s a movie with Rocket Raccoon and Groot the walking tree. We are in comic book geek nirvana right now.
Characters that originated in comic books have gone mainstream. Marvel’s series of movies are literally the most successful movie franchise in history. Millions of people are tuning in weekly to TV shows like Agents of SHIELD and Gotham. And yet, if I asked ten of these people what they think about the Red Onslaught or Future’s End, at least nine of them wouldn’t have the slightest clue what I was talking about.
Let me put it another way, while I’m absolutely as excited as anyone that the Marvel Cinematic Universe is talking about Infinity Gems and Thanos and making a lot of moves that look like there’s going to be some big battle between all of the heroes and Thanos on the big screen, I also already read The Infinity Gauntlet when I was in high school back in 1992.
Since then I’ve read hundreds of stories every bit as good as any Marvel film and a quite a few that are better than any superhero movie ever made.
The reason for this is that there’s a good amount of creative freedom when it comes to comic books. That’s because it doesn’t cost $200,000,000 to make a comic book so the Powers That Be aren’t so afraid you’ll screw something up since they can always fix it next issue if you do.
Maybe you’re not sure that you’d like comics or you don’t want to spend any money to find out. That’s fine. Take a moment and check out Astro City #1/2. It’s literally one of my all time favorite comics. It’s an eight-page story available on from Amazon. And it’s FREE.
If you’re already sold on comics and want to know how to be part of the cool kids table and where to start, might I suggest Brian Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev’s Daredevil run. It’s modern. The art is amazing. And when Netflix comes out with their Daredevil TV series next year, you can know what standards you’re expecting out of it.