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Saturday, March 15, 2014

Comics Aren't Supposed to Be REAL!

Comics Aren’t Supposed to be REAL!

There’s been this push in the comic book industry to make superhero comics more like real life.

Er…Doesn’t that defeat the purpose? When did fantasy have to be like real life?

Ever Since Chris Nolan had success with the Dark Knight Trilogy, there’s been this huge push to make things more “real” in comics. Stuff like seams in costumes, characters shown training a kajillion hours to stay fit, days of prep time before going into action, and entire cities being destroyed in superhero battles.

Too many in the comic book industry are thinking too much and too hard. Trying to shoehorn reality into fantasy. Trying to apply the Chris Nolan model of storytelling to every superhero.

I’m sorry, but the Chris Nolan model only works for certain urban type characters like Blade, Batman and Green Arrow. On other types of characters who are more fantasy oriented characters like Superman and Wonder Woman, this story model isn’t a good fit.

Here’s the deal: No one reads comics for “real” life. Comic books were supposed to be an escape from reality. A chance to escape from life’s everyday problems by following the fantastic adventures of a character.

These are people dressed up in brightly colored spandex. They fly in the air, wear armored suits, and shoot lasers out of their eyes. They get their powers from magic rings and come from galaxies far, far away. What’s real about that?

I get that Batman is popular. But as I stated in a previous blog, everyone can’t be Batman. What works for Batman doesn’t work for the rest of the comic book world.

Heck, what works for Batman now just doesn’t work for me. Thanks to all this excessive “realism,” the world’s greatest detective is turning into the world’s greatest bore. Only Son Goku can make a story drag on longer than the Dark Knight does prepping to take on bad guys these days.

I miss stuff like Unstable Molecules and Refractory Coatings. To the average person it didn’t make any sense, but it was perfectly logical in a comic book setting.

The way I see it all this “realism” sucks the life out of superheroes. It keeps them from being fun. Too much time is spent focused on minute details in an effort to make things real rather than moving the story forward.

When I write Isis stories and I find myself thinking about how things would fit into a “Real” world, I step away from the computer and take a break. Because I realize I’m thinking about things way too much.

That’s when I say to myself I’m writing about Egyptian gods. Beings from a faraway mythical realm that can fly, have super strength, and can teleport from one part of the world to the next with a thought. Yeah, the fictional world they live in may have a semblance of reality, but if everything is too “real” the reader can’t escape and enjoy the fantasy.

If the reader is spending their time wondering how they do their jobs, then I’m not doing my job as a writer. My goal is to get the reader to suspend their disbelief and make them think that all the fantastic things they’re reading about seem as natural as walking and talking.

Superhero Comics aren’t real. They’re absurd. They’re crazy. They don’t make sense. That’s what makes them fun.

I used to read superhero comics to get away from the real world. To get inspired. To get ideas of what could be. If I wanted to read about what’s going on in the real world I’d get a newspaper.

I can’t wait until this “realism” trend ends in superhero comics. Fantasy needs to go back to being fantasy so it can be fantastic again. Superhero comics aren’t supposed to be about what our lives are right now, they’re supposed to be what we imagine they could be.

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1 comment:

  1. I agree with you. What annoys the piss out of me is that DC defends it's position on making both their comics and movies dark and gritty as being realistic. Er... realistic you mean like a guy who was rocket to earth and gets his powers from the sun? Realistic like a woman being sculpted out of clay and brought to life by the Greek gods? Realistic like a billionaire dressing up as bat? Realistic like a test pilot being given a magic ring by space aliens? What the hell are they talking about? Comics and movies are escapist fantasy, and we watch movies and read comics to get away from real life.