I’ve been watching a disturbing trend among some comic fans. Where they put put comic book writer Goeff Johns on a pedestal.
Yes, Goeff Johns had a great run of issues on the Flash. But so did Bill Messener-Loebs. And so did Mark Waid.
When fans put creators on pedestals and deify them, it’s a bad thing. That means they’re not connecting with the character, but worshipping the creator. And instead of readers becoming fans of the character they become fans of a creator.
Goeff Johns is not the end all to be all for comic writing. Yes, he had good runs on DC titles such as Flash, JSA, and Green Lantern, but he’s made his fair share of mistakes too like the FlashPoint event and a forgettable run on Marvel’s Avengers. And he shouldn’t be the barometer other comic writers should be measured by.
Nor should his version be considered the definitive version of any character. Yes, his stories are entertaining. They’re compelling. But I do not consider his version of any DC Character to be the ONLY one.
That’s why I was irked when I saw the excessive focus on adapting Johns stories on CW’s The Flash TV show. The adaptation of FlashPoint right after an entire season of Johns Zoom is a slap in the face to all the creators who contributed to the development of the character over the last 60 years. If this is a show that’s an adaptation of The Flash, it should encompass all the creators who contributed to the characters’ development not just Goeff Johns.
Superheroes have many creative teams that contribute to their evolution. And their contributions deserve to be regarded by fans as well. We’re supposed to be reading the comics for the characters, not the creators.
When comic fans deify comic creators like Johns, they put unrealistic expectations on them. And then when they don’t deliver on them in an anticipated run they get upset like many did with his New 52 run on Justice League.
When they shouldn’t put them on pedestals in the first place.
Every writer has good stories and bad stories. It’s part of the business. Readers enjoy the good ones and they move past the bad ones. It’s nice readers want to be fans of a particular writer. But their version of a character is not the only one.
I’m a big fan of the David Micheline/JRJR/Bob Layton version of Iron Man. It’s considered by many the best run of the character. But I also love the Len Kaminiski/Kevin Hopgood version of Iron man too. Why? Because Kaminiski’s technopunk Iron man stories put a fresh perspective on the character and Kevin Hopgood’s unique armor designs like War Machine, the Neuromimetic telepresence armor and the modular armor just POPPED off a page and came to life.
And while I’m a fan of the Denny O’neill/Neal Adams Batman, I also like the Steve Grant/Norm Breyfogle version of the character. There’s just something distinct and fun to look at regarding Breyfogle’s Batman and Grant’s stories are just the right mix of action, mystery and FUN to read.
I don’t put creative teams on pedestals. In my eyes each creative team and each creator contributes to the character in their own way. And the character is the main reason why I’m reading the adventures of a character.
If I buy comics it’s because I want to read the adventures of Batman, Superman, The Flash, Captain America, Spider-Man The Hulk or Iron Man. And I want to buy those comics because the stories are good regardless of whoever is writing or drawing them.
And if I wrote comics I’d want readers to enjoy the adventures of the characters not put me on a pedestal. My goal is to create compelling stories that build an audience with readers. When it comes to comics, the main attraction in my eyes should be the characters, not the creator.