Originally posted on the Cap America board and reposted here to stimulate some discussion.
I don't know how to put it any other way. Comics are on the same cultural rung(if not lower) than TV soap operas. You know what you think when you think of a TV soap-opera fan. Addicted fans (usually women) who swoon at mindless, inane, cliched plots. In fact, you could probably substitute any comic book plot (minus the sci-fi aspect) and you would be hard pressed to find a difference. A long lost brother turns up. Someone we all thought dead, was hiding out "somewhere else". Someone we thought was a good guy, was actually a bad guy. And on and on. The bottom line is soap operas are not given much artistic credibility. Neither are comics.
Only several months ago, Joe Q went on TV to pimp how Cap was killed. Now we know, it was all a lie. Of course we knew back then too. We knew they wouldn't kill a "cash cow"....not that Cap was much of a cash cow...til he got relieved of his position. Now we have a new Cap and he's proving to be a popular chap...but he'll be relieved of his status so we can bring back "the one and only". This is one step forward, two steps back. DC is doing the same thing...and therefore contributing to the problem. (Hal Jordan, Barry Allen, Carter Hall, etc. etc.)
The bottom line for me is, I feel like I have outgrown this medium. It's designed for children. Who else but kids can say "do over" and get away with it? Please forgive me. I am not trying to insult the fans...I am taking aim at the "creators" who fashion themselves quite brilliant creatively yet can't seem to create anything new. They can only repackage and redress and redesign...and then pimp it like its the greatest idea since Spiderman.
What's the answer? I don't know. But I do know that until we leave the mindset of "anything is possible" (even returning from death)which means, there are no real stakes, then there will be no credibility given to this artform. It will simply be seen as a male version (sorry ladies) of the TV soap opera.
You're entirely correct. I've pretty much given up on buying comics(with the exception of the first issue of Flash Rebirth, and 2 issues of Agent Orange over in Green Lantern). In the last 5 years, I've bought maybe 2 dozen DC issues(and it would be much less if not for Identity Crisis and Alex Ross' Justice), and absolutely nothing from Marvel. And that's telling, because I have a much larger Marvel collection than DC. Quality story-telling is clearly a thing of the past. Almost every good idea is driven into the ground by a shameless marketing ethos that pollutes the creative process(think Civil War and World War Hulk). What was a great idea, and should have been a great story, is undermined by ulterior motives - and Civil War is the perfect example. It's clear that Marvel wanted Steve Rogers out of the way for a while, and Civil War provided the vehicle for that goal. It's just like the old joke about the movie industry. First they make the toys and all the merchandise, and then they tell the writers to come up with a story to sell the goods. That's what the comic industry is now.
But I don't agree with you that the industry is geared toward children. To me, it's just the opposite. Comics are becoming increasingly more violent and sexualized. Think of the issue of JLA a couple of years ago that depicted in gory detail, Red Tornado's arm being ripped off by Solomon Grundy. I wouldn't want children reading that stuff. No, the industry is simply dumbing their product down, while ramping up the violence and sex, to appeal to as wide an audience as possible(while excluding children - whose allowances can't cover the cost of modern comics anyway).
You mentioned that DC was reimagining Carter Hall. That's the first I've heard of it. Can you elaborate on their plans?(I love Hawkman - but he needs a MUCH better rogues gallery).