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Post By
Nitz the Bloody

In Reply To

Subj: Hard Truths
Posted: Thu Feb 28, 2008 at 12:19:38 pm EST
Reply Subj: Okay, I'm no expert, but I have to ask...
Posted: Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 07:53:59 pm EST

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> Not sure how this story is going to end up, but the fact that Millar and JR Jr. are talking about further Kick-Ass stories really raised my spirits. Contrary to the intentionally hyperbolic ad campaign, Kick-Ass is not the Greatest Superhero book of All Time, because it isn't really a superhero book. It's a scatching commentary on the superhero genre, and how easily it falls apart when faced with reality. Except, unlike with Civil War, Kick-Ass intends to make this fact clear.

Look, I know that the superhero genre is fairly ridiculous. And you know what? I don't care. I still love it, and I don't really see why anyone needs to go out and condemn it, and me by association, for enjoying it.

> But then, since this book joins the growing category of spectacularly cynical superhero comics ( also included are Millar's previous Wanted and other works, Ennis and Robertson's The Boys, Ellis' Thunderbolts, and Grant Morrison's X-Men run ), it's gotten complaint from fans of superheroes. And while taste is subjective, there have been comments that trouble me, such as this one from lower on the boards...

Your comments below are well-taken, but the criticism made by the comics you cite seem to me to reflect the other side of the coin-implicitly deriding superhero comics and the people who enjoy them. I'm not interested in Vertigo-style comics; if you don't enjoy them, then more power to you, but I don't see then why I should be insulted for having different tastes in superheroes. I'll admit, I'm not a fan of comics so much as I am of superheroes in general, and Spider-Man and Sleepwalker in particular, and I don't think I'm stupid or juvenile for liking these things.

In some ways, frankly, I'm a bit cynical about cynics-sometimes it seems like I'm being considered a moron for not sharing their feelings of doom and gloom. IOW, if you disagree with them, you're an idiot.

Granted, I may be wrong, but these are just the vibes I get from "scathing commentaries" on the superhero genre, or bread-and-butter D&D-style fantasy, or what have you.

Again, if you love books like Preacher and Transmetropolitan, then that's great. I'm sure the works are well worth your while. But I'll stick with Spider-Man and Sleepwalker, thanks.

I will confess that I do get a bit peeved when I hear people say that they prefer to read classic superhero comics over anything else. However, I also believe that such a stance has some really unsettling connotations, for the individual, the audience, and the comic industry at large.

Everybody realizes that taste is very subjective, and not everybody is going to like everything. Quality and intellectual merit, however, are far less so. We may not always like a work, but we should at least be able to appreciate the craftsmanship involved. And I get that you're not insulting mature readers comics, so that isn't a problem here.

What is a problem, however, is using individual preference as the only arbiter of one's choice in fiction, sticking exclusively to a preferred genre and dismissing anything on the outside. It's self-induced deprivation of sources of not only potential entertainment, but intellectual growth as well. As Robert Heinlein put it, as the conclusion to a larger quote on the versatility of experience that people should aspire to, " Specialization is for insects ".

Admittedly, I am assuming a lot. I don't know what your non comics tastes are, and I don't know what other interests you have. But the jist is this; superheroes are a perfectly fine choice for reading material. The problem is when they are the only choice of reading material.

And given how much the industry ( and specifically, a large cross-section of fandom ) caters to insularity and narrow-mindedness, it's an especially sore issue with me.