Saturday, December 15, 2012

Just Sayin'--Can This Stop Being A Thing?

 It's been twelve years or so--Can the notion of "the black ops superhero team" please fuck off and die already?

 If there is another odious holdover from the Bush years than trying to use superheroes--those gaudy-coloured champions of truth and justice for covert action--dressing all in black and farting around a noirish world of ethical compromise and wetwork as a way of making a trenchant commentary on The Issues of Our Time or, as is usual, proving that Comics are Serious Fucken Business that needs to stop happening now, I really don't know what that might be.

 Not just because it reeks of "Oh man, I wonder what 24 would be like if Wolverine was in it!" but more because "black ops superhero" joins "jumbo shrimp" "military intelligence" and "widely-read comics blog Witless Prattle" in the pantheon of ridiculous contradictions in terms.

 Because superheroes are meant to be rather larger than life--they stick out. Yes, even darker characters like Batman and Wolverine and the Punisher are exaggerated caricatures of humanity, which is fine if you're writing superhero comics, but dropping them into the world of black ops is . . .well, you might as well hang a "please shoot the fuck out of me" sign around their necks.

 Conversely, Sam Fisher doesn't run around with his jockeys on the outside.Something to do with the fifth freedom or whatever, maybe.

 Let me pull back one remove and try to explain it to you like this:

 For all the chin-wagging about Christopher Nolan making a "realistic" take on Batman, there is no way Batman makes sense past a certain point without completely breaking either the character or plausibility, because in a "realistic" world, people don't dress up like fucking bats. There is no way around this: either you accept a world where people dress as bats is not equal to realism (and we wouldn't want it to be) or you find some grown-up shit to read and stop insisting that things that belonged in fucking childhood grow up with you because that impulse, like cholera, blights all it touches.

 Because really, it's just a dodge. For "Black-ops superhero" read: "I am a grown ass man still reading superhero comics. Rather than accept this as an effort on my part to connect with the child within or as a nostalgia exercise, I demand--nay, insist--that comics grow up with me, because the outside world terrifies me, and by growing up with superheroes, it is my hope that I will arrest the flow of time and never have to confront a world that requires adult judgment and adult modes of thought. Thus, I will grow larger, rather than older."

  It puzzles and baffles me that sooner than let a medium that gives free rein to imagination in ways that few others can do on the same personal level, instead of letting it work to make all wishes possible, we tear it down and insist it parrot the dull-ass world outside our window.  It's a shame.

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