DC Comics, Batman, and the power of the status quo (MAJOR SPOILERS for recent Batman comics).

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Re: DC Comics, Batman, and the power of the status quo (MAJOR SPOILERS for recent Batman comics).

Post by ray245 » 2018-07-16 07:40pm

The Romulan Republic wrote:
2018-07-14 05:43pm
I wonder if that's somewhat a self-perpetuating cycle though. Comics are seen as something only anti-social teenage boys buy, so they market predominantly to anti-social teenage boys, so anti-social teenage boys are most of their readership, rinse and repeat.
I'm not sure if it's even possible to break out of this cycle at this stage. It has been this way for like, close to century now? Yes, I am well aware of newer titles and comic books that might be more appealing to a more diverse readership. I am not sure if the old Superhero titles can break off their stigma and successfully attract a more diverse fanbase.
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Re: DC Comics, Batman, and the power of the status quo (MAJOR SPOILERS for recent Batman comics).

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2018-07-16 07:53pm

ray245 wrote:
2018-07-16 07:40pm
The Romulan Republic wrote:
2018-07-14 05:43pm
I wonder if that's somewhat a self-perpetuating cycle though. Comics are seen as something only anti-social teenage boys buy, so they market predominantly to anti-social teenage boys, so anti-social teenage boys are most of their readership, rinse and repeat.
I'm not sure if it's even possible to break out of this cycle at this stage. It has been this way for like, close to century now? Yes, I am well aware of newer titles and comic books that might be more appealing to a more diverse readership. I am not sure if the old Superhero titles can break off their stigma and successfully attract a more diverse fanbase.
Was it really always that way to the extent that it is now?

In any case, its a strange disconnect, because the movies are very much mainstream pop-culture- in fact they're pretty much THE dominant film genre today.
"Our progress in degeneracy appears to me to be pretty rapid. As a nation, we began by declaring that "all men are created equal." We now practically read it "all men are created equal, except negroes" When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read "all men are created equal, except negroes, and foreigners, and Catholics." When it comes to this I should prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretence of loving liberty -- to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure, and without the base alloy of hypocracy." - Lincoln.

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Re: DC Comics, Batman, and the power of the status quo (MAJOR SPOILERS for recent Batman comics).

Post by ray245 » 2018-07-16 07:59pm

The Romulan Republic wrote:
2018-07-16 07:53pm
Was it really always that way to the extent that it is now?

In any case, its a strange disconnect, because the movies are very much mainstream pop-culture- in fact they're pretty much THE dominant film genre today.
Comic books has always been an adaption of the comic-books instead of something directly lifted from the panels ( unless you are Zack Synder and see where that has gotten him).

The MCU has basically thrown out a lot of the elements found in comic books (for example Fascist, alcoholic Tony Stark).
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Re: DC Comics, Batman, and the power of the status quo (MAJOR SPOILERS for recent Batman comics).

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2018-07-16 08:04pm

I think its telling that the most successful comic book film adaptation is the MCU- which are generally lighthearted (Infinity War aside, but I would argue that it probably carried so much weight in part because it was a sharp departure from the usual established tone), mostly family-friendly films. It suggests to me that doubling down on grimdark to try to make the comics seem more "mature" is getting it ass-backwards.

Of course, there's also the fact that print media has been partially supplanted by the internet. It might be in Marvel and DC's interests to start emphasizing web comics over traditional comic books/graphic novels, perhaps even phasing out print comics altogether, or making them simply occasional pricey collectors' items for the die-hard fans, while focusing mainly on web comics.

Of course, this is speaking mainly from a practical commercial point of view, not a nostalgic one. Though I do have a genuine preference for light or dark-but-still-idealistic-with-a-bit-of-optimism over grimdark.
"Our progress in degeneracy appears to me to be pretty rapid. As a nation, we began by declaring that "all men are created equal." We now practically read it "all men are created equal, except negroes" When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read "all men are created equal, except negroes, and foreigners, and Catholics." When it comes to this I should prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretence of loving liberty -- to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure, and without the base alloy of hypocracy." - Lincoln.

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Re: DC Comics, Batman, and the power of the status quo (MAJOR SPOILERS for recent Batman comics).

Post by ray245 » 2018-07-16 09:39pm

The Romulan Republic wrote:
2018-07-16 08:04pm
I think its telling that the most successful comic book film adaptation is the MCU- which are generally lighthearted (Infinity War aside, but I would argue that it probably carried so much weight in part because it was a sharp departure from the usual established tone), mostly family-friendly films. It suggests to me that doubling down on grimdark to try to make the comics seem more "mature" is getting it ass-backwards.
We only need to look at the DCEU to see how trying to be grimdark is horrible in terms of accessibility to the general audience. Nolan's Batman is serious and moody at times, but it is never grimdark.

Unsurprisingly, there's a segment of fans who liked the current grimdarkness of the DCEU and generate a lot of noise on the Internet.
Of course, there's also the fact that print media has been partially supplanted by the internet. It might be in Marvel and DC's interests to start emphasizing web comics over traditional comic books/graphic novels, perhaps even phasing out print comics altogether, or making them simply occasional pricey collectors' items for the die-hard fans, while focusing mainly on web comics.

Of course, this is speaking mainly from a practical commercial point of view, not a nostalgic one. Though I do have a genuine preference for light or dark-but-still-idealistic-with-a-bit-of-optimism over grimdark.
The main issue is how to handle the transition smoothly. The problem with trying to expand the comic-book industry is that its a very niche market. Hence, its niche audience has a huge influence over the direction of the comics. If they do boycott certain comic-titles, they can kill it off before the companies can successfully transition the title to be more appealing to a wider audience.
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Re: DC Comics, Batman, and the power of the status quo (MAJOR SPOILERS for recent Batman comics).

Post by Civil War Man » 2018-07-17 09:20am

ray245 wrote:
2018-07-16 07:40pm
The Romulan Republic wrote:
2018-07-14 05:43pm
I wonder if that's somewhat a self-perpetuating cycle though. Comics are seen as something only anti-social teenage boys buy, so they market predominantly to anti-social teenage boys, so anti-social teenage boys are most of their readership, rinse and repeat.
I'm not sure if it's even possible to break out of this cycle at this stage. It has been this way for like, close to century now? Yes, I am well aware of newer titles and comic books that might be more appealing to a more diverse readership. I am not sure if the old Superhero titles can break off their stigma and successfully attract a more diverse fanbase.
I think this line of thought is overstating things. Kamala Khan is one of the most successful comic book superheroes out there right now, in large part because she doesn't target the stereotypical comic book demographics. The success of the MCU, as well, at least opens the possibility of introducing comics to a wider audience.

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Re: DC Comics, Batman, and the power of the status quo (MAJOR SPOILERS for recent Batman comics).

Post by ray245 » 2018-07-17 01:03pm

Civil War Man wrote:
2018-07-17 09:20am
I think this line of thought is overstating things. Kamala Khan is one of the most successful comic book superheroes out there right now, in large part because she doesn't target the stereotypical comic book demographics. The success of the MCU, as well, at least opens the possibility of introducing comics to a wider audience.
New titles vs old titles. It's easier to create a new title that is more appealing to a wider audience than to shift established names/titles to a more general audience.
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Re: DC Comics, Batman, and the power of the status quo (MAJOR SPOILERS for recent Batman comics).

Post by Civil War Man » 2018-07-17 03:17pm

ray245 wrote:
2018-07-17 01:03pm
Civil War Man wrote:
2018-07-17 09:20am
I think this line of thought is overstating things. Kamala Khan is one of the most successful comic book superheroes out there right now, in large part because she doesn't target the stereotypical comic book demographics. The success of the MCU, as well, at least opens the possibility of introducing comics to a wider audience.
New titles vs old titles. It's easier to create a new title that is more appealing to a wider audience than to shift established names/titles to a more general audience.
New-ish. She's a new character with an established title. Ms. Marvel started in 1977, and Kamala Khan is the latest iteration.

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Re: DC Comics, Batman, and the power of the status quo (MAJOR SPOILERS for recent Batman comics).

Post by Crazedwraith » 2018-07-17 03:23pm

Given Batman has gone through stages of camp and grim dark, I'd hardly say it's impossible to change him. Even recently they swapped Bruce out for Dick as Batman.

Appealing to a wider audience is as much about advertising to that audience as it is changing the content. Indeed changing the content is useless if no-one knows about it.
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Re: DC Comics, Batman, and the power of the status quo (MAJOR SPOILERS for recent Batman comics).

Post by ray245 » 2018-07-17 03:25pm

Civil War Man wrote:
2018-07-17 03:17pm
New-ish. She's a new character with an established title. Ms. Marvel started in 1977, and Kamala Khan is the latest iteration.
Still not exactly the same as a character like Batman, Superman and so forth.
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Re: DC Comics, Batman, and the power of the status quo (MAJOR SPOILERS for recent Batman comics).

Post by Civil War Man » 2018-07-17 04:50pm

ray245 wrote:
2018-07-17 03:25pm
Civil War Man wrote:
2018-07-17 03:17pm
New-ish. She's a new character with an established title. Ms. Marvel started in 1977, and Kamala Khan is the latest iteration.
Still not exactly the same as a character like Batman, Superman and so forth.
I don't disagree. I was just saying that it can't be done is an oversimplification. Legacy characters have worked in the past. If it's a good legacy character, the audience will accept it. If it's bad, they won't.

It's definitely a more difficult feat to pull off with the major tent-pole titles, since they are usually cultural icons for a reason, so anything that doesn't live up to that is going to feel like a major step down and be rejected.

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Re: DC Comics, Batman, and the power of the status quo (MAJOR SPOILERS for recent Batman comics).

Post by ray245 » 2018-07-17 04:52pm

Civil War Man wrote:
2018-07-17 04:50pm
I don't disagree. I was just saying that it can't be done is an oversimplification. Legacy characters have worked in the past. If it's a good legacy character, the audience will accept it. If it's bad, they won't.

It's definitely a more difficult feat to pull off with the major tent-pole titles, since they are usually cultural icons for a reason, so anything that doesn't live up to that is going to feel like a major step down and be rejected.
For the risk-averse, comic-book execs, it's probably a good reason why they don't want to touch their gold-laying geese.
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Re: DC Comics, Batman, and the power of the status quo (MAJOR SPOILERS for recent Batman comics).

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2018-07-17 07:30pm

ray245 wrote:
2018-07-16 09:39pm
The Romulan Republic wrote:
2018-07-16 08:04pm
I think its telling that the most successful comic book film adaptation is the MCU- which are generally lighthearted (Infinity War aside, but I would argue that it probably carried so much weight in part because it was a sharp departure from the usual established tone), mostly family-friendly films. It suggests to me that doubling down on grimdark to try to make the comics seem more "mature" is getting it ass-backwards.
We only need to look at the DCEU to see how trying to be grimdark is horrible in terms of accessibility to the general audience. Nolan's Batman is serious and moody at times, but it is never grimdark.

Unsurprisingly, there's a segment of fans who liked the current grimdarkness of the DCEU and generate a lot of noise on the Internet.
Indeed.

Nolan's Batman was stylistically dark and moody, but thematically and narratively it was highly idealistic at times, and overall largely optimistic in its conclusions. The whole point of the ferry scene in The Dark Knight is that the Joker is wrong that people will eat each other when they're put under pressure, and TDK actually allows Batman to win and have a happy ending.
The main issue is how to handle the transition smoothly. The problem with trying to expand the comic-book industry is that its a very niche market. Hence, its niche audience has a huge influence over the direction of the comics. If they do boycott certain comic-titles, they can kill it off before the companies can successfully transition the title to be more appealing to a wider audience.
True.

I think the right thing to do would be to have a transitory period where the current print comics (or at least the most popular titles) continue to be produced at something like their current rates, while starting new comic lines as web comics with a lighter tone. If the experiment works, and the new approach attracts a wider audience, then they can begin gradually phasing out the old model.

I'd suggest that the next major DC/Marvel comics reboot of continuity would be a good time to start this experiment.
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Re: DC Comics, Batman, and the power of the status quo (MAJOR SPOILERS for recent Batman comics).

Post by Civil War Man » 2018-07-18 08:40am

ray245 wrote:
2018-07-17 04:52pm
For the risk-averse, comic-book execs, it's probably a good reason why they don't want to touch their gold-laying geese.
Except that doesn't really seem to be the case, because they try to change them all the time. If they didn't, there wouldn't be the running joke that Ben Parker and Tom and Martha Wayne are the only comic book characters who know how to stay dead. Comics are rife with character deaths, retirements, legacies, and "Captain America was secretly a Nazi"-style shock-value plot twists. That those changes are frequently reverted doesn't make them risk-averse, it just means they have a habit of backpedaling when a risk they take does not pan out.

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Re: DC Comics, Batman, and the power of the status quo (MAJOR SPOILERS for recent Batman comics).

Post by Elheru Aran » 2018-07-18 02:05pm

Civil War Man wrote:
2018-07-18 08:40am
ray245 wrote:
2018-07-17 04:52pm
For the risk-averse, comic-book execs, it's probably a good reason why they don't want to touch their gold-laying geese.
Except that doesn't really seem to be the case, because they try to change them all the time. If they didn't, there wouldn't be the running joke that Ben Parker and Tom and Martha Wayne are the only comic book characters who know how to stay dead. Comics are rife with character deaths, retirements, legacies, and "Captain America was secretly a Nazi"-style shock-value plot twists. That those changes are frequently reverted doesn't make them risk-averse, it just means they have a habit of backpedaling when a risk they take does not pan out.
Example: Frank Miller's original 'Dark Knight Returns'. It was 1986, about the time of Crisis on Infinite Earths. Batman comics, while a bit darker than the rest of the DC universe at that time, still had a lighter tone-- people got killed offscreen, comics had a moral lesson, Hostess ads ran in them... and then here's future-Batman punching people into bloody doll-rags, a sadistic homicidal Joker who breaks his own neck at the end, Superman and Batman throwing down at the end because Superman has become a pawn of the US government.

People ate that shit up. Along with Watchmen. Don't forget that they published Death in the Family in 1988, where fans voted and Jason Todd got beaten to death (plus blown up) by the Joker. Result: Batman goes dark since the late 80s-early 90s.

Contrast this with Superman. They killed him off in the early 90s... predictably enough brought him back, with a mullet... people hated the mullet... so it went away... then they split him in half... that didn't work out, so they put him back together... oh, don't forget the time he becomes dictator of the world with an army of Superman-Robots. Maybe it's just that the 90s were a bit of a weird time for Superman, because he's been fairly uneventful, Crises aside, since then.
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Re: DC Comics, Batman, and the power of the status quo (MAJOR SPOILERS for recent Batman comics).

Post by Civil War Man » 2018-07-18 09:24pm

Jason Todd is actually a really good example. He was unpopular enough as a character that the readers voted to have him get brutally murdered. A truly risk-averse company would have then buried him in a deep dark hole and never let him see the light of day again, but they eventually decided to resurrect him and rebrand him as the Red Hood, and now he's a million times more popular than he ever was as Robin.

That, I think, is one of the interesting little idiosyncrasies of comics. It is a medium where the status quo is god, but, somewhat paradoxically, what defines the status quo is constantly in flux. The publishers will print a comic with some big shocking revelation or change. If it falls flat, something happens to revert the story back to status quo, but if it becomes sufficiently popular, it becomes the new status quo.

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Re: DC Comics, Batman, and the power of the status quo (MAJOR SPOILERS for recent Batman comics).

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2018-07-18 10:34pm

Civil War Man wrote:
2018-07-18 08:40am
ray245 wrote:
2018-07-17 04:52pm
For the risk-averse, comic-book execs, it's probably a good reason why they don't want to touch their gold-laying geese.
Except that doesn't really seem to be the case, because they try to change them all the time. If they didn't, there wouldn't be the running joke that Ben Parker and Tom and Martha Wayne are the only comic book characters who know how to stay dead. Comics are rife with character deaths, retirements, legacies, and "Captain America was secretly a Nazi"-style shock-value plot twists. That those changes are frequently reverted doesn't make them risk-averse, it just means they have a habit of backpedaling when a risk they take does not pan out.
Pretty sure there is a Batman story or two where at least one of the Waynes is alive- or maybe I'm mixing up fan fic and canon again.

But if I wrote a Batman story, I'd totally have the Waynes turn out to be alive- then use that to explore what defines Batman when his origin story/motive is taken away.
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Re: DC Comics, Batman, and the power of the status quo (MAJOR SPOILERS for recent Batman comics).

Post by Civil War Man » 2018-07-18 10:51pm

The Romulan Republic wrote:
2018-07-18 10:34pm
Pretty sure there is a Batman story or two where at least one of the Waynes is alive- or maybe I'm mixing up fan fic and canon again.
I would not be surprised if they exist, there are also what-if comics where Ben Parker is alive. But AFAIK, there has never been any attempt to resurrect Ben or either of the Waynes in any of the primary continuities.

Fun Fact: That running joke of "No one in comics stays dead except for Uncle Ben and the Waynes" used to be "No one in comics stays dead except for Uncle Ben, Jason Todd, and Bucky." Then Jason Todd and Bucky were both resurrected, in the same year apparently, as dark reflections of the hero they used to be a sidekick for, becoming Red Hood and the Winter Soldier, so they had to be removed from the list.

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Re: DC Comics, Batman, and the power of the status quo (MAJOR SPOILERS for recent Batman comics).

Post by Elheru Aran » 2018-07-19 02:27pm

The Waynes, or at least Thomas, are alive in the Flashpoint timeline, Thomas having replaced Bruce as Batman. As far as I know they've never been alive in the primary continuity other than maybe the occasional masquerade by a villain or something like that.

They may have appeared in some Elseworlds stories in the past; I don't think Elseworlds are really a thing now, DC having gone the multiple-universes route again of late. How many fricking resets have they had, anyway?
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Re: DC Comics, Batman, and the power of the status quo (MAJOR SPOILERS for recent Batman comics).

Post by U.P. Cinnabar » 2018-07-19 03:02pm

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Re: DC Comics, Batman, and the power of the status quo (MAJOR SPOILERS for recent Batman comics).

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2018-07-23 07:11pm

Speaking of Stupid DC Grimdark Bullshit, here's the trailer for their upcoming take on the Teen Titans:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QIYzdBAxcM8

All I can say is: :roll: And also, :wanker: Looks to me like its trying to strike much the same tone as Suicide Squad, which I disliked more than any other comic book movie.
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Re: DC Comics, Batman, and the power of the status quo (MAJOR SPOILERS for recent Batman comics).

Post by Batman » 2018-07-23 07:54pm

Suicide Squad worked for the Suicide Squad, which, well, were the Suicide Squad. And for them the grimdark approach kinda works. The Titans are the guys who make the JLA look grimdark
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Re: DC Comics, Batman, and the power of the status quo (MAJOR SPOILERS for recent Batman comics).

Post by Khaat » 2018-07-24 10:23am

I think the Titans-going-grimdark is a response to the New Mutants movie, which looks like the standard teen-horror fest ("horror film in the superhero genre" instead of, y'know, teenage mutants with superpowers.) I'm not planning to see either, but I'm 30+ years over the target demographic and don't live on my phone....
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