Grotesque Anatomy
Tuesday, January 06, 2004
  I Have Met The Enemy And He Is Us
Ever wonder why the "Comic Books = Superheroes" correlation seems so prevalent and persistent across the collective pop culture consciousness?  Part of the reason may be that comic book readers (who should know better) perpetuate the stereotype in their excitement to be taken seriously.

Example:  Matthew J. Phillion (described in his bio as a "East Coast based journalist and award-winning columnist") writes his first new Guttermouth column for the recently-redesigned Comic World News and wonders, "Are comics a fringe subculture no longer?"  In the end, Phillion concludes that comics are gradually becoming part of the mainstream, declaring "[c]omic books might be a popular target for parody, insult and scorn, but as far as I can see, they’re also sort of taking over the world."  His evidence?  All the movies based on comic books being made.  Or more specifically, all the movies based on superhero comics:  Phillion lists established and rumored movie properties including Spider-Man, X-Men, Hulk, Punisher, Fantastic Four, Ghost Rider, and Iron Fist.  Because of course recent movies based on comic books have all focused on superheroes.

Aside from the narrow focus on superheroes, the other major problem with Phillion's argument is that his examples don't support his conclusion.  Just because people are going out to see superhero movies doesn't mean that people are more interested in comics, or that they're starting to give them more respect.  All it means is that people aren't adverse to seeing movies with superheroes in them.  Marvel's claims to the contrary, the release of movies based on their characters does not seem to have led to a significant boost in sales for the corresponding comic books.  Heck, Phillion's own experience demonstrates how it's possible to be into superheroes without being interested in (or even aware of) comic books:  He writes that he loved superheroes as a young child, but didn't start reading comics until later.

Now, if I were trying to demonstrate that the general public might be growing more open to comics, I think there's another emerging trend I'd point to instead...  [NOTE:  If your name is Peter David or John Byrne, please do not click on the link above; it's only going to upset you.]
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Iron Fist

by John Jakala

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