Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Join the Light side?

Today Marvel Entertainment announced it would be once again changing the look of its comics. In an interview with editor in chief, Joe Quesada stated that Marvel comics would be doing away with its darker edgier comics. Its heroes would be cleaner and purer. This comes right on the tails of Marvel being sold to Disney for over $4bil. Coincidence? I think not.

I really shouldn't be surprised by this Disneyfication of Marvels heroes. Were I ten years younger I would probably be pissed. But then again I grew up in the time of dark anti-heroes. Starting in the 80s grim pasts, and not-so black and white decisions by protagonists were all the rage. No one pulled this off better than DC comics, who saw a major re-emergence after Frank Miller's intensely dark take on The Dark Knight hit the shelves. Thankfully DC continues to develop their characters as dark, complex beings. Marvel on the other hand has had a series of very poor cross-over events and are in desperate need of a restart. Is this the kind of restart fans will want? Old fans: Probably not. New fans? Sure. New fans won't remember how Tony Stark was a deplorable womanizing alcoholic. Atleast they won't after Iron Man 2 hits theatres. In the end this will probably do well for Marvel whose new audiences are the young viewers of their movies and saturday morning cartoons. (I can't help it, but Super Hero Squad actually creeps me out.) Quesada claims that this will not be a cleansing of the Marvel Universe, and that the books will remain "edgy". (Sadly he doesn't mention when Marvel will become relevant again.) But of course this comes from a man who pushed for the end of the marriage between MJ and Peter Parker, so Spidey could become the loner loser teen again.
Marvel isn't the only ones trying to find a "light side" in this time of economic and world turmoil. Perhaps the media is just telling us that we should ignore the real world climate of dour moods, and instead find ourselves a "laughing place". This all plays into the realization that not only is the media dumbing down for its audiences; it is creating a positive outlook for them as well. Don't worry about a thing, the current media empire will think and feel for you. Sorry if that idea doesn't comfort me.

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