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Friday, April 22, 2011 

Roger Langridge disapproves of Marvel and DC's R-rated approach to storytelling

Roger Langridge, the New Zealand cartoonist who wrote Thor: The Mighty Avenger, was interviewed by Mother Box Ping about how today's industry is going, and he's another guy who's got the guts to tell that the big two are not handling things the right way:
[...] do you feel the industry as a whole is doing enough to court a new, younger generation of readers?

As a whole, no. I really don't think Marvel and DC are helping things by having gritty, R-rated versions of their superheroes in their main comics - what they sell as the "real" versions - while simultaneously selling those exact same characters in kids' comics and plastering them all over lunchboxes and animated cartoons. Only a parent who actively follows the comics - which most don't - has a hope in hell of knowing which Batman comic is okay for their kids and which ones they shouldn't be allowed to touch with a ten-foot bargepole. Casual readership by kids, or by parents for their kids, is effectively impossible the way things are currently structured. And I think the waters are muddied too far now to claw that ground back. I think it's insane that DC have spent 70 years making Superman as big as Mickey Mouse, and branding him to be understood by parents as being pretty much as kid-friendly as Mickey Mouse, only to piss that brand away in a decade. Nothing wrong with doing mature content in comics - in fact, it should be encouraged as often as possible - but doing it with characters who are on your kids' lunchboxes is kind of moronic. Take a lesson from Watchmen and come up with new characters for that stuff. And then go back to Superman and Batman and put the same kind of love and effort and craft and intelligence you've been putting into all those rape scenes and body mutilations into something kids can read, and adults can also be proud to read because of all the love and effort and craft and intelligence you've put into it, and make those the "real" versions.
Well said. Another problem with the big two is that they and their contributors, as mentioned here, refuse to learn or admit their mistakes, with very extremely rare exceptions, if at all. I think it's possible to make a repair by doing away with a lot of the storylines that have clogged up comicdom for the past decade, nullifying them out of existence, and then of course, there's turning to different formats than monthly pamphlets, which are clearly becoming too difficult to manage now. All that's needed is a different ownership with more responsibility that would take over the reins of both companies and work on these ideas. And sadly, that may never come to pass.

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I'd say that's dead on. Although, as nuance, marketability can also save a character from a bad fate, or, worse, encourage a lesser known one to endure it in his or her place. For example, wasn't Lois Lane supposed to be the rape survivor in Identity Crisis, but, since she was so popular and marketable, DC used obscure Sue Loring, instead? Either way, glad someone within the industry is pointing this out, even though, the sensible fans have been noting this for years.

agreed

UGH Lois was supposed to be the rape survivor gross. But since she was so popular it was Sue, I'm going to be sick.

but I think all the characters are marketable but the key is how do you do it and to whom.

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