So, hey, superheroes are all over TV and Film, too. Why I don’t I talk about that some?
It’s weird to juge yourself in comparison to other people when it comes to comics. Beyond any sort of weird inferiority/superiority complex you tend to develop compared to non-enthusiasts, there’s the way you view yourself in relation to other fans. As in “Wow, that guy sure has no taste.” Or girl, I guess; don’t want to be sexist, I just rarely meet a woman in to comics, and when I do, I tend to ask them to marry me, not judge their nerd cred.
This awkwardly lurches in this musing; it’s interesting to see the kind of reactions you get when you tell people in a comic shop you haven’t gone to see the latest superhero movie. Or that you haven’t seen the Dark Knight yet. Still. That gets a hell of a reaction, let me tell you. It’s as close as I’ll ever get to feeling like a unicorn, Kamandi, or some other “last of his kind” creature of myth. Or like you have two heads. Or like you’re an idiot.
Which I can understand (as in, I get all of those reactions). I remember when seeing superhero movies was a huge deal to me. That was a big part of the fun of fandom for me, once upon a time. The opening of Spider-Man in 2002 was a pretty big deal to me. So, I get how someone can think “what’s wrong with this guy and his not being at the earliest possible showing?” when I say “Yeah, I haven’t been to see that big superhero movie yet.” Or any movie in a theater at all in three years, actually.
But, as time has gone on, I’ve cooled on the whole thing. I no longer see the new superhero movie as a huge event. It’s just another movie. Some I’m interested in, some I’m not. Looking forward to Dark Knight and Hellboy 2 on DVD, have a copy of Iron Man that I’ll watch at some point, will probably watch Incredible Hulk on cable (I actually sort of liked the Ang Lee one, so I was not crying out for a reboot), may watch Hancock by accident thinking it’s that episode of Arrested Development I meant to write as a fan fic where the Fresh Prince of Bel Air showed up suddenly sprung to life, and have pretty well actively avoided the likes of Ghost Rider, Elektra, and Catwoman (although GR seems like something I might enjoy if I gave it half a chance).
Of course, the fact that going to the theater is no longer really something I do factors in to the equation. It’s partially a social thing (i.e. I have no one to go with), but it’s more that I prefer to watch movies on DVD. It’s like waiting for the trade. If I weren’t such a
social retard loner, I’d probably see more of these things in the socially accepted setting.
Also, I’ve also learned over the years that in my hierarchy of entertainment mediums, movies are below comics, video games, and TV shows. They don’t mean as much to me as they used to. I’m not that in to them. We should just be friends, I guess, except for the occasional booty call when Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright make a movie. This metaphor got away from me a bit. But unlike a lot of folks floating around the blogosphere, I’m not a comics nut and a film buff.
That said, I do watch superheroes on TV pretty enthusiastically. As in I watch Heroes. It interests me that the current season is very much like a lot of the superhero comics that alienated readers in the ’90s. Hell, that’s the hook of this new season; heroes become villains! Everything’s darker!
Of course, a couple of tropes present in the comics have been present since day one. Someone has to time travel to a possible dystopian future once a year. Everyone’s related to everyone else, it seems; I won’t be surprised if they attach Hiro and Ando to the Petrelli family tree by the end of the show’s run (or in last night’s episode, really; haven’t watched it yet).
So, this show has a lot of tendencies I find annoying in comics (even if I do have a soft spot for possible dystopian futures. I read “Days of Future Past” at a really impressionable age), and that drove a me and a lot of other people out of comics in the ’90s.
On the other hand, I think it also has a lot of the strengths of a good superhero soap opera, primarily due to its serialized nature. I’m pretty easily hooked on a good serial, and I think this show at its best is one. As far as contemporaneous TV series, it’s not as good on the level of “what happens next?” as something like Dirty Sexy Money (where I find myself engaging in chess games to try and guess what’s going to happen three moves ahead of the writers).
But it can be gripping at times, so I can see how it became a cultural phenomenon, and am pretty glad I decided to become part of it in spite of not wanting to do that for a while there. Well, that and their attempts to place Sylar in situations that contrast his super powered serial killer image have really amused me greatly. I hope they keep finding new ways to extract humor from that. That I also find that a decent number of the cast runs the gamut from endearing to interesting helps a lot, too. Much in the same way that likable characters and “oh my god, what happens next?” cliffhangers can make up for a lot of shortcomings in any given comic, at least in my book.
As much as it’s nice, on a certain level, to see comics busting out in to other, more reputable mediums and see superheroes accepted as a genre in them, I’d still rather read a superhero comic than watch a superhero movie. Even I find that odd on a certain level, but I’m used to feeling like a retarded unicorn/Kamandi hybrid (Kamandicorn?) at this point over my lack of enthusiasm over superhero movies at the multiplex (and going to the multiplex in general). I’ve come to accept it, really. Because a Kamandicorn sounds like a pretty awesome thing, doesn’t it? Well, that or a licensed snack food in a much better reality.
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