Author Archives: Ron Edwards
You got politics in my superheroes, shock! … and superheroes in my politics, too?! Shock and outrage!
Too bad, sweet pea. That’s just how things are and always have been. I’ll tell you why: because comics are political, either via implication due to their junk-product nature which is forced to be close to life to be consumed at all, or explicitly because you can get away with it when no one vets them (or barely). So it’s not “superheroes” I’m talking about necessarily, but rather, superheroes in comics. Political. Put it up your ass and smoke it.
In writing about webcomics and the development of superhero characters through use, I had a weird flashback to 1976.
So we’re cuttin’ alllll the way back to my tween-teen transition and the siren call of a new title at Marvel: The Man Called Nova, by Marv Wolfman and John Buscema. I bought it, and if memory serves, stuck with it for about a year.
I’ve been thinking about when and how superheroes are “alive” in the culture. Swing a stick right now, and you’ll hit someone telling you that all is roses. Superheroes are in! They are arrived! They are (gasp) cool at last! … whereas all my little eye sees is that they are in the cage. They have “arrived” in the sense of at rest. They are tamed at last.
It’s true that a lot of Venning is nothing special, an unnecessary display of things that do just as well in a comparative table. It also risks reifying, thereby generating categories as “things” when none exist just because you depicted a circle or box.
But here I am working on a game system which lets people make their own superhero groups for their own creative purposes, rather than aping existing ones, and yet also which relies on inspiration from and appreciation for the comics. How does one describe and inspire superhero groups without just skinning existing ones? I started thinking about what superhero groups were and why they existed – not the in-fiction reasons, but reader and publication reasons.
Here’s a picture of the Man, i.e., the persona, that I knew well from my initial comics madness years. You could find cartoon versions everywhere as well, whether affectionate as in FOOM or derisive as in the New Gods.
This blog has turned out to be mainly about the births of characters and the deaths of people. A lot of ink’s been spilled about which one Stan was, or which one we should like or loathe or analyze or criticize.
This isn’t the time for that. Maybe in about a year.