Storytelling + superheroes (or not superheroes) = comics
Author: Ethan Butterfield
What’s not to love about comic books? They tell stories, bring heroes closer to our hearts, and make us laugh on occasion. From Garfield to Preacher, comic books are a part of literature that covers a large spectrum. I myself am keeping up with The New 52 Batman series. There’s just so much to offer people, and media doesn’t shy away from them either. I mean, think about it, without comics we wouldn’t have this giant craze in superhero movies…so take that for what you will.
In my humble opinion, whenever the discussion of best comic book comes up, I have to go with a tried and true classic: Batman: The Killing Joke, written by Alan Moore. What can I say that hasn’t already been said? The story is set in the Batman universe and takes place in Gotham City; it depicts The Joker as a failed standup comedian who turns to a life of crime and eventually goes further and further down the rabbit hole. I’m not jok…kidding when I say he goes nuts. There’s an entire monologue about him having ‘one bad day’ and that everyone is just as messed up as he is. It’s oddly understandable though, as if you can feel his sorrow drift through his dialogue.
Here’s an example: “I’ve demonstrated there’s no difference between me and everyone else! All it takes is one bad day to reduce the sanest man alive to lunacy. That’s how far the world is from where I am. Just one bad day. You had a bad day once, am I right? I know I am. I can tell. You had a bad day and everything changed. Why else would you dress up as a flying rat? You had a bad day, and it drove you as crazy as everybody else… Only you won’t admit it! You have to keep pretending that life makes sense, that there’s some point to all this struggling! God you make me want to puke.”
I got in touch with a fellow comic book fan and good friend of mine, Avery Lockert. I asked him a series of questions relating to what comics are like today. He had this to share:
So, Avery, first and foremost, do you feel superhero comics are innovative, or are they putting a stranglehold on the industry?
Avery Lockert: Superhero comics have definitely added a lot. When people think of comics, it’s usually superheroes that pop into their mind. They just offer a large array of material in general.
Now, do you think comics are being developed for a more mature audience nowadays?
AL: Largely, yes, comics have definitely taken on a more mature or dark tone from the initial fun and lightheartedness that they had before hand.
How do you feel about the quality of comic books in this day in age?
AL: Well it hasn’t necessarily improved, but it has changed by targeting the more mature audience, as I said before.
What’s the definite thing you like most about comics?
AL: Personally, the fantasy, exploring a different universe and the development of characters within. [And] getting to watch them as they grow and becoming emotionally invested with them.
So given those thoughts, are comic books as good now as they were then? I could safely say yes. Although it appears that a darker shift has taken place since the days of Archie and the aforementioned Garfield, one cannot deny that comics in general are a great storytelling experience.