These days, a lot more people see superhero movies than read superhero comics. That’s because the writing and visuals are usually better, and it’s a cheaper, faster way for fans to get a complete story. Plus, unlike most comic shops, movie theaters actually run a vacuum once in a while.
The two big superhero publishers, DC and Marvel, keep trying to entice new readers with various gimmicks — new costumes, starting the issue numbering over again from #1 every few years, killing off characters and then resurrecting them, etc. — but most people still think Hawkeye is a mischievous-yet-crusading Army surgeon in the Korean War. (Note: They’re right.)
Hey, you know what might get people reading superhero comics again? Make ’em even more overtly leftist than they’ve been since Superman was beating up strike-breakers in the ’30s! That’s what DC Comics seems to be thinking, anyway. Courtesy of HuffPo, here’s an ad for two of their upcoming funnybooks:
Ripped from 2011’s headlines! Will all the artwork be similarly influenced by Soviet iconography? We can only hope.
The writer of The Movement (ahem), Gail Simone, was just interviewed about it by a big shiny robot. No, wait, she was interviewed at Big Shiny Robot. Here she is telling us why superheroes need to occupy stuff:
The Movement is an idea I’ve had for some time. It’s a book about power–who owns it, who uses it, who suffers from its abuse. As we increasingly move to an age where information is currency, you get these situations where a single viral video can cost a previously unassailable corporation billions, or can upset the power balance of entire governments.
And because the sources of that information are so dispersed and nameless, it’s nearly impossible to shut it all down. I’ve been in countries where the internet is heavily censored, but they can’t possibly keep up with millions of users from every corner of the world.
The previous generations of superheroes were not created to address this, it’s a legitimately new frontier, both for the real world and for storytellers.
The thing I find fascinating and a little bit worrisome is, what happens when a hacktivist group whose politics you find completely repulsive has this same kind of power and influence…what if a racist or homophobic group rises up and organizes in the same manner?
It’s called the Tea Party, right? Did I get it right, Gail?
None of the characters have been revealed, but here’s the promo copy for the first issue:
We are faceless. We are limitless. We see all. And we do not forgive.
Who defends the powerless against the GREEDY and the CORRUPT? Who protects the homeless and poverty-stricken from those who would PREY upon them in the DARK OF NIGHT?
When those who are sworn to protect us abuse their power, when toxic government calls down super-human lackeys to force order upon the populace…finally, there is a force, a citizen’s army, to push order BACK. Let those who abuse the system know this as well: We have our OWN super humans now. They are not afraid of your badges or Leagues. And they will not be SILENCED.
We are your neighbors. We are your co-workers. And we are your children.
In real life, the Occupy movement has only managed to ruin public parks and become a staple of police blotters across the country. Let’s hope the fictional version does a better job of… whatever it is they even want to do.
As for The Green Team, it was originally a goofy one-shot comic from the ’70s, back when communism was considered a bad thing. Basically, the idea was: “What if Richie Rich and three other super-wealthy kids, with one distinguishing characteristic each, had crazy adventures that involved spending lots of green, green cash?”
The revamp will probably be a lot like that, except with much more guilt and self-doubt. What are you smiling about, you little banksters?
But I do have to give DC Comics credit for trying something relatively new, even if Occupy’s 15 minutes are long gone. Hell, the folks at DC are still putting food on the table with characters from 75 years ago. I’ve given up reading their comics unless they’re drawn by the amazing Ethan Van Sciver, and this foray into social commentary doesn’t look promising. But at least it’s better than putting a bunch of extra lines on Superman’s costume and expecting everybody to applaud their innovation.
(Hat tip: Bleeding Cool)