Friday, February 1, 2008

Are They Going To Kill Batman?

Rumor has it that as part of the Final Crisis miniseries and the events spinning out of it, DC Comics will be killing Batman some time this year. Of course, at this point, it is just a rumor.

My own preference would be for DC (and Marvel for that matter) to concentrate less on killing off their icons (or turning them into Satan-bartering man-children) and more on creating interesting and exciting characters.

Who can name an interesting, meaningful, fully-involved in continuity hero created in the past three years by either of the majors? (note: Blue Beetle doesn't count; he's a new face under a mask that's been around for years.) Even better; can anyone name a character that meets the criteria above who currently appears in their own solo title?

I guess I sometimes get worried that all Marvel and DC are doing is acting as stewards for characters and ideas created before most of their staffs and readers were born. Sure, legacy is a great story element (DC excels at that aspect of superhero fiction), and traumatic change can revitalize a stagnant character (Marvel's preferred method, it seems), but familiarity breeds contempt and changes sprung from every corner devalue change as a storytelling tool.

From a selfish standpoint I'd like to be able to say twenty years from now "Yeah, I've been following 'Top Hero's Name Here' for as long as they've been around." Of course, once I shot my mouth off, the publisher would, in quick succession, make the character a killer, de-age them and reveal their hermaphroditism (who says it's not a word?) all in an attempt to appeal to 'newer readers'.

That being said, Grant Morrison (the writer of the Batman ongoing and Final Crisis) is really good at his job. I'm sure the story he's got in store will kick enough ass that I can deal with any change it brings about. I'm not railing so much at this particular change (although I can see why someone would), but more at the artistic culture holding sway in the medium I love. I appreciate blockbuster events and unexpected twists that change the four-color world and its inhabitants, but I also appreciate character study and exploration. I'd like some of both, please.

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