Tom Spurgeon's Web site of comics news, reviews, interviews and commentary

June 18, 2009

The Worst Thing About Marvel Comics

imageThere's an interesting discussion on the blog of The Atlantic's politics and culture blogger Ta-Nehisi Coates about Marvel's recent PR spotlight on one of their ongoing narratives. Cole Moore Odell's point in the comments that defeating death is part of the texture of superhero comics is a smart one, as is the general point that characters in fantastic literature that aren't about superheroes do this, too (Sherlock Holmes, Gandalf the Grey/White).

However, I do have some sympathy for the position that this weakens Marvel's general claim to being the more realistic comics company, which is how that company exists in the minds of many casual fans. I also think there's not enough scrutiny as to how these sorts of plots work in specific titles (I don't care for any of the uses for Jean Grey after those X-Men comics where she killed herself after her friends fought very sweetly -- and very badly -- on her behalf despite monstrous claims as to what she had done). Mostly, though, I'm not certain the Marvel writers (or the DC ones) as a collective have ever handled well how astounding it would be to have certain people in any fictional world even half-way designed to resemble our own outright cheat death.
posted 8:20 am PST | Permalink

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