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EDITORIAL: Age and Comics – How Old Do You Want To Be? | Comic Book Fury

EDITORIAL: Age and Comics – How Old Do You Want To Be?

February 9, 2011 by
Filed under: Editorial 

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I recently watched a great Comic Vine segment about the future of Batman. More in particular, it was about the future of Bruce Wayne. He’s been roaming the Gotham City grounds (and more recently the Japanese landscape in Batman Inc.) for a good 70+ years now and has given us many of the best stories in DC’s history. So long as Bruce is around, those potential great stories should continue.

And that could also be a potential problem. Allow me to explain.

Continuity has always been a fickle thing. I can’t tell you how many times Mike and I want to scream whenever a new Wolverine or Deadpool book comes out. In particular, aging can be touchy with some long-time comic book readers as well. If you have a character you love going through all sorts of adventures over the years and the world around him or her is changing with the times, it can get a bit irritating to see that character not growing up with it. You may think this is just nitpicking and that as long as the stories are good, that’s all that matters. But for a guy like me that likes the writing and likes seeing characters naturally progress in their development, I can get antsy when I don’t see that occur.

I get it though. Bruce Wayne is Batman. He sells books. And DC is a business as much as it is a company passionate about comics – they see that people still want Bruce Wayne stories, they continue to find ways to make him compelling. And you know a “Crisis” is right around the corner when the think tank runs dry. But you know what? Dick Grayson is also Batman too. Damian’s been predicted to take the crown in Grant Morrison’s future. Say what you will about Morrison – love him or hate him, he at least gets it that characters need to evolve and progress.

So as that’s going on, should we really expect Bruce to stay his age while other characters around him are aging?

I get that this is a tough choice in superhero books and I’ll admit that I don’t have the full answers. I just find it funny that major publishers like DC and Marvel like to tout their 70 years worth of continuity and how seamless their universes are, but yet we can’t allow the characters to age, see them respond to their surroundings, and possibly pass the torch where needed. As I mentioned, Bruce Wayne sells now, but who’s to say we can’t make that Dick and/or Damian in the future as the timeline naturally progresses? Who’s to say that can’t be Terry McGinnis too? I think of Batman as a mythology more than one character – Morrison certainly proved that when he sent Bruce away and Scott Snyder is definitely proving that lately in Detective Comics.

I chose Batman for this post, but the issue obviously goes to other long-standing characters. Sure, you can ret-con them, give them healing powers, super-serums, gamma radiation, or just give them time portals. But eventually, it’s going to get to a point where we’ll want to see the next steps for their legacies. Sign off on what you think about this – aging good or bad for comics?

Now if you’ll excuse me – I’m activating my time portal to avoid the gray hairs growing on my head…

Comments

  • I would love to see a project from DC/Marvel in the vein of the Ultimates universe or Elseworlds, where they move in real time. They could even call it that… DC: Real Time. It would be a 20 year project and characters would *all* be forced to age naturally according to their condition. So, Superman wouldn’t have to age at the same rate as Batman, because he’s Kryptonian. Martian Manhunter, same thing. But all the humans would be required to age at the normal rate. Also, characters that die would be required to stay dead. You want to see some real innovation and compelling stories, this would be like nothing they’ve ever done before.


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