Emotional manipulation is nothing new in a comic book industry that was once ripe with melodrama. I remember a comic with Giant Man scaling a building, as he’s yelling “The Wasp is in one of these rooms! But which one! WHICH ONE!” Even as a kid, I would think “Is it really that serious, dude?”
Of course it was that serious. In those days it was all about suspense. There was a time where Stan Lee would essentially end his plotlines in the middle of an issue. This meant that he’d have the start a new one that would end at the climax, not to be resolved until next issue, yet not as cheap as the Out-of-nowhere-last-page-cliffhanger © Vaughan/Johns. The emotion of superhero comics was anxiety for decades. Not necessarily for the characters, but for the readers.
This eventually changed, and superheroes comics fought each other over who could have the most personality, emotional, and mental flaws (Cyclops won). This dark generation has seemingly given birth to the slightly more hopeful, yet decidedly more EMO superhero. These titans that used to spit jive at Galactus, laugh at Dr. Doom’s mommy issues, and randomly whoop the Kingpin’s ass just to remind him of the consequences of selling their identities – well now they can’t seem to Stop. Fucking. Crying.
Superman cries on at least 5 covers a year. I think that it’s a DC mandate at this point. I think Batman was crying at some point during Infinite Crisis. Then we had Captain
Did Cap really need to start crying because the 9/11 brigade jumped him? Let’s forget that this is Captain fucking