Wednesday, April 18, 2007

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 America crying because he never hot-linked a youtube link to his myspace account. Or something along those lines, I forget. Now we have the Hulk shedding tears over his new chick. All macho posturing aside, it just seems too damn lazy for me. “Look, they’re crying, so you know it’s a life changing moment”. Y’know, pretty much the type of stuff that films are filled with to this day.

Did Cap really need to start crying because the 9/11 brigade jumped him? Let’s forget that this is Captain fucking America and he must have seen worse shit his first day on the ground during WW2. I truly believe, the scene would’ve worked better without the streaming Steve Dillon tears. I feel the same way about Hulk #107. We’re given the first glimpse into the Hulk’s thoughts in 14 issues. He’s angry (a constant), sad (frequently), and feels like dying. This is big. The Hulk, no matter what he’s been through, has never felt like dying. That was always “Puny” Banner’s deal. It’s even been said that the Hulk constitutes not only Banner’s anger, but also his survival instinct, which makes suicide impossible. A suicidal Hulk is the only thing that’s unprecedented about a largely derivative storyline. But just in case you didn’t get it, let’s throw on some tears. This visual emotional manipulation in every dramatic film. It’s not even a foreign phenomenon in comics. It does seem like they’re just stacking them on top of each other at this point. I never thought I’d long for a day when these characters would just man up and hit something.


buckshot said...


Brother Afron said...

Y'know what? I was about to list Watchman by name up in there, but something told me to chill.