We are reaching this horrible point in the comic business that has been a long time coming where it is really freaking hard to come up with an idea to insult the industry with an outrageous idea or some stereotype that won’t come true. This is reaching the point where I am worried that if I post an article about Frank Miller’s family being gunned down in front of him it might actually happen.
Am I worried that I am actually god? I wouldn’t go that far but part of parody has always been understanding trends in whatever you are producing. The thing is what we once considered to be sacred and holy is, I don’t want to say being “blasphemed” since this is medium where the best selling characters are grown men in costumes, but there aren’t getting respect. Or the creators aren’t getting the respect for their work. They aren’t getting the chances to really create anything new with the big two and from what I understand the other companies in the states have their basic wheelhouses. If it is a Dynamite book it will probably have a lot of tits and cleavage in it. If it is Dark Horse expect some ghosts and creepy shit. If it is Image you’ll be getting blood and gore. Blue Water? – unpaid artists. ZING!
Back when I still lived in Pittsburgh I visited the Toonseum a few times and was even in a loose planning phase with Joe who was running the museum about doing a webcomic event (sort of an expansion of the Pittsburgh SPX). I ended up going to the gala for the next few months events as a press member – thanks Socialfist, and one of these big events was that Giulio De Vita’s opening (which I ended up missing due to pre-graduation). That said the guy is huge over in Italy and we barely hear about him in the states and the guy has some rather fantastic looking work. He was actually working on bringing his work for the American audience which is fantastic – getting ideas from an entirely different group where superheroes are not the only comics.
I think we need to start looking at other genres for more of what comics can be especially when you consider the big two companies really don’t have many non-superhero books. Marvel doesn’t produce any titles that they full own that aren’t tied to their superhero universe to my knowledge and while DC has Vertigo those big titles have been around since the 80’s and a great deal of them were just tied into the superhero universe and were remade.
Of course if you say “but these companies are less interested in comics than the properties ” where will these new properties come from? Has DC or Marvel created a new character in the past 5 years that isn’t a rehash of a preexisting one who can hold their own title? I mean I love Jeff Parker’s Hulk about the Red Hulk but he can’t be tied to his own universe at least for film purposes. We can’t do a Nightwing movie that fits the character without getting to discuss Batman (note: I know Nightwing is not a new character). This expansive universe essentially says you can either be tied to us and our world or you can go and start something new that will eventually be tied back in with the rest of us. Even Mystery Men, the Marvel series, had some explicit ties to the Marvel universe (though side note it was another amazing series).
(And yes there are the Marvel titles like Sigil from CrossGen but will it be that long before they get incorporated into the new universe like Wild Storm was pulled into DC).
So I am a bit afraid of not telling jokes but telling some version of the future based on what might happen based on what already happens. Of course if you want fresh universes there are always webcomics, indie comics (which are for some reason not online) and more.