Promotional ad for Eclipse Comics, 1985.
This ad is awesome, and it would’ve been pretty cool back in ‘85, but in 2013 when you couldn’t, in good conscience, give a kid a copy of Batman to read, it seems kind of sad.
Imagine this same ad trumpeting how great these mature new Legos are, or how she thought she was done with Furby, but now there’s this new adult version.
Yeah, the original ad was a tongue in cheek take on the “comics aren’t just for kids anymore” attitude that was coming out of the new wave of indies and graphic novels. New, more mature and complex work was coming out and everyone was scrambling to make people respect the medium.
But in the interim the medium was mistaken (as it always has been) for the genre, and the idea became to prove that Superhero comics weren’t just for kids. The idea of mature work was replaced with mature themes.
Ask anyone working in superheroes what their favorite hero stories were and nine times out of ten I bet they’d say something by Stan and Jack, by Denny O’Neil and Neal Adams, Roy Thomas, etc. Guys who made great books that were accessible for everyone.
Every time I read a modern comic where they creative team has decided that “everything you know is wrong!” about a character, it just reads to me like these guys are sick of their hero and have moved on but don’t know it.
The good news is that more complex, mature comics have come out and found a small but passionate audience. The indie scene is better than it’s ever been in terms of the quality of the work, but does that equate with the general public’s respect and interest?
There’s a difference between “comics aren’t just for kids” and “Superhero comics aren’t just for kids” which they mostly are and pretty much should be.