Okay, we’re still on darker themes, but at least it’s not Fredric Wertham! With the Watchmen set to make a huge splash in the DC Universe, if not the DC Mulitverse, how about a little history of the Watchmen characters as well as a little behind the scenes? Benny from Comicstorian is preparing a series of videos about Watchmen, the comic that helped put superheroes into a darker. less kid-friendly tone. I don’t dislike the story, because I’ve never read it. I hate what it did to comics, or at least what the creators took out of it that didn’t belong in the main DC Universe. But for those of you who only know the series from the Zack Snyder movie adaptation, here’s your Watchmen primer.
I hate that line from the BBC: “the moment where comics grew up”. It speaks to one problem I do have with this and the apparent idea of what “grown-up” is supposed to be. It’s not really a parody of superheroes. It’s a very dark, depressing, and cynical idea of how superheroes would work in the real world. And my biggest problem is that DC thought that was the approach to take with the main universe, especially in the early 2000s starting with Identity Crisis but you could see elements throughout the 90s as well. I don’t need superhero comics to reflect the real world. I live in the real world and there are other genres that already take place in a “real world”. Superheroes get to be above all that. And if your “adulthood” status is threatened by happy stories of people being good fighting great evils and not being $%#holes about it, or that the human race is basically evil, you really don’t have a good opinion about humans, do you? It’s become a self-fulfilling prophecy in our society if you think about it.
I’m an adult by all definitions, but I do enjoy stuff for kids. I do enjoy seeing stories about hope and victory, bright colors and fantastic feats and the BEST of humanity, and that’s becoming lost in our fiction. Superheroes were the shining example of that. Inspiring to kids and catharsis for adults. We’ve lost that and that makes me sad. I’m no less “grown up” because I prefer superheroes I can look up to rather than look down upon like the characters in Watchmen. I know enough to know none of them are inspiring, some of them act like the villains the heroes I enjoy would fight, and none of them are especially heroic. That’s not what I’m looking for. As good a story as it may be, it’s not the superhero genre I grew up loving and that makes me sad. Growing up doesn’t mean killing the child you were to become an adult. It means realistically approaching and creating the world you wanted to grow up in so your kids can grow up in that world, and later do what they can to make the world a better place.
Whatever happened to that? Or fun? Or good defeating evil? “Not realistic” you say? This is fiction. Fiction can be whatever the heck you want. That’s why I want to be a writer and comic creator. Not to create the world I see but use it as a template for the world I want. I come not to bury but to praise. If that’s not “grown up” to whatever BBC columnist wrote that then I’ll gladly stay a child.