Ever since Superman first graced the pages of Action Comics people of all ages have fallen in love with superheroes, mighty champions who choose to use their great powers, abilities, and skills to better people’s lives. They’re an inspiration for the young and the source of catharsis for the old. However, in the dawn of the 21st century superhero stories have been in the hands of those inspired by books like Watchmen and what was intended to be the exception has slowly become the rule, darkening the bright lights of our great fictional heroes.
I’m probably overselling that a bit because I don’t know for sure that’s what Variant Comics is thinking with what they’ve called not an anti-Watchmen so much as a reverse Watchmen. While Alan Moore’s amazing work wondered what if superheroes weren’t as cool in real life, Variant Comics is going the opposite route with their comiXology original, Astounding Times. The YouTube channel is usually the host of videos discussing comic characters and stories but just recently host Arris Quinones announced he is working with some great talents in mainstream comics to create his own superhero universe, one that has forgotten to look up after a dark event takes the heroes down a few pegs. What is the incident? Well, that’s not explained in this promotional video but what it sets up is something I’d really like to read.
I’m not trying to come down against Watchmen but I don’t think modern creators really took the right message. Now superheroes are so deconstructed they’re almost broken, while various derivative interpretations rather than attempting to create new heroes has all but ruined what makes them special. Plus there will be a physical release after the digital. As a fan of physical media this makes me happy that it’s not just digital. Someday I’d like to make a physical comic. I’m really hoping this series can help put the hero back into superheroes. I wish Quinones the best of luck and I’m really curious to see if it lives up to the premise he lays out in the video.