Comic stories can age even when intentionally dated elements are left out. Some age like a fine wine and others like a gallon of milk. This can vary from person to person but overall time comes for us all. This includes something considered groundbreaking at the time. It may be the first but that doesn’t mean it’s the best.

Of course sometimes that list is made for stupid reasons. CBR writer Angelo Delos Trinos recently posted an article on “10 Groundbreaking Comics That Aged Poorly” but the only thing poor here is the reasoning behind the ten he chose. I haven’t even read all of these but the ones I have read or at least are aware enough of makes me immediately question a list that puts Superman on the same list with Preacher and Sin City. He also really seems to not like Alan Moore and Frank Miller and while they’re not on my favorite comic creators’ list either there’s a reason why most of us usually only choose one from a particular writer to appear unbiased as possible.

Since I haven’t read all of them, and I’m trying to pull ahead a bit so next week’s colonoscopy doesn’t ruin a schedule I’m already having issues with–I know I’m doing it to myself but I’m trying to train myself into a schedule–I’m going to tag in Perch of Comics By Perch. He has read all of them and goes over why these choices are so dumb. I can also comment on the ones I know about, but Preacher and Sin City are most definitely not on my list of comics I want to read. So here’s an expert on the full list and I’ll chime in on what I can confirm was a strange set of reasons. Note that some minor swearing by Perch and Wertham levels of research by the article writer follow.

Okay, I can’t comment on Preacher because I haven’t read it, The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen because I know the plot and not the execution, or A Game Of You because I just heard about it and wasn’t into Neil Gaiman’s Sandman stories. I know Gaiman has joined a certain sociopolitical movement and seems to hate his own work regardless of who was inspired by it personally or professionally. Sin City I know more by reputation than experience.

For the record I’m not a fan of most of this list anyway. I’m not going to defend much of this list but will question the author’s reasons for calling them “poorly aged”. Let’s start with the defensible. Action Comics #1 isn’t “complex” because it’s part of an anthology series, originally intended to be a newspaper comic strip. It’s the most “product of its time” of anything on the list. I’ve reviewed the comic before, and it shared the comic with a few other stories, most of which weren’t all that amazing, but Superman’s story was rather short so I don’t know what he was expecting. He doesn’t even have the Kents until issue #1 of his own comic, growing up in an orphanage instead. To say it “aged poorly” is just admitting you don’t like anything old. You knew what you were getting into.

“Fun fact: Bad Leroy Brown is really about my grandma! Only she knocked the guy out in real life!”

Luke Cage (I’ve read some stories from the period) is also a product of his time, and a tribute to “blacksploitation” movies of the period, much like how Iron Fist was a tribute to martial arts movies of the same time. As Perch said, Cage only regrets those years because the writers wrote him that way. At least this one is understandable on some level. Not that I agree with it, mind you. However, the stereotypes, much as I’ve heard and Perch said about Sin City, match the genre being utilized. The existence of Black Dynamite or even the comedy I’m Gonna Get You Sucka shows that even among black people the genre didn’t “age poorly” but is just part of the history of stories. (Not all black people may thing that mind you, but that’s because people have different perspectives and opinions, even on the internet.) I don’t see the point in trashing it. You’re welcome not to like it. I don’t like anything on this list, but preference does not equal quality.

Take The Killing Joke. Apparently Barbara being shot is bad because it “undeniably popularized the disturbing trend of using violence against women as a plot device to motivate male characters”, ignoring that happens to Jim Gordon, who not only undergoes violence against himself but has to watch his daughter be shot and later stripped naked for no good reason (or Alan Moore being Alan Moore…this is a guy who turned three children’s fairy tales into porn). Let’s also not forget that it wasn’t Moore who had the Joker pulp Jason Todd’s skull in a different story. This is the Joker we’re talking about. What happened to Barbara was hardly a fridging moment and if it was then it was for Jim as well because this is still a Batman story. He was also a victim here.

Miracleman took a Captain Marvel replacement (thanks to all the issues with DC and Fawcett over Billy Batson) and ruined it. I’m not defending that. I’ll even give him that one. As for Civil War, in Linkara’s review of the event he stated that the writers had intended for Tony to be the one with the correct point of view. If later stories undid that (and good on them) it was because of the backlash. I still can’t bring myself to read either story because it loses me on premise.

The things is I really can’t come up with a list for myself. I see things as a product of the time they were created. There are things I find uncomfortable, aggravating, or just doesn’t interest me, but I can’t say something aged poorly if they were clearly set in the time period they were making or the genre they were created in. My problem with modern attempts at making an “80s” story is that far too often it seems a parody by people who never lived in that time period doing a surface level take on the 1980s AD. I’m not even sure what I’d qualify as “aging poorly” but I hope I’d have better reasons than that article had.


About ShadowWing Tronix

A would be comic writer looking to organize his living space as well as his thoughts. So I have a blog for each goal. :)

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