Comic writers that don't like superheroes

The place to talk about your favorite novels, comic books and web comics.
Post Reply
User avatar
Ares
Site Admin
Posts: 3469
Joined: Fri Nov 04, 2016 8:40 am

Comic writers that don't like superheroes

Post by Ares » Thu Jul 30, 2020 5:34 am

By and large, at least in America, the main genre of comic books is superheroes. And it makes sense, since superheroes popularized the medium back in the 40s and have kept it relevant in the decades since.

Not that there isn't a wealth of other genres for folks who want to write comics and not write superheroes. Comics pre-date superheroes, and there have been points where other genres such as westerns, science fiction or horror gained popularity.

Yet there's some writers who get into comics and clearly have a hatred of superheroes . . . and then proceed to write superheroes just to tear them down. It always boggles my mind, like they should just write the genres they're interested in and not tear down an entire genre other people enjoy.

The most obvious example is Garth Ennis. The guy has a RAGING hate boner for superheroes that aren't Superman. He's created entire franchises around the concept of tearing the idea of superheroes down, showing how much they suck and mocking them.

Another person I've noticed that might fit that mold is Keith Giffen. When Giffen is paired up with a co-writer like Levitz or Dematteis they seem to keep his worst tendencies in check. But when left to his own devices, his worst aspects come out. On his own, he took the "Superheroes" out of "Legion of Superheroes", making it this dark, dystopian future, and then blew up the Earth out of spite. He wrote a Wildstorm/DC Crossover whose villain was a fat comic book nerd who was trying to inject actual heroism into Wildstorm, but was written like a brain dead simpleton. When writing Supreme, he took a guy who was already arrogant and made him into a monster and a religious zealot, taking stabs at both religion and superheroes.

You occasionally get smaller examples of writers who don't HATE superheroes, but seem to find those types of stories "beneath them". Chris Claremont reportedly hated writing superhero action scenes, and claimed that Cyclops retiring was Scott "growing up and becoming an adult", implying that in a world where superheroes save lives and stop bad people that being a superhero is somehow immature.

And there was one WildCATs writer from one of the rebooted series that talked about how their earlier adventures of stopping alien invaders was immature and silly as well.

So are there any other examples you can think of? Because it makes me wonder why these guys seem to get in an industry out of what feels like pure spite.

User avatar
Voltron64
Posts: 288
Joined: Sat Nov 05, 2016 2:44 am
Location: Tucson, AZ

Re: Comic writers that don't like superheroes

Post by Voltron64 » Thu Jul 30, 2020 6:00 am

Ares wrote:
Thu Jul 30, 2020 5:34 am
The most obvious example is Garth Ennis. The guy has a RAGING hate boner for superheroes that aren't Superman. He's created entire franchises around the concept of tearing the idea of superheroes down, showing how much they suck and mocking them.
The main reason for that of course being that he grew up in Northern Ireland during the Troubles. Saw a lot of crap. Kinda messed up his head.

In a strange way, it occurs to me that Garth Ennis hates superheroes in the same way Lex Luthor hates Superman in Batman VS Superman: Dawn of Justice. Cause one of the reasons Lex Luthor gives for wanting to destroy Superman is that Superman didn't save him from his abusive father when he was a child... ignoring the fact that Superman was a child at the same time, and could not have known about it.

Shades of Manchester Black too while we're at it...

Frankly, pretty easy to make up a supervillian motivation from all that.

User avatar
Voltron64
Posts: 288
Joined: Sat Nov 05, 2016 2:44 am
Location: Tucson, AZ

Re: Comic writers that don't like superheroes

Post by Voltron64 » Thu Jul 30, 2020 4:01 pm

Really when it comes to Golden Age heroes, I don't think either Ennis or Pat Mills should be huffily passing judgment on what was a primarily a bunch of working class Jewish creatives for how they chose to confront and deal with the spectre of Nazism.

Spectrum
Posts: 2343
Joined: Fri Nov 04, 2016 8:08 pm

Re: Comic writers that don't like superheroes

Post by Spectrum » Fri Jul 31, 2020 7:19 pm

Turning the question around, why are companies that get the bulk of their money from super heroes tolerating writers that hate their core base?
We rise from the ashes so that new legends can be born.

FuzzyBoots
Posts: 1671
Joined: Fri Nov 04, 2016 8:20 pm
Location: Pittsburgh, PA

Re: Comic writers that don't like superheroes

Post by FuzzyBoots » Fri Jul 31, 2020 7:34 pm

Spectrum wrote:
Fri Jul 31, 2020 7:19 pm
Turning the question around, why are companies that get the bulk of their money from super heroes tolerating writers that hate their core base?
Honestly? Because the books keep selling. I don't know how much of that is hate-buying ("Man! I gotta buy the latest copy of The Boys to see how badly they botched this!"), how much of it is reaching an audience that doesn't normally read the comics ("I knew Superman couldn't be that squeaky clean. I mean what do you think would happen if the US Military could tap into someone with his powers?"), and how much of it is that some of the core audience enjoys the subversion ("I know, guilty pleasure, but sometimes you just really want to see Batman going off the deep end and machine-gunning terrorists.").
My Builds

Current games:
None (Too scatterbrained)

User avatar
Davies
Posts: 1865
Joined: Thu Mar 23, 2017 10:37 pm
Location: Edmonton, AB

Re: Comic writers that don't like superheroes

Post by Davies » Fri Jul 31, 2020 8:48 pm

Spectrum wrote:
Fri Jul 31, 2020 7:19 pm
Turning the question around, why are companies that get the bulk of their money from super heroes tolerating writers that hate their core base?
Because the bulk of their money comes from licensing the image of those super heroes for film, television and other merchandise, not the actual comics themselves.

User avatar
Ken
Posts: 2424
Joined: Fri Nov 04, 2016 10:40 pm
Location: DeKamore, Madiganistan

Re: Comic writers that don't like superheroes

Post by Ken » Sat Aug 01, 2020 3:17 am

Spectrum wrote:
Fri Jul 31, 2020 7:19 pm
Turning the question around, why are companies that get the bulk of their money from super heroes tolerating writers that hate their core base?
Because the people who run the mega-coprprations that own the companies are less than ambivalent about the core base or the properties. And the writers who hate comics have been around long enough to be promoted into positions of power at the companies.
W: Professor Plum, you were once a professor of psychiatry specializing in helping paranoid and homicidal lunatics suffering from delusions of grandeur.

PP: Yes, but now I work for the United Nations.

W: So your work has not changed.

Post Reply