Monday, February 17, 2014

Superior Foes and Hawkeye - A Watershed Moment?

Like Mark Ginocchio, one of my favorite comic reviewers, I have a hard time talking about how much I love The Superior Foes of Spider-Man. There's just so much to love that it's hard to pin-down what makes it great, but I'm going to give it a shot.

More than anything else, this book does not take itself seriously at all, and in a world where all the Avengers comics berate the reader incessantly about the seriousness of the event you're reading about it, it's extremely refreshing to read a book like this.

I've long held that things like comics and animated movies can be more touching than dramatic movies because they're less pandering. When you watch a drama or romance movie, it's trying hard to make you feel sad because this is really sad you guys but it comes off as obnoxious (most of the time. To me anyway.) Which is why this was way sadder than this. And this made you cry, but you don't even remember this.

And that is what is going on with both Hawkeye and Superior Foes. They have created an unserious book that people like, although in two similar but distinct ways. Hawkeye's artwork is one of the main driving forces of this book:

And stands out as being unique. While the book is not without irreverent moments and quality storytelling....

...Superior Foes doesn't have anything special going on in the art department, but cranks up the irreverency to 11...

...and without such a unique art style as Aja, must rely on storytelling techniques to keep the reader engaged. (Which it does.)

So, ok, the books are good. So what?

Well, it's hard to predict what kind of trends will be popular in any medium or culture, but I'm going to say that from here on out, less-serious, quirky art, beta-hero or villain stories will start becoming more popular. Here's my argument why:

1) Marvel Knights has recently been recreated. The focus of this brand is on unique art styles, independent creators, and stories away from the main cannon. The fact that there's even a market for this shows that people are ready for books of this nature. Both Hawkeye and Superior Foes follow this pattern: There's not even any other Avengers in Hawkeye and Spider-Man doesn't even show up in Superior Foes of Spider-Man.

2) Hawkeye is making bank and getting good reviews. Follow the money, baby.

3) People fucking hate the 90s. If you're not into comics, the quick explanation of the 90s was that: there was poor writing; there were too many #1, big event issues; there was too much masculine, macho bullshit. I'm sure that people in the 90s and 00s hated this too, but now that we're getting so far away from the worst era in comics, people are started to realize more and more just how awful this crap was. Of course, that means that what will be more popular are things with: good writing; downplayed events; and "quirky", down-to-earth characters.

4) People hated Age of Ultron. In addition, I thought the latest X-Men crossover...I can't even remember the name of it...was just as bad, if not worse, but Age of Ultron was hyped a lot more, spread out a lot further, and more universally hated. People are sick of these big, dramatic events, since they happen every year or so, and the rest of the time, I feel just too fatigued to care about the next "big" event.

There you have it. I won't be a bit surprised if we see more comics like Hawkeye and Superior Foes of Spider-Man in the near future.

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