Okay, brace yourself, it is about to get really geeky. After all, I am going to report on comic books here, and for some reason, sequential art seems to be as geeky as they come, at least from a stereotypical point-of-view.
As it is, I’m sure that it will come to no surprise that I read comics. This is read, pronounced “red”, like past tense. The reason why I stopped reading them was I went to college and decided not to use any income to purchase any more. I have sold most of them on eBay, and have a few left over. Sometimes I get my hands on trade paperbacks of comic collections, and I enjoy a few occasionally.
In case you are not aware, the person to the left of this article is me, and the other man is Dave Marshall, an editor at Dark Horse. I’m guessing that the average person on the street might not know who Dark Horse is, but then again, the average person might not know who Marvel or DC is unless they read comic books. Dark Horse is a very cool comic book company that publishes a lot of comics related to franchises like Mass Effect, Dragon Age, and other video game products. The picture is from PAXPrime 2014, and it is pretty obvious why they were at the gaming convention.
Dark Horse has an interesting history, as it began in the mid-eighties, and boomed during the indie-comic boom of the nineties. This was when comic companies like Image and Dark Horse were showing DC and Marvel, who were then the prime comics, what was what. The same thing happened to music and independent film around that time.
In addition to their video game properties, Dark Horse has the rights to Avatar: The Last Airbender, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Aliens, Conan, and they recently lost the rights to Star Wars after Disney bought them.
I realize that there has been a lot of focus in the movies on Marvel properties, but Dark Horse had a movie franchise before Marvel ever did. Their properties include The Mask, 300, Sin City, and Hellboy.
Here’s what I would like to talk about. As you might know, there is a Batman/Superman/Justice League movie under construction. Some say that DC is attempting moving into the territory that Marvel is doing with the Avengers. Just to let you know, I will be reviewing the Marvel films this year every Saturday this month on Speculative Fiction Saturday. The issue that I want to address now is whether or not comics should be movies and what direction comic-book storytelling should take.
Some of you might remember when I discussed why TV sucks, and I concluded it was the writing. I don’t think that is the problem with comics, as they have produced stories that are practically the new myths of America. The problem is that comics don’t know when to quit telling their story.
Much of the Marvel and DC comics have been around for decades. They have changed hands several times, so Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Spider-man, Hulk, and other household superhero names have been done and redone many times. Part of it is changing with the times, and doing retcons so the origin changes so all the lame stories can be erased from the superhero canon. Then there is the whole aspect that there really is only so much you can do with a superhero, and most plots have been done to death. Occasionally, a new writer comes up with a new angle, but it is feels like it is all been done.
I think the reason why comic book movies are so popular is because the movie can take the best from a well-developed character and put it in a stand-alone story. In some cases, they put too much story in one movie, and I will talk about that when I review The Amazing Spider-man 2 this Saturday.
So Dark Horse has the rights to certain franchises, and I hope they can live to tell good stories. I have heard that Dark Horse has a superhero universe that I can only hope doesn’t fall into the same traps as DC and Marvel are doing.