Not All Comic Books Are About Superheroes
I think it’s fair to say that a lot of people unfamiliar with the Comic Book circles will assume that Comic Book medium revolves around stories of superheroes. Thanks to the likes of Marvel and DC superheroes have become wildly popular in today’s culture. This can only be a good thing for the industry and Comic Book sales continue to rise with each new blockbuster movie created on the back of them.
I’d imagine most of us have seen a Batman movie in our time, or know about the success of the Avengers films, but comic books are so much more than cape wearing crusaders. In fact, early comic books actually focused on the romance genre or horror stories and it’s not until Stan Lee and his band of merry men came along that Comic Books became associated with the Superheroes we know today.
I have been a lover of Comic Books for many years, I have even written a few myself and with that passion, I discovered far more Comic Books that step away from the Superhero genre, not only that, they often tell the better stories.
Alan Moore is a great example. He has plenty of comic books that step away from Superheroes, yes he does have series like the Watchmen and Batman: The Killing Joke, but look at V for Vendetta - this not a superhero comic book in the traditional sense. V is indeed a mask-wearing vigilante, but his ideology is where the real story comes from.
In V for Vendetta Moore explores an alternative Britain and toys with the idea of how can a man be good when he does so much wrong. V for Vendetta is the perfect example of how not all Comic Books have to be about superheroes in the traditional Marvel and DC way.
When V for Vendetta was first released it changed the comic industry for the better and since then we have seen more and more talented works coming through. Image comics are currently at the forefront of this movement in my option and they should be commended for it.
When you look at the current line up Image has to offer you will see some superhero stories, yes, but you’ll see far more original ones not based on superheroes. Take my personal favorite for example; Saga.
Saga has gone from strength to strength and is becoming a very popular Comic Book. The story centers on the idea of what it means that have a family and what it’s like when that is taken away from you. Not only will you see some of the weirdest creatures imaginable in this book, but also you’ll find a real humanistic flow to it that we can all relate to.
The Marvel and DC movie franchises are not a negative on the industry as some might see it. I’m one who truly believes that if I enjoyed something that based on another medium then I should read the original source material. I did this with Lord of the Rings, Game of Thrones and Watchmen – all of which I found offered something completely different when I a read them. If the Marvel and DC movie franchises do this for other people then that can only be a good thing, right?
Exposing more and more people to the medium of comics opens many more doors. It means publishers might take more risks on new and upcoming writers and artist and it could even mean that your favorite comic book might be turned into a movie. That could be both good and bad, granted, but the positive effect on the industry is undeniable.
Going back to look at Image comics again, you’ll find some of the best and most current stories in the comic book world out there. I’ve recently started getting my girlfriend into reading comic books, something I thought was a lost cause. I found a series called ‘Snot Girl’ which is essentially about a female blogger who has a runny nose. Sounds crazy I know, but she loved it. Following that she went out and found another series call Paper Girls, which she’s currently reading.
The point to all that is this was someone who had zero interest in comic books. Her assumption was that they are full of superheroes and essentially stories for teenage males. This is a stigma I had to break and I’m pleased to say that I think I have.
Whenever I got to a Comic Book convention the first place I always scope out is the indie comic section. I’ve found some amazing pieces during my time and most of them are not superhero related. In my recent convention visit this year I found a little piece called ‘Robyn’ which is basically a gender flick on Robin Hood, a fable close to my heart as I live near his supposed true birthplace.
I read the first issue in about 15 minutes and subsequently went on the Internet to buy more. Alas, this is the only issue and is currently undergoing a Kickstarter project. I urge anyone to take a peek at this and back this fantastic story and you can do so here - https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/simonbirks/robyn-a-gender-flipped-robin-hood-comic-book-for-a
There are so many great comic books out there that deal with subject matter far removed from superheroes. This may seem like I hate superhero comic books, far from it. I just think there is so much wasted talent out there because people don’t look underneath the surface. Support your indie comics and pass them onto your friends, this is the best way to spread the word. The next time you recommend a comic to someone, think of Alan Moore or Brian K Vaughan and let’s change the stigma.