The negative effects of "Gritty" and "Edgy" in comics.

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The negative effects of "Gritty" and "Edgy" in comics.

Postby Darrin Kelley » Fri Sep 06, 2013 2:51 pm

I'm 45 years old. The main target market DC has claimed that they serve.

But I am generally opposed to the darkening and draining of the innocence from superhero comics that has seemed to have become the all-consuming trend. The constant "deconstruction" and tearing down of heroic icons, to me, is tearing down and ruining the properties themselves.

The big two comic book companies are the worst about it. And I am becoming more and more disenfranchised by the unending obsession with that trend. And I don't think I'm alone in getting fed up with it.

On the side. I looked at the subject of the HEROIC! Kickstarter and really saw it as being more of the same. It embraces those very things. That's why I didn't support it. I'm fed up with comics that tear heroes down.

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Re: The negative effects of "Gritty" and "Edgy" in comics.

Postby Arkrite » Fri Sep 06, 2013 3:26 pm

I took a look at the Heroic kickstarter, I liked the concept I heard but the script left me cold.

I didn't want to say anything when the kickstarter was still running because even though I'm not interested I'd still like to see somebody succeed at what they want to do. And they did, so awesome for them, congrats!

But reading through the script something jumped out at me.

The girl gets shot and dies.

(Please note following comments are about comics in general, and not about Heroic specifically)

And I stopped and thought to myself, "Geez, I remember when the hero showed up at the last minute to save people to prove how heroic they were. Now we just let the bad guys murder them to show how evil they are."

And that's not a selling point for me. I can understand deconstruction to a degree. Look at the iron man movies. Tony Stark was very much human, and showing his humanity added a good deal to the story.

But it does start to feel like a lot of comics today are just going for the heroes who are as bad as the villains, or just stories that don't feel heroic.

I mean, when I was a kid? Reading comics made me want to put on a cape, fly through the air and go fight bad guys to save people.
Now I worry that when I have kids I'll have to screen what comics they read for fear of putting them into therapy for depression :~P

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Re: The negative effects of "Gritty" and "Edgy" in comics.

Postby Devastation Bob » Fri Sep 20, 2013 7:57 am

+1 to what they said.
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Re: The negative effects of "Gritty" and "Edgy" in comics.

Postby Thakowsaizmu » Fri Sep 20, 2013 8:57 am

Darrin Kelley wrote:I'm 45 years old. The main target market DC has claimed that they serve.

I read that too. Frankly, I don't think DC knows what their target is. Ask three different execs and you get three different answers.

I have this sneaking suspicion that, at least as far as DC goes, WB wants the comics to fail. Between the fact that, let's face it, new52 was not a reboot so much as a soft reset of some titles; the fact that the editing staff worships Grant "I need to retire" Morrison and let him do whatever he wanted even if his lame secrecy forced other, better writers to have to last minute change their work; the fact that the moment a comic got anything past a niche the editing staff suddenly had to get its little fingers in there, handing down last minute changes, nixing stories that have been in the works for over a year, and frankly being the reason that so many have walked (I don't care for Liefeld, but I was totally on his side when that whole explosion happened and he walked. Plus, the exchange between him and Snyder made me actually drop Snyder's already convoluted and ego padding titles.); whereas if a comic remained a niche, or even just a niche as far as DC was concerned, it was cancelled; and the "draw Harley committing suicide" contest, oh, that was a brilliant one. And on and on.

Grim and Gritty has its place in comics. There are grim and gritty titles I like, but I think that the current comic companies have forgotten that the grim and gritty is worth it to the heroes for those little points of light, not in spite of them. Also, grim and gritty doesn't need to be the oppressive setting characteristic of every comic title. Shazam (that's the name now, right?) shouldn't be grim and gritty. He's supposed to be a good kid that is good because he is good, not a snot nosed little brat that made me stop reading that title altogether (I was buying Justice League just for Shazam for a while, after Steve Trevor got his very own issue dedicated all to him).

On the topic of edgy: I do solemnly believe that if an exec uses the word edgy, in any medium, that exec should promptly be fired. Out of a cannon. Into the sun.
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Re: The negative effects of "Gritty" and "Edgy" in comics.

Postby Mr Mole » Fri Sep 20, 2013 11:04 am

Although I don't completely agree with Thakowsaizmu on all the specifics, my overall feeling about the situation is pretty similar.

I couldn't ever take Liefeld's side... Not even versus Snyder... Not that I could take Snyder's side, either... It's like rooting for one side or the other in a Teletubbies vs Jar Jar Binks fight to the death... There's a morbid fascination that keeps me from just looking away, but I really just want both sides to die and leave the world a little less blighted by their departure. (NOTE: My wife loves the Teletubbies and has no idea who Jar Jar Binks is... Mine is a lonely existence.)

There's a place for "gritty" and "edgy" in the comics I read. It's a great counterpoint for the characters I love(d) and care(d) about. Early Spider-Man/Punisher team-ups/conflicts come to mind. Early Wolverine appearances where he was willing to use lethal force where the other X-Men wouldn't. Batman's code versus killing keeping him from ending the lives of any of homicidal maniacs he routinely faces off against. There's dramatic tension. The "gritty" and "edgy" characters can be a good example of a bad example. They're what the real heroes are vigilant about not becoming.

Then, you end up with writers catering to the lowest common denominator, who see them as an opportunity to showcase the worst things (super)humanity has to offer... Losing any real connection to what makes then worthwhile to begin with.

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Re: The negative effects of "Gritty" and "Edgy" in comics.

Postby King Snarf » Sat Sep 21, 2013 3:55 am

Honestly, if I were to buy a comic from either of the big two, it'd probably be from Marvel, as they seem to have a better idea right now of what makes comics fun. Maybe they're just aping the style of the movies, where we see superheroes actually acting heroic and not just punching someone else in a costume who just happens to be responsible for the origin of the "hero".

But for the past couple of years, it looks like Marvel hasn't been afraid to shy away from fun comics. They made a Pet Avengers (yay!), and now they're letting the creator of Dr. McNinja do a Longshot mini-series ([zoidberg]"There's no part of that sentence that I didn't like!"[/zoidberg]).
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Re: The negative effects of "Gritty" and "Edgy" in comics.

Postby peteyrock » Tue Dec 03, 2013 6:22 pm

This thread expresses my views entirely. I wondered if I was the only one!

Edgy comics have their place, and I love them. But mainstream heroes should be fun. I don't think the problem is so much in seeing the heroes fail every now and then, but it's how they fail.

Moments like this are less like reading a superhero comic, and more like watching an episode of Dexter. And, this is a very, very tame and old example.
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Re: The negative effects of "Gritty" and "Edgy" in comics.

Postby saint_matthew » Tue Dec 03, 2013 6:52 pm

peteyrock wrote:Moments like this are less like reading a superhero comic, and more like watching an episode of Dexter.


The thing about that as a scene is that it was a scene & just a single scene. If you remove all the punch from a comic it loses its ability to shock. The problem occours when you try to deconstruct everything & then rebuild literally every part of your book as some dark, hell dimension where characters can never be happy, or have anything good happen to them & dark forces exist specificaly to F' with them on a personal level.

But thats not really the biggest problem with the current crop of comics. Going on the last decade now comics have been becoming increasingly shallow. We've stopped being told stories about individual characters & have moved onto nothing but empty event speculation; as characters become increasingly devoid of character as they achieve silly heights of power accumulation.

Throw in the constantly rehashing of things they've already done & mix in a quantity of "never creating anything new" & just a dash of "raping the canon for movie content" you've got yourself an industry best represented by the image of a snake eating its own tail.

I recently listened to a Bamf podcast & was directed to a different podcast by a guy who lays out the fact that marvel has not had a new successful character since 1994, that character being Deadpool. An really that tells you everything you need to know about how much the industry has stagnated creatively.

The current joke in the industry being that in the 90's indi comics were those that produced material other than super heroes & now its the only place where actual honest to god superheroes still exist in comics.
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Re: The negative effects of "Gritty" and "Edgy" in comics.

Postby Darrin Kelley » Sun Dec 08, 2013 2:15 pm

saint_matthew wrote:The thing about that as a scene is that it was a scene & just a single scene. If you remove all the punch from a comic it loses its ability to shock.


When a writer resorts to hollow shock instead of actual storytelling, they should be replaced. Because they are not doing the job in which they were assigned. They are playing a hollow game of attention grabbing that results in a grossly inferior end product. Writing merely to shock is bad writing in any genre.

The problem occours when you try to deconstruct everything & then rebuild literally every part of your book as some dark, hell dimension where characters can never be happy, or have anything good happen to them & dark forces exist specificaly to F' with them on a personal level.


I'm not a fan of deconstructionism. I believe that it has brought nothing but negatives to superhero comics. And in fact, that the practice undermines the very heroic nature of the characters themselves.

There is a difference between challenges that characters have to overcome and deconstruction. Personal weaknesses and demons that get the best of them makes a character interesting. Tony Stark's battle with alcoholism adds nuance to his character. Tearing a character down in every possible way does not.

But thats not really the biggest problem with the current crop of comics. Going on the last decade now comics have been becoming increasingly shallow. We've stopped being told stories about individual characters & have moved onto nothing but empty event speculation; as characters become increasingly devoid of character as they achieve silly heights of power accumulation.


Events I think also have damaged the industry significantly since their introduction. They are a hollow cash grab, and nothing more. They don't build a sustained readership at all. Good continuing series do build a sustained readership. But they can't do that if their flow is constantly interrupted with inclusion in Events. Events in their current execution needs to just stop.

Throw in the constantly rehashing of things they've already done & mix in a quantity of "never creating anything new" & just a dash of "raping the canon for movie content" you've got yourself an industry best represented by the image of a snake eating its own tail.


Again, to stop this it needs editorial willing to actually do their jobs. To have them absolutely reject the rehashes. To fire the writers that produce them, and replace them with writers who actually live up to the standards of professionalism.

I recently listened to a Bamf podcast & was directed to a different podcast by a guy who lays out the fact that marvel has not had a new successful character since 1994, that character being Deadpool. An really that tells you everything you need to know about how much the industry has stagnated creatively.


The person in that podcast had it wrong. Deadpool was created before 1994. His appearance was in New Mutants Issues before the launch of the original X-Force series. I know, because I used to own those issues.

However, I agree with the creative stagnation of the industry. And it is entirely the fault of the editors not exercising their authority when it comes to quality control. Editors at the big two haven't been guiding the ship at either of the big two for decades. And it shows in the quality of the comics we have gotten today.

Fixing the editorial problem goes a long way to fixing comics quality in the industry. But it also is going to take a major restructuring of the methodology present in both of the big two to correct the issues at hand.

The current joke in the industry being that in the 90's indi comics were those that produced material other than super heroes & now its the only place where actual honest to god superheroes still exist in comics.


The problem is: It's not funny. It's absolutely serious. And it threatens the medium's very existance for it to continue.


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