I have never been a fan of Superman, but I always liked Action Comics … at least I did until the latest revamp. I started buying the issues in the ‘70s, when Superman was king, but why was I purchasing those issues if I wasn’t a Superman fan? Legacy and history. Each issue had a sense of both of those things with their high numbers and referencing of material from years before. Action Comics and many other titles gave readers a sense of their place in history and the feeling that they were stepping into something that had been going on for decades before them and, as logic would figure, would continue decades after they left. The series title may have been plain. The hero and his stories tired. All that was forgiven, however, for the comic’s legendary place in history.
Most of that comic’s history and legacy seems to be lost now with DC’s rebooting, revamping and renumbering every title that matters (and many that don’t). Some say it’s because people only want “new” things. Others say the history I so loved so much was too confusing for new readers (something I never had a problem comprehending as a new reader). The truth, I believe, is much simpler and far more appalling.
DC is a greedy bastard.
I believe the real reason companies like Marvel and DC do this is because it makes the news and gets people like me to write about it. The companies figure they’ll lose older readers (for a little while), but gain so many new ones in their place that it will be worth it to tank a title. Everything is sacrificed for the dollar.
I can’t complain too much, though. Today’s stories are better and more mature than the tales that spawned them. Creators are taking real chances with the characters, and while not all have paid off, most are at least interesting. It is, above everything else, a really good time to be a comic book fan. Yes, the artform may have lost that spirit that attracted me to it in the ‘70s, but it gained something new. It gained vision and a renewed sense of daring. No longer resting on its laurels, the comic book industry is doing everything it can to attract new readers and make exciting stories, and I have to admit, we’re all better off for it.
I may miss those things that drew me to Action Comics, but I finally believe that the industry may be doing the right thing after all. Part of me mourns the past, but another is fairly certain that this move by the comic companies solidifies their future and without that all we have is the past. I can’t believe I’ve actually written that, but I have to admit: DC and Marvel may be right.
Greed isn’t only good in this case … it is survival. That said, I haven’t read any of the new Action Comics and I don’t intend to anytime soon. The title was all about legacy and history to me. Without that it is just another comic book with a character I don’t care about, and there’s no reason for me to start caring now.