“Heroes, Villains, and Me” is a periodic article on Geeky KOOL by Larry Litle about the world of comic books and my reaction to it. “Heroes, Villains, and Me” is not a comic book review article. I will write about current events, speculation and rumors, or my own wacky thoughts about the world of comic books.
I was a kid during the 1970s and the 80’s. I love the technological advances since that time but I also miss many things about that time frame. One of the things I miss is the way comics used to be. Don’t get me wrong, I still love comics and there are some very KOOL things going on in comics currently. I will try not to get too nostalgic about the way it used to be. You can check out Part 1 here and Part 2 here.
Sit back and relax as I tell you about why I miss the 70’s and 80’s comics. This is will be part Three of a Three part article.
7) Less Corporate
Both Marvel and DC are now owned by big corporations. Warner Brothers owns the rights to Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, and the all of the Justice League. Disney owns Marvel and all of their characters like Spider-Man, X-Men, and all of the Avengers. These big corporations have a focus of making money.
One of the big ways they can do this is to make these characters into blockbuster movies. To do this, Disney and WB want these characters to have a certain broad appeal. They make decisions about comic book characters based on what they can envision for movies. The writers and artists are much more limited in the types of stories they can tell because they need the comics to match up with the movies.
Back in the 70s and 80s, the creative artists and writers had more latitude to tell good stories. Yes, they had to answer to editors but they took a lot of chances to tell good stories.
Now much of the creative storytelling is crushed by Corporate.
8) Easier Access
Today your choices to buy comics are very limited. The most common place is to go to your local comic store if you have one. Much of small town America doesn’t have their own comic stores. Some of the big chain bookstores now have a limited amount comics and graphic novels. You can buy them online. But back in the 70s and 80s, you could buy comics in a lot of stores.
In the small town I grew up in, we could pick up comic books at the convenient store, the grocery store, and at the pharmacy. This was perfect for kids in the 70s and 80s. Parents could let their kids sit at the comic rack while they shopped or picked up medication. We were able to check out the whole variety of comic books and no one cared that we were handling them. If we were good at the store and didn’t cause problems, then we got to pick up an issue.
Comic book racks were a normal thing for most stores. Most kids I knew read at least some comic books because they were so accessible.
9) Well Told Stories Appropriate for All Ages
It is hard to find any main stream comic book with a rating below teen nowadays. Many of the stories have an adult flavor and often adult themes. I have talked about my opinions this issue numerous times. Comics are no longer appropriate for children.
When I was a kid, all main stream comics were appropriate for us as children. But that didn’t stop the writers and artists from telling hard hitting and good stories that were also appropriate for adults. Many of the stories were often well thought out.
During the 80s when comic book stores started popping up, they used to have some comics that were not friendly for kids but they were on the top self and kids weren’t allowed near them. An occasional story like The Watchmen and The Dark Knight started coming out but these were the exception to the rule. Kids could still read Batman, Superman, Spider-Man, and Captain America without parents worrying about what the kids were reading.
Part of the problem I have with the more adult comics of today is that we are not getting kids into comic books. We are losing the future of comic readers. Most people aren’t going to start collecting comics in their 20s,30s, and 40s. The future appears grim for comic book fans since we are making it difficult for kids.
Well, these are the nine things I miss most about comic books in the 70s and the 80s. I attempted to stay out of pure nostalgia. I love the awesomeness of the 70s and the 80s.
Stay Geeky My Friends!