“When a fan commented that he was “exhausted” of reading Superman’s origin over and over again, [Grant] Morrison recommended that maybe he take a break from superhero comics, because “superhero comics are supposed to be fun” and “you should get exhausted by walking up stairs, not reading superhero comics.”
Comics Alliance recap of the SDCC Superman panel.
[All the stuff that came before excised, because y’all know how to follow a trail. On to itswalky,
who’s interleaved in blockquotes because otherwise it gets all messy.]
I don’t know why Grant Morrison’s response of “if you don’t enjoy it, stop reading it” is a bad thing. If the comics you read give you physical pain, then not reading them seems like a good solution to me! And if you have a problem with the content, then not continuing to financially support the people who are creating terrible content is an even better idea.
I absolutely don’t have a problem with that in and of itself. I am a huge fan of shunning products which do not deserve the flow of money or attention. In this case, though, we’re talking about a bootvampthing specifically designed to increase readership. And yet, left and right, we’re getting reasons why they don’t want readers: we’re not 18-35 (or -39) males. We want diversity, both in the DCnU itself and amongst the creative staff producing the titles, that they’re not prepared to offer.
And now, maybe the people who don’t want another Superman origin should go away, too? From all the superhero comics? (Okay, maybe they don’t want people running over to Marvel or someone’s cutpastes from Champions Online. Still.)
There’s consumers making a deliberate choice not to buy shoddy product, and there’s producers telling their customers not to buy what they’re offering. The latter is troublesome.
This is not to say it wasn’t the right answer at the right time for that particular reader, but Morrison’s answer doesn’t exist in a vacuum. It’s part of a growing trend.
I would really love to see the market research which led to this endeavor (they did do market research, right?). Yes, I know that won’t happen. I still want to see what data they have, what gave them the idea that all those dudes with tablets and smartphones want to read what’s rapidly adding up to more of the same stuff which alienated everyone but the core fandom, just different. And I want to know why, in the end, also alienating current customers is going to get them what they want.
As an aside, I think DC Comics keeps doing Superman origin stories because people buy them. They certainly get more ATTENTION than normal Superman stories, and I really have to admit that Superman loses his appeal to me once he’s just a guy who runs around stopping monsters all on his own. The origin, seeing him become himself, just might be the only interesting part about him. And I’ve realized that the only Superman stories I’ve bought in the past several years have been origin stories! I read “Secret Origin.” I was tempted by “Earth One.” I’m definitely picking up “Action Comics #1,” ‘cuz I like the blue jeans look. And, Jesus, I watched Smallville. But I’ve never felt the desire to just read a regular Superman story. Superman’s boring. No wonder DC keeps making Superman origin stories. It’s the best way they can sell him.
I agree with you. Superman is boring as hell. Is the answer, though, to keep going back to the Superman origin story well? [EDIT: Or even the early career well, which apparently is what we’re really getting?] How sustainable is that, so close together? It’s not like, say, the Hercules myth, where we’ve had centuries upon centuries to look for ways to make another boring strong dude interesting to others (or to interpret him so badly that it’s hilarious). The impact is lost because these are coming too fast, furious, and redolent of the echo chamber to boot.
It’s got to be difficult for them; they can’t just put their flagship dude to rest for a little while, or background him while they concentrate on some new character who’s more potential than exhausted actualization. Superman’s a brand and a complex legal situation. But, creatively, this approach kills the impact about as much as every teenaged girl in black comparing herself to Persephone all night long.
But if these things exhaust us, we shouldn’t be buying them, thus giving them financial incentive to do it over and over and over again. Grant Morrison doesn’t owe us good stories any more than we owe him our money.
Yeah, no, he doesn’t owe anyone anything. I’m just pretty sure at this point that we’re hearing the frustrated, exhausted feedback of creators who are sick of all the bitching, and from a marketing standpoint? That’s absolutely the wrong thing to do.