A few people have asked me what I think of yesterday’s exciting development in the Fantastic Four, where seven more Things have been added to the venerable supergroup:
No, actually, they killed off a member of the team.
Before I answer the question of how I feel about that, let me ask YOU a question: how do you feel about the new Lady Antebellum album?
For most of you I can answer that: you were unaware of the existence of a new Lady Antebellum album, or of any of the old Lady Antebellum albums, or of the band Lady Antebellum who, for all you know, I’m making up the name of to make a point. That’s because you’re not a fan of the band and don’t keep up with what they do and any new albums they put out don’t touch your life even one bit.
And yet, you claim to enjoy music!
My point here is that I have no opinion on the events in Fantastic Four, deaths or otherwise, because I don’t read Fantastic Four, or any Marvel comics, or any other superhero comics from the big two. I don’t hate them or anything, that’s just not my bag. I’ve never read Fantastic Four except for some reprints of the first few issues I picked up cheap a while back. I’m sure they’re fine, fine comics, but they’re just not something I’ve ever gone for.
Still, it’s assumed that since I like “comics” I perforce have to take an interest in these events and, additionally, have an opinion about whether the death is a cynical cash grab that will be undone in a few months or a moving portrayal of logical events evolving from a quality storyline that will be undone in a few months. I don’t know. I don’t care. There are people who read the comics and who have opinions and you should talk to them about it.
The thing is, it does no good for people like me to say, “Folks, ‘comics’ is much more than just overblown cape dramas from the big two” if, when something like this happens, we all then go, “OH SHIT A OVERBLOWN CAPE DRAMA FROM THE BIG TWO THIS CHANGES AND IMPACTS EVERYTHING”. It doesn’t. I don’t believe that these events or, for that matter, ANY events from Marvel or DC will have any effect whatsoever on the comics I read.
I’m not saying this to be elitist and turn my nose up at those comics. I’m saying this to illustrate just how huge the medium of comics is. I know you only ever hear about superhero stuff from Marvel or DC, but there’s so much more. We don’t live in a world where only two companies control the fate of all the participants. Claiming that no matter what comics you’re into, THIS IS IMPORTANT gives these guys far more power than they actually wield.
In fact, this is especially true in the world of comics where, if you’re doing something that isn’t a Big Two Cape Opera, you’re used to being ignored by the media, the comics press, the shops, and the fans.
There are plenty of people who enjoy mainstream superhero comics and more power to them. This event may rock their world. It may have some effect on what they read, even if they don’t specifically read Fantastic Four or Marvel comics. But its relevance, whatever it may be, doesn’t extend much further than that. Not only is it a tempest in a teapot, the teapot it’s in is not that big and is well isolated from other teapots. Folks drinking tea over here won’t notice the tiniest zephyr.