The past few decades of comic books have seen many changes, but throughout it all a few constants have remained. One of those is the super-hero, a genre dominated by forty, fifty, sixty, and seventy-year old characters of whom the general public never seems to tire. It's a fact. People don't want new super-heroes, they want the old reliables, the Supermans, the Spidermans and the Hulks and the Batmans, with the occasional Wolverine (first appearance nearly 40 years ago) thrown in for that dash of "newness".
However, in complete defiance of this universal truth, comic book artists (never call them 'cartoonists') of America are convinced that they and they alone can come up with the new super-heroes that America will fall in love with. With the advent of the direct market, comic shops were jammed with young hopefuls spending their college funds and their grandparents birthday money on printing their very own original super hero comics. Well, we are sending this message back in time to you, young hopeful super-hero entrepreneur. SAVE YOUR MONEY. NOBODY WANTS YOUR ORIGINAL SUPER HEROES.
We don't care if they're 'dark' or 'edgy' or 'ripped off from Golden Age characters'. We don't want 'em!
We don't care that you hauled out the typewriter and made sure that we, the fans, knew all of your innermost thoughts and feelings as you brought these amazing super-hero concepts to life, that your fake Superman stands proudly next to your fake Ms. Marvel next to your fake Hulk. We don't care and you can't make us.
Here's a tip. Can't draw faces? Just give everybody a cool looking helmet! Tilt the panel borders around crazy and nobody'll notice. Or care.
Just have your super dude get killed right there on the cover of your second issue. We still don't care.
Another gimmick is to try and tie your super character into whatever city you happen to be living in. Every city needs its own superhero!
For instance, Rochester NY has "Mantaman", because when you think of Rochester, you think of manta rays, the silent, gliding monsters of the deep. Right? Sure you do.
I for one would not have believed things could've gotten so dark so quickly, but then again I would probably have used a better printer.
Painted covers were all the rage there for five or ten minutes, so here we see how a painted cover can really bring those gouts of blood and zappy force beams to life in a big confusing painted mess.
Another way to really get the public into your exciting new super hero concept is to hit them in the face with gigantic word balloons full of expository dialog. That's how Batman was introduced to the world, six panels of a voice coming out of a radio telling us where Bruce Wayne went to high school and what his favorite flavor of ice cream was.
Still need a way to set your super-character apart from the pack? Make him a member of a specific ethnic group.
Hey that Ebony Warrior looks pretty bad-ass! But what is he like when he's not looming ominously over rooftops? Is he a classy guy?
He is definitely a classy guy. Well educated too. He has quite a collection of books, many of which I don't recognize, like "The Bible" or "The Dictionary." You won't find them in Balden Books, whatever that is!
And hey, if you can capitalize on one ethnic group, why not go all the way and give EVERYBODY their own super hero?
No way, a super hero team owned and operated by the United Nations! I bet they will totally solve all the world's problems, just as soon as they figure out how to drop a food packet into Sarajevo! (thanks and a tip of the hat to Lloyd Dangle for that joke).
I wonder what kind of amazing classy portrayals of world culture we'll be seeing here in the UN Force?
So the Irish guy is a leprechaun GONNA GET THAT GOLD! AND THE LUCKY CHARMS! And the honor of France is represented by a mime. A super-powered mime. Seriously, UN Force Files? A SUPER MIME. That's what you're going to go with?
Other home-brew super hero concepts weren't quite as GOD DAMNED RIDICULOUS as Super-Franco-Mime there, some of them went with the old tried and true method of flying people in red and blue outfits shooting force beams out of their hands, etc.
ALPHA WAVE here takes the bold step of giving one of its super dudes a beard. Not many beards in the super hero community.
Check the dialog here. "I'm not sure we know what we're getting into..." "I say we go for it!" "Sherry, I don't know what your (sic) up to but it had better be good!" Is this a superhero comic or a letter to Penthouse Forum??
While researching this ALPHA WAVE comic, I really felt like the name sounded familiar to me, and it took a while, but I finally realized where I'd heard that name before.
I KNEW it sounded familiar. This is a comic book *I* made in the seventh grade, when I should have been doing my math homework. Adult comic book professionals or 11-year olds, what's the difference.
We've been pretty harsh on the wannabe superheroes, but honestly, isn't there some way these characters can be used for GOOD instead of EVIL? There must be some way.
Why, we'll jam a bunch of our fakey super-people into a "benefit comic" to "fight world hunger"! I saw rock stars do it on MTV! And I am totally sure that the twenty or thirty dollars this comic generated went right where it could do the most good. Thanks, fakey super-people!
Yes, it's been a long and poorly scripted, pencilled, inked, and printed road filled with forgettable super-people and their painfully overwritten origins, all bankrolled by wide-eyed go-getters who thought that the general public would forget all about Wonder Woman and the Flash and flock to their fake Wonder Women and Flashes. And it's not over! Check out Kickstarter or Indiegogo sometime and you'll see still more legions of long-underwear heroes ready to take to the skies and do whatever it is that super-people do. Hit each other I suppose. Difference is now they're spreading the initial cost among thousands of faintly gullible people, instead of Grandpa or College Fund taking the full hit, and that's something positive, I guess.
But listen to us. We have plenty of super heroes already. We don't need any more. The ones we've got aren't going anywhere. Come up with something else. Something that hasn't been BEATEN. INTO. THE. GROUND. FOR. THE. PAST. SIXTY. YEARS.
For instance, you can always, oh, I don't know, come up with a fake Chuck Norris.
Real Americans only!!
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