Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Mainstream Superhero Comics & Medieval Texts - A Snippet

Apologies for such a long time between posts. School has been busy along with other things. Just have a little snippet of an idea this time, but I'm working on some larger things that I should post soon.

I've been thinking about mainstream superhero comics and medieval texts for a few months, and how similar they are. You see, in medieval times, readers didn't want original works really. They preferred to be told the same story over and over and over again, but in slightly different ways. The pleasure came out of the differences, the minor alterations.

I've read five or six versions of the death of King Arthur this year for a class, and while they all tell the same story, each has its own little spin on it. Some more drastic than others, but each is updated for its own time and own sensibilities. One will look at it from the perspective of British history, while one will focus on courtly love, while another will focus on combat, while another will focus on the randomness of it and so on.

This seems to be what mainstream superhero comics are all about: telling the same stories over and over again, but with little changes and personal touches to make them slightly different. Hell, the "Ultimate" line is a prime example of it. Think of the "Ultimate" books as translations of the originals. Millar, Bendis and the others have taken the outdated originals and made them new with modern language and all. The stories are all familiar, but changed--and many readers' interest lies not in the comics themselves, but what the changes are. How is this villain updated and stuff like that.

Just something I noticed and found rather interesting.