Monday, May 26, 2008

Silly Superheroes

I had a blast reading this post over at John Kricfalusi's blog. He takes on the iconic superhero idea full on in a really blunt, but funny way. He also mentions Mort Weisinger, who was the editor responsible for some of the coolest and silliest superhero comic tales ever put to cheap pulp paper. I recall his editorship at DC Comics with more than a huge heaping of affection.

Who was the first costumed hero? That's what they were called when they first hit the big time. Publishers would call up the operators of the various sweatshops who produced the comics for them and they'd say: "Gee whiz! Can you deliver me up a good costumed hero?" And the sweat shop owners would oblige and serve up an endless array of copies of Batman or Superman or Human Torch or Capt. America or what-have-you. Those were the days!

Kricfalusi and his pals come to the conclusion that the first guy to don his underwear in public to fight crime was Lee Falk's THE PHANTOM. Can anyone claim an earlier costumed superhero? (Maybe Steve Bissette could offer some advice.)

The conclusion of the sentiment at John K's brilliant blog is that superheroes are silly as hell. And that they should remain totally silly without anyone trying to take them as serious literature. I must agree.

Was Mort Weisinger the last true Prophet of silly superhero comics?

On a similar note, I'm selling some comics that I don't want anymore. You can find them on Ebay.


Steve Malley said...

Part of my move from comics to prose was about storytelling speed (6 months to a year for a novel vs. 2-3 years for a graphic novel). Part of it was about time spent with the reader. (That 2-3 year opus, fans read it in less than an hour!)

But a big part was that so many people around me saw nothing inherently foolish about men in their underwear throwing cars at each other...

HemlockMan said...

I heard one comic artist/writer lamenting that what took him months was breezed through by a comic fan in minutes. I can understand the frustration.

Superheroes are okay. As long as you don't consider them on a par with classic literature. They're pure pulp for children.