I have been reading comics for 30 plus years. I have read all kinds of different comics. I have read fun goofy stuff, to serious heart wrenching stories. I am amazed at how much comics books have changed and evolved since I have been reading them.
I have read some stuff from all the “ages” of comic books, from the Golden Age to the Modern Age. In my opinion, comics have reached all new heights, in both the way they are written and the art that goes along with it. The writing styles of writers today just add so much more depth to each and every character. The things that I have seen done with some of these characters just blows my mind.
Let’s not get it twisted. I love what the last generation did. They really brought comics up. Without Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Peter David, Chris Claremont, Frank Miller, and Alan Moore, amount others, there would be no comics to read today. Many of these writers created the characters we enjoy today. Or added a lot to the characters that were already around, and gave them some of their most iconic stories. The only thing is, many of the stories were kind of repetitive. I mean, how many times can you read about the Hulk Busters chase the Hulk?
In the late 80s and into the 90s, many of the top comics were driven by the artist on the book. Be it Jim Lee, Todd McFarlane, Rob Liefield, Marc Silvestri, to name just a few, it was the artist that drove the book and drove sales. And, in my opinion, the stories suffered. The comics looked AMAZING. Yet, many of the stories weren’t that memorable. They were really simple, with not much too them. This is the time when I felt I outgrew comics. I couldn’t relate to the stories anymore, and I just stopped reading.
Fast forward ten plus years. One of my coworkers was an avid comic book reader. We talked about how much comics had changed since the last time I read. He gave me Identity Crisis to read, and I was hooked. The story was really about some secondary DC characters, and I was enthralled. There was so much more depth than I had grown used to. Everything just seemed so much more adult.
That’s the biggest difference between comics from my childhood, and comics now. Comics now are more geared towards adults. There stories are just so much more complex and layered, like reading a novel with pictures. Many of the comics I read as a kid were meant for kids, teenagers max. I read those books now, and many of them don’t stand the test of time. Not to say they aren’t great books, but they just are meant for a less sophisticated mind.
To me, we are in a modern renaissance for comic books. There are so many great writers and artists in comics today, it’s amazing. And with all of the comic book movies that come out each year, this medium is reaching all new audiences that they never reached before. I am excited by what the future holds for the comic book industry.