Jim Crocker of Modern Myths in Northampton, Massachusetts read other retailers' comments on the state of superheroes (for example, see 'Buddy Saunders of Lone Star Comics on The State of Comics') and likes the more morally ambiguous heroes of today:


While it may be heart-warming to think of soldiers smiling as they head off to the meat grinder of Normandy or the tropical hellhole of Iwo Jima, it would serve us (and those veterans) VERY well to remember that many of them were not smiling when they came back, if indeed, they came back at all. They're likely smiling because they have no real idea of what they're getting into, which is tragic, or because they're looking forward to killing other human beings, which is just sad.


To look back on World War II in terms of strictly black and white 'moral clarity' is certainly comforting; it's the spoonful of sugar that helps Dresden and Nagasaki go down.  But that sort of moral simplicity doesn't serve us well in an irreducibly complex modern world, as we've learned in our folly over the last few years.


Our literature (and we have to face up the fact that, alas, that's what comics have become) is going to reflect the culture; not the other way around. There are certainly some folks who pine exclusively for particular sorts of moral fantasies. It's why there are back issue bins in most stores. But they don't constitute a majority, or even a significant plurality of modern readers.


For better or worse (and it's much to the better from where I sit) comics aren't a private club for little boys any more. They're popular world literature. They are not the exclusive property of white male nerds any longer. We're well past the time when we should be expecting (or even ASKING) them to remain completely insulated from the world outside as it actually exists in all its diversity and moral nuance.


Since I'm not twelve years old any more, I wouldn't have them any other way, and count myself very lucky indeed that I've been around to see them grow up and even turn grey.


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