Robot 6

Quote of the Day | Kids, superheroes and familiarity

superman204“[Mort] Weisinger took all these things he didn’t care for because they weren’t his ideas and turned them to his advantage. Instead of resenting another character with a LL initial as a love interest for the character, he created three or four more and did the whole LL curse. He was really very good, as were his writers, of finding ways to ‘brand extend’ Superman. They expanded on little themes because he knew — and this is something we don’t see comics do anymore because we don’t perceive of them as being for kids — but he knew that one of the things that was really appealing for kids was a certain sense of repetition. He had a wonderful gift, along with his writers, for being able to balance repetition in theme or in ritualistic kinds of things with new invention. If you look at the DC stuff as opposed to the Marvel stuff, which was created with a different audience in mind, you see that ritual. You see that idea of consistency. Flash’s costume always came out of ring. There was the whole ‘In Brightest Day, In Blackest Night’ oath in Green Lantern. There were certain things in Batman, like the Bat Signal. They knew that those things not only created a comfort zone for the reader, they were things the kids looked forward to. ‘Let’s see how they do it this time!’ It was all about finding ways to do variations on those themes and depending on readers’ familiarity with them to create ideas that were new and exciting for kids…those ways of doing comics don’t really relate to today, and I don’t know if anyone wanted to go backwards, that they could do it.”

– former Superman writer Martin Pasko, in a wide-ranging interview with Comic Book Resources about the 75th anniversary of the man of Steel

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Comments

9 Comments

That really doesn’t square with my experience of childhood.

Jake Earlewine

April 22, 2013 at 1:29 pm

I’m in total agreement with Pasko. When I was a kid, every time I read a Thor comic I wanted to see Don Blake bang his walking stick and morph into Thor. Every time I read The Atom, I wanted to see Gil Kane’s circular electron trails when Ray Palmer powered up and shrunk down. And when Bruce Banner turned into the Hulk, I wanted to see his face contort over three panels like his mother had made him eat liver and brussel sprouts.

Another very important part of that “sameness” that kids look forward to is having the characters look the same and act the same in every issue. Even to this day, there’s nothing quite as disappointing as getting home with your favorite comic book and finding out it has been drawn by a substitute artist. (Well I guess it’s more disappointing when somebody like Brian Bendis gets a hold of your favorite characters and changes them into somebody else…)

I remember watching Power Rangers and being excited EVERY TIME Jason or Tommy said “IT’S MORPHIN’ TIME!”
And then getting excited EVERY TIME the zords combined.

See also: the transformation sequence in Voltron. “…and I’ll form THE HEAD!”

And let’s not forget Optimus Prime saying “Autobots, transform and roll out!”

Or even the Clark Kent shirt-rip.

With comics costing $2.99/$3.99 an issue, ARE there still 8-12 year old kids regularly buying comics from the Big Two?

(More importantly, are there parents that let them spend their money THAT way?)

Sure is different now than when comics were $,50/,35/.20/.10 apiece—- when kids’ allowances could easily buy many of them…

Of course there aren’t 12 year olds buying comics from the big 2. They seem very content to have the genre exist in an adults only nether realm between horror movies and porn.

“Wonder Twins Powers — ACTIVATE! Form of…”

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