Now, as you know, I do a lot of skulking around the internet; checking on what the nerdcore is ranting about. And what I’m beginning to find, even on the internet and Facebook, is that there are several groupings of people all erupting in one way or another at one comic book movie or another. I, like so many, have been too quick to lump people in one or maybe two groups when, all along, there were so many more.
FIRST GROUP: OLD SCHOOL
You see, I come from Old School stock. Now, before you laugh at the use of the term OLD SCHOOL, I will have you know that I was born at the forefront of the Marvel Revolution. I was born in 1963. At that time, the great properties that are making so much money in the box office were just getting published. Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko and the like were still taking extreme chances with on the edge themes; all of which could have been their undoing. Sure, by the time I got old enough to read comics, they were established titles, but there was a time it was grounds breaking. And, in a way, it will always be.
This is what I call old school. If you grew up in the sixties and seventies (and possibly the eighties), you were on the cusp of the end of the Silver Age of comics. I may have been a Mighty Marvel Marching Society member, but I was also sold out on titles like the Justice League, Legion of Super-Heroes, Batman., Metal Men and the like. I just loved comics.
So, I exist as a card carrying member of OLD SCHOOL comic lovers. But, seeing as we are 50-60-70 years old, most of us have not been able to keep up with the going titles. A lot of us never came near the Ultimate series nor would we. We remember comics the way they were meant to be from the beginning.
Now, don’t get me wrong. That doesn’t disqualify every comic story after-wards. It’s just how we remember them.
Then came the 80s. Then we have the mainstream of comic readership and fan-base. Now, I say this because there were probably more people reading comics after the 80s than anytime before. A lot of these fans who caught onto the resurgance of Uncanny X-men, the NEW Teen Titans, Venom, Spawn and the sort. The Anti-hero was the going idea spinning off of the popularity of Wolverine. Also Independents were all over the place. Now this group stands in the gap between the first group (THE OLD SCHOOL) and the group that inherited the love of comics from them. I will call this second generation : THE RESURGANCE!
Now, I know that sounds real dramatic, but it was a time when comics were making a comeback on the backs of a prosperous 80s and 90s. There were more choices. This is when Wolverine began starring in up to ten comics a month (or, at least, guest-starring). Comics like Spawn, Storm Watch, Gen13 and the sort exploded onto the stands. It was also the era of the comic cartoon. X-men became a staple show for kids in the 90s. Thus, the RESURGANCE drew from more than one medium.
A lot of these kids may have never picked up a comic, but watched the show religiously. This will become important in a moment.
Lastly, we have the fans coming into the 2000s to the present time. I will call them THE MCU CROWD. I call them that, not to belittle them or talk down to them, but just as a proof of reference. THE MCU CROWD may never pick up a comic or watch the cartoon, but they have seen all the movies and know the characters from their friends and the internet.
NOW, are there crossovers to every era? Of course! There are those who just started reading in the 80s or 2000s and read and keep up with everything. There are those from the 70s that remember nothing but the old Spiderman cartoon or the Hulk from TV. And today, there are so many ways of getting your super-hero fix that anyone can get any era’s comic infusion. But my point is that most people today fall into these three groups.
This brings us to the comic generation gap. When a movie comes out, there are a myriad of responses. The OLD SCHOOLER rants about not keep with the source material although you have to ask WHICH ONE!? I have had to rethink how I look at these movies from the beginning. I remember the Fantastic Four from the 1960s to the mid 90s. I’ve kept up mildly since then. I have also refused to touch an Ultimate Marvel comic. I have my reasons (some other rant; some other time). So I have a gap from the late 90s till now where, although I know the original story and intent, there have been a few more versions of the FF that have become a bit popular especially with the new readership.
Now, the RESURGANCE might know the origins but may or may not have kept up with the new renditions and nuances. This group is the most befuddled at times being stretched between two extremes. They may or may not know about the Ultimate Fantastic Four which may be what Trank and the producers of the new reboot are using as their ‘source material’.
The MCU CROWD probably knows about the Ultimate Fantastic Four or doesn’t care. They are more willing to accept changes to the Comic Cannon. Some of them may just vaguely know about the FF and wonder to themselves why the OLD SCHOOL has to be so racist about Michael B. Jordan playing Johnny Storm. They read a bit less but still love the stories, but may get all of their background from the new movies or new cartoons. But they are more likely to draw off of all eras; perusing the internet for stories from every decade that printed comics. But this can be confusing and leave them either, well, confused or just being willing to accept whatever comes their way as long as it looks good and possibly written well.
Then, we mix in the comic book companies and the movie companies and there ya have it people! Absolute anarchy and confusion…lol.
Now, this is still a bit muddled. It is still in the formative stages in my mind. But it’s obvious that we have generations warring with generations here. We have arguments spanning the decades with no end in sight. I will say that this OLD SCHOOLER has tried to come to grips with the other two generations. I have 2 kids who exploded out of the RESURGANCE and one who is just about to escape into the MCU CROWD. So you can image the discussions at the dinner table.
My best advice? Just strap in and hold on tight. The future’s about to get even freakier. Female readership of comics is surging where the ladies make up about 40+% of the market. If you don’t think that will change comics, you must understand something about women that I don’t (which is highly possible). On top of that add gaming and digital downloads taking over the market and stuff can’t help but erupt.
So, just try and think before you rant…I know…pot calling kettle black, right? Hey! The old man is trying. SO how about all you youngsters try and understand each other and get along?