Even the greatest aficionados among us suffer from it from time to time – and that’s superhero fatigue. Even superheroes themselves get tired of being superheroes. It happens.
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On the anniversary of any number of major world events of the last several
decades, the press has a tendency to ask ‘Where were you when’ that event transpired. ‘Where were you when Richard Nixon resigned’? ‘Where were you when Bobby Kennedy was killed’? ‘Where were you when Columbia shattered over Texas’?
One song, a piece about the September 11th attacks, asked ‘Where Were You When the World Stopped Turning’?
When Major Zod’s (Callum Blue) world stopped turning in “Persuasion”, a recent episode of the long-running ‘Superman-in-training’ television series Smallville, he was at the Metropolis equivalent of Ground Zero.
An Actor Prepares:
Dr. Frederic Wertham reads “Shock!”
Strange things happened to comic books in 1954. EC Comics chief Bill Gaines tore up two of his publications at a press conference in September and said, “I have now discontinued all horror and crime comics”. Two days later, the Comics Magazine Association of America held its own press conference, at which they announced the now-infamous Comics Code.
“A staff of five censors was working full-time, screening comic-book layouts after the inking stage”, writes David Hadju in The Ten-Cent Plague. “The Code was an unprecedented (and never surpassed) monument of self-imposed repression and prudery”.
In April that same year, the U.S. Senate subcommittee hearings on comic books and juvenile delinquency began, and the first person to give testimony was Dr. Frederick Wertham, author of Seduction of the Innocent, which had pretty much kicked off the brouhaha. Among the comics he cited were issues of Crime SuspenStories from EC Comics and The Thing by Charlton Comics.
Some time after I graduated high school, I had a factory job making pretty good money. I was still living with my parents, and had very few bills to pay. Much like any responsible 18-year-old, I immediately spent any extra money I had. Often times, this was in the form of comic books, video games, cd’s, or eating out. Usually, I would make these purchases on impulse, with very little information known before hand. This was the case with the graphic novel Preacher: Gone to Texas published by DC/Vertigo. I did not know what exactly I was buying. All I knew was that Preacher was a fairly successful series from the mid ‘90s, and I had $14.95 burning a hole in my pocket, that I absolutely had to get rid of.
The worst part about “Brand New Day”, Marvel’s quasi-reboot of the on-going adventures of the amazing Spider-Man a couple years ago, was how they made his identity secret again. Never mind that at least two decades of continuity were rendered irrelevant with the flick of a switch. Never mind that the editorial interference of Joe Quesada nearly pushed writer J. Michael Straczynski to remove his name from the finished product. The biggest Missed Direction as regards Peter Parker and the world at large knowing that he is Spider-Man is that Marvel already knew how to recover from this sort of dramatic change for a character, yet they still took the easy out.