First, as always, give credit where it's due. The link/quote is from Newsarama's article/interview with Mark Waid about Irredeemable, by Zack Smith: http://www.newsarama.com/comics/mark-wa ... ap-up.html
But for years and years, I've written long posts about the dire straits of superheroes, particularly at DC Comics, and even though the posts have been long, I've never felt that I said it the way I meant to say it, explained just how horrifying the depths of the decisions that have been made in this industry.
But here's what Waid said at the end of the article:I think what I meant to say was – when it comes to superheroes, I can’t be cynical. I can’t write a cynical superhero story. I don’t believe that superheroes are a cynical construct. I don’t believe that by nature, superheroes are anything but a symbol of hope and inspiration.
And so to write a cynical story about them either takes an enormous amount of skill that I don’t have, or it belies the very nature of what that genre’s all about.
It's that simple, folks.
That's why some of the things that companies have done, DC especially, are just so damn horrifying.
I'm not the guy who absolutely refuses to change, ever. I like comics of all different styles, and I'm not married to one character over another -- if you tell a good story that transitions from one character to another.
I am absolutely not some guy who demands that mainstream comics at the Big Two be one way and one way only...
Unless the way you want to be is cynical.
Because when they do that -- and they have tried and tried and tried, since Dark Knight Returns and the ridiculous Bigger Guns, More Pouches 90s through Sue Dibny's rape to Roy Harper's kid getting killed and his arm torn off -- then that's when superhero comics in the mainstream are absolute garbage.
I repeat: ABSOLUTE GARBAGE.
It's not rocket science why, either: It's the shared universe(s).
There's been an interesting back-and-forth for years between Punch and Nacireman about Superman, and believe it or not, I squarely back Nacireman on this, and it's the biggest example of why I despise cynical comics so much.
Nacireman despairs about how Superman is always the idiot, never the man of action, always the punch line in the joke.
It says something about storytelling, about the collective lack of ability of writers today to tell Superman stories where he isn't an idiot and he isn't the first guy off the board when shit goes down.
In Waid's Irredeemable, the Superman analog FUCKED UP THE ENTIRE PLANET. Why? BECAUSE HE WAS THE BADDEST DAMN DUDE ON THE PLANET, THAT'S WHY.
Why can't Superman be that guy, except on the side of the angels? Because collective creator cynicism doesn't allow them to believe that Superman is that powerful AND that good. So they dumb it down so clowns like the Prankster can "match wits with the Man of Steel," and readers are forced to see Superman cry. Look at my sig. Just look at it.
Why did the Authority and Wildcats struggle so much over the years, after initial success? It's because the characters were, as Waid termed it, "cynical constructs." They have a shelf life. You can't tell me that Warren Ellis intended for Apollo to be blowing people's heads off with heat vision 15 years after he created him. I absolutely do not believe that to be true.
Deathstroke and Prometheus? Clown characters. Cynical constructs who should NEVER have been around as long as they are. Deathstroke isn't "bad ass." Deathstroke's the bad guy. Only in a cynical company that has/had completely lost its way, like DC has, would a clown character like Deathstroke front multiple books.
Mark Waid has it right. He told the tale of Irredeemable to show what bad guys do, just like he and Alex Ross created Magog nearly 15 years ago to show the idiocy of the Grim-and-Gritty Era in mainstream comics.
The problem? Too many writers clearly think they have, as Waid termed it, "enormous skill that I don't have."
They don't. Look at that list that Zechs compiled. Again, just look at it.
Only a company in the death-grip of editors and hacks would have allowed even a few of those things to occur in a shared universe, let alone all of them.