Hey everyone. It’s been a while since I wrote something, so I’ve decided to take a look at war, and what it’s good for. No, not absolutely nothing…
There’s a war going on. It’s not being fought at home; it’s not being fought across the ocean. It’s not being fought over the internet (though I’m sure it may carry over to that ground) nor is it being fought in my head (there is a strong argument against that). The war is being fought on paper. The rifles: pencils. The bullets: ink. The soldiers: your favourite comic book creators.
If you have no idea what I’m talking about, crawl out from under that rock you’re living and read some comic sites.
This summer, he’s coming back. After a long exile on a dangerous planet, the complete opposite of what was intended for him, the Jade Giant is back and he wants vengeance. So how does he propose to go about this? It’s not going to be takeover via corporate strategy. He’s going to do what he does best: SMASH! Releasing for June 2007, Marvel announced (and heavily hinted prior to) that their next summer event, World War Hulk, will be just as destructive, and ten times as smashy as the previous crossovers. Oh, all of this is being written by relative newcomer Greg Pak.
On a somewhat similar note, DC will have World War III spinning out of their weekly smash 52. Included are four one-shots that deal with the story, being penned by Keith Champagne and John Ostrander, kicks off this month. Black Adam is going to war with the world, because he’s mad or something. Truthfully I haven’t seen much hype for it. From what I understand, Black Adam has a bone to pick with some people, and he’s going to do just that.
The part of all this I don’t understand is the emphasis on war. War is never a good thing, is it? And what’s worse is that this is war all over the world. The last two world wars I’ve read about in history textbooks were not battles to be glorified, and there was a loss of life…a lot of loss. So I’m posing these questions to myself:
As comic readers, are we desensitized to these happenings?
I’m not sure. We read comics and we are aware of all the destruction that happens that we don’t care about. Our main focus as readers is on the hero we’re reading about. Granted, there have been a few series dealing with the lives of people living in those worlds (Busiek and Ross’ Marvels comes to mind), but we’re not often thinking about these things.
Are these comics glorifying war? I’d say yes, but to an extent. Marvel’s Civil War may have projected the message “fight for what you believe in” but it can also be projecting the message “fight for what you believe in, even if you have to cause a lot of violence and destruction.”
So what are two new events proclaiming “World War” going to have tagged as an interpreted message? “Vengeance against the world is wonderful!” Perhaps…
It’s up to the writers to take the glory away from the war and destruction and put it into a great story. So many stories have relied on story and so many of the past stories have relied on war. The Iliad is one of those that come to mind, and it has been great. If you’re looking for a comic adaptation of that war, check out Eric Shanower’s Age of Bronze.
How much of Marvel’s current events rely on war? There have been so many events driven on this concept for years. They’ve just gotten out of a Civil War between heroes on hearth, and a cosmic war fought in outer space (taking place in Annihilation). Lets not forget the past wars, like the war on mutants, the war between the urban heroes and the crime lords, and the ever famous Kree-Skrull War and Secret War. It seems war has been a staple of Marvel comics for years.
The same concept carries over to DC. In the past event Infinite Crisis, there seemed to be a war waged by Alexander Luthor and Superboy Prime against the Earth. There were also numerous wars fought over the past.
My point is that war means chaos, and comics are the type of medium that thrive on chaos. If it weren’t for chaos in any sense, comics would be so boring we’d all probably just have to quit and start reading celebrity gossip rags (the ULTIMATE chaos!). But what lines do we have to draw on chaos? Where does it end?
There’s no problem with chaos in comics, because every series, whether it’s an autobiographical graphic novel a la Blankets by Craig Thompson or an all-out slugfest a la 90% of the comics from the 1990s, there has to be a chaotic element involved. However, when the chaos involves world-altering war after world-altering war, do we as readers get fed up?
I’m not sure I can answer that question, but I know I’m definitely on board for World War Hulk. It sounds like the absolute Hulk-will-smash fest that the comic’ world has been in dire need of for many years.
Posted originally: 2007-04-04 12:01:10