What a time to be a fan of comics!
Face it, we all like to wax nostalgic and can be certain that the era in which we grew up was without doubt the best.
Comic fans, however do have an appreciation for the history of their favorite medium and have managed to classify it in specific ages: Golden Age, Silver Age, Bronze Age, Modern Age and Digital Age. Each worthy of distinguished respect for their accomplishments and significance to the medium.
I, personally, was most heavily influenced by Bronze Age comics and the Independent Movement of the 1980’s and can easily justify the greatness of the material of those periods, but as a comic book fan and a fan of the superhero genre I have to admit there was a feeling of isolation that all comic fans can relate to. One that is now quickly and amazingly eroding away.
Most fans of comics at any time in the last millennium with the exception of the initial fans in the 1940’s know that being a fan of comics was akin to being the black sheep in the crowd. We were alone in our endeavor to enjoy and collect comics, lucky to have any friends or allies that might have shared our passion.
Lone fans had to hunt for their randomly accessible comics and comic related merchandise. Small groups of hardcore fans looked forward to gathered at small regional annual comic book or science fiction conventions. Successful cons drew just a few hundred attendees. They were intimate gatherings that solidified a mutual respect for the medium and willingness to ignore of the exclusion of fandom by society.
Comic fans wore a badge of honor that most described as geek or nerd but certainly never cool. Occasionally the things that comic fans were interested in burst into popular culture in the form of fads, most of which were quickly dismissed by the masses.
My, how times have changed!
What was once considered Geek Culture is now firmly embraced as Pop Culture and it appears that there may be no looking back!
The rise of the Digital Age has given us the technology to finally bring comics to life on film in ways that were never possible. Now anybody can witness what used to require the unbridled imagination of a comic fan to fully experience. Fantasy is now teetering on the brink of reality as superheroes, now culturally accepted, have invaded and flourished in virtually every form of media.
Where there used to be a day when one waited years for a good adaptation of a comic book character to hit the screen, now fans must decide which film to spend their hard earned cash on first. This spring alone it will be possible to have Captain America, Spider-Man, The X-Men and Godzilla all in theaters at the same time!
Television, too, is rife with comic book characters both animated and live action. Gone are the days of campy caped crusaders and bodybuilders painted green. Only Wonder Woman cannot seem to make the transition from buxom Linda Carter to a modern Amazon Princess.
Out in public generations of comic book admirers of both genders now flaunt their superhero swag in astounding numbers that would have not been thought possible a few decades ago.
Comic book conventions are now a cultural phenomenon that put Woodstock to shame as fans flock by the tens-of-thousands, fully adorned in costumes and well prepared to celebrate their affinity for all that is fantastic. Cons that used to be the stomping grounds a subclass of young men have tipped the gender scales and now attract a well balanced number of enthusiastic female fans.
Emerald City Comicon recently bragged a 52/46 ratio of women to men!
Comic book stores are surviving where traditional book stores cannot in large part due to the element of social gathering they provide to the like-minded comic book fans!
Video games let gamers interact seamlessly with comic book reality giving fans the opportunity to play out their fantasies in realtime allowing them to relate to characters like never before.
Finally there is the internet, the nexus of a booming nation of nerd loving loyalists that can gather and communicate about their favorite comics in every nook and cranny of the world wide web. More importantly it is a place for the comic creatives to post and share there work. Because of the internet, comics are accessible more than ever and they are being embraced by everyone.
How we got here is as amazing as the fact that we are. Superheroes are now accepted as a global modern mythology rivaling that of the Greeks and Romans. This unparalleled popularity is a vindication for all of us that enjoyed reading comics with black light posters riddled full of Kirby Krackle hanging on the wall.
We were ahead of the curve, rejoicing in a future that was bound to happen. A future that could only be inspired by the magical combination of words and pictures called comics.
Making Comics Because We Want to,