Then MARVEL COMICS hit the
scene and things changed forever.
Suddenly comics were cool, not to mention interesting. The comics-buying
public couldn't get enough of them, and, what's more, were reluctant to give
up on them even when the siren call of the opposite sex first made itself
heard in the hearts, minds and loins of pimply-faced males everywhere.
So they continued to read and collect them well past the age that former
generations of readers had traditionally abandoned them for other
pursuits, even into adulthood.
to be associated with childish interests, so the
readership expected - nay, demanded - that
their comics grow up with them and reflect
their 'adult' tastes and sensibilities. Also, some
of the fans became writers and were only too
happy to oblige, being of a like-minded opinion.
On top of that, they wanted to be seen not as
purveyors of simple kiddie-fare, but as creators
of an artform that was socially 'relevant'
and worthy of serious consideration.
in. Eventually, characters like
SUPERMAN and SPIDER-MAN
got married (no, not to each other)
because the 'creators-who-had-
once-been-fans' were married and
wanted to write about subjects
of which they knew and had
experience; that reflected their
lives and those of their friends.
Embarrassed by their roots and
origins as ephemeral amusement
for children, comics became
too serious (to say nothing of
pretentious) in their quest to be
regarded as legitimate literature.
Add to that the direct sales market
and the ever-increasing cost of what had once been the cheapest form of entertainment available, and whatever remained of any childhood or young
teenage readership simply dissipated over time.
(The above covers represent, to me, examples of
when comics were more-or-less at their best.)
Don't miss the entertaining discussion currently under way on the
same topic (more or less) over on JIM SHOOTER's excellent blog at:
http://www.jimshooter.com/ - tell them Kid sent you.