Meet the new boss… same as the old boss…

One thing I’ve noticed about comics is that they keep modernizing characters so that they’ll appeal to current readers. DC revamped their entire universe of stories back in the 1980s’s, and have made a fine tradition of it ever since. Hell, right now they’re so magnanimous they’re saying that there are officially 52 “universes”, although they still haven’t brought the Space Canine Patrol Agents or the Inferior Five back. Remember those? No? Then get outta my wheelchair…My problem with this is when I think back to the very first comic I ever read. I was @5 years old, and I bought a copy of Action Comics #1 at a neighborhood yard sale. The story concerned some guy I’d never heard of before — SUPERMAN — and I was hooked from the start. He came from another world! Nobody knew his secret! And — best of all — he was so strong, that he could break down a steel door with his bare hands. I couldn’t believe it! I remember showing my father the book and was amazed that he knew who Superman was! Well, not really — this was the man who just taught me to tie my shoes, so he was obviously a wise and learned soul.My point is, is that I read that reprint copy of Famous First Editions back in 1975-6, nearly forty years after it was published, and it still hit me like a runaway train. Same thing happened a few years later when I stumbled across the kaliedescopic wonderland of the 60’s Marvel Universe. The stories and art still continue to hold up; I didn’t need them retold in a “modern” context. Nowadays, Marvel is turning readers on to the “Ultimate Universe”, with their characters redone for the 21st century… although I’ve never seen anyone under the age of 30 buy one, and the stories are suspiciously modeled after the movie franchises. Modernizing comics is like colorizing films, and there’s a special layer of hell reserved for both parties.

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