This is a thought that I've had for a while and based on some of the discussions I had on YouTube with some fellow comic book fans, in particularly one comic book fan I'm close friends with, it seems that I'm not the only one who shares this thought and I am really interested to hear what some of the SHH community members think about my theory. Please have patience and read everything if you're interested because my post will be a bit long.
As we all know, comic books are often seen as a campy & silly kids' medium in the eyes of the general public and in many cases even group all comics as a genre as opposed to a medium just like movies and books. This is nothing new. Many people over the years have passed theories on why a good chunk of the general audience shares this view, theories ranging from there being too much color in comics to too many characters dressed in tights to the general media's view on comics. However, what if some comic book fans themselves, including some on this forum right now, are responsible for this? What I am about to say in the next paragraph will only talk about comic book films but can be applied to all comics and comic book adaptations in general.
In the past couple of months, technically for years now but specifically even more in the past couple of months, I have seen many people on these forums and on others simplify comic book movies to superheroes and more specifically to a particular type of superhero films - campy lighthearted fun superhero films where the hero wears colorful costumes and where the stories have a "Let's beat the bad guy!" feel to them. A good example of this was The Avengers (minus the campyness, which the movie didn't have). Just to get this out of the way, there is nothing wrong with having a superhero film be just like that. Avengers was a fun comic book movie and me as well as many other people would argue it's one of the best comic book movies ever made up there with stuff like The Dark Knight.
But the problem starts where many fans seem to believe that anything that isn't that is an invalid comic book movie and will bash any comic book movie that isn't that. Comic book movies like Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, and The Amazing Spider-Man are perfect examples of films that are bashed due to this. Many of the comic book fans I'm talking about right now have said that BB and TDK are not good comic book movies for reasons such as being too serious, too dark, or too intelligent while praising Avengers and saying that's what a Batman movie should be like in terms of tone. Some have even said things like ""These are great films, but they're not comic book films." Why aren't they? I find that just plain ridiculous. BB and TDK are dark and serious because Batman comics themselves are dark and serious. The tone is not something Nolan invented for Batman but something he adapted from Batman. The dark tone of BB and TDK is just as accurate to Batman as the more fun lighthearted tone is accurate to the Avengers. The Amazing Spider-Man was another example. It is a movie that was serious. This does not
mean that it was dark or too serious - it simply didn't have the campy and cheesy moments that the Raimi films had. When the comic book fans I'm talking about silly and campy enough like the Raimi films were even though the tone is more accurate to the comics because, although the tone of Spider-Man comics isn't exactly dark or serious, it's definitely not campy and silly like the Raimi films were. Finally, the upcoming Man of Steel
is another example. Snyder and Nolan have said over and over again that they want to have a mature Superman story for their film - a story where Superman is still accurate to the comics by being the symbol of light and hope he is meant to be but in a serious story with serious events with a serious threatening villain. Based on this alone, some of these comic book fans are already saying that no matter how good MoS will be as a movie, it will be a bad comic book movie.
This is completely ridiculous. These fans are simplifying the comic book medium, and pushing anything away that isn't fun silly heroes in tights punching bad guys. They make more serious superheroes/characters - such as Batman, Daredevil, and the Punisher - look as invalid superheroes and suggest that any mature and serious story with a superhero is an invalid comic book/comic book movie/comic book TV show (depending on the medium) by default. On top of that, they make other comic books such as Preacher, Y The Last Man, The Walking Dead, Hellblazer, and even Japanese manga appear to be invalid simply because these are not superhero stories. This even makes a lot of comic book fans, such as fans of Vertigo, to look invalid as fans of the medium because they don't define their love of comics around guys in red and blue suits.
There is a pretentiousness to this and a close mindedness that makes me wonder, if the fans aren't going to accept comics for all that they are and going to close them off to a genre, then why should anyone from outside the medium take comics seriously at all? The apparent fans are not.
Just my own thoughts. Feel free to discuss and provide any kind of feedback.