There is no doubt that the super hero genre has been going through some changes recently, probably not so recently. Most people not familiar with the genre will have undoubtedly heard or seen the Christopher Nolan Dark Knight trilogy of movies and it is widely considered that this is when the change began. This may be the case for movies but the Dark Knight began his change to a more realistic story line in 1969, when writer Dennis O’Neal and artist Neal Adams took the character back to his roots. The comics had followed the camp version of the tv series starring Adam West but when the show was cancelled the comics went into a decline. This pair made a conscious effort to turn things around. The stories took on a more realistic tone taking Batman back to his roots as a dark avenger and more of a detective, something the movies seemed to neglect.
My problem with this is simply a personal one. I grew up reading these comics and I marveled at the fantastic things these characters could do. My introduction to them was Superman, quickly followed by the rest of the pantheon of DC characters. I soon discovered Marvel and found that their story lines were much better because they dealt with real people, people we could relate to in a better way. Yes they were still fantasy figures and ran around in brightly coloured costumes to hide their identities but they seemed more real. Why do we need to make them fit into our society of today? I could never understand why the Dark Knight Trilogy was set in realistic setting, why Batman was made to appear as if this could actually happen, I mean come on people let’s get real here. Batman is a vigilante who dresses in a rubber suit made to look like a six foot bat and drives around in a tank like vehicle in the film creating more mayhem than any of the villains he fights. Can no one else see the absurdity of this. How can someone like this be taken seriously? He would be deemed mentally unstable and he would have a task force on his back as soon as he saw daylight. Now like I said earlier Adams and O’Neal returned the character to his roots in 1969 and it was a huge success, it revitalised the character and the comics were successful once more. They had a dark tone but to me they never lost sight of the fact that these were comics, basically fantasy, dark fantasy I accept but fantasy none the less. The Avengers movies have taken some of this realism and run with it but they never lost sight that these characters are fantasy. I know some of you will bring up the subject that there are a bunch of costumed crime fighters in the real world inspired to do good in the streets. These are not super powered beings nor are they billionaires who cause mayhem blowing stuff up. These are real people who want to make a difference but who act within the law, not vigilantes.
Like I said at the start, this was a personal thing and I’m sure there are plenty of you who would disagree, look at how many people think the Nolan Dark Knight series was fantastic. I thought they were good movies that featured characters based on Batman, they were not Batman movies, there’s a difference, subtle I know but important to me anyway. If you would like to add anything to this then leave a comment.