Thursday, October 23, 2008

When Words Collide: Sixteen Steps Toward a Superhero Canon

I've written about comic book canons on this blog a few times, but when Tucker Stone brought up the notion of an exclusively superhero canon, I couldn't help but take up the challenge.

Actually, that's not what happened at all.

Honestly, I wrote a few inventory columns this summer, even before the launch of "When Words Collide," just in case I got behind on any deadlines, and the second inventory column I wrote, way back in June, was "Sixteen Steps Toward a Superhero Canon." Guess what? I didn't have time to write a fresh, of-the-moment column this week, so you finally get to read my thoughts on a superhero canon. Just what Tucker Stone asked for. He could have come over to my house and giggled over it while we were hanging out, watching dvd recommendations from Nathan Rabin. But, I guess this way's easier.

As you'll see from my column, I approached a potential superhero canon as the game it is. And I made up completely arbitrary rules, because that's what I'm all about. And is Defenders Annual #1 canonical? Hell, yeah. In my world it is.

It's also a good thing I did such a weird approach to the canon, because right after my column went live, fellow CBR writer Steven Grant identified the "20 Most Significant Comics." And between us, we have absolutely no overlap. I'm sure we'll have a laugh about that when Tucker and Nina invite us both over for brisket.

Oh, you want a link to my column? Here it is: Sixteen Steps Toward a Superhero Canon!


Tucker Stone said...

Pretty great column. Tom Bondurant is going a different direction over at Newsarama, but there's definitely some interaction between the two of you--the Spider-man lifts thing issue is in there, but he goes a different direction for the obligatory Green Lantern plug. Be nice if you got a chance to expand on it--I got the sense you could've said more about why this, not that, but what you put out there is solid. (My only major disagreement is putting in Bug over Pact, but you addressed that already.)

Your taste and mine don't always intersect, but i'm glad to know somebody else out there loves old Doom Patrol more then the Silver Age X-Men. I could look at Bruno's art for hours. Great, great stuff.

Timothy Callahan said...

But, the brisket?

Tucker Stone said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
DAL said...

'"Miracleman," especially issue #15, is the Modern comic every other superhero book now aspires to, for good or bad.'

Yes. Absolutely. I'm glad someone said this. Miracleman is the locus and a purer source than either Watchmen or Dark Knight. Its issues span the entire '80s. Everything else Moore was doing during that decade can basically be plotted on a Miracleman-centric timeline. It predates (and postdates) V and Swamp Thing and Watchmen and Killing Joke. It's not a consistent (especially not art-wise), but it does say more about superhero comics than those other works.

Timothy Callahan said...

Tucker, I see that you've deleted your second message. Ha.

Thanks for the standing offer, though. I'm sure we'll meet up sometime in New York, eventually.

E-mail me sometime.