My favorite comics blog calls the current age of comics the Platinum Age. Scipio is not wrong, not but I think it is clear that there is more going in the current age of comics than he has accounted for. It is fair to note that it has been four years since he wrote the linked piece and the landscape has changed significantly. Who wants to be fair really?. I’d rather write about where the industry is today.
The New 52, Marvel Now, and The Avengers move have all come out since 2009, proving Scripo’s analysis of the superhero genre is on the nose. Superhero comics are currently in something that would fairly be called “The Platinum Age.”
Something interesting is happening around the edges, though. Comic books have broadened themselves out again. The comics code authority’s rise in the mid 50s ended horror, noir crime and any sexually explicit comics. Starting in the 80s we saw some of these genres returning to publication, but to me, looking back, many of those works feel juvenile; like a 15-year-old trying so hard to prove they could be an adult. At their worst The Dark Knight Returns and Watchmen feel like shock media, though never for long, and never in the same way The Youngbloods do.
I just interrupted my reading of Ed Bubaker and Sean Phillips moody Fatale to write this. We read and loved Greg Rucka and Matthew Southworth Stumptown recently. Though neither Leland or I love Multiple Warheads or Saga as much as the zeitgeist seems to they are works of substance and value. Fantasy comics, which have always had a slow, reliable market seem to be bursting out of their corner with Mice Templar and Amethyst. Soft and hard sci-fi comics litter the shelves, from a surprisingly good Star Wars title to the delightfuly whimsical Lost Vegas. Valliant comics is insuring that the Dark Age is forgotten, publishing a grip of well reviewed anti-heroes.
Though Scripo’s analysis is shiny, it is important to include the revitalization of neglected and abandoned genres that is a part of today’s landscape. Today’s creators throwing together the gold, silver, bronze, iron, platinum, and the metals forgotten between the ages, churning them together, distilling their mistakes, their creative brilliance, and their pure joy to create something new. The current age of comics is pushing at the edges of what you expect, forcing us to consider what is possible, what it means to be a creator, a reader, a fan, or an admirer. It is an exciting time to be a part of the comic book industry, even only as a fan and commenter in the Age of Alloys.