Friday, October 29, 2004

Manga superhero comes out on top? 

Started writing this a couple of days ago and then got busy again. Anyway:

I'm running a couple of days behind, but big thanks to Kevin for posting the list. I'm usually pretty depressed when I look at the top 100 list of monthly comic releases and less so at the graphic novels, since they seem more balanced. But looking at this tally of the year from various outlets, I can't help but feel a bit sorry for the shared universe superheros for once. 1602 in 25th place comes the closest since it has Marvel characters, but even that is an elseworlds.

However, taking a somewhat broader view, it is interesting to see that Kenshin seems to be the clear winner, with 5 volumes in the top 25, including 2nd and 3rd place. Why interesting? Because it is one of the most "superhero-ish" titles on the list. A character with seemingly superhuman skill who fights superpowerful villains while vowing never to kill again. Lots of battles, dark pasts, etc. The author is even a fan of Spider-man and the X-men, with some characters in the story modelled loosely on those.

IMO, it is less the superhero concept itself (in the broad sense) that many people take issue with, but a lot of the other aspects like spandex and shared worlds. Marvel and DC certainly have rich pasts and interesting concepts, but it seems like there is also a place outside of that for superpowered characters who fight evil...

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