Beauology 101: Mainstream Superheroes: Solve My Mystery

Beau Smith “I’ve got questions….Answer them!”

Beau Smith “I’ve got questions….Answer them!”


by Beau Smith

I want to talk mainstream superheroes for a little bit There’s a question I’ve asked myself time and time again, since I was a grade school kid reading comic books.

“Why is it that only Marvel Comics and DC Comics have been able to sustain mainstream superheroes for decades?”

Many of you can bring up examples of other publishers creating superheroes that have been around for a while, but let’s just be honest, none have been able to replicate what Marvel and DC have done with mainstream superheroes. They were doing this long before any of the current film and TV success.

The Mighty Crusaders Archie Comics

The Mighty Crusaders Archie Comics


I am not complaining, please don’t get me wrong. I was raised on DC Comics and then made the transfer in the early 1960s when Marvel produced comics I enjoyed more. Along the way, I was always a reader and huge fan of other publisher’s attempts, such as, The Mighty Crusaders (Archie Comics Superhero Line), T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents, The Atlas heroes, Gold Key, Dell, and so on. Fast forward to the recent decades of Image Comics, Valiant, and others. None have been able to produce the following that Marvel and DC have. Why?

I’m not here with the answers, I’m asking you, other readers, creators, publishers, and collectors. After twenty-eight years of being a comic book writer, marketing executive, and producer, I don’t have the answer, and I’m not afraid to ask others for it.

Magnus Robot Fighter

Magnus Robot Fighter


As a kid, I wanted T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents to go on forever like The Fantastic Four. I wanted Magnus Robot Fighter to be monthly forever like Batman. I wanted The Black Hood, The Shield and Fly Man to be stopping crime in comics for decades without interruption, just like The Avengers and the JLA. Why haven’t I gotten this?

Gorilla Boss

Gorilla Boss


Another question, why hasn’t anyone been able to really create mainstream superheroes from scratch that I want to read every month? I’m talking about longevity and consistence with the core character. Yes, I understand that Captain America of WWII isn’t the exact same character today, that Batman is not the same Batman that used to fight Gorilla Boss and had a Bat-Hound, but the core character is still there. The other heroes I mentioned such as T.H.U.N.D.E.R Agents and The Atlas heroes all had more than potential to be every bit as good, if not better, than what was being done at Marvel and DC. But it didn’t. Why?

The Black Terror Eclipse Comics

The Black Terror Eclipse Comics


In my own mind (That hasn’t changed that much since I was 10 years old), I feel that I could’ve have saved every one of those characters from M.A.R.S. Patrol to The WEB. I feel that Chuck Dixon and I did just that with The Black Terror (Eclipse Comics painted by Dan Brereton). Aren’t there any other comic book creators that feel the same way?

Usually here in Beauology 101, I’m the one giving the lesson, but not this week. This week I’m coming to you for the answers. I’d love to hear them. Please post up here at the Westfield Comics site or anywhere else you happen to come across this column.

I wanna know.

Your amigo with questions,

Beau Smith

The Flying Fist Ranch

www.flyingfistranch.com

 

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