Tuesday, November 14, 2006

"Heroes" and comics

I just discovered an interesting Entertainment Weekly panel discussion on the NBC break-away hit, "Heroes," and how it relates to comic books. You can click here to read it.

I found this part interesting:
Indeed, astute comic book professionals like superstar scribe Brian K. Vaughan (Y: The Last Man, Ex Machina), who says he's a fan of Heroes, recognizes an important distinction in the show's creative makeup. ''A show like Buffy the Vampire Slayer is a closer approximation of a comic book than Heroes,'' says Vaughan. ''Buffy is like a guy who loves comic books doing a TV show, and Heroes feels like a guy who loves television doing a comic book. If Heroes is going to last, and I think it's going to, it can't just be about 'What if superheroes existed in the real world?' Because that's really an empty question. It has to be about what connects us as human beings and what responsibilities come with our abilities, and it seems to be tackling those questions. That's why it's connecting with people, much more than it's cool to see a guy fly or stop time.''

It's a great quote that really helps explain what makes "Heroes" different from so many other super-hero shows that have been done in the past. It is also what tends to make a comic book good, in my opinion.

The writer also discusses how the show's heroes not only have great powers, but they also wrestle with the complications of having those same powers.
Another interesting note he makes about how this TV show is similar to today's comics, but not necessarily similar to the public's perception of what today's comics are about:
For creative people in the comic book industry, Heroes has been a pleasant yet complicated surprise. Since ''funnybooks'' have long been considered a fringe and juvenile entertainment — a minor medium for minor minds (even though these days, the average comic book reader is in his or her 20s) — the people who make their living writing and drawing this stuff dig seeing a smart, savvy, affectionate extrapolation of their oft-maligned working world on broadcast television. ''Heroes makes comics sexy,'' says Jeph Loeb, co-executive producer of Heroes and a superstar comic book scribe in his own right.

I can't tell you how many times we get people in the store who come in looking for a comic book for their grandson or nephew (yes, it' s still usually for a boy) and are shocked when I explain to them which comics are appropriate for different ages. They often express their surprise that not all comics are for kids, and even more shock when I show them how many are really for teens and up. Even all-age appropriate comics tend to be vastly different from those in the past, written smartly, yet fun, so that trully any age reader can enjoy them.

Also addressed in the column is the comparison some have made between "Heroes" and the comic series, "Rising Stars."
Says Straczynski: ''Having watched the show, heard from the fans, and spoken with some folks involved in the show, there's no question that Rising Stars provided a rather substantial degree of inspiration, but that's the nature of the beast, and it's a good thing. Everybody in the comics field or any aspect of the arts looks to what has come before and builds upon it. I take it as validation that the Rising Stars concept hit something in the public consciousness that is now bubbling up in this form.''

It goes on... it's a fairly long piece. But, it is well written and interesting for those of us who are interested in comics and pop-culture and TV. Check it out when you have the time, and feel free to come back and discuss it here.

1 comment:

Jeff Sonnentag said...

Nice Link, Lisa. Vaughan's comments about Human responsiblities that come along with "super powers" is dead on, of course this is exactly what Ex-machina has been about from the beginning.