Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Willingham Calls For End To "Superhero Decadence;" Comics Fans Freak Out

Over at the new conservative showbiz-opinion site Big Hollywood, Fables creator Bill Willingham—interviewed here by our own Tasha Robinson—wrote a short column decrying the decline of the superhero genre into excessive violence and moral ambiguity. While admitting his own culpability as a superhero comics writer/artist in the past—and while allowing that comics are a broad enough medium to allow for mature explorations of complicated social issues—Willingham calls for a return to more straightforward notions of heroism in stories featuring some of America's most iconic superhero characters.

Predictably, this has touched off a minor furor among fans of those grimmer, grittier comics, who often tend to make the logical (and annoying) leap from "I don't enjoy what you enjoy" to "You are a terrible person and I want to take away your toys." Perhaps the best conversation about Willingham's column right now is going on at Robot 6 Archive, where the flame war has been kept partly in check by more left-leaning comics writer (and all-around awesome dude) Kurt Busiek, who has defended Willingham and his points quite eloquently, and noted that the problem for some comics fans might not be what Willingham wrote, but where he wrote it.

Provocative stuff all around, for those at all interested in the future of cape-and-cowl comics—and perhaps even for those not.


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