Dennis O’Neil: Are We Crowded Yet?

We’ll be at the big convention in Indiana this weekend. First con of 2015, which means that, for us, the comic book year has begun. ( or guys like me, the comic book year is like the school year is for a kid, the time when the action really begins.) The highlight of the convention may be interacting with another guest, Carrie Fisher, who once worked briefly with my chief DNA sharer. I mean, at least we’ll have an excuse to speak to her and Marifran might well do that, extravert that she is. I mean, don’t put it past her.

You might get to interact with her, too. She’s usually sitting beside me asking fans, in her nicest-teacher-you-ever-had way, to donate something to the Hero Initiative, which is a good idea and which you should do.

For those of you for whom comics are merely an interest, as opposed to a passion or, heaven help you, a lifestyle, the summer looks to provide the usual ration of superheroic pleasures, mostly in the form of huge movies. You know what they are, probably, and if you don’t, you should have ample opportunity to find out before you need a bathing suit.

If you attend either of the Rockland County NY multiplexes, you might see an old couple near the front. That’d be us. I’ll be the bald one.

Elsewhere, there’s television. Last week, we mentioned Daredevil, a show that Netflix will stream next month. And CBS has a Supergirl series ready to go. And I’m sure other costumed wrong-righters will pop up here and there. You superhero fans – you’ll be okay.

Are we nearing a saturation point? Are we already there? I shrug. A network executive recently said that no, we aren’t overstuffed with superheroes because every show and movie is different. Well… every cop show is different, too, in that they use different casts, characters, sets, locales. But they all feature dedicated public servants, some of them maybe a tad quirky, who, dammit, make the system work. Who bring what they call “justice” and what a nitpicker might call “vengeance.” Most superhero stories have a similar dynamic, with a quasi-mythic super person replacing quirky policemen.

It’s how ancient themes are expressed in our post-industrial Earth and I’m not complaining. Catch me on a sunny day and I might even cheer. But this particular way of expressing them, with the costumes and flying and the double identities and all the rest of it? Too much, yet? The obvious parallel genre is the westerns, once an absolute staple of screens large and small, now rare. But the world has changed since the cowboy heyday and the parallel might not be valid. We’ll see, eventually, maybe.

Meanwhile, we can all enjoy the spectacle of Iron Man kicking Ultron butt and, convention goers can breathe the same air as the talented folk who enact our favorite fantasies.