Marvel’s ‘Heroic Age’: The Return of Role Models?

Published 4 years ago by , Updated August 6th, 2012 at 5:19 pm,

marvelheroicagex topper medium Marvels Heroic Age: The Return of Role Models?

When the comic industry was turned on its ear last year by the news the Disney had bought Marvel Comics to the tune of $4 billion dollars, fanboys everywhere immediately started panicking. “Marvel is going to suffer from this,” “Our heroes will no longer have blood and violence in them,” and “Marvel will no longer be dark and gritty!”  I laughed those statements off thinking that Disney wouldn’t try to sanitize something they just paid obscene amounts of money for.

OK, so maybe I could be off the mark a bit. USA Today has a story up today with Marvel’s editor in chief Joe Quesada, where he talks about the future of Marvel’s  characters and where comic fans can expect to see their favorite iconic heroes to go from here. Overall, it looks like the heroes are going back to their roots and getting more old school with their stories.

The story lines over the past decade have gotten very dark and very bleak with Iron Man and Spider-Man going head-to-head, the mutant species almost being annihilated in the X-Men universe and Captain America dying during a superhero “Civil War.” Some fans say they enjoy the “darker and grittier” story lines because they are more realistic and not so cartoony. To a certain extent, I agree with them. Comic books aren’t so much for children anymore (like they used to be); adults are the biggest readers and followers now.

Well, whether it’s due to the acquisition of Marvel by Disney or not, Marvel will be unveiling its new approach to the superhero character in the relaunching of Avengers #1 in May. Says Quesada:

“Heroes will be heroes again. They’ve gone through hell and they’re back to being good guys — a throwback to the early days of the Marvel Universe, with more of a swashbuckling feel.”

And what does he have to say about the Disney purchase influencing this new direction?

“There is no sanitizing of the Marvel books at all. Our philosophy here is to just keep telling good stories.”

spidermousex large by Sam Ward Marvels Heroic Age: The Return of Role Models?

Artwork courstey of Sam Ward/USA Today

According to Quesada, this new approach was something that has been on the front burner for a couple of years and that Disney wasn’t a factor in the decision. Uh huh, OK! *rolls eyes* He could be telling the truth though because Quesada was instrumental in making the Spider-Man makeover a couple of years ago with the “Brand new Day” story line. I’m not too frustrated by Marvel’s decision; it is, after all, their right to change if they want to. I just wish they would come out and say, “We want to really tap into the young male kid demo and we feel this is the way to do it.”

There is a glimmer of hope though that not all is lost: Writer Brian Michael Bendis is on board with the new direction, and he is credited with dismantling the Marvel Universe in the first place. Recently, he was in charge of the “Dark Reign” story line which made Norman Osborn, a.k.a Green Goblin, head of the superhero universe. Bendis says all that will come to a close in May:

“The ‘brand new day’ of the Heroic Age presents a tonal shift to optimism, a world filled with hope but quite hellish villains. The heroes realize it’s a blue-sky world worth protecting.”

Bendis also echoes the words of Quesada when it comes to Disney:

“This was always the plan, and I have the memos to prove it. This was always the whole point — the reunion, the Avengers getting back together, because this is what the world needs right now. Now we get to the good stuff.”

Quesada and Bendis aren’t idiots; they know there will be backlash regarding the apparent cleansing of the Marvel Universe but honestly isn’t it about time? Comics started off written for kids and somewhere down the line, those kids grew up still attached to their favorite heroes or villains and wanted more sex, drugs and violence in their stories. Something the comic book industry was happy to provide in spades.  Now we got heroes that have powers but have ceased to be actual heroes.

civilwar1 Marvels Heroic Age: The Return of Role Models?

I say kudos to Marvel for taking a chance and moving their properties into a more kid friendly direction. Will it pay off? That’s yet to be seen but one question remains – how will this affect the upcoming Marvel films? Iron Man was a huge success and it didn’t go all “dark and gritty” while Iron man 2 is sure to be just as big a success. Now comes the recent announcement that Spider-Man will be going the route of  “gritty”, which would be just the opposite of this Marvel announcement regarding their characters.  We’ll just have to wait and see what happens.

What are your thoughts on the new direction Marvel is taking with its Heroic Age story line?

Source: USA Today

Follow me on Twitter @Walwus

Get our free email alerts on the topics and author of this article:
TAGS: captain america, fantastic four, iron man, spider-man, the avengers, the incredible hulk, thor, x-men

37 Comments

Post a Comment

GravatarWant to change your avatar?
Go to Gravatar.com and upload your own (we'll wait)!

 Rules: No profanity or personal attacks.
 Use a valid email address or risk being banned from commenting.


If your comment doesn't show up immediately, it may have been flagged for moderation. Please try refreshing the page first, then drop us a note and we'll retrieve it.

  1. I've been reading Marvel since the mid seventies. I think they're just going to tone it down a little and bring it back to a classic feel, but not necessarily steer away from mature, adult oriented and realistic story-lines.

    Look at what Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko and many other great storytellers and artists did in the early 60s at Marvel Comics. Super hero comic books that were wonderfully entertaining, incredibly scripted, dialogue that was realistic compared to other comic books, filled with action packed drama, overtones of fun, quirkiness, seriousness and occasionally touching on adult themes and social commentary.

    The super heroes were fundamentally flawed in that they like us, suffer from the human condition. That's what made Spiderman and the rest of the Marvel Universe fascinating to read. The reader could identify with the super hero. No cliches. No tidy resolutions where the good guys always win at the end of each story.

    Classic stuff! Stan Lee set Marvel Comics apart from the competition and built upon a foundation that cannot be moved.

  2. Here, here!

  3. man it hard to find Heroic Age movie if any anyone know were i can find it plz send me a email at cobra6785@hotmail.com

  4. I think what people really have a problem with is they expect that Marvel Comics are going to become like a Saturday morning Disney Channel cartoon, but I think what everyone is forgetting is that we are talking about Marvel here. They wouldn't ever just completely sanitize their franchises, that's what makes them Marvel. Also, they never said they are dumbing down the violence, this is just a new breath of air after all the stuff that has gone down since Avengers Disassembled. Also, keep in mind that Disney isn't just meant for kids either. Disney has also been known for the dark as well. Dating back straight to Snow White and Fantasia. Then take a look at more recent movies and tell me there isn't some real sinister moments in them. And Pixar is widely regarded as not just for children. That's why Up was nominated for Best Picture. So, I think all fears should be put aside and have faith that our favorite comics company won't let us down wholesale.

  5. man it hard to find Heroic Age movie if any anyone know were i can find it plz send me a email at cobra6785@hotmail.com

  6. I think what people really have a problem with is they expect that Marvel Comics are going to become like a Saturday morning Disney Channel cartoon, but I think what everyone is forgetting is that we are talking about Marvel here. They wouldn't ever just completely sanitize their franchises, that's what makes them Marvel. Also, they never said they are dumbing down the violence, this is just a new breath of air after all the stuff that has gone down since Avengers Disassembled. Also, keep in mind that Disney isn't just meant for kids either. Disney has also been known for the dark as well. Dating back straight to Snow White and Fantasia. Then take a look at more recent movies and tell me there isn't some real sinister moments in them. And Pixar is widely regarded as not just for children. That's why Up was nominated for Best Picture. So, I think all fears should be put aside and have faith that our favorite comics company won't let us down wholesale.

  7. If Spider-Man's character changes even the slightest bit, then I will protest buying Marvel books for a while and Stick with my Batman titles(those are far from kid friendly books)

  8. Oh will you please stop using the term ” kid-friendly ” . you are just destroying it all by saying it ! just because heroes will start acting like heroes again doesn’t mean necessarily its now kid friendly .

Be Social, Follow Us!!