Monday, July 22, 2002

Cashing in on Comics
If you've been inside a comics shop lately -- or scanned the newsstand at your local grocery store -- you might have seen some throwbacks to old standbys: GI Joe, the Transformers, Battle of the Planets, and Thundercats. Why the resurgence of reminiscence? In Ninth Art, Ben Wooler takes a look at the return to time-tested cartoon and comic properties. He consider the market for what he terms a "new nostalgia" and compares the string of rehashed series to Vertigo's revitalization of Doom Patrol, Sandman, Swamp Thing and other titles in the '80s and '90s. While I agree that the new nostalgia is nothing new -- filmmakers, musicians, and cartoonists cyclically return to reconsider successful creative franchises of the past -- I doubt the strength of the Vertigo parallel. The new-old titles we're seeing lately are more media tie-in plays than drastic rewritings a la Alan Moore and Neil Gaiman. Think Archie's repositioning of Josie and the Pussycats in conjunction with the release of the move. Also, the publishers in question are clearing playing to the post-baby boomer nostalgia many post-Generation X'ers are currently experiencing. But Wooler poses an interesting question, hinged on his fond memories of Voltron and the Masters of the Universe: "We don't really remember the sub-par animation, dialogue and characterisation, do we?"

Do we?

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