What Are the Characteristics of Comics in the 21st Century?

Comic books have been around for over seventy years. Comic books in the twenty-first century are quite different from their inception nearly a century ago. The industry has matured and the characters are more fully developed. The villains are more villainous, the superheroes are more powerful and the relationship between the two has evolved.

Comic books in the twenty-first century possess much more complicated storylines. Sometimes subplots are incorporated in the story so when a future occurrence materializes, you are cognizant of it. The sophistication of comic books has made Hollywood squeal in delight as the comic books come into the film industry. Mainstream society has a voracious appetite when a hero is brought from the pages of comic books to a full-length film.

While there had been movies, serials, and television shows that purport to portray the costumed heroes, it did not do them justice. It took time for technology to catch up to reprise the comic book hero. Comic books in the twenty-first century allow readers to read and conceptualize the story, then watch the big screen to see if the writer and director had the same perception as you did. Oftentimes I was delighted at the movies, despite the fact that I had a different version of what should have been done.

The twenty-first century of comic books can also be considered the bane of superhero characters.

In today’s world heroes can be hurt or even die. The demise doesn’t usually last long by human standards, but in a comic book’s life, years could have transpired. The realism sought by the writers and artists is a testimony to the alteration that has taken place. If a character dies, you feel their death. You feel cheated. Revenge on the villain is sought but is tempered by the wisdom of the prevailing heroes. The heroes knew what they were getting into when they donned their costumes, and the realism displayed on the pages suggests the artist and writers were attentive too. On occasion, you may even feel you were present when the incident occurred. If someone was injured, either a scar or another feature was incorporated within the next comic book.

The comic book industry slightly altered the looks of heroes as time went by. The characters do not usually age, but in some cases, age had been affected. Another factor to consider is why the comic book industry changed the looks of their characters. Perhaps another artist took the reins of the hero or villain. Maybe an update was needed because some of his or her costume or hairstyle looked out of place, or do not reflect, today’s styles or trends. So much has changed over the years that some characters are unrecognizable from their origin.

Whatever the case may be, the evolution of comic books is here to stay. I applaud the decision to update the comic books, so stagnation does not ingress the industry. The comic books in the twenty-first century remind me why I continue to read them. I had been enthralled as a young boy reading comic books in my bed. I read them as an adult and am just as captivated. The content and looks may have changed, but the messages are still the same.