Superhero Hype: Why Can’t We Create New Superheroes?

David Hernandez David Hernandez
September 26th, 2016

David Hernandez is a published author, content creator, writer, and illustrator with a series of popular children's books, comics, teen fiction, and graphic novels. David is also a Creative Consultant & Creative Director. working in publishing, New Media, Mixed Reality, & licensed products - specializing in Children's Entertainment. Clients include Lucasfilm, Nickelodeon, Universal Studios, and Disney. David has had the pleasure of working on some of the world's most iconic brands including Star Wars, SpongeBob Squarepants, Marvel Comics, King Kong, Dora the Explorer, Mickey Mouse, and the Minions! David is also the owner of his own publishing imprint, Davdez Arts Inc.

Superhero Hype: Why Can’t We Create New Superheroes?

Superhero hype and discussion has become the passion of millions of fans and an increasing obsession for the mainstream media; however, even the most successful trends can eventually become stale. Here, our David Hernandez looks at why we can't easily create new superheroes.

Superhero Hype: Why Can’t We Create New Superheroes?

superhero hype

Credit: Marvel Studios

Okay, I am usually the last one to write any negative articles about comics, but there is a current trend going on that is really bugging me; the manipulation of iconic comic book characters.  Of course I am referring to the changes of gender, race, and history of well-known characters.

Now I know I am one of the older fellows that writes about comics (and I may be a bit old school), but I spend a lot of time with college interns and younger kids who are equally loyal to the established characters.  When I asked, I was surprised that most young readers do not always care for changes either.

I realized that unlike most literature, comic book readers are quite aware of their favourite characters’ history - not only story and mythology, but industry branding presence too!

That is why comics are so great – not only do they have a history, but as collectors, we enjoy attending conventions and shows, learning more and more about this amazing pastime.  Even the youngest of fans love shuffling through those long, white boxes, discovering another fascinating adventure while each thumb-flip reveals another colourful action-packed cover!

So you see, these characters have a history! A history that even the mainstream has become aware of.  They should not be manipulated by each new managing editor’s ever-changing world views - I just do not understand why we have to keep changing these storylines.

Has the House of Ideas run out of ideas?

Are today’s writers somehow disgruntled with the original comic book storyline that they feel the need to change everything?

To delve further, lets focus on a few of the scenarios that have bothered me lately.

The changing genders fad; somehow dissatisfied with the existence of too many male superheroes, the industry feels the need to change both Thor and Iron Man into female characters.  Thor, who is now Jane Foster, the Goddess of Thunder will continue to battle evil while wielding the mighty Mjölnir.  I am sure she will deal with different issues while allowing readers to perceive a feminine perspective.

What’s wrong with Wonder Woman, Jessica Jones, She-Hulk, Supergirl, and the Black Widow?  It’s not good enough that we have a slew of strong females?

Now we have to give Thor’s helmet away to prove we are current?

Next we have Ironheart, who will be Tony Stark’s protégé, donning the armor for a new generation.  Not only is she female, but she is African American as well - I guess this somehow helps attract a new and younger market?  Side note: I am Hispanic, and reading about a Latino character never made me feel any closer to them – I preferred Peter Parker as my role model growing up – and it never bothered me that he was white.

Now please do not get me wrong, I love comics, and I love new story arcs – but my issue lies with today’s writers… Captain America, Batman and Spider-man are not simple tertiary characters that can just be readjusted and molded every time a new writer comes on board and thinks “I am going to make this character better, more modern, and exciting”.  News flash: these characters are already exciting and they have worked for decades.  How about instead of recreating the wheel, we create some fantastic new stories and characters – perhaps some that may even be more popular?

So instead of playing God and manipulating the established mythology of a perfectly good and archetypal character, how about we challenge ourselves to come up with a new generation of superheroes and super-heroines that are just as compelling?

I have no problem with alternative reality storylines, or even an Earth Two scenario, but once we start playing around with the iconic existence of major characters, we are basically telling our young new audience that we believe these characters just don’t matter today!

I would prefer the writers create new modern-day villains instead; imagine if today’s Steve Rogers was written exactly as he was when he was created in 1941?

Imagine the challenges he would have while trying to maintain his All America Boy Scout morals?  Then hit him head on with a vile criminal of today who has no reservations on destroying mankind.  That story arc could last years – and probably win a few awards.

That’s my take. What do you think?

Is the superhero hype around modern comics heroes simply irrelevant?

Should they be remodeled and twisted with each new generation?

Or should we embrace these characters and insist that studios come up with modern, original ideas with all-new, and equally beloved characters?

How can we keep the superhero hype going?

Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.


David "Dez" Hernandez is a Contributor to ComiConverse. Follow him on Twitter: @DavdezHernandez

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