28 April 2012

Cold Wind and the Limits of the Superhero Genre

Cold Wind is a short adventure comic written by Dan Mazur and drawn by Jesse Lonergan, independently published by Mazur’s Ninth Art Press.

I saw this story grow from a script that Dan shared with the Boston Comics Roundtable to its final form. Dan writes in screenplay format, not breaking his story into pages and panels. Often he draws his own art, so that’s obviously not a problem. In this case, he left it up to Jesse—who’s scripted his own Flower and Fade, Joe and Azat, and other tales—to divide the screenplay into images. Yet another approach to collaboration.

Dan’s told me a couple of times how he’s no longer a fan of superhero comics because of their repetitive themes. He reads one Spider-Man story, learns that “With great power comes great responsibility,” reads another story—and learns the same thing.

As former Marvel editor Jim Shooter has commented:
Comic books have become like opera. You go to see a particular performance of an old story, not a new story. How will this performer handle that familiar role...?
That familiarity is part of the appeal of a series, or a genre.

At the last roundtable meeting, Dan wondered aloud if Cold Wind is a superhero comic. I said it qualified, despite his ambivalence about the genre. It’s a pumped-up action story taking place against a fantastic landscape. Its characters are largely symbolic, and they work out the fate of the world through violence.

But Cold Wind reflects Dan Mazur’s take on the superhero genre, with the theme that things don’t change significantly. For all the adventure’s sound effects and fury, its surviving characters achieve only a short pleasure before the world spins on.

Cold Wind is on sale today at the MoCCA Festival, in the better Boston-area comics shops, and over the web.

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