ISB readers have seen me ranting about regressive storytelling before–specifically in regards to the Flash and the Legion of Super-Heroes, books that are literally about forward motion and the future, respectively, and ought to metaphorically be about them too–but the racial aspect is something I haven’t written about too much, and–as you might expect from the 2000 words I just linked to, it’s something that’s been bothering me. I’ve had this essay building in me for a while now (it was originally scheduled for three weeks ago but kept getting pushed back), and it’s good to finally get it out.
But there’s one thing I forgot to put into the finished piece, and that’s this: This stuff is all cyclical. Eventually, the people doing the regressive storytelling are going to be the kids growing up now, who only know Blue Beetle as Jaime Reyes, the Atom as Ryan Choi and Firestorm as Jason Rusch, largely because those are the characters on Batman: The Brave and the Bold. DC comics is catering to the older, nostalgia-plagued market, but eventually that market’s going to want something different because of the forward momentum of other media. And as much as it’s a slippery slope for comics to take cues from their more mass media counterparts, that’s going to be a change I want to see.