Comics have forgotten what makes good stories. They’ve decided that actual adventure stories with actual superheroes are boring and passe (or maybe they just don’t understand heroism). In the place of awe-inspiring more-than-merely-mortal bad guys and good guys, we’ve got heroes and villains straight out of a Cartoon Central animated TV series, art included. Irony, silliness, and LOL-so-random humor are en vogue, instead of epic clashes between beings who are the next best thing to a force of nature.
Movies have forgotten what makes good stories. Manly protagonists—like Indiana Jones, John McClane, and classic James T. Kirk—are OUT, and hapless, inept men who are the butt of the joke are IN. Great fight scenes are almost entirely extinct, replaced with spastic “shaky cam” and editing so awful, you simply can’t tell what’s supposed to be going on.
Fantasy & Science Fiction tales have forgotten what makes good stories. Heroism, action, and virtue have been overthrown by nihilism, narcissism, and vice. Characters who were paragons, and hence inspiring and aspirational, have been replaced by fools, scumbags, and losers. Their stories are meandering and pointless tales that go nowhere and mean nothing, and succeed only at wasting the audience’s time.
Now, some of you are going to scream that I’m completely wrong because there’s exceptions. I know there’s exceptions, people, hold your horses. But the exceptions are rare, and that’s the point. They’re rare and generally only found among the indies, that is, among people in the artistic hinterlands, not in the centers of power.
I’m not saying that the situation is hopeless, far from it. I’m saying that the center has not held and is currently in a state of collapse. The time when a former hegemon is losing their grip on power, is the time most propitious for barbarians from the hinterlands to strike, conquer territory, and establish their own dynasty. And that time is now.
More and more people are leaving the fetid, decaying districts of the majors, striking out on their own, and seeing some measure of success. I’m sure all of you can think of excellent examples.
So don’t wait, and don’t hesitate. If you can craft great stories, there is little competition, and vast audiences hungry for your fare.
Go forth, create, and remind people what greatness is.