There was a time when liking comic books wasn’t popular. Not only was it not popular, it was actively looked down upon. In my experience, finding other people who loved paneled pages as much as I did was difficult. When I did find them, it wasn’t always guaranteed we’d get along. What hasn’t changed in the comic book world is that fans can be opinionated. A very opinionated classmate introduced me to the Garth Ennis comic book The Boys; I hated it.
The comic book, in my opinion, was mean and nasty and had little to say. Someone could argue that the comic had a message, I’m sure. I doubt they could debate meanness or nastiness. The Boys comic book hated superheroes and superhero comics. It showed the racism, sexism, and violence that can plague the medium and said, “What if we crank this to 11?” The result is pretty repulsive.
My distaste for the comic kept me from the show. Even when it was receiving praise, I stayed away. It wasn’t until the second season premiered that I decided to watch. I’m glad I did. The show has a maturity and thoughtfulness not present in the comics. It retains the raunch. It still calls out things that are wrong with comics (or, in this case, comic book movies). The difference is that the creators like the thing they’re satirizing, at least a little.
Some reverence or respect is required for a successful satire. The Boys is roaring into its fourth season (fresh off of a hit spinoff) because it isn’t trying to make you not watch. Quite the opposite! The show has enlisted the ranks of known sex-pots like Jenson Ackles, Karl Urban, and Paul Reiser. Now they can add Jeffrey Dean Morgan to that list! JDL flashing those pearly whites in the new trailer for season 4 is a sight to behold.
Comic books are as popular as ever (or at least accepted). I’m eagerly awaiting the fourth season of a TV show based on The Boys. It’s being produced by the same company that used to ship me my first graphic novels because there wasn’t a good comic book shop where I grew up. High School me would assume I’ve started doing drugs (he wouldn’t be wrong).