At what point did DC Comics stop being heroism and action, and start being deeper and darker, in your opinion?
Over time, DC has produced a greater number of series and runs with a darker tone, but I don’t think as a franchise we can unilaterally say that DC “is” or “became” dark, and I certainly wouldn’t agree that it stopped involving heroism or action.
No, I meant the turning point, as in when did you first see that DC can have a darker undertone. For me, it was Identity Crisis.
And I know they kept heroism and action. I meant that they stopped being about only heroism and action.
Edit: I feel like true attempts at CD started in the Bronze Age, but true darkness surfaced in the Modern age. Just MO, though.
The first time I read a DC comic with a dark undertone in real time was probably Crisis with its consequential deaths. Then Dark Knight Returns, which I think fits your question better.
Historically, I would think maybe Green Lantern Green Arrow with its real world themes.
But they’re still about heroism and action, just in harder edged trappings sometimes.
Of course it keeps light values, but now it goes deeper and darker
Crisis was probably the the first time I can remember.
If I’m looking at modern times, I think that Barbara returning to Gotham might have been the first sign that the Rebirth initiative would plummet into darkness. Anyway, that was the time when I started dropping titles.
I’m a Batman fan. it’s always been dark
While I could argue it was Dark Knight Returns or Watchmen, as their influence was noticeable in the late eighties to early nineties, the point I really noticed it was Identity Crisis. That’s when Didio really started to “edge things up”
I was a huge Batman fan as a kid thanks to Adam West. I miss the days when I knew Batman would be back… same bat-time same bat-channel.
When J’onn was killed in final crisis and bruce put a single choco on his grave. That makes me sad to this day.
Batman returns, when Batman broke the Joker’s neck, not enough to kill him, but then the Joker breaks his neck and kills himself to frame Batman. I read it when I was little. It was a bit scarring since I knew what was going on.
I think it was scarier in the movie, because the first 2 times I read the comic, I actually thought Bats killed him
For me, I don’t think DC really got dark until I read Batman: The Cult in my late teens. I had been reading comics for many years before then, including Knightfall, Dark Knight Returns, etc, but that darker tone didn’t really hit me when I read those books. Even Death in the Family didn’t hit hard, probably because I had already known that Jason came back as Red Hood.
But The Cult seriously did a number on me at the time, what with the decaying bodies in the sewer and all.
When the Joker pretended to have skinned everyone’s faces off and then put them in bowls. That was pushing the boundaries on disturbing.
I would say it started with the Watchmen, Constantine, and Swamp Thing books, and then got darker from there until we got the Dark Multiverse books and Dark Knights Metal which is uber dark.
I don’t think the Dark Multiverse is as dark after having read JLA: Earth 2. I mean, that was my first big intro to the concept that infinite earths means some are really !@#$ed up. that, and elseworlds.
Jim Starlin’s run on Batman was certainly flirting with “dark for the sake of dark.”