Certain things one can rely on in comics: Superman is vulnerable to Kryptonite, with great power comes great responsibility, and no one battles crime without squeezing into skin-tight Spandex.
It looks like the latter may finally be changing.
This weekend's edition of Britain's "Sunday Times" has an interview with Grant Morrison and Joe Quesada that suggests that the end may be near for the flagship heroes of the big two comic companies squeezing into their suits of primary colored Spandex.
"In the wake of September 11, violent superhumans are not enough anymore. We should be putting the current international developments in context rather than just having wrestling matches between colorful characters," Morrison is quoted as saying. The Times reported that Morrison will be getting Spider-Man, the X-Men and Fantastic Four out of costume, and that he expects to do the same for DC Comics next. "I've already started writing X-Men as a pacifist comic. They don't believe in violence. They want to change the world in other ways. I don't think there will be as much fisticuffs anymore. I always thought that was rubbish anyway. I'm more into the philosophical basis of comics, the ideas they explore."
Marvel Comics' editor-in-chief Joe Quesada went further, saying that fans should look for superheroes to be doing their good deeds without the benefit of colorful costumes.
"The de-costuming of heroes is a trend we've been heading towards at Marvel this year and that you may see more of in 2002. Not every hero will reveal their identity, but some will," Quesada is quoted as saying. "Marvel's heroes have always been much more powered down than our competitors', so they deal with threats and life on a much more human level."
Mark Millar, whose "big screen cinematic" violence in "The Authority" and "Ultimate X-Men" outdid real life until September 11, sounded a dissent: "A more likely scenario [than the end of over-the-top violence and flashy costumes] is evolution and maturation -- as well as the action, we're now going to see the consequences of the action, and that's no bad thing," Millar is quoted as saying. "They are about to become a lot more empathetic and the characters will be forced to be more three-dimensional. As a writer, I think that can only be a positive thing."