Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The First Casualty - YOUNG HEROES IN LOVE

A “garage band” team of superheroes, starring in a series that focuses on their interpersonal drama and skimps over that tired action stuff. Sounds like something from the Bill Jemas era of Marvel, doesn’t it? It’s actually Young Heroes in Love, a short-lived DC title from 1997, written by editor Dan Rasplar and penciled by former Batman Adventures artist Dev Madan. My first impression of the book is that it’s the kind of title fans always claim to want, but never actually buy. Gen 13 and Generation X had great success in the ‘90s downplaying the superhero fights and spotlighting the character interactions, but those titles had connections to larger franchises, and insanely popular artists for most of their runs (Gen 13’s relentless cheesecake also didn’t hurt sales.)

Young Heroes was set in the DC Universe, but was clearly not intended to be required reading for continuity obsessives, and the art style was probably dismissed as “too kiddie” by fans who still wanted 1,000 detail lines per square inch of artwork. It’s a shame, because the art breathes a lot of personality into the characters, and the actual content of the book is anything but “kiddie.” In fact, it’s not Approved by the Comics Code Authority, placing it in the vague No Code/No Mature Readers Warning category a few other ‘90s DC launches fell into. It’s a PG-13 book with “Sex” right there on the cover. Isn’t this what the aging audience wants? While the book attracted critical acclaim and a dedicated fan base, it couldn’t make it past issue seventeen. I was curious about the book, especially after reading a Wizard review that praised the title while questioning the “racy” material, but never gave it a shot. Now, I’ve acquired a stack of back issues and I’m ready to discover what I missed in 1997. Coming soon, Young Heroes in Love #1.


Adam Farrar said...

I was always interested in this comic thanks to the great ad. I think it was the art you've shown here with little lines indicating who liked who.

I never picked it up though I don't recall ever looking at the issues and deciding not to buy them. I wonder if that had something to do with not being Code Approved.

wwk5d said...

Also interesting, from Wikipedia:

"Unusually for a comic set in an established publisher-owned universe, Young Heroes in Love was half creator-owned: though all the characters featured in the book belong to DC Comics, Raspler and Madan retained copyright to the stories and art."

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