Ripped from the Headlines: Comics Get Topical

secret invasion.jpgAs stalwart Archie fans, we rather liked that the biggest problems encountered by the youth of Riverdale involved things like rampant gossip, stray kittens, and the vexing vanity of Reggie Mantle. Today’s comics are increasingly going the Law & Order route, with ripped-from-the-headlines plots and themes. Case in point: Marvel ComicsSecret Invasion, premiering tomorrow at the New York Comic Con, in which “an alien race called the Skrulls comes to claim Earth as its holy land after their home planet is rendered uninhabitable in a fashion foretold by their religious scriptures,” according to Brian Niemietz writing in today’s New York Post. We’re guessing that the Skrulls don’t have much time to unwind at the soda shoppe.

According to Marvel President Dan Buckley, anyone who wants to draw parallels between his new series and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict or the U.S. invasion of Iraq does so on his own, though not without some justification. “You can play with the concept of who’s the invading force and who’s the occupying force,” says Buckley.

Later in the article, which gives a shout-out to the Cold War/nuclear-era metaphor of the Fantastic Four, Buckley notes the hazards of directly pegging a superhero to living beings, a move that often translates to a reduced shelf life for a comic series. “We’ve been publishing Spider-Man since 1962, and he’s aged about four to five years.”