I read two autobiographies recently, one about Jack Kirby and the other about Stan Lee. What really stood out to me was that these guys along with many of the others were these poor ass Jewish kids with very little education, yet they were incredibly creative. From the golden age and for well into the Silver Age people didn;t have that much education but created concepts that endure until today. As fans started increasingly entering the business, they seem to be technically better writers (which I guess comes from the education) but have precious little new things to say.
What was the last new character to be introduced? Most of the characters we see focused on are the same ones the uneducated guys created, just "remixed." Everything is just a remix. Ultimate Spidey is just a remixed Lee/Ditko. Civil War is just a Lee/Kirby book that thinks it's way hipper and smarter than it actually is. DC has milked the Crisis to create new remixed post-Crisis versions of pre-Crisis stories, now fleshed out with indulgent narration captions, more sex and drawn out multipart stories. Matt Wagner's Batman and the Monster Men is just a long drawn out remix of a golden age 10 page Batman story. Same for the Mad Monk story.
What got me thinking about this again is the backup story of this week's Wolverine issue by Jeph Loeb. Like Superman For All Seasons, Spider-Man Blue and most of his other work like Superman/Batman, it was just an old-school story just retold with unnecessary hamfisted narration captions. He went to Columbia frickin University yet he's riding on the creative coattails of high school dropouts. And he's hardly along in this. Judd WInick went to University of Michigan and spends his time rehashing old DC concepts, just remixing them with rape and homosexual themes.
I really have no theories as to why this is. Does education teach conformity and how to play it safe? Does it kill creativity? Or is the problem that comics attract a different kind of creator now, the reverent fan turned pro rather than the aspiring novelist or cartoonist that is just "slumming" until something better comes along?
It just really astounds me that highly educated young hip college graduates from good backgrounds are still strip-mining the ideas laid down decades ago by high school grads and dropouts from dirt poor Jewish backgrounds. What is the cause of this current "remix" culture of creativity? Is the solution to recruit poor, hungry and eager talent like back in the day?