Yesterday was superhero Thursday. On Conan O'Brien's show he visited the WB studios and did a rundown of the worst DC Comics, Inc. characters. Then he had no less than Bruce Timm design his own superhero alter-ego.
Before that, on NPR's Talk of the Nation, Neil Gaiman was the guest and discussed comics. In the course of the interview he emphasized two points. The first was that comic books have become the new mythology, something that by now is general knowledge. The other point that he insisted on was that comics are an inherently democratic art form. I think in this he's being a Pollyanna. It ignores the simple fact that that the inhabitants of this new mythology are not common property but the private property of major corporations. The dominance of comic book mythology in the popular mind represents not democracy but rather an extension of capitalist enclosure to the very heart of our imagination. (If you don't believe me just try writing and selling your own copies of The Sandman and see how quickly you get sued.) That's a far cry from democracy.