Superheroes owe a lot to the old Pulp characters - Doc Savage a clear precursor to Superman, The Shadow prefiguring Batman, etc - and yet the pulp characters were never really able to move forward with the times. For whatever reason, as the world move forward, the pulp characters couldn’t keep up.
But for the life of me, I can’t quite understand WHY. What made them different? Was it a question of approach? What made superheroes so much more adaptable? If anything, I might have thought the darker worldview at the core of pulp heroes like Shadow and Savage (who kill without much compunction) would have been extremely palatable to a modern audience.
I admit that I don’t have a lot of affection for pulp per se, but rather the wave of ‘post-pulp’ (as I call it) that came in the 90s, with Warren Ellis’ Planetary and Alan Moore’s work on America’s Best (and the Wildstorm stuff that prefigured it, which called back to some of that pulpy era).
And yet, the only rumblings I can recall in multi-media of late have been a Shane Black-driven Doc Savage remake – which appears to be dead. Dynamite has tried to revive these characters with an almost infinite patience and zero success. DC launched “First Wave” with top notch talent (Brian Azz, Phil Noto, Rags Morales) and even included a gun-toting Batman, and it fell flatly on its face (despite being quite good, I thought).
So, what? What about Pulp makes it such a non-starter?