10 Comic Book Tropes We Wish Would Make A Comeback – CBR – Comic Book Resources

While some comic tropes have aged poorly, there are several beloved concepts that would add a familiar yet fresh feel to modern comics.
The comic book industry has been around for more than eighty years and has spanned hundreds of publishers and thousands of creators. Every era of comics has had its own set of tropes, themes, and styles that made it distinct. Some comics even mastered particular concepts. While the end of an era often means the end of its unique and signature tropes, fans have made it clear that some were truly beloved.
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These comic tropes may still be around in limited use, mostly for gimmicks and homages, but seeing them return to the mainstream would make many fans excited. Just because an era ended and some of its style fell out of fashion doesn't mean tropes could work if they were revised for modern audiences. Many creators and fans alike have fond memories of these tropes, so reviving them could be a win-win.
While fans may not see them as often these days, painted comic books had something of a heyday in the 1990s thanks to artists like Simon Bisley. Unfortunately, they've been becoming less and less common in the decades since, and many publishers opt for a house style.
Some comic book artists are just as strong in painted style — if not stronger — as they are in traditional pencils and inks. Painted art can give a comic book an enhanced sense of grandeur and detail, and can be prized possessions by dedicated collectors.
Many comics used to be fond of cosmic horror in the style of H. P. Lovecraft. These ranged from Hawkman and Batman facing down a race of Elder Gods to the terror of M'nagalah, a cosmic creature faced by Swamp Thing and Atom. Batman, Hellboy, and Starman even prevented Nazis from summoning an Elder God.
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However, these creatures of existential nightmare are nowhere near as common in modern comics as they used to be. Disappointingly, many of the fearsome beasts used in current comics are often revealed to be misunderstood creatures. Many fans want their monsters back.
The formula of the monster of the week story is tried and true across all mediums of entertainment, especially TV and comics. Rather than exploring an ongoing saga, this done-in-one formula is incredibly accessible and holds a more timeless value than longer arc issues.
When it comes to keeping back issues moving off the shelf and reaching new readers, a good monster of the week comic is the way to do it. Whether it's a random new threat or a classic villain posing a momentary threat, these are the Saturday morning cartoons of comics, and they have a vast market.
Pretty much all fans across pop culture love dinosaurs. In comics, especially older back issues, dinosaurs would just sort of show up. Whether it was Swamp Thing's time travel adventure or Ka-Zar in the Savage Lands, fans would get to see their heroes go toe-to-toe with a T-Rex.
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Many publishers have put dinosaurs to good use, but for some reason, fans almost only see them in events these days. This is particularly tragic since DC Comics has a location literally called Dinosaur Island — which they should explore more often.
The edginess of the '90s in particular heralded an era when many heroes would suddenly don armored costumes, trading in their older fabric for jagged steel. As ridiculous as it looked on some characters, it looked incredible on others and should have stuck where it worked.
Comics shouldn't overdo the trope, but seeing some characters return to armor would be great. As much as the '90s had its issues, things shouldn't be discarded just because they fell out of fashion. Characters like Azrael are defined by an armored look and should keep that style.
The '50s era of comics, especially at DC, was subject to an unexpected craze: gorillas. Nobody can explain it besides the rule of cool, but DC figured out that when they put gorillas on comic book covers and in their stories, sales would spike. Collectors love a good cover, and plenty avidly collect gorilla covers.
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There are still some ape characters in modern comics, like Gorilla Grodd and Ultra-Humanite, but they're few and far between. Gorillas, and other powerful beasts of nature, are a fun comics fixture. Seeing them show up again would be a great thing.
Mysteries and detectives have helped comics reach the level of success they have now. DC even derives their name from their series Detective Comics, which once featured Batman and others investigating mysterious crimes. Now, detective stories are on life support.
A genuine detective story is a tried-and-true genre, especially for novels, and there's no reason they can't be for comics. Series like That Texas Blood made a good stab at this, but mainstream characters like Batman, Question, and even Howard the Duck deserve some legitimate mysteries to solve. Fans would also prefer if every mystery didn't lead back to the same villains.
Comics, especially in the Bronze Age, had mastered the use of character cameos. These cameos are beneficial for everyone, from the creator to the fans and the characters themselves. Fans get to see minor characters, meanwhile more obscure heroes and villains remain in prominence.
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A great cameo story can help younger readers connect with older characters from the past. Characters like Kamandi and Ka-Zar have especially benefited from these cameo appearances. On top of all of this, writers and artists get to use the side characters near and dear to them.
Despite being primarily known for superhero stories, the comic book industry started out in pulp fiction. These shorter stories were printed on cheap paper and would mostly focus on science fiction, western, and adventure heroes. They're an homage to the Golden Age and a world that felt bigger and more mysterious.
Pulp fiction and its heroes in the likes of Doc Savage, the Shadow, and even Indiana Jones bring a diversity of genres to a single place. The heroes often feel more grounded than cosmic superheroes, and their adventures remain every bit as rich and entertaining.
The 1990s had a lot going for it, despite plenty that cut against it. One of the era's most enjoyable aspects was the intercompany crossover. Fans saw everything from Batman meeting Spawn to Lobo meeting Judge Dredd and even the Justice League facing off with the Avengers.
There are still some crossovers in today's market, but they are much less common and don't usually match the energy of their predecessors. They should be more common, both to elevate the smaller indie characters and bring iconic heroes to the niche markets.
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