Dick Tracy debuted on October 4th, 1931. Aimed at older children and teenagers, the long-running adventure strip followed the eponymous police detective in a never-ending battle against the forces of crime. At the beginning of the strips run, Tracy pursued his colourful cast of villains in a gritty, realistic fashion. The bad guys weren't unstoppable super villains and Tracy himself was neither an indestructible superhero nor a hyper-observant supergenius, just a competent detective of above average intelligence.

The villains in question were rarely the masterminds behind some grand plot, instead being normal people or petty criminals who had offed someone out of desperation. Most of the story arcs were taken up by Tracy doggedly pursuing a terrified suspect until the criminal met an ironic and suitably gruesome death. While some villains were more popular than others, Tracy had no arch nemesis, as bad guys almost never had any personal connection to Tracy and rarely survived their debut story. Those that did were either successfully reformed by prison or carted off to the big house and never seen again.

Then, as the forties drew to a close, things started to change. Tracy's iconic two-way wrist radio was introduced, the first piece of (at the time) science fiction gadgetry in an otherwise grounded strip. As Tracy's kid sidekick Junior started growing up, the focus started to move away from crime and incorporated more soap opera elements, with relationships and betrayal interwoven into the previously straightforward cat and mouse formula of the '30s and '40s.

By the '60s, more and more science fiction gadgets were incorporated into the strip, culminating in the Space Coupe, an atomic-powered spaceship that Tracy and Co. used to travel to the moon. They discovered a race of moon people, who had various psychic powers, and return to earth with Moon Maid, a Moon Girl who Junior ended up marrying. Once back on Earth, Tracy gained a hippie sidekick named Groovy Groove. The police department started using technology they received from the Moon People in their war on crime, and the dark tone of the comics golden age began to ease off. Needless to say, things had changed pretty drastically.

Those that had grown up reading Tracy in the '30s and '40s were furious. The so-called "Space Period" was almost universally derided by essayists and comic historians, who viewed it as a silly perversion of the gritty realism they had grown up with as children. Moon Maid soon gained a reputation as one of the most hated characters in the history of comic strips. When Chester Gould retired in 1977, veteran comic book and screenwriter Max Allan Collins took over. Collins almost immediately killed Moon Maid off, severing ties between the Moon People and Earth, cutting off the police force's access to science fiction gadgets, and had Groovy Groovy get killed in the line of duty.

The status quo of the strip was restored, and the much-hated Space Period was over. Except as it turns out, the burning hatred of the Space Period wasn't even close to universal. The fans that grew up reading Dick Tracy in the '30s and '40s were in their mid to late thirties by the time the Space Period began and were about two decades older than the target demographic. These fans of classic Tracy were the ones writing essays and books about how awful Moon Maid was.

Meanwhile, among the children and teenagers that made up the majority of the strips actual readership, the Space Period and Moon Maid were incredibly popular. The number of newspapers carrying the strip saw a sharp incline and readership grew. While adult men were complaining about something from their childhood being ruined, new childhood memories were being shaped. When Collins was fired from his writing duties in the '90s, Mike Curtis and Joe Staton took over and began to restore the science fiction elements that Collins had done away with. When Collins had brutally killed off characters he felt were tainting the legacy of his childhood, he was destroying the legacy of someone else's.

Sound familiar?

Somewhat counter-intuitively, access to the internet has made it harder to see people's diverse opinions. Thanks to this comprehensive information sharing tool, the ability of grown adults to give their verdict on the quality of children's media has increased exponentially. These opinions are rarely congruous with the opinions of the actual target demographic, especially when concerning a reboot of an older work or a new entry in a long-running franchise, but are often accepted as a universal truth about the quality of a work.

While print reviews are often a tool to learn about a work and discern whether or not the individual reader would find it entertaining, internet reviews more often than not tell their audience that the work is either good or bad and that anyone with a differing opinion is an idiot. And since internet reviews are dependent on loyal viewership for income, while traditional print reviews are tied to newspapers and unlikely to singlehandedly cause a drop in readership, web critics are often forced to cater to the loudest, angriest members of their fanbase who are watching to have their preformed opinion confirmed and couldn't care less about people's differing tastes.

This leads to a weird mob mentality surrounding certain pieces of media, especially in the "nerdier" parts of the internet. While hanging around with this crowd, I inherited a lot of strong, steadfast opinions about things I hadn't even seen. The site I spent most of my time on wasn't even about movies or TV. It was a host for sharing funny pictures of no particular theme, but for some reason, the universal greatness or terribleness of certain media was treated as a fundamental law of the universe. The general pattern that emerged was that the original stuff (usually from the '80s or '90s) was always better and remakes were always garbage.

I grew up assuming that absolutely everyone hated the Star Wars prequels and that they were the worst movies ever made, because of the loud opinions of a bunch of grown adults who were very protective of their childhoods. When I got to middle school, I met a group of friends who had grown up watching said prequels and nerded out over Anakin and Obi Wan as hard as the middle-aged men on the internet had nerded out over Luke and Han. We spent our free time at the hardware store buying materials to make lightsaber hilts, wrecked our media class staging duels, and excitedly sat in the front row for the re-release of the Phantom Menace. My friend's collection of action figures had original Kenner figures he'd gotten from his dad proudly displayed next to lego fighters from Revenge of the Sith he'd bought in the early 2000s. The movies that forty-somethings accused of ruining their childhoods became a pretty big part of mine.

For a more current example, compare the angry mob of middle aged men that spammed the new Ghostbusters' IMDB page with one-star reviews before the movie even came out to the ecstatic little girls in Ghostbusting jumpsuits going out of their minds with excitement at the film's premiere. When a completely innocent summer romp that will very likely become iconic among the children who will grow up watching it can get a group of adults angry enough to send death threats and misogynistic hate mail to its stars, you know that something is very, very wrong with nerd culture.

I actually find it pretty disturbing that people who can recall the wonderfully cheesy media of their youth as a sacrosanct holy grail of entertainment can approach the media of a new generation with such nasty, unadulterated cynicism. Nowadays, whenever I see someone extol the virtues of a show or movie they grew up with, I usually go and find it on the internet rather than take their word for it. Most of these works are in no way bad, and I could see how a teenager or child could grow up loving them, but they are rarely the cornucopias of creative genius that their now adult fans make them out to be.

I frankly don't have a problem with that. I'm not here to tell you that you're stupid or tasteless for having a soft spot for the thing you grew up watching. I will go to my grave telling you that the Adam West Batman movie is the best Batman movie ever made because I watched it when I was 6. We love the things we watched as children because we remember them the way we first saw them as children, free from cynicism and over analysis (as well as complex thought and critical thinking.) But to compare anything to the holy grails of our youth is a setup for our internal biases to violently come out.

So the next time Hollywood rolls out another reboot, remake, or adaptation of something you loved as a child, remember that they aren't making it for you. Your childhood is over, and its far too late for anything to ruin it. Children's media is made for children, and whether they can enjoy it, grow up with it, and complain about its future remakes on whatever has replaced the internet in two decades is what matters. As Moon Maid proved more than 50 years ago, the people drafting long winded complaints just aren't the target demographic anymore. Try not to take it so seriously.

Keane Chan Hodges is a writer and independent filmmaker. You can watch his dumb videos at here or follow him on Twitter.