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urbwar

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Also, despite the story ostensibly taking place in the 1940's, nobody talks or acts like it's the 40's. There's literally no reason for this story to be set in the 40's other than, I guess, as a reason to have a childhood baseball game have some sort of social importance, and so the main character can go see a movie with a Fu Manchu stand-in and get upset about it.

All-Star Squadron didn't emulate that either, and I never saw anyone complain about it not doing so. It was a pretty well regarded comic at the time (until Crisis nerfed it).
 

urbwar

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Never read it; I make it a point to only complain about things I know, in defiance of internet tradition.

Well you're missing out, because it was one of the better comics DC had at the time (even if it didn't get the way people talked back then right :tongue: )
 

TristramEvans

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Well you're missing out, because it was one of the better comics DC had at the time (even if it didn't get the way people talked back then right :tongue: )

Quite possibly. I was always more a Marvel than DC guy.

It's not that I don''t get the point you're trying to get across - that it is a minor nitpick. But, well, it's like if you have a really delicious piece of cake, and it has a fly on it. It's probably worth giving it a pass, shoing away the fly and eat it without it bothering one.

But if you have a piece of shit, with a fly on it ....well, it's a piece of shit with a fly on it.

However, in this specific case, would that bother me, personally, would I - no matter what I thought of the comic - still notice and bring attention that?

Yeah, absolutely. I think about that kind of stuff all the time. I don't give passes to things based on whether I enjoy them overall or not. Watching Star Trek, I'm frequently frustrated by implications of universal translator technology. The thing that bothers me most about the Game of Thrones final season is when Brienne of Tarth is writing with an ink-dipped quill pen in a history book and then immediately closes the book afterwards. I'm still anoyed by the presence of potatoes in Middle Earth.

I get these things might not bother everyone, but I don't speak for everyone.

I am the Lorax, I speak for the trees.
 
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Chris Brady

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As do we all...

Or, well, I miss how comics were written and drawn in the 80s.

I don't miss the lack of graphic novels or general availability. I now have access to thousands of comics at the touch of a finger, that I neither would have been able to afford, nor had the years to track down in the 80s.

But....that's it. It's over. The characters in those comics don't exist anymore, either abandoned or replaced with doppleganers. Their caretakers are gone.
And that's what bothers me. I feel like I'm getting to being one of those old Fogey's who scream at the kids to get off his lawn and to take their devil music with them. I hate that, I don't want to be one of those who look to the past and proclaim it was better. I LIKE new things, new ways of seeing things. We have new and I would argue better ideas as to how to do things, from the sciences to games and everything in between.

But... There's this regression we as a people are going through right now. We're looking at the past with a blind eye and wishing it was back then.

Just take Star Trek and Star Wars, how prequels have been made now in the past 20 or so years? Even the Mandalorian is a prequel, technically, as it was originally meant to bridge RoTJ with Disney's trilogy, namely how the First Order came to be. Now, I'm hearing conflicting rumours as to how they're going to go forward (Baby Yoda REALLY made a mess of things, with his popularity.)

Star Trek itself, from the 2009 to Discovery, it's all about the past and what came before. Picard tried to go into the future, but no one is apparently buying it, so they're going back to the past with Boldly Going, whatever the Captain Pike show is going to get called. Even the cartoon that quietly vanished from the news (although I'm pretty sure it's coming out), Below Decks is taking place in the TNG era, the past.

I don't want to be mired in history. I want to build from it, improve, be better. Change can often be good, because no one ever, ever wants to change for the worst. At least, I don't.
 

David Johansen

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I'm still anoyed by the presence of potatoes in Middle Earth.

Tolkien never got around to the tale of the bold Hobbit conquistidors who circumnavigated the globe and committed genocide in distant lands.

Though actually, the Numenorians were bold navigators and did circumnavigate the globe trying to get to Aman after The One made the Earth round. Yes, iin case you didn't read the Silmerillion the Earth was flat in the first age. Tolkien would later go on to argue the the Silmerillion is a record of myths and that many things in it are misread or misunderstood. For instance there was always a sun, but Morgoth broke its spiritual connection to Aman. I dunno I've got to read the rest of the garbage can files some day.
 

Séadna

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For instance there was always a sun, but Morgoth broke its spiritual connection to Aman
Yeah he "poisons" it so as to remove the light of Illuvatar, i.e. he turned the Sun into just a star. It's also said that the Valar went around forging galaxies and stars prior to coming to Earth. There's also a brief indication of aliens and that there are possibly other Valar on other planets.
 

Ladybird

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It sounds like a well-meaning but functionally clumsy story, an attempt to show how the icons and ideals of superheroism can affect people even if they're not real as such.

I'd suggest this issue of Astro City as a similar take on the concept, or maybe this one too, but it's a core theme of the series.
 

Stan

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Superman and the KKK is also part of a Drunk History episode.
 

David Johansen

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Yeah he "poisons" it so as to remove the light of Illuvatar, i.e. he turned the Sun into just a star. It's also said that the Valar went around forging galaxies and stars prior to coming to Earth. There's also a brief indication of aliens and that there are possibly other Valar on other planets.

Quite honestly I prefer Middle Earth as myth and I've never liked the parts of Tolkien's thinking that link it to our world.
 

TristramEvans

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Chris Brady

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Good, maybe then we can move on. I'm so tired of people wanting this. Still, I honestly and sincerely hope that Snyder's fans get everything they wanted and hope for. I wish them all the best and enjoyment of it.
 

Voros

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Comics are about the cult of personlity now (well, I say "comics", I just mean DC/Marvel)

Remember when comics didn''t even have writer/artist credits? We've come a long way baby!

In the 80s? I don't recall any comic from the 80s not having credits but I mostly read Marvel.
 

TristramEvans

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In the 80s? I don't recall any comic from the 80s not having credits but I mostly read Marvel.

No, this was Silver Age. It was actually Marvel under Stan Lee that introduced credits as a standard into comics, and DC later followed suit.
 

Voros

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No, this was Silver Age. It was actually Marvel under Stan Lee that introduced credits as a standard into comics, and DC later followed suit.

Okay that makes more sense. Considering how much artists and writers were screwed over in the past I've always been okay with it. To me Image in the 90s was the height of cult of personality hype but as a trade off for the worse of the old days I think it balances out to a net positive by a long shot.

It has always bothered me how much the artists, writers and directors at Disney were subsumed in the corporate identity of 'Disney' as well, I think their craftsmanship deserves more recognition.


Mainstream coverage of comics is almost always full of exaggerations and overpraise so that doesn't surprise or bother me. I remember it well during the Death in the Family and Death of Superman 'events,' often that tone feels like an attempt to justify covering comics to the average person in a mainstream venue. The MCU and Dark Knight films have made superheros more acceptable for coverage these days but a timely 'hook' still helps sell the story.

In terms of this Superman/KKK book, I won't judge it without reading but since it is based on an old radio script I'm not surprised to hear it may not be that sophisticated in terms of plotting or dialogue, honestly those are rarely the strong points of any superhero comic.

Here is the original radio play of Superman vs. KKK btw.

 

TristramEvans

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Okay that makes more sense. Considering how much artists and writers were screwed over in the past I've always been okay with it. To me Image in the 90s was the height of cult of personality hype but as a trade off for the worse of the old days I think it balances out to a net positive by a long shot.

I think it's been a case of one-step forward, one step back.

For as much as Shooter is disliked by many artists and writer during his tenure, he did introduce health care, a royalty scheme, and allowed Artists to keep their original artwork.

Image's founding was a hug stride for artists and writers getting out from the yoke of work for hire and getting a fair stake in the profits from books, but it also, as you mention, started this cult of personality that was exacerbated in the 2000s when comics started courting people from outside comics to step in as writers, with little to no editorial oversight.



It has always bothered me how much the artists, writers and directors at Disney were subsumed in the corporate identity of 'Disney' as well, I think their craftsmanship deserves more recognition.

Disney's working conditions have always been horrific. In the 90s, Spielsberg started his Dreamworks animation wing by hanging out in the parkinglot of the Disney studios and offering jobs to people as they were leaving work. This directly led to the Animaniacs, and a sort of mini-renaissance of classic cartoons in the 90s.

I've heard stories of what its like inside the Disney studios, and even as of the early aughts, it still sounded like an Orwellian nightmare.
 

Endless Flight

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I don’t know why the artists and writers hate Shooter so much other than the fact that he made people hit deadlines and if you didn’t, you were replaced.
 

Ladybird

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Disney's working conditions have always been horrific. In the 90s, Spielsberg started his Dreamworks animation wing by hanging out in the parkinglot of the Disney studios and offering jobs to people as they were leaving work. This directly led to the Animaniacs, and a sort of mini-renaissance of classic cartoons in the 90s.

I've heard stories of what its like inside the Disney studios, and even as of the early aughts, it still sounded like an Orwellian nightmare.
As we see so often, if people have good memories of their interactions with your brand, you can get away with treating your employees like shit because people just want to be part of your history and play in your toybox.
 

TristramEvans

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I don’t know why the artists and writers hate Shooter so much other than the fact that he made people hit deadlines and if you didn’t, you were replaced.


He put a lot of restrictions on page layout as well - people had to get permission to deviate from the standard 6-panels per page. Shooter believed this structural conformity helped readers new to the medium, but obviously artists found this stifling. Editorial involvement was also the highest in the company's history during his reign, he placed a lot of value on consistency and continuity between books, which writers found stifling.

I think it basically comes down to artists, as a species, don't like being told what to do. Shooter had a strong authorial view for Marvel, and creatives wanted to do their own thing.

I can understand both PoV. As a fan and reader, his was the Golden Age of Marvel. As an individualist with authority issues, if I was working there at the time I likely would have been frustrated and annoyed as well.
 

TristramEvans

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As we see so often, if people have good memories of their interactions with your brand, you can get away with treating your employees like shit because people just want to be part of your history and play in your toybox.


Yeah, Disney is held in this sort of reverence by a lot of the populace. It wasn't untill my teens I started discovering what Disney was really like.

I'm reminded of this season ender from Famous Rap Battles of History (not really a series I like, but this one is just so subversive and clever, worth watching till the end:

 

Voros

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He put a lot of restrictions on page layout as well - people had to get permission to deviate from the standard 6-panels per page. Shooter believed this structural conformity helped readers new to the medium, but obviously artists found this stifling. Editorial involvement was also the highest in the company's history during his reign, he placed a lot of value on consistency and continuity between books, which writers found stifling.

I think it basically comes down to artists, as a species, don't like being told what to do. Shooter had a strong authorial view for Marvel, and creatives wanted to do their own thing.

I can understand both PoV. As a fan and reader, his was the Golden Age of Marvel. As an individualist with authority issues, if I was working there at the time I likely would have been frustrated and annoyed as well.

To me one issue has simply been the need to keep the same superheroes going for decades and decades.

Shooter may have been able to wrangle things for nearly a decade but I just don't think that is going to be viable for decades upon decades. I don't really see Shooter's reign in the 80s as a particular great time for Marvel except for X-Men, Thor and Spiderman and I'd credit the first two to the creatives more than anything.

There is an inherent tension in relying on the warhorse comics and not risking creating new heroes who are 90 percent likely going to crash and burn but may produce a new hero who could stick.

Reading Sean Howe's Marvel Comics: The Untold History turned me on to what I think is now the underrated period of 70s comics at Marvel where there was more experimentation with 'new' ideas, not only reviving horror comics like Tomb of Dracula, but hippie psychedlia like Warlock, Englehart's Dr. Strange, Masters of Kung Fu and satricial comics like Man-Thing and Howard the Duck.

Some of these were moderate (Masters) to big (Howard the Duck) hits but most were commerical if not aesthetic failures, which may have scared Marvel off from it in the 80s, although the revival of Moon Knight and the attempt at New Universe, introduction of Cloak & Dagger, Power Pack and a few others suggest they were still trying.

One issue may be that the emphasis more and more on big crossover events would restrict letting an artist/writer from really developing their own original, stand-alone series. A lot of these heroes don't really take off in terms of the writing until they don't feel the need to include a reliable 'guest star' every other issue.

I haven't been following superhero comics that closely for a long time but it seems like a lot of reboots and 'reimaginings' instead of any attempts at something new, although that may be because creators are more likely to launch original comics with Image, etc where they retain the rights.

To bring it back to DC, that was the genius of Vertigo comics. Odd that Marvel never tried to copy it as far as I know although maybe they'd see it as a dilution of their brand or something.
 

TristramEvans

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To me one issue has simply been the need to keep the same superheroes going for decades and decades.

Shooter may have been able to wrangle things for nearly a decade but I just don't think that is going to be viable for decades upon decades.

I don't know - there's no way to predict how he would have handled comics going into the next decade.

We were talking in anothe thread earlier this week about Moore's idea (that I agree with) that superheroes need proper endings. I'm fine with stories (and characters) coming to an end - Alan passing on the mantle of Green Lantern to Hal, Danny Ketch taking over from Johnny Blaze as the Ghost Rider, Monica Rambeau taking over as Captain Marvel, etc. etc, It's simply in how it's handled. Shooter's reign was the last time that the stories of these charcters were moving forward...after he left, it was a decade of blowing continuity to shit, destroying every story up to that point, and so instead of characters progressing, changing, ending....they were just used and abused until nothing was left.


I don't really see Shooter's reign in the 80s as a particular great time for Marvel except for X-Men, Thor and Spiderman and I'd credit the first two to the creatives more than anything.

I'd personslly add a LOT more to that list...This was Frank Miller's run on Daredevil (to date the only thing by Miller I like), Peter Davidson's run on Hulk, Larry Hama's epic GI Joe run, the introduction of What If, Cloak & Dagger (never first-run heroes but still I series that holds a special place in my heart for the way it tackled real-world street-kid issues from a ground's eye perspective - something no comic has even attempted since), The Defenders, Spider-Ham, Iron Man's battles with alcoholism and the Armour Wars, Emperor Doom and Triumph & Torment, The Death of Captain MArvel, which introduced trade paperbacks, the Official Handbook series, Power Man & Iron Fist, The Silver Surfer's solo series, Marvel's What If?, Mark Gruenwald's run on Captain America, not to mention the non-supers titles like Elfquest and Groo (bet you forgot those were Marvel)...holy crap I could go on. Even the stuff that wasn't "extraordinary" during the decade was overall just solid.

There is an inherent tension in relying on the warhorse comics and not risking creating new heroes who are 90 percent likely going to crash and burn but may produce a new hero who could stick.

Which was another thing Shooter was good at - taking chances on new characters. Alot of these ended up not taking off - New Universe, I seem to be in the minority as a Dazzler fan, etc. But I think he tried. He gave us Epic comics, a decade before DC did Vertigo, he gave us All-Star comics, something I think the hobby has largely lacked since then. He spearheaded Direct sales-only comics to support comicbook shops. Maybe only one in ten things actually stuck, but my god, no one can say he wasn't willing to take any swing.

Reading Sean Howe's Marvel Comics: The Untold History turned me on to what I think is now the underrated period of 70s comics at Marvel where there was more experimentation with 'new' ideas, not only reviving horror comics like Tomb of Dracula, but hippie psychedlia like Warlock, Englehart's Dr. Strange, Masters of Kung Fu and satricial comics like Man-Thing and Howard the Duck.

There was some great stuff in the 70s. There was also constant reprints of old issues in monthly comics, a seemingly monthly rotation of new editors in chief, etc. The 70s, to me, laid the foundations for what Shooter's Marvel in the 80s was - the same thing, just with strong leadership at the helm. I'm definitely not trying to put down the creative talent in the 70s (or the 60s for that matter - frankly, Marvel had a brilliant 3 decades), I'm solely looking at things from the PoV of the company's overall leadership and direction.

One issue may be that the emphasis more and more on big crossover events would restrict letting an artist/writer from really developing their own original, stand-alone series. A lot of these heroes don't really take off in terms of the writing until they don't feel the need to include a reliable 'guest star' every other issue.

Yeah, I mean, I think it was Atlantis Attacks where I got sick of those. Some were handled fine, others....not so much. But they were still rarer and "special" during the 80s at least, spread out over years.

I haven't been following superhero comics that closely for a long time but it seems like a lot of reboots and 'reimaginings' instead of any attempts at something new, although that may be because creators are more likely to launch original comics with Image, etc where they retain the rights.

Whenever I look into current Marvel I cannot help but think of a quote by Tolkien...

"Evil cannot create, it can only corrupt the creations of others"

That IS an exaggeration of course, I don't think current Marvel is "evil" (except for the fact they are now a subsidiary of Disney), but I think it is full to the brim of people who lack any talent or skill and are just left pulling apart the work of the giants in the industry that came before them and trying to rearrange it in a desperate attempt to co-opt the creative talent of others they clearly lack.

To bring it back to DC, that was the genius of Vertigo comics. Odd that Marvel never tried to copy it as far as I know although maybe they'd see it as a dilution of their brand or something.

Vertigo is where I retreated to after growing up a Marvel fan in the 80s. In fact, if there's any editor in comics that I respect as much as Shooter it is Karen Berger. Marvel at the time that was going on was of course more interested in chasing after the collector's market, with foil covers, endles gimmicks, and a slew of new "#1" issues, because those sold better, as they desperately tried to ignore the fact that Image had bent them over a table and was giving it to them harder than Santa plowed their drunk moms.


Anyhow, I don't think Shooter was perfect (neither was Karen Berger, for that matter), but of ALL the editors-in-chief Marvel ever had, I put him on top. And yes, he shouldn't be given credit for the very creative people working in comics at that time, but one only has to investigate how those same creative people were treated by the company and driven away in the 90s to see the night and day difference.
 
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Voros

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I'd personslly add a LOT more to that list...This was Frank Miller's run on Daredevil (to date the only thing by Miller I like), Peter Davidson's run on Hulk, Larry Hama's epic GI Joe run, the introduction of What If, Cloak & Dagger (never first-run heroes but still I series that holds a special place in my heart for the way it tackled real-world street-kid issues from a ground's eye perspective - something no comic has even attempted since), The Defenders, Spider-Ham, Iron Man's battles with alcoholism and the Armour Wars, Emperor Doom and Triumph & Torment, The Death of Captain MArvel, which introduced trade paperbacks, the Official Handbook series, Power Man & Iron Fist, The Silver Surfer's solo series, Marvel's What If?, Mark Gruenwald's run on Captain America, not to mention the non-supers titles like Elfquest and Groo (bet you forgot those were Marvel)...holy crap I could go on. Even the stuff that wasn't "extraordinary" during the decade was overall just solid.

Yeah I figured I was forgetting a lot of stuff, I was mostly an X-Men kid but loved What If, Daredevil, Spider-Ham, Silver Surfer, Power Man & Iron Fist but if was hard to keep up to date with those comics with my limited budget and access to comic direct sales.
 

PolarBlues

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I'm still anoyed by the presence of potatoes in Middle Earth.

A good few years ago, we're rolling characters for a D&D game. I think it was when 4e had just come out. My characters was spellcaster of some sort so on a whim, to inject background colour, I suggested that mother was a valkyrie, my father a humble potato farmer. I expected there might be a bit of GM push back, possibly on the grounds that Norse mythology (or my implied interperation of it) did not fit with the setting, or perhaps because I was claiming a potentially abusive, special status for my character. I has half right.

The GM paused to consider and then objected that "potatoes were an anachronism". To which I replied "Potatoes... that's where you draw the line?".

We all laughed and the the objection was withdrawn.
 

Chris Brady

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A good few years ago, we're rolling characters for a D&D game. I think it was when 4e had just come out. My characters was spellcaster of some sort so on a whim, to inject background colour, I suggested that mother was a valkyrie, my father a humble potato farmer. I expected there might be a bit of GM push back, possibly on the grounds that Norse mythology (or my implied interperation of it) did not fit with the setting, or perhaps because I was claiming a potentially abusive, special status for my character. I has half right.

The GM paused to consider and then objected that "potatoes were an anachronism". To which I replied "Potatoes... that's where you draw the line?".

We all laughed and the the objection was withdrawn.
It's 4e, that IS where you draw the line!
 

JRT

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To me one issue has simply been the need to keep the same superheroes going for decades and decades.

Shooter may have been able to wrangle things for nearly a decade but I just don't think that is going to be viable for decades upon decades. I don't really see Shooter's reign in the 80s as a particular great time for Marvel except for X-Men, Thor and Spiderman and I'd credit the first two to the creatives more than anything.

There is an inherent tension in relying on the warhorse comics and not risking creating new heroes who are 90 percent likely going to crash and burn but may produce a new hero who could stick.

I agree with TE in that there was a lot of creative stuff in the 1980s, more than you mention.

I do agree with you in the problem of having the same characters around for a long time, especially if you're using a shared universe. I think when it comes to comic book universes, if you want to have a shared continuity there's only two solid ways to go about it. (I'm vaguely remembering something like these in a list of ideas the late Dwayne McDuffie had written).
  • Keep things akin to "real time"--have the original characters age, and have the mantles of the heroes taken up by new blood. For instance, for DC, you could have somebody else (a son, a nephew, etc.) take up the mantle of Superman, somebody else take up the Mantle of Batman, etc. And you also add new characters to the mix. It could work--I remember a nice series with John Byrne called Superman/Batman: Generations and it kind of set the tone for this concept. The problem is, it inherently asks you to say goodbye to some of the more famous guys.
    • Marvel seems to be aiming their movies to do this. As long as they have the MCU continuity going I suspect we will see new people taking the roles of Captain America, Iron Man, maybe Black Widow, etc.
  • Keep a shared continuity, but then end it after a "generation". You keep an existing continuity going for a "generation"--let's be generous and give it 12-15 years. It should be aimed at a timespan when a young reader will keep reading comics. Eventually, however, you set up an "ending", and then work on a reboot. You bring back the same characters, but with updated stories and situations for the times.
    • For this to work, you'd have to be "firm" though--the problem is with stories like the various Crisis' at DC, and the more recent Secret Wars at Marvel, it's always a "soft reboot". They want to "fudge" it by saying "all stories happened unless we say they didn't", and doesn't really change things that much.
    • This is how much of TV works especially aimed at kids. Spider-Man and Batman have had several series. For Spider-Man, each one was it's own continuity, but young people got the gist of Peter Parker and the classic villains. Batman too--the longest continuity of Batman stories went from Batman: TAS to Justice League International...but eventually, that was replaced with a few series with different continuities.
The problem is I feel that the big companies seem to be catering to more of an aging fan base, and not getting newer folks in. So they want to keep the status quo. This is why it's so hard to pull off changes. Each time DC tries to do something to reboot, there's always a backlash.

Marvel values its continuity but when you look at it closely the cracks show up a lot. These characters were not meant to be in a singular continuous story for this long. Technological and social changes make the earlier stories seem outdated if it was just "10 years ago". Cap survived in Ice from WW2, but can you really justify Magneto being a Holocaust survivor? And the kids?! How old is Robin now? The Teen Titans? The New Mutants? Power Pack? How long has Spider-man been out of college? Some of these kids have aged a decade, while others seem to be the same age as they've always been. A recent "History of the Marvel Universe" by Mark Waid is very good but when I read the footnotes about the Sing-Cong war (which is short hand for saying all the "Vietnam war" backgrounds have been retconned into this--and we'll even include those references to Ben and Reed being in World War 2 as part of that).

My two points are really the only way I can see a shared universe working cohesively.
 

CRKrueger

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I'm reading the first issue right now. The art is....fine? competant but lazy?

The dialogue is stilted and unnatural. The plot is....well, I'm waiting for it to kick in, actually.

I'm not impressed so far. I haven't read any DC since the new 52 except the Damien Wayne stuff and All-Star Superman, and that was nearly 8(?) years ago, but I have to wonder how bad current DC could be that this is being held on a pedastel. But as I said, just about to finish first issue, I'll give my thoughts when I finish all three. Something pretty damn amazing needs to happen though, for this to belong in the same sentence as DC's "best ever"...I mean, we're talking Alan Moore's Watchmen, his run on Swamp Thing, The Killing Joke and Whatever Happened to the Man of Tommorow?, Neil Gaiman's The Sandman, Jame's Morrison's Starman, Morrison's Doom Patrol, The Invisibles, and Arkham Asylum, Loeb and Sale's The Long Halloween, Darwyn Cooke's Final Frontier, Mike Mignola's Gotham By Gaslight, etc. So far this isn't even in the same ballpark.
Let’s just say...this is ”the best DC ever” simply because it ticks a lot of boxes.
 

Ladybird

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  • Keep things akin to "real time"--have the original characters age, and have the mantles of the heroes taken up by new blood. For instance, for DC, you could have somebody else (a son, a nephew, etc.) take up the mantle of Superman, somebody else take up the Mantle of Batman, etc. And you also add new characters to the mix. It could work--I remember a nice series with John Byrne called Superman/Batman: Generations and it kind of set the tone for this concept. The problem is, it inherently asks you to say goodbye to some of the more famous guys.
    • Marvel seems to be aiming their movies to do this. As long as they have the MCU continuity going I suspect we will see new people taking the roles of Captain America, Iron Man, maybe Black Widow, etc.
2000AD's Dredd continuity does this - so the characters get to age and develop, even if some things (Like Dredd) keep having to be given excuses as to why they're still alive (Dredd is, what... in his 60's... and on regular rejuvenation treatments apparently).

But for this sort of thing, you have to be bold and accept that new characters aren't likely to be big hits at first, it will take a while for them to develop their own voice and fanbase; they need to be stuck with for a few years, you can't compare them to older characters who have had time to build up their nostalgia. And you have to actually off the old characters and leave them dead, which... some fans may react poorly to.

Another issue is that even though it gives you the opportunity to tell a story arc using the characters, the nature of things is that one author won't be on them for their entire character lifetime; maintaining focus or consistency across the writers becomes more important, but also harder, as a result.
 

JRT

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I don't know - there's no way to predict how he would have handled comics going into the next decade.

We were talking in anothe thread earlier this week about Moore's idea (that I agree with) that superheroes need proper endings. I'm fine with stories (and characters) coming to an end - Alan passing on the mantle of Green Lantern to Hal, Danny Ketch taking over from Johnny Blaze as the Ghost Rider, Monica Rambeau taking over as Captain Marvel, etc. etc, It's simply in how it's handled. Shooter's reign was the last time that the stories of these charcters were moving forward...after he left, it was a decade of blowing continuity to shit, destroying every story up to that point, and so instead of characters progressing, changing, ending....they were just used and abused until nothing was left.

I disagree with two things here.

First, when you say "there's no way to predict" how he would have handled comics--well, there is a way. He did work--he was one of the key figures in starting Valiant. Valiant worked, and had some similar efforts--but he found himself on the outs again. And his other two efforts (Defiant comics and Broadway Comics) fizzled. I also think that regardless of whether or not Shooter stayed, the same things that happened in the marketplace may have still happened. Especially the rise of big business and the acquisition of Marvel Comics. So I still think regardless of Shooter's involvement, he still would have had to deal with the market in the 90s. And the relative lack of follow-up in his own success might indicate that the situation at Marvel was a sum of its parts rather than his leadership.

The other thing is that I believe Marvel hasn't been as dismal as what you are describing there. The 90s became a mess because of the speculator market and other forces. However, I ended up going back to Marvel in 2000s. The early 2000s was sort of a return to the creativity of past efforts. I have to say it was probably Bill Jemas, who took over Marvel with Joe Quesada. Under this reign, they through out the navel gazing continuity of the X-Men (which became really hard to follow), and had some good creative periods on the X-titles. J Michael Strazynski got to write Spider-Man. They got people like Neil Gaiman involved, they were able to get JLA/Avengers off the ground, there were old guards writing stuff like Jim Starlin, Steve Englehart, Chris Claremont, etc. There were some newer creators I liked--Ed Brubaker, Johnathan Hickman, Greg Pak, etc. They put the kibosh on these epic crossovers that infected a lot of titles.

This seemed to last only until Jemas left. Quesada ended up falling back on Cross-overs, and some stuff started to fail--writers like Brian Michael Bendis sort of were given free reign to write anything they wanted and actively ignore not just minor continuity points but characterizations. Now I mostly get some of the stuff from legacy creators (mostly Jim Starlin's final Thanos/Warlock graphic novels the last few years). My love of Marvel now is the MCU continuity.

In short, I don't think the talent of Today is inferior than the talent of Yesterday.

Whenever I look into current Marvel I cannot help but think of a quote by Tolkien...

"Evil cannot create, it can only corrupt the creations of others"

That IS an exaggeration of course, I don't think current Marvel is "evil" (except for the fact they are now a subsidiary of Disney), but I think it is full to the brim of people who lack any talent or skill and are just left pulling apart the work of the giants in the industry that came before them and trying to rearrange it in a desperate attempt to co-opt the creative talent of others they clearly lack.

I really hate the quote (which you've dropped twice in one thread)--and I know you didn't mean it that literally. But the quote itself is rather dumb. It reminds me of those D&D Alignment memes when you try to say who's Lawful Good of Chaotic Evil in the real world.

Creativity is not a sign of Morality. The act of being creative alone is not a moral thing, and not being creative is not an immoral thing. Many creative types can actually be as evil as we can say. For instance, I can say with certainty that Bill Cosby was one of the most creative comedians of all time. But he was also a serial rapist and I'd call that evil.

Again, I know you didn't mean anything very serious by it, it's just a pet peeve.
 
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JRT

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2000AD's Dredd continuity does this - so the characters get to age and develop, even if some things (Like Dredd) keep having to be given excuses as to why they're still alive (Dredd is, what... in his 60's... and on regular rejuvenation treatments apparently).

Some singular comics strips do this. Dick Tracy for instance doesn't really age but the supporting cast does, to a point. (The wonkyness of time in comics tends to be a factor a lot).

Another issue is that even though it gives you the opportunity to tell a story arc using the characters, the nature of things is that one author won't be on them for their entire character lifetime; maintaining focus or consistency across the writers becomes more important, but also harder, as a result.

True--that's more of a result of the nature of the American Comic book industry (and comic strip industry) and how it's evolved. Manga in Japan for instance gives more creator rights, as well as an expectation that anything you do for one of the big magazines will eventually end. While there are some notable exceptions, a lot of weekly Manga runs--especially the type that fit the comic book [action-adventure] model--don't last longer than 10 years or so.

Contrast that to the model here in the US--creators of comic strips retire and they are given to others to write, comic books are about the characters and not the creators. Some characters might become "iconic", but that's both a blessing and a curse, because it usually means the characters become symbols and limited in what can be done with them.
 

CRKrueger

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And that's what bothers me. I feel like I'm getting to being one of those old Fogey's who scream at the kids to get off his lawn and to take their devil music with them. I hate that, I don't want to be one of those who look to the past and proclaim it was better. I LIKE new things, new ways of seeing things. We have new and I would argue better ideas as to how to do things, from the sciences to games and everything in between.

But... There's this regression we as a people are going through right now. We're looking at the past with a blind eye and wishing it was back then.

Just take Star Trek and Star Wars, how prequels have been made now in the past 20 or so years? Even the Mandalorian is a prequel, technically, as it was originally meant to bridge RoTJ with Disney's trilogy, namely how the First Order came to be. Now, I'm hearing conflicting rumours as to how they're going to go forward (Baby Yoda REALLY made a mess of things, with his popularity.)

Star Trek itself, from the 2009 to Discovery, it's all about the past and what came before. Picard tried to go into the future, but no one is apparently buying it, so they're going back to the past with Boldly Going, whatever the Captain Pike show is going to get called. Even the cartoon that quietly vanished from the news (although I'm pretty sure it's coming out), Below Decks is taking place in the TNG era, the past.

I don't want to be mired in history. I want to build from it, improve, be better. Change can often be good, because no one ever, ever wants to change for the worst. At least, I don't.
I wanted the Prequels to be good. They weren’t.
I wanted the Sequels to be good. They were bad too, in a different way.
I wanted the Star Trek reboots to be good. They were Hollywood Action movies, really.

I liked Picard. Him at times being the moral backbone of Starfleet is nothing new, it had Plenty of precedent.

I liked Discovery overall. Some huge missteps, but great performances by two badasses Lorca and Pike saved it. Plus Saru had a great character arc as his Biology shifts from Prey to Predator. Hell Burnett was even likeable once she became human with her playing off Spock and Tyler.

The Mandalorian is a fun show. It’s quality is magnified way out of proportion simply because it’s a priceless diamond when compared to the Sequels. Still, worth watching.

So, you put out good stuff, I’ll pay for it. You put out rote Hollywood pap or Corporate paint by numbers formula, I won’t.
 

TristramEvans

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I disagree with two things here.

First, when you say "there's no way to predict" how he would have handled comics--well, there is a way. He did work--he was one of the key figures in starting Valiant. Valiant worked, and had some similar efforts--but he found himself on the outs again. And his other two efforts (Defiant comics and Broadway Comics) fizzled.

I don't have the time now to go into the history of Shooter's various start-ups in the 90s, and how he was royally screwed over in a way that had nothing to do with the success of the comics published, but I don't find the situations parallel enough to be analogous. The continued tenure of an EIC with an established juggernaut in the industry has very little in common with starting up a new company.


I also think that regardless of whether or not Shooter stayed, the same things that happened in the marketplace may have still happened. Especially the rise of big business and the acquisition of Marvel Comics. So I still think regardless of Shooter's involvement, he still would have had to deal with the market in the 90s. And the relative lack of follow-up

How Marvel dealt with the market in the 90s is what led to their downfall, though, it wasn't a passive thing. This is what I mean by we have no idea how Marvel would have fared if he'd still been in charge.

Would Shooter have fired Chriss Claremont from the X-books, refusing to allow him to even write a goodbye in the letters column?
How would Shooter have handled the demands of artists for greater royalties on books, which caused the walkout and the founding of Image?
Would Shooter have catered to the collector's market at the expense of long-time readers and indulged in the fad of embossed/foilholograph and variant covers?
Would Shooter have allowed the Clone Saga to play out like it did?
Would Shooter have had a perpetual rotation of creative teams on monthly books that left continual unfinished storylines and destroyed all continuity?
Would Shooter have attempted to create a monopoly in the distribution market?

I can't say for certain, but I expect not. Marvel was the engineer of it's own undoing in the 90s, the collector's boom really isn't to blame, simply how the company tried to exploit it. When the Collector's bubble burst, Marvel had already ostracized such a large portion of it's longtime audience and made no attempts to establish a new audience ( something Shooter was constantly working towards), that it was in dire straits even before it made the disastrous power play with Heroes World, and a variety of other business decisions that were financial failures, such as the Marvel cafe.

The other thing is that I believe Marvel hasn't been as dismal as what you are describing there.

Obviously that's mainly a matter of taste. I'm not saying there's been no good comics, since Shooter's time as EIC. Some of my favourite comics of all time came later. But the "Marvel Universe" as a consistent whole has never been completely repaired or replicated. I mean, all you have to do is look at the Marve Universe RPG, that came out during Jemas' time to see the perfect analogy for the state of comics.

A bunch of really good art, but none of it consistent.

A bunch of really good ideas, but lacking editorial oversight and ultimately presented as a jumbled mess,


In short, I don't think the talent of Today is inferior than the talent of Yesterday.

I'm not talking about the talent of today though, I'm talking about the frequent lack of talent.


I really hate the quote (which you've dropped twice in one thread)--and I know you didn't mean it that literally. But the quote itself is rather dumb. It reminds me of those D&D Alignment memes when you try to say who's Lawful Good of Chaotic Evil in the real world.

Creativity is not a sign of Morality. The act of being creative alone is not a moral thing, and not being creative is not an immoral thing. Many creative types can actually be as evil as we can say. For instance, I can say with certainty that Bill Cosby was one of the most creative comedians of all time. But he was also a serial rapist and I'd call that evil.

Again, I know you didn't mean anything very serious by it, it's just a pet peeve.

Well, as I said, I didn't mean literally "evil", I wasn't trying to make a point about morality.
 

JRT

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I don't have the time now to go into the history of Shooter's various start-ups in the 90s, and how he was royally screwed over in a way that had nothing to do with the success of the comics published...

True, but I also don't think Jim Shooter was completely a "victim" either.

Would Shooter have...(several things)...I can't say for certain, but I expect not. Marvel was the engineer of it's own undoing in the 90s, the collector's boom really isn't to blame, simply how the company tried to exploit it. When the Collector's bubble burst, Marvel had already ostracized such a large portion of it's longtime audience and made no attempts to establish a new audience ( something Shooter was constantly working towards), that it was in dire straits even before it made the disastrous power play with Heroes World, and a variety of other business decisions that were financial failures, such as the Marvel cafe.

The one thing I think you are missing here is the fact that Shooter was not in control of many of the factors that affected Marvel. Sure, maybe he might have been able to keep Claremont and the Image Crew--but the fact was Marvel had been sold a few times, and no matter what, Shooter would not have have had the power to stop some of the things happening. The Editor in Chief only had so much power, and it weakened as the company got sold. So there is no way I can see Shooter ever being able to prevent things like the line expansion or the attempt to self-distribute.

Obviously that's mainly a matter of taste. I'm not saying there's been no good comics, since Shooter's time as EIC. Some of my favourite comics of all time came later. But the "Marvel Universe" as a consistent whole has never been completely repaired or replicated. I mean, all you have to do is look at the Marve Universe RPG, that came out during Jemas' time to see the perfect analogy for the state of comics.

I was a very big fan of the "Marvel Universe" of the 80s, same as you. But as I get older and (hopefully) wiser, I don't really think that kind of cohesive universe could ever have lasted in perpetuity, which I went into in my prior post. I think entropy would have set in no matter what--I believe Shooter might have decided at some point to do a "reboot".

I'd rather see the companies now focus on creative talent and good individual stories. That's what I liked about the Bill Jemas era--they realized that and were focused on making the individual books as good as they could be. Ultimately, I believe that's what Marvel has to cater to, not to fans of a shared continuity going back decades.
 

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True, but I also don't think Jim Shooter was completely a "victim" either.

Oh, Shooter was definitely the victim of some pretty shady business dealings, but that's really besides the point - the situations simply aren't comparable.

The one thing I think you are missing here is the fact that Shooter was not in control of many of the factors that affected Marvel. Sure, maybe he might have been able to keep Claremont and the Image Crew--but the fact was Marvel had been sold a few times, and no matter what, Shooter would not have have had the power to stop some of the things happening. The Editor in Chief only had so much power, and it weakened as the company got sold. So there is no way I can see Shooter ever being able to prevent things like the line expansion or the attempt to self-distribute.

Again, the only thing I know for certain is that we don't know.

I'd rather see the companies now focus on creative talent and good individual stories.

That would be nice. It's not what Marvel's intentions are at the moment, but it would be nice.
 

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Whatever Joe Quesada did right was totally destroyed and nullified by his decision to out Peter Parker’s identity in Civil War just so that he could make him single again with that CRAP Mephisto reboot “One More Day”. So bad it makes my teeth hurt. Jim Shooter never would have done that. Ever.
 

JRT

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Whatever Joe Quesada did right was totally destroyed and nullified by his decision to out Peter Parker’s identity in Civil War just so that he could make him single again with that CRAP Mephisto reboot “One More Day”. So bad it makes my teeth hurt. Jim Shooter never would have done that. Ever.

Which is why I said that Bill Jemas was the "better half" of the Quesada/Jemas regime.
 
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