Andrew Ducker (andrewducker) wrote,
Andrew Ducker

Continuity in comics

I just wrote a massive comment about how I feel about continuity in comics and TV, inspired by reading The Mighty Godking's post about characters and aging in comics. And I wanted to preserve it over here. You'll probably want to read the article there before you read my comment, for context. But it's not mandatory.

I'll join the "because stories/universes that hit the big red reset button" don't tend to interest me over the medium term. I can happily watch an episode or two (or read an issue or six), but after a while I want character progression and change.

This is a grown-up thing. Kids don't need this so much, because kids are interested in the "here's a cool story about when the x-men met a mutant shark" without caring about the soap-opera elements so much. Adults care more about the changes that happen over time, and character growth. Again, not exclusively, but it matters more than it used to.

Babylon 5 broke TNG for me. Because suddenly I had a series that didn't just tell me a cool story of the week, but told me a story where people changed, and grew, and dealt with ongoing situations, and people referred to last week's episode, rather than ignoring the fact that this week's problem could be easily solved by the tech that they used to solve the week before last's.

Comics in stasis very much feel that way to me. It's great for writers that want to tell a story about version X of that character. And I think it's awesome that (for instance) Grant Morrison can write All-Star Superman. But if I was to be reading something regularly nowadays it would have continuity that mattered. And, indeed, the main thing I pick up issues of works like that - which is Powers. The last comic I bought in issue format, before I switched to trades was Lucifer, which was basically a single 75-issue story.

I prefer the way that DC handles this to the way that Marvel does. DC has a meta-storyline, which includes reboots, so that they can say "Yes, there was a version of Superman who did these things, but that was before Zero Hour/Crisis On Infinite Earths/Infinite Crisis. Now there is a new Superman with a different backstory, that allows us to tell different stories." Marvel just puts its fingers in its ears and pretends the issue isn't happening - that the current crop of superheroes always came into existence about 10-15 years before whatever year the characters are in.

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