A Superhero Wrap Up

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A Superhero Wrap Up

Post by Zor » 2018-03-13 08:07am

One of the bigger criticisms of the Superhero Genre is that they just keep going on and on. Even if a character dies that just gets undone a couple years down the line due to some mad science stuff or the god of death negotiating his release for the Crystal of Smoob, so they'll be back to fighting in a maybe two years after some substitutes come up which might be killed or get a spin-off latter down the line. So here i've been thinking of a solution for this for a big multi-part conclusion to a superhero universe that ends with something like this.

Lets use the DC universe as an example (though this could fit Marvel with some minor tweaks): we have Wonder Woman in a ruined metropolis helping up The Flash seriously wounded but surrounded by the broken frames of Alien Crusaders, big powerful Cyborgs, killing the one that would have done Wally in with their rad blasters, all the while dozens of their ships float above the ground sending out waves of dropships and fighters. Of the former big line up of the Justice League (Batman, Superman, Martian Manhunter, Hawkgirl, Martian Manhunter, Aquaman and these two) they're the only ones left alive. The Crusaders arose after the Death of Darkseid and now seek to conquer earth to cleanse humanity of it's wickedness through various unpleasant ways and bring it into the light of their faith as they plan to do with the rest of the universe. They've made preliminary moves with infiltrators before sending a Conquest Fleet. Many heroes have fallen defending earth, as have various villains (which the Crusaders tend to deal with nastily, such as turning them into pain rigged shock troopers who atone for their sins dying in battle for the Crusaders as penance). They took down a fair number of the crusader warriors in doing so or one of their more powerful individuals but they just keep coming. The Flash and Wonder Woman are prepared to go down fighting as more Crusaders come down to finish them off when the sky gets an odd shimmer to it, from out of the sky come a salvo of missiles that take out the ships, dark grey fighters fly over the horizon strafing the dropships and pods begin crashing out of the sky from which march power armored soldiers with missile launchers, rail rifles, shield generators and jetpacks. Some of them have US Army insignia, some PLA, some French, but all of them have a UN logo. Some of the alien ships shoot up with energy beams but these are stopped by the shield before the salvo of missiles took them out. They beat off the crusaders in the area as they are evacuated on a medical shuttle to the United Nations Space Navy ship Indefatigable floating above the ocean.

The basic idea is that the governments of the world had been collecting all the Junk from mad scientists, alien visitors and whatnot and had come together to pool their resources in the face of existential threats had and secretly constructing a fleet of warships and thousands of power suits in secret asteroid bases. They'd trapped the enemy fleet in a shield around earth and then hit it with everything they got. Now they have a planetary shield and warfleet that can repel invaders and a corps of Space Troopers that can match these guys in a fight. Inter-cut this with the remaining crusaders being neutralized and Space Troopers helping people out in the classic ways that Superheroes do. Cut ahead ten years where you see glittering new cities where things went well to show that things were not corrupted, the crusaders being beaten back by Earth and other planets allied against them. We end with Diana and Wally in regular civilian clothes in a park waving to a powersuited cop, maybe with some of the Villains like The Penguin and Toyman feeding ducks bread while a disc shaped corrections bot follows him around. The age of mankind relying on Superheroes to protect it has passed, now humanity has grown and can protect itself.

After that, we can still make DC Comics just fine BUT we'll restart things in a new timeline removed from the old one with Batman, Superman, the Flash and WW all showing up. I'm sure some comic fans will be mad because superman did not die the way they wanted to or they feel that Aquaman should have survived the final battle and the execution of the build-up yadda yadda yadda. But ending on the point that Humanity has grown and gained the strength is a good one.

What do you think?

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Re: A Superhero Wrap Up

Post by Avrjoe » 2018-03-13 08:23am

This is a neat idea. The 90's dirty and edgy feel sort of killed the idea of a comics line ending with a happily ever after. I like the idea of not every end of the age of heroes scenario having to be like Marvel 2099 or Kingdom Come.
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Re: A Superhero Wrap Up

Post by mr friendly guy » 2018-03-13 08:55am

With Superman powered characters, even in your technological wonderland, such characters would still be a factor would they not? Consider DC's Legion of Superheroes. Humanity and allied aliens have starships, but are still plagued by threats such tech can't deal with, eg Mordru, Darkseid, other races with starships of their own (Dominators, Khunds) and you need super heroes to turn the tide. LSH has Daxamite / Kryptonian level characters after all.
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Re: A Superhero Wrap Up

Post by U.P. Cinnabar » 2018-03-13 09:17am

Excellent. That's the kind of comics verse I'd pay to see in monthly installments, and I'm equally sure Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman would've approved.

So, what do the Guardians have to say about this? Did the Amazon's help with Death's technological leap forward(Paradise Island is an Earth nation too)? Is Jim Gordon President? Or, perhaps Amanda Waller? Do Diana and Steve Trevor finally shack up? Is Renee Montoya finally Comissioner of the GCPD?
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Re: A Superhero Wrap Up

Post by U.P. Cinnabar » 2018-03-13 03:44pm

^Amazons and Earth's. Fucking auto correct.
"Beware the Beast, Man, for he is the Devil's pawn. Alone amongst God's primates, he kills for sport, for lust, for greed. Yea, he will murder his brother to possess his brother's land. Let him not breed in great numbers, for he will make a desert of his home and yours. Shun him, drive him back into his jungle lair, for he is the harbinger of Death.."
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Re: A Superhero Wrap Up

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2018-03-13 05:38pm

I wouldn't want Batman or Superman or Wonder Woman to end in the sense that "there are no more stories about those characters, ever." There are always new stories to tell, because every author and every generation will have their own take on the subject matter. Don't think "Single story with a beginning, middle, and end." Think an ongoing cultural myth, like Robin Hood or King Arthur, with multiple versions over time.

I do think its important for a given continuity to have a clear end point, both to give the story more structure and its events more impact, and to facilitate new interpretations without them being bogged down in old continuity. That's why I favor hard reboots (not the more common soft reboots) every five to ten years or so. Let each version be its own thing.
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Re: A Superhero Wrap Up

Post by Majin Gojira » 2018-03-13 08:15pm

Something like that was done in the series Ultraman Mebius. There, after 30 years, Kaiju and aliens started invading again. But in that time, they had reverse-engineered some of the alien technology, but it was still somewhat experimental. So, they had ray guns, advanced craft, huge guns, and even interplanetary travel to some degree (attempts to colonize Mars are hampered by the presence of giant slug monsters with laser eyes).

And an orbital satellite network to shoot down space monsters and any other unwanted visitors that come to earth.

And when they really want to get rowdy, they use their experimental tech. Energy shields, more powerful energy weapons, even materializing their own monsters. But only for a minute, because they still don't know the full effects of the technology.

It's one of the better "Anniversary" series I've seen.

Edit: Oh, and the superheroine "Manhunter" (Kate Spencer) got her powers by literally raiding an old Evidence locker for the tech to use. Just throwing that one out there for fun.
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Re: A Superhero Wrap Up

Post by Elheru Aran » 2018-03-15 06:21pm

The problem with hard resets on comic-book universes is that you risk fan backlash. I mean, there will probably be backlash -anyway-, but well done resets tend to be praised eventually. When they're not well done... you get the new 52.

The original Crisis on Infinite Earths, even though it wasn't perfect, was a pretty decent reboot. It wasn't its fault it led straight into the Dark Age of the 90s :P

I actually can't say I've ever seen a major reboot for Marvel until fairly recently with their massive Secret War event. But that's because Marvel uses a sliding scale-- the past was always roughly 10ish years ago, unless you're Captain America. Nobody much seemed to mind Secret War, mostly because it was pretty well done (as far as I know).
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Re: A Superhero Wrap Up

Post by Q99 » 2018-03-16 05:11pm

The Romulan Republic wrote:
2018-03-13 05:38pm
I wouldn't want Batman or Superman or Wonder Woman to end in the sense that "there are no more stories about those characters, ever." There are always new stories to tell, because every author and every generation will have their own take on the subject matter. Don't think "Single story with a beginning, middle, and end." Think an ongoing cultural myth, like Robin Hood or King Arthur, with multiple versions over time.

I do think its important for a given continuity to have a clear end point, both to give the story more structure and its events more impact, and to facilitate new interpretations without them being bogged down in old continuity. That's why I favor hard reboots (not the more common soft reboots) every five to ten years or so. Let each version be its own thing.
I'm going to point out that real life histories of people don't last for five years or ten. The story of Julius Caesar, Ghengis Khan, and Napoleon each lasted a lot longer than that. Plus, it's not just the history of a person, but a world with events that affect each other.

'Long continuity' has value, and can add impact by giving a sense of history and weight because things have history, real history, in a way even a well-done shorter arc story doesn't, and also means you don't have to re-establish the whole world each time, which is hard (DC basically failed after the Nu52 after all, because they underestimated how much they had to define. Of the Legion reboots, some worked, but the Retroboot similarly failed for similar reasons, it was unclear how it changed so it became the shortest of all the reboots). Re-establishing worldbuilding is a skill not everyone has and is an undervalued skill.

A continuity can have problems, but I think people are too quick to blame length. Length builds a world in a way that connects with me and I find very hard to get from shorter works.


Also there is the Ultimates approach. Every 10 years or so you can just start a new side universe. Some'll end relatively fast when they don't work out, some'll get merged back, some'll run a long time. Running parallel to the main is a best-of-both-worlds solution IMO.

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Re: A Superhero Wrap Up

Post by Elheru Aran » 2018-03-16 06:24pm

Q99 wrote:
2018-03-16 05:11pm
The Romulan Republic wrote:
2018-03-13 05:38pm
I wouldn't want Batman or Superman or Wonder Woman to end in the sense that "there are no more stories about those characters, ever." There are always new stories to tell, because every author and every generation will have their own take on the subject matter. Don't think "Single story with a beginning, middle, and end." Think an ongoing cultural myth, like Robin Hood or King Arthur, with multiple versions over time.

I do think its important for a given continuity to have a clear end point, both to give the story more structure and its events more impact, and to facilitate new interpretations without them being bogged down in old continuity. That's why I favor hard reboots (not the more common soft reboots) every five to ten years or so. Let each version be its own thing.
I'm going to point out that real life histories of people don't last for five years or ten. The story of Julius Caesar, Ghengis Khan, and Napoleon each lasted a lot longer than that. Plus, it's not just the history of a person, but a world with events that affect each other.

'Long continuity' has value, and can add impact by giving a sense of history and weight because things have history, real history, in a way even a well-done shorter arc story doesn't, and also means you don't have to re-establish the whole world each time, which is hard (DC basically failed after the Nu52 after all, because they underestimated how much they had to define. Of the Legion reboots, some worked, but the Retroboot similarly failed for similar reasons, it was unclear how it changed so it became the shortest of all the reboots). Re-establishing worldbuilding is a skill not everyone has and is an undervalued skill.

A continuity can have problems, but I think people are too quick to blame length. Length builds a world in a way that connects with me and I find very hard to get from shorter works.


Also there is the Ultimates approach. Every 10 years or so you can just start a new side universe. Some'll end relatively fast when they don't work out, some'll get merged back, some'll run a long time. Running parallel to the main is a best-of-both-worlds solution IMO.
The downside of a long continuity though is that you can start to run into conflicts with the past, particularly when changing writers and artists, who may not keep track of all the details of what happened in the past. This can be as trivial as details of an outfit, or it can be as extreme as basically going completely against the whole ethos of the main character(s) of the comic. Plus many young comic book readers will lose interest in the genre after a few years of reading; perhaps most don't, but I'm certain many do. This can create peculiarities when they may pick up a comic book again and it's 10 years after they read it last... and it's nowhere near what they remembered, but it's still supposed to be the same? Ish?

I'm not sure I'm explaining that well. But that's the general thing and that's why the occasional reboot, IMO, is a good thing if you're running with a fixed timeline where people age and have a distinct history along that timeline.

The problem is when you have characters that don't synch up well with your reboots. Batman for example pretty much always has to start before the kick-off point of DC's reboots, or you can't explain Dick, Jason, and Tim being former Robins. Likewise Superman has to spend some time in Smallville off the screen before he comes to Metropolis, and so forth. You just can't start from scratch with these guys without having some major explaining to do... particularly when you consider that they influence other comics besides the ones they're in-- Dick Grayson was a major part of the original Teen Titans, and there was no way that they could reset Batman to zero after the original Crisis on Infinite Earths without taking Dick and the Titans out of the picture. This was a non-starter because Teen Titans was DC's biggest comic at the time (their answer to X-Men in the 80s).

Another problem: Ongoing storylines that are more or less set and you can't change them after the reboot happens. Notably, this happened with the Green Lantern books during Final Crisis/New 52. They were running the conclusion of Geoff Johns' run on the books, so they just kind of vaguely ignored the Final Crisis and had it happen offscreen with a few one-shots for the New 52 origins. This meant that pretty much any Green Lantern book was like a year or two behind the New 52 and Hal being something of a cocky amateur in the initial Justice League story didn't mesh well with the experienced, heroic Hal in the Green Lantern stories.

Then there's plain ol' aging to deal with. Not all the heroes can be John Constantine... and even the reboots caught up with him eventually, though IIRC he was almost in his sixties by the time New 52 rebooted him. It would be rather peculiar if say, Superman went thirty-odd years without a reboot, being one of the flagship characters of his universe.

Though it actually makes a little more sense for Superman to go a long time without rebooting than say Batman. 30 years of getting beaten up would take quite the toll on even Batman without the occasional dip in a Lazarus Pit.
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Re: A Superhero Wrap Up

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2018-03-16 06:27pm

Q99 wrote:
2018-03-16 05:11pm
The Romulan Republic wrote:
2018-03-13 05:38pm
I wouldn't want Batman or Superman or Wonder Woman to end in the sense that "there are no more stories about those characters, ever." There are always new stories to tell, because every author and every generation will have their own take on the subject matter. Don't think "Single story with a beginning, middle, and end." Think an ongoing cultural myth, like Robin Hood or King Arthur, with multiple versions over time.

I do think its important for a given continuity to have a clear end point, both to give the story more structure and its events more impact, and to facilitate new interpretations without them being bogged down in old continuity. That's why I favor hard reboots (not the more common soft reboots) every five to ten years or so. Let each version be its own thing.
I'm going to point out that real life histories of people don't last for five years or ten. The story of Julius Caesar, Ghengis Khan, and Napoleon each lasted a lot longer than that. Plus, it's not just the history of a person, but a world with events that affect each other.
Julius Caesar, Ghengis Kahn, or Napoleon also didn't have to churn out a new adventure in time to meet regular publishing deadlines.
'Long continuity' has value, and can add impact by giving a sense of history and weight because things have history, real history, in a way even a well-done shorter arc story doesn't, and also means you don't have to re-establish the whole world each time, which is hard (DC basically failed after the Nu52 after all, because they underestimated how much they had to define. Of the Legion reboots, some worked, but the Retroboot similarly failed for similar reasons, it was unclear how it changed so it became the shortest of all the reboots). Re-establishing worldbuilding is a skill not everyone has and is an undervalued skill.
Indeed. But anything can be done badly. That doesn't mean that the idea doesn't have merit.
A continuity can have problems, but I think people are too quick to blame length. Length builds a world in a way that connects with me and I find very hard to get from shorter works.
Its not simply length. But when you have a long-running continuity, especially with multiple authors, inconsistencies and contradictions will likely pile up over time, until the whole thing becomes a mess.
Also there is the Ultimates approach. Every 10 years or so you can just start a new side universe. Some'll end relatively fast when they don't work out, some'll get merged back, some'll run a long time. Running parallel to the main is a best-of-both-worlds solution IMO.
That's an option, yes, and it has some appeal. But the catch is that, this being comics, there are going to be the inevitable multiverse crossovers, and if they do that too often, it ceases to be separate continuities that are allowed to do their own thing, and just becomes one even more convoluted and unwieldy mega-multiverse.
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Re: A Superhero Wrap Up

Post by Elheru Aran » 2018-03-16 06:52pm

The latter paragraph there, yeah, that's why multiverses are only a good idea when you start running out of material or if you're willing to accept a certain amount of fuckery. Marvel tends to go with the latter; DC tends to find its multiverses something of an embarrassment and has largely avoided them since the last few reboots, which were largely necessitated precisely because they had too much multiverse confusion going on. And to be frank even Marvel has tried to clean up their multiverse action, pretty much everything out there was wound up with Secret War IIRC, where like... all the multiverses ended up getting combined. So that's how Wolverine can be deceased in the current continuity (AFAIK he's still dead) but Old Man Logan can still be running around.
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Re: A Superhero Wrap Up

Post by Q99 » 2018-03-16 07:51pm

Elheru Aran wrote:
2018-03-16 06:24pm

The downside of a long continuity though is that you can start to run into conflicts with the past, particularly when changing writers and artists, who may not keep track of all the details of what happened in the past. This can be as trivial as details of an outfit, or it can be as extreme as basically going completely against the whole ethos of the main character(s) of the comic. Plus many young comic book readers will lose interest in the genre after a few years of reading; perhaps most don't, but I'm certain many do. This can create peculiarities when they may pick up a comic book again and it's 10 years after they read it last... and it's nowhere near what they remembered, but it's still supposed to be the same? Ish?
The former of writers just going against the ethos is a bad editoral problem- which is a problem but not inherent in young works. I'd also argue that getting people invested in an ongoing world gives them an anchor to stay- every jumping on point is a jumping off point, and every reboot means people have to get re-invested in a similar character all over again (I will tell you, I've never stayed longer than two reboots on anything).

The world is the same and time marches on and changes it is not an argument against long continuity, but for it! "Oh I'm back and... oh, it's X! Wow, they've grown up, cool," is very much something that can and does happen. There's always new books outside the continuity too- so they only can do that if there's a continuity story, but if it's a reboot, then there's no reconnecting with old friends so to speak.
I'm not sure I'm explaining that well. But that's the general thing and that's why the occasional reboot, IMO, is a good thing if you're running with a fixed timeline where people age and have a distinct history along that timeline.
I don't think the conclusion really follows from the premise.

Note the presence of a long continuity does not preclude shorter stories or stand-alones- indeed, there's a large number of these- but wanting a reboot that consistently does preclude the advantages of a much wider shared world. The advantages of your reboot-strategy can mostly be had simply by doing an Ultimates-esque line occasionally, something new and fresh. The advantages of a non-reboot strategy cannot be had by a regular reboot system.

Heck, why a reboot at that point? They're new stories. If you reboot regularly, then you don't have a core 'this is character X' established by one long-runner. Each one'll shift and drift and it's easy to have effectively new characters, sometimes not purposefully. And one thing that invites a harsh critical eye is trying to sell new characters as old ones.

The problem is when you have characters that don't synch up well with your reboots. Batman for example pretty much always has to start before the kick-off point of DC's reboots, or you can't explain Dick, Jason, and Tim being former Robins. Likewise Superman has to spend some time in Smallville off the screen before he comes to Metropolis, and so forth. You just can't start from scratch with these guys without having some major explaining to do... particularly when you consider that they influence other comics besides the ones they're in-- Dick Grayson was a major part of the original Teen Titans, and there was no way that they could reset Batman to zero after the original Crisis on Infinite Earths without taking Dick and the Titans out of the picture. This was a non-starter because Teen Titans was DC's biggest comic at the time (their answer to X-Men in the 80s).
It should be noted pre-crisis continuity was very shaky and inconsistent outside a few books like the Legion and Titans, so basically they reconstructed a continuity around the Titans, the most heavily continuity focused book set in the present.

Pre-crisis played it fast and loose without worrying much about old stories, not exactly the constant reboot thing but not truly that much of a continuity.... and also Batman was being beaten out by Dazzler in sales.
Another problem: Ongoing storylines that are more or less set and you can't change them after the reboot happens. Notably, this happened with the Green Lantern books during Final Crisis/New 52. They were running the conclusion of Geoff Johns' run on the books, so they just kind of vaguely ignored the Final Crisis and had it happen offscreen with a few one-shots for the New 52 origins. This meant that pretty much any Green Lantern book was like a year or two behind the New 52 and Hal being something of a cocky amateur in the initial Justice League story didn't mesh well with the experienced, heroic Hal in the Green Lantern stories.
That was just dumb. If you plan a reboot a few years ahead you can wrap stuff up, or you can cut storylines, and trying to continue them on results in, well, a messy not-entirely-clean-reboot.

Which does bring up another thing- reboot every 5-10 years? Then that means you can't have long storylines start later in those years. You can't have a chain of 'this long one leads into that leads into that,' which many great comics do have.

I will also note the Legion of Superheroes- they were huge, one of the biggest comics, for 20+ years. Then they had their first reboot- ok, sure.... then they got into 'reboots are now a regular thing,' they had two more about five years apart from each other and now there's no Legion book. I do not view these facts as coincidental, a series thrived on history for multiple decades- way beyond the 'read for a few years' of many temporary readers- and the chain is broken as soon as one reboot doesn't work, and each reboot had to do what had been done first one time before, then two, then three... so each one promoted comparison to what came before, which doesn't make it easy on the newcomer.
Then there's plain ol' aging to deal with. Not all the heroes can be John Constantine... and even the reboots caught up with him eventually, though IIRC he was almost in his sixties by the time New 52 rebooted him. It would be rather peculiar if say, Superman went thirty-odd years without a reboot, being one of the flagship characters of his universe.

Though it actually makes a little more sense for Superman to go a long time without rebooting than say Batman. 30 years of getting beaten up would take quite the toll on even Batman without the occasional dip in a Lazarus Pit.
I will say Marvel's floating timeline/aging weirdness works surprisingly well. Like, it creates watercooler "weren't you around in the 80s?" jokes, but it doesn't disrupt stories to speak of. Wars shift from Korea to Vietnam to Iraq and Afghanistan in people's history and it doesn't break things like a reboot can.

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Re: A Superhero Wrap Up

Post by Q99 » 2018-03-17 09:52am

Another thing: Building a new character often takes a long time.

Barely any of the current big new characters tend to actually be from the current decade- or those that are, on the further half of it- it's far more common for characters to start out small, grow to mid tier and have some short-lived books as the company tries to push them, and finally gets big enough for a lasting ongoing a decade or two later.

Reboots favor either the very lucky few who take off off the bat, or the ones based on existing big names. And even then, the next reboot is more likely to kill the newbies.

The Romulan Republic wrote:
2018-03-16 06:27pm
Its not simply length. But when you have a long-running continuity, especially with multiple authors, inconsistencies and contradictions will likely pile up over time, until the whole thing becomes a mess.
Yet simple length is rarely the problem and Marvel having many decades of history of the X-men has not prevented it from being the biggest franchise. Indeed, if anything it's demonstrated it to be a plus.

Trying to fix things and reboots actually has way more history of causing confusion than just trying to do one's best to smooth things out.

You're still taking it too much of a given that length = confusing and hard to enter, when evidence suggests that the biggest comic book franchise is, well, X-men. Never been rebooted even once. Gets incredibly convoluted at times. Plays heavily on character relationships first formed decades ago. Continues to attract new readers and the single biggest X-men related complaint from the last decade is "stop trying to push them aside in favor of Inhumans!".

Length means there's more history to be attracted to and build depth with, which are attractive factors, and people can handle small continuity hiccups and weirdness just fine. Reboots... that's where you get continuity dumpster fires.
That's an option, yes, and it has some appeal. But the catch is that, this being comics, there are going to be the inevitable multiverse crossovers, and if they do that too often, it ceases to be separate continuities that are allowed to do their own thing, and just becomes one even more convoluted and unwieldy mega-multiverse.
Ok, then the old side one- which is no longer the new fresh entry point whether it does this or not- merges in, and you start a new fresh entry point.

This is a feature, not a bug. It's happened before, and one universe simply cannot be your endless 'this is simple and lacks continuity entry point.'

Note that big mega-multiverse is, again, not a minus. It's not all that confusing to follow and historically has not driven away readers. It's still relying too much on assumption that that's bad when it is, one, clearly a plus to some, and two, the actual confusion points tend to come from elsewhere.


Wanna know what else took that approach? Greek Myth, it's where Jason and the Argonauts came from, melting the existing myths into one welded together giant crew with all your favorites and their contradictory histories in one place.


Arthurian legend as well.

Roman and Egyptian mythology have notable weld marks in addition to that.

Basically it's where the longest lasting and most famous stories in history tend to originate.

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Re: A Superhero Wrap Up

Post by Vendetta » 2018-03-18 09:29am

Also reboots tend to take place in the form of big intra-company crossoverpaloozas that need you to buy loads of extra issues every month just to follow what's happening to the one or two characters you happen to like.

Which, I think, is what people are really talking about when they talk about comics being inaccessible.

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Re: A Superhero Wrap Up

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2018-03-18 05:00pm

Vendetta wrote:
2018-03-18 09:29am
Also reboots tend to take place in the form of big intra-company crossoverpaloozas that need you to buy loads of extra issues every month just to follow what's happening to the one or two characters you happen to like.

Which, I think, is what people are really talking about when they talk about comics being inaccessible.
Weather in a reboot or any other form of story-telling, I think its a mistake to write it in such a way that a reader has to buy a whole bunch of different stories in order to follow any one of them. Well, not a mistake from a business perspective, perhaps, but certainly from a story-telling perspective.

Of course, the interconnectedness of the universe is part of the appeal, but I think there's a balancing act that has to be achieved- to make the stories feel interconnected, without making any one story on its own feel incomprehensible. It takes a good writer to do this.
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Re: A Superhero Wrap Up

Post by Vendetta » 2018-03-19 04:08am

It's an editorial and marketing decision more than the writing.

The big two comic companies' strategies are focused on exploiting the existing market as hard as they can. Hence variant covers, giant crossovers, and more issue 1s than sane or reasonable.

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Re: A Superhero Wrap Up

Post by Q99 » 2018-03-19 08:37am

Vendetta wrote:
2018-03-18 09:29am
Also reboots tend to take place in the form of big intra-company crossoverpaloozas that need you to buy loads of extra issues every month just to follow what's happening to the one or two characters you happen to like.

Which, I think, is what people are really talking about when they talk about comics being inaccessible.

The overuse of events is another matter, and I do think the companies can go overboard with them. Doing them sometimes isn't bad- and like it or not events are one of the few things that boost stories- but long term it helps to let run's stories play out.



Reboots do pretty much require a lot of time expositing how someone fits in with the universe, because you don't know the shape of the universe til it's established.
Even most big events don't normally hit every book to a significant extent (Secret Wars barely scratched Squirrel Girl. And the Civil War books, big as they were, missed more), but a reboot has to.

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Re: A Superhero Wrap Up

Post by Elheru Aran » 2018-03-19 03:54pm

Yeah, coordinating multiple characters across an event is more an editoral thing than a writing thing. When you bear in mind that the most popular characters can be running multiple stories simultaneously *anyway* (Batman, Superman, Spiderman, X-Men), they're already doing this to a lesser degree to start with. Event crossovers just amplify the difficulty a bit by having a central event comic where everybody is coming together... without the other issues going on pause.

IMO the best sign of a well written event is one that you can pick up the main event comic and see what's going on... without having to depend on all the other issues. Blackest Night was an excellent example of this, I think-- sure you could read the accompanying Green Lantern, the Guy and John book, the Kyle Rayner book, and Green Lantern Corps to get a more full picture of what was happening... but you don't *need* to since the Blackest Night TPB tells you everything you need to know in the first issue and then keeps the action moving forward without too much unfilled plotholes till the culmination of the crossover.

Or the original Infinity Gauntlet graphic novel. Did it much matter that there was an earlier GN about how Thanos got the Stones? Was it relevant that there was a whole Dr Strange series about how he went into another dimension with the Silver Surfer during these events? Did Hulk being literally miniaturized and whispering into the Abomination's ear make a difference to how the event's plot was resolved? Nah. Infinity Gauntlet was a pretty decent GN in its own right.

Granted I know you can't necessarily just put all the issues of the characters involved on hold during a crossover or reboot event; they have to continue or finish up their own individual stories. But that said, the crossover/reboot should be able to make sense without having to buy 20 other issues that are only peripherally relevant. Final Crisis, for example-- really terrible example. I had almost no idea of what was going on in that book until I read 52. Of course, part of that was Grant Morrison, but still...
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Re: A Superhero Wrap Up

Post by Q99 » 2018-03-19 07:28pm

Sinestro Corps War was great and had a *single* tie-in issue outside of GL (namely with Blue Beetle). A smattering of tie-in where it makes sense is a good thing.

To go over to one other problem that Marvel especially has right now is too many books. More books means more sales attrition and more books ending and more people not knowing what's going on in each book. Not even event related, just too much book churn is another thing that hurts. Honestly this is a larger issue than even the events- Marvel has launched 100+ books since... ugh, was it All New Marvel? Marvel One? The one about two years ago.

While some of this is appealing to groups who normally don't get appealed to (Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur, about a young black supergenius and which they have sensibly decided to keep around despite low sales due to being an entry point for kids, especially young girls of color), others of this is, like, yet-another solo book of a major character. They had a book on Star-Lord (you know, of the Guardians? Main character of the movies?) that had known writers, was intended to be an ongoing, but only lasted for 6 issues because it was, like, the third SL book in recent memory or something like that and it got drowned in the churn. They also had solos on Foolkiller, Black Knight, Solo... and enough Black Panther books (I think, like, 4 at once?) that even with a well respected main book some died fast.

You can totally get the "too much to follow" feeling even without events.

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Re: A Superhero Wrap Up

Post by Majin Gojira » 2018-03-20 10:17am

Q99 wrote:
2018-03-19 07:28pm
While some of this is appealing to groups who normally don't get appealed to (Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur, about a young black supergenius and which they have sensibly decided to keep around despite low sales due to being an entry point for kids, especially young girls of color), others of this is, like, yet-another solo book of a major character. They had a book on Star-Lord (you know, of the Guardians? Main character of the movies?) that had known writers, was intended to be an ongoing, but only lasted for 6 issues because it was, like, the third SL book in recent memory or something like that and it got drowned in the churn. They also had solos on Foolkiller, Black Knight, Solo... and enough Black Panther books (I think, like, 4 at once?) that even with a well respected main book some died fast.

You can totally get the "too much to follow" feeling even without events.
There are two things I want to add to this.

One is that Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur survives in part because Marvel has a deal with Scholastic to distribute that book (and a few others, like squirrel girl) directly to schools, giving it a huge boost in sales.

The other is that between Marvel Now, and Fresh Start (god, they've had 7 launches as "Stealth Minis" rather than ongoings (with a few exceptions). I mean, as an example, we have a new Runaways series to connect with the attention the series has gotten from the Hulu show. It started as 6 issues with a "We'll see' option based on individual and trade sales. It's done well enough to at first justify a new story arc, and now a third one. Hanging on each time.

It's stressful as hell to see the writer and artist, both big fans of the character, asking fans to buying so they can keep writing.
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Re: A Superhero Wrap Up

Post by Q99 » 2018-03-20 10:44am

Majin Gojira wrote:
2018-03-20 10:17am
There are two things I want to add to this.

One is that Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur survives in part because Marvel has a deal with Scholastic to distribute that book (and a few others, like squirrel girl) directly to schools, giving it a huge boost in sales.
Awesome, makes sense and good to know.

The other is that between Marvel Now, and Fresh Start (god, they've had 7 launches as "Stealth Minis" rather than ongoings (with a few exceptions). I mean, as an example, we have a new Runaways series to connect with the attention the series has gotten from the Hulu show. It started as 6 issues with a "We'll see' option based on individual and trade sales. It's done well enough to at first justify a new story arc, and now a third one. Hanging on each time.

It's stressful as hell to see the writer and artist, both big fans of the character, asking fans to buying so they can keep writing.
And being too worried whether things'll just *stop* can adversely affect sales.


Btw, it hasn't been 6 months since their last 'let's play with numbers,' thing, Marvel Legacy. And Marvel Fresh Start is a lot of new number 1s.... some of which aren't new creators (Captain Marvel keeps the same writer, even though out of the last three writers from the last 4-5 relaunches... seriously, there's so many.... the current one is the most boring).

I've seen multiple videos from comic store owners/industry followers that amount to, "Marvel, pleeeease stop relaunching stuff!"

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Re: A Superhero Wrap Up

Post by U.P. Cinnabar » 2018-03-20 12:11pm

Especially if you're going to turn flagship characters into Nazis.
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