EDITORIAL: Mine or Yours? And Why Do Characters Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch-Change?

Behold, the rage of comic book fans as contemporary comic writers undo our favorite stories with the replacement of our favorite heroes, a schlocky misuse of the space-time continuum, and a re-imagining of decades of character development! How could they do this to us! After all, they're our characters...aren't they?

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By BattlinMurdock - 10/24/2012


It's no secret that Dan Slott, the current writer for The Amazing Spider-Man's comic run, may have let a whole lot of babies out of the nursery when he "mistakenly" tweeted quite the tip about who would be replacing Peter Parker in the Marvel NOW! series reboot. He's already gotten a lot of gyp from fans who have, apparently, already gotten their hands on the first issue and declared it worthy of the *hit of fairies.

But Spidey isn't the first to be tackled like this. Recently, our good pal Scott Summers was imprisoned for taking things a bit too far (and obliterating his mentor) in the Avengers vs. X-Men event. His imprisonment and subsequent extreme, possessive douche-baggery has led many fans to drop him as a character, ranting and raving about his mistreatment the past few years, and how he's a shadow of his former self, only used to lead the X-Men into moral conundrums to which they prove to be antagonists.

And when these things happen, when our heroes are replaced or remodeled, the uproar from the comic fan-base is understandable. After all, we are the audience for these stories. You do have to appease us from a business standpoint to ensure the future of the medium. But I also think fans have a tendency to either:

A) look over basic patterns of comic book development
B) explode prematurely (giving you a moment to laugh) at a prospect



To the fans, I understand that we have invested both time and money into the adoration for these heroes. And these demonstrations of character perversion are sort of like losing a friend. Comics have no real definitive end. Take it from a Daredevil fan who had to live through Shadowland. Characters, like people, take ugly, unnecessary turns. They disappear and someone takes their place. And sometimes, they return and continue to be the icon you once knew and loved. Both Marvel and DC know and understand this. Alienating the audience for the sake of bold storytelling just isn't in the cards for them. It happens, but it happens to be progressive.

Comics are not a television show. We don't get four-to-eight seasons and then say goodbye. Some of these folks have been around since the 1940s. They've been rebooted more than once and they've changed. A lot. Not a single character is the exact same person they started out as. They've all grown from their roots. And, here's the thing, if they haven't, then the writers have failed. Change is necessary for development, and development is necessary for lengthy, non-formulated runs. Good things can happen with change.



And if I could have a word with the writers of comic books, this is what I would say. "You know your responsibilities as a writer. You know the responsibilities you have to these characters and these legacies. It is not your job to provide the perfect stories. It is your job to provide relevance to these characters, so that they maintain their hubris as entertaining entities, without compromising their reasons for being. What you do with a character, I will have to make two decisions about. I will either trust you as the writer, as your job; or I will drop reading. Your further involvement does not affect past stories. I still have my favorite runs, my heroes and villains doing what they do best, and I am proud of those stories. But you know your responsibility to these comic book characters, and as a fan of decades of work, I should be able to entrust that whatever changes you make, that they are for a combined reasoning to both sell the comic and progress the story at hand."

What else can we do, folks? Can the comics industry survive an all-out boycott of characters, or can we, as devoted fans, make our way passed what we find to be troubled times?


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11 Comments
RedSkull667 - 10/25/2012, 12:23 AM
lame
WesleyGibson - 10/25/2012, 2:07 AM
Eh I think some things should just be left alone.
Spideyguy94 - 10/25/2012, 3:46 AM
Dude You've hit the nail on the head with this. Yeah when shadowland was being published I wasn't enjoying daredevil at all and daredevil reborn was an awful retread of born again thank god for mark waid. But us spidey fans have had it the worst over the last few years from marvel with one more day joe quesada knew that to next step in terms of character development for Peter and Mary Jane was having kids and according to joe quesada people who are married and have kids aren't relatable so instead of getting a divorce like normal people do joe quesada decides that's not relatable either so he makes spider-man make a deal with the devil to erase the marriage which is completely out of character and against what the character is all about which is responsibility making a deal with the devil is the irresponsible thing he could do and it Is the worst spidey story ever written. Marvel have now pigeon holed spider-man into a corner where he can't go forward as a character
dellamorte1872 - 10/25/2012, 6:20 AM
i literally stopped reading comics when BND hit i could not believe MARVELs decision making process. it was the most clearly made editorial demand orchestrated by Marvel. and it had the reverse effect on me, instead of getting into it it brought me outta SPIDEY forever. I was a loyal SPIDEY fan since the 80s this was worse than THE CLONE SAGA in my opinion. JMS's run is legendary and it was erased from continuity rather than being embraced for what it is. but thematically it made sense for OMD to be the LAST Spidey story i will ever buy
dellamorte1872 - 10/25/2012, 6:22 AM
basically made almost every A.S.M comic during the 80s useless wastes of paper
dellamorte1872 - 10/25/2012, 6:55 AM
other progressions made sense a la DICK into BATMAN + WALLY into the FLASH. that made sense and was fitting, this was not! Marvel acts like they have balls but DC changed shit really changed shit for a loooooooooong time till the NEW 52 but this wasnt progression it was a literary redo lol
dellamorte1872 - 10/25/2012, 7:01 AM
they both lost their mojo but MARVEL was doing so first as this SPIDEY SHIT clearly illuminates. both companies want FILMS of their properties. and making them modern and grittier allows nubile kids to get into any character A LOT easier. but it was a slap in the face to every ol' school fan i know
superotherside - 10/25/2012, 7:03 AM
I agree they must progress, but the problem with Spider-man's progression is that after OMD he became a shadow of the character he was. Plus, since he made everyone have the big forget there was not consequences for Civil War.

In his books preOMD he was treated like the greatest superhero ever. When you read his stories you could tell a difference, this was a character which was different than the other characters. Now he's pretty boring, most stories are fill ins, etc. And now the new Spider-man? Give me a break. Seriously those claws are horrible too. I mean the 2099 suit was at least actually cool!
dellamorte1872 - 10/25/2012, 7:07 AM
in the end outta the big 2? DC left a better taste in my mouth ultimately b/c of decisions of progression. shit BG was paralyzed for like 20 yrs. MARVEL woulda had her healed in a year, under their guidance the creation of her ORACLE persona would have never be realized
dellamorte1872 - 10/25/2012, 7:09 AM
IN the end MARVEL has funner characters but DC makes better literary decisions. it's just a sad fact
Preston - 10/25/2012, 10:08 AM
One question is: What is most important continuity or storytelling?

One of my favorite comics of all time was/is Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight. It ran from late 1989 to 2007. It allowed the best comic talent to tell their Batman stories, at any point in the caped-crusaders life. The talent involved was some of the who-is-who of comics; including but not limited to Dennis O'neil, Grant Morrison, Mike Mignolia, Matt Wagner, Doug Moench, Joeph Loeb, Tim Sale, Gil Kane, Mark Millar, Warren Ellis, Garth Ennis, Bill Willingham, Bruce Jones, Devin Grayson, etc.

The thing is that top talent was allowed to tell the best stories possible not hindered by continuity. Therefore, while the regular bat-books were god-awful boring; Legends of the Dark Knight was telling some great mofo stories.

I think as they modernized the Batbooks, made them more mature, and brought in some A-list talent (like Rucka, Brubaker, and many of the guys who went off to work for MARVEL) the need for Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight became obsolete.

Dark Knight


Secondly: Should heroes age in the comics if there is continuity?

Before DC comics did a reboot with the New52, many of their heroes looked old/decrepit and ready for retirement or retired. It's hard to get a younger generation involved in comics when there is 20 years of history and the hero looks like their granddad.

Why do heroes have to age? They didn't age much from the 1920-1980, yet from 1990-2000, they all become old men?!?

white hair



Finally: Are events necessary if great story telling is taking place?

Now, as a fan, a complete reboot of all the past history-histories is a big FU from the comic companies and it comes across as a desperate attempt to gain shares in the market. Many of the problems in the continuity are created to create big events that bring in boat-loads of cash; however, the longterm problems are hard to rectify without cleaning up the continuity (things like marriages and deaths). Plus, they do things for shock-and-awe that won't work for a character in the long-run (like revealing Spider-Man's identity).


spider-man

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