Friday, March 13, 2009

Weekly Comic Reviews for March 11th, 2009 -- Pas de spoilers!

I got nothing.

Yep, travelled down to the comic shop and there was nothing for me. I did expect it but I had hoped I missed something or that I'd see something on the shelf that caught my eye but nope, nothing. At least nothing I really wanted to spend money on. So I went home and cracked open the Incredible Hulk Omnibus. I've had it for a while now but I've been busy reading other stuff. It's really interesting to go back and see how the character started. I find the Hulk to be one character in particular that has been portrayed in so many different ways through the years by the various writers so it's interesting to me to go back to the original Stan Lee/Jack Kirby stuff.

Which kinda leads me to a possible rambling. I don't have all my thoughts laid out just yet but it also connects to something that was said in the Comic Book Club's latest review video of Final Crisis #7. I think it was Alex who said that he feels Final Crisis would have been better for him had it been outside continuity. Then there were comments on Valerie D'Orazio's post questioning what will be the next classic graphic novel where it is suggested in order for a book to achieve this it will have to be something that is discreet. Which leads me back to the question that I've rambled about before, how should continuity be handled.

I have to say that Alex's comment rang true for me to a high degree. I haven't really been a big fan of the Marvel or DC event storylines as many felt forced to me and one of the reasons for that is that I'm always trying to figure out where it all fits and how everything got to these points so quickly. But if the events weren't part of some larger continuity, if we just had a story marketted as "Let's see what would happen if Norman Osborn gained control of SHIELD, etc..." and we could just brush it aside when it was done (which some of my friends have said that is how they look at it) then I might pick up the TPBs (provided I didn't have to buy 10 just to get all the crossover stuff).

And even the non-event books might fit into the same category. Looking at the Hulk we have a few points in his history I didn't like, John Byrne's second run, Bruce Jones' run, and Jeph Loeb's current run. But again, I find that for me a big problem is seeing how these fit in the overall storyline for the character and the Marvel Universe. Again, if they were marketted as a disjoint story I'd probably have less of a problem with them. I know there are other Hulk books that are said to be outside continuity that I've read and were of probably a lesser quality than these runs yet they didn't seem to rub me the wrong way like these runs did.

Now quite a few of my friends say that this is how they read comics anyways so they don't have the same problem that I do. So maybe I'm alone here but I do want to point at least some of the blame on the companies and writers as well. It's not like they are pushing the idea of the stories being disjoint and a lot of their stories rely on the continuity and they flaunt it when they can go back to tie their story into something that happened 20 years ago. And I think they encourage the idea that Spidey in comics now is the same guy Stan Lee and Steve Ditko created, the same guy that was on the bridge when Gwen Stacy died, the same guy that went through the whole clone saga, etc, etc. And I understand that, fans feel they have a connection to that character as they've been reading his life story so long it's almost like he's their closest friend (yes, I know how sad and geeky that sounds and maybe it's overstating it).

And that can be the biggest loss of dropping continuity altogether. Fans have grown attached to the character and if you're always playing with the idea that the Spider-Man in one story shares some elements of his history with some of the previous versions then is he really the same character? And if all we have are Hulk comics where the character may or may not share some of his history with previous versions can we really grow so attached to them? They may make for compelling individual stories but will there be something that makes the character speak to us if he's always speaking differently?

As you can see, my thoughts are still a bit messy on this subject. I could ramble on and on, going back and forth, but I think I'll just leave it for now because really, I have no answers yet. Maybe I'll do a more proper rambling on the subject in the future.

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