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Post By
Omar Karindu

Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 4,242
In Reply To
Covenant

Subj: In other words, all multi-writer continuities are "claytinuities."
Posted: Sat Nov 28, 2009 at 03:56:17 pm EST (Viewed 313 times)
Reply Subj: Re: Alas, poor continuity, where art thou?
Posted: Sat Nov 28, 2009 at 03:31:25 pm EST (Viewed 307 times)

Previous Post

You nailed the problem on the head.

The problem with DC and Marvel is two parts. Their comics most of the time don't have just one writer writing a specific character for one comic book and their comics don't have a long story with a clear beginning, middle and end. So what you then have is multiple different versions of a specific character in one comic book, but if you are lucky you can find for each character at least one great incredible definitive run by a writer that understands the character.

Dark Horse's Hellboy that is written by its creator Mike Mignola is an example of how DC and Mavel should be handling their comics. They should for each of their comic books have one writer writing for a certain amount of time a comic book with a long story with a clear beginning, middle and end.

Now, here is the part where I become fair to DC and Marvel. Once the writer finishes his take on a specific character ending his story, DC and Marvel should have the right to reboot the comic from the beginning with a new writer with a new story. No big event would be needed for this, DC and Marvel could just be honest and say this is a new comic book with a new version of the character. This way everybody is happy. The comic book readers are happy because they have a consistent comic book they can invest in knowing their investment will pay off and they can actually understand what is going on without having to deal with tons of rewrites, retcons and reboots. The comic book publishers are happy because they have a comic book that keeps selling out and every few decades they get to if they want reboot their character from the start and all they have to do is release a new comic with a new writer.

I think this is the right effective balanced way to do a comic book.

This seems a rather ludicrously purist stance on your part to me, but you're of course welcome to it.

I'm happy to acknowledge that writers make mistakes and contradictions inevitably crop up, but would argue that on the balance comics writers since the dawn of the Silver Age in 1956 have made a good-faith effort to explain revisions and contradictions with in-story elements. As far as that goes, I think tracking and descrtibiung the results and failings of that good faith effort produces a narrative most people unreservedly call "continuity." If you want them to change their word, you'll likely have to do more than simpyl declare otherwise and point out inconsistencies in published works. People who think there's continuity just call those "continuity mistakes" and ask for or create their own explanations to render them moot.

But really, the question becomes why you want us all to adopt your frame of reference on this. And you'remade clear now that you're also proposing a shift in editorial policy; "claytinuity" is less a neutral descriptor than a deliberate pejorative aimed at winning support for the idea of creator-oriented reboots as a matter of course. In a sense, the primary reason you use it is to try and provoke a debate on the matter, from what you're saying.

This is a valid argument -- not necessarily a pragmatic or a true one, but not necessarily impractical or untrue either -- but one that I think rapidly becomes rude and intrusive when you hitch it to threads like these rather than simply starting a thread of your own and making clear that the issue, for you, is bigger than just Batman even if you're using Batman as an on-topic and narrow example.

More broadly, though, I think that readers are generally happier with the illusion of consistency in a long-runner with lots of authors or in a comparatively short runner with one author than they are with characters being endlessly rebooted. DC, you'll note, has given (in order) John Byrne, Mark Waid, and now Geoff Johns their own reboots and the fan response has been confusion and demands to know "what the continuity is."

My own ideal is for the publishers to let their licensed "continuity"/"claytinuity" characters go on in what you're calling clay, since there's clearly a demand for that. (Telling people the supposedly consistent entertainment they like is illogical or inconsistent doesn't tend to turn them against it, in my experience.) But they should also do more explicitly "bubbled" creator projects as well. The All-Star line was a badly undersupported effort to do this. But there's no reason beyond the imposition of exacting and abstracted standards of "consistency" to demand that every comic or even most comics be published this way when the market has been for what you're dubbing "claytinuity" since the early 60s.




- Omar Karindu
"For your information, I don't have an ego. My Facebook photo is a landscape."