Dave Galanter
December 1st 1969 - December 12th 2020
He was loved.

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Location: Incriptus
Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
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Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 9,474
Subj: Characters vs Stories
Posted: Tue Feb 18, 2014 at 06:37:40 pm EST (Viewed 66 times)
Reply Subj: Brevoort on Continuity in modern Marvel vs the Olden Days....
Posted: Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 09:08:40 pm EST (Viewed 245 times)

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Though this recent Brevoort-ism from his Formspring page might be of interest - its not a specifically Battle related quote but more a summary of the philosophical differences between modern Marvel editorial and many old school fans on the subject of continuity (and thus much more interesting and insightful from the usual quotes that people try to wrangle out of him).

Anyway any thoughts?

    Why do you think it is that some fans seem to prefer rigid continuity (and sometimes the minutia thereof) to awesome stories? I honestly don't get it because I'm always happy to look the other way if I'm being wowed by what I'm reading. Is it a "look how dedicated I am!" thing? Or a sense that things "won't matter" (again, I couldn't care less as long as the story is good)? Not baiting at all, I just don't understand that section of fandom.

Well, at least partially it’s because we spent about a decade and a half in the 80s and 90s teaching them that that’s what they should value. So in some respects, this is a case of the work of our predecessors coming back to haunt us.

In particular, Mark Gruenwald’s attempts to quantify and catalog every aspect of the Marvel Universe established a value-system that many readers of that era embraced. It’s the same thing with the notion that your old comics will be worth something monetarily—the concept was repeated and reiterated enough that it became the common wisdom, something that continued to be repeated and accepted without any regard given to how much validity it had.

Before Mark, there was continuity, but it was much, much looser, much more in the service of the stories being told. It was primarily Mark, especially as his role grew more central to the organization, that emphasized continuity for its own sake, and who tried to clarify and explain every aspect of every element within the MU—whether it benefited from that or not.

Now, this genuinely isn’t a knock on Mark, who was a friend of mine. This was one of the aspects of comics that he loved, and he followed that passion. But it did create an expectation among certain readers that simply becomes untenable the longer a stretch of time the Marvel Universe goes on for.

And ironically, I expect that had Mark lived to the present day, he’d have modified his stance (as he’d done previously in regards to certain aspects of his beliefs over time) as the conditions changed.

On another note, Alan Moore once theorized that the popularity of a shared universe like the MU among our readership was at least in part because it was a Universe in which Everything Made Sense and Was Explained—as opposed to the chaotic real world and very difficult circumstances that some of our audience grew up in. I believe there’s some merit to this train of thought as well. So, for these readers, a lapse in continuity is a grim reminder that we all live a fragile existence in a fragile world where bad things can happen for no good reason.

I think that is the biggest problem. The vast vast majority of writers and not writing their characters. These characters are larger than they are.

The only way a writer can know the character is to know the continuity. Continuity is not just what happened but how "important" it is. Its a very qualitative desision and difficult to decide. Captain America being frozen during WWII is very important, Mr Fantastic trying to out do communists is not important for example.

I feel that what seperates a good event from a bad event. Events are almost pure story. A good event gives the characters a reason to be there, a bad event the characters are just there because they're the current team at the time.

As always its a fine line ... but if it were easy just anyone could do it.

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