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Post By
Nitz the Bloody

In Reply To

Subj: Good standalone trades?
Posted: Sun Jul 12, 2009 at 06:32:25 pm EDT (Viewed 115 times)
Reply Subj: Re: Do cartoons provide a better gateway for kids to the Marvel Universe?
Posted: Fri Jul 10, 2009 at 08:42:21 pm EDT (Viewed 101 times)

Previous Post

    I think the advantage of the animated adaptations isn't so much that they don't have the continuity, but that they're in a place where they can really distill it down to what makes the characters work. The current X-Men cartoon is a good example because while it certainly doesn't have a simple backstory, it manages to introduce new characters painlessly ( the appearance of Mr. Sinister worked shockingly well, given how his debut in the comics was ridiculously convoluted nonsense tied into everyone and everything without giving him a real personality; here all that crap's pared down to " evil geneticist ", and he's used quite well as a target for the psychotically bereaved Cyclops' fixations ).

I agree. Another example is practically almost any character adapted by Bruce Timm where they got to be distilled down to the bare essence of what makes the character work. I think in these cases the continuity was irrelevant, it was just 'let's tell a good story with the Riddler or whoever'.

    My own entry into comics was through the 90's X-Men cartoon as a wee lad, so I can definitely see ( albeit anecdotally ) how these cartoons can introduce generations to these great characters. How that translates into them buying the monthly in-continuity comics is still a mystery, and even harder now with so much media available. But from a pure narrative perspective, the Wolverine and the X-Men cartoon shows us a really pure, undiluted version of how cool the X-Men can be, as opposed to the unmitigated mess they are in the comics that spawned them. I'm not opposed to continuity in and of itself, just when it ends up making the characters unworkable by backstory clutter ( see: Psylocke ), and making the stories far more arcane than their narratives need them to be.

I know what you mean. One of my early entry points was Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends. The process of getting someone who watches the cartoon is a tricky one w/ no precise science behind it. I have some thoughts/theories on it, but they usually boil down to content, availability, and pricing.

DC has the advantage that most of their A-Listers have been around longer and have starred in more popular media, but those media work by utilizing the elegant simplicity of the concepts. Batman is marvelously suited for versatility as far as heroes go, everything from the Dark Knight to the current Brave and the Bold cartoon.

Marvel tends to have heroes who are not so easy to define, which has the advantage of meaning that we get more complex characters ( after all, who ever accused Superman of being a deep hero with ethical conflicts? ), but it also means that they're harder to distill. Of course, a big disadvantage Marvel has is that their catalog of back material is much more convoluted; Batman has stuff like Year One and The Long Halloween and The Killing Joke, but I can't think of a good " done in one " classic collection for, say, Thor. Thor's greatest stories from the Kirby and Simonson respective eras tend to be long serials, so there's a dearth of " gateway " material.

I don't want to give a concrete answer for how to get new readers to read superhero comics, as it's a very layered problem for Marvel and DC. But I do think that DC has better entry points. If you like Batman and you like Frank Miller, there's Dark Knight Returns, Year One, and Dark Knight Strikes Again/All Star Batman and Robin if you're into masochistic reading. Marvel heroes could use more of those; telling a new reader that they have to start from the first Essential of Spider-Man or even the first trade of Ultimate Spider-Man can be daunting.

EDIT: Also, thank you for responding to the new comics \:\)