The availability of comics wherever magazines were sold. Yesterday, I literally paused in the spot in my old 7-Eleven where the spinner rack used to be and tried to imagine it there again. So much to take in all at once! So many decisions to make! :-)
|Posted: 09 July 2019 at 7:04pm | IP Logged | 9
Captions and thought balloons. Sorry. Brevity may be the soul of wit, but I prefer a comic that has to be actually written and not simply orchestrated. I'm not racing towards a finish line here. I prefer comics as a literary experience and not a faux-cinematic one.
Panel-to-panel progression and storytelling. Big jagged panels with very little tying the images together have been with us for a long while, but like most things, are best when employed sparingly. Multiple splashes with the characters locked in mortal combat, teeth bared, spittle flying in all directions... Eh. Seen it. Not interested. I know the pages do well on the resale market, but once upon a time, that poster page in the middle of the story would have, y'know, carried the story forward a bit farther or dealt with a subplot. Once again, an example of less being less.
Non-glossy flat paper. Yes, it doesn't carry the compu-coloring nearly as spiffily. That said, I'm not crazy about the compu-coloring either. Publishers would have killed back in the day to get the sort of production value modern books possess but it's all a bunch of shiny pose shots now with no real grist for the storytelling mill. Also, shiny is not always the best choice for a scene. I have yet to really enjoy a modern age book for its art the way I did back in the day when the pictures could be pored over and studied without having to worry about how the book was angled against the light.
I do occasionally think that the current focus on True Believers and facsimile issues might bring back a retro-approach to comics, or at least a few titles with such a focus. I can't promise that I'd actually come back for them, but I'd enjoy modern stuff more if it weren't so impressed with how it looks and focused more on what it was saying.
I'll echo those who are saying that they miss team-up books as well. I do think attempts at those are made these days, but the storylines rarely wrap up tidily in one or two issues, and again, those shiny, shiny pages bother me. I think what's really missing in today's approach is the sense of a status quo. Team-Up books used to be fantastic because they'd revisit an older character or introduce them for a new audience and you'd really get a sense of what their story had been to date and where they were today.
Now, everything's in such flux that it hardly matters where anyone is at the moment. The rug is about to pulled out from everyone any minute now anyway. Again. Deaths and new characters and teams forming used to change the landscape. Now, the landscape is on permanent "shuffle" and whatever change is introduced today is either gone, re-imagined, or made irrelevant within the space of a few issues. Nothing sticks so nothing matters. You can spend ten issues plodding through the exact convolutions whereby Nu-52 Superman met Jurgens' Superman and the two fused or split or somethinged in Red and Blue Versions and then fused again or mixed or recombined into Post-Rebirth Superman and end of the day, who cares? Was that really worth the time and $$$ it took? Especially when tomorrow isn't promised to the Rebirth version any more than it was to the Birthright one. One the Zero Hour one. Or the Man of Steel one. And so on and so on.
Once upon a time, when Batman ran into the Earth-One Wildcat,* he'd get a brief summary of where the character was in his life, either on the skids, or teaching boxing to kids, or having taken a security job with a sketchy oil company, and there was a real sense that a life was happening there. Not a comic book reality spinner wheel landing wherever it landed. A life. A story. Forward progression. Context. Stuff no one thinks about anymore. Plas is dating Ruby Ryder. Next time we see him, well, now he isn't anymore. Then, oh, great, she's back again, and she's got control of the Wayne Foundation this time. Things happened and they didn't upend all of reality. They helped tell a story. They didn't clear the decks for the biggest, most wow-iest, most hang-onto-yer-hats-kids-we're-going-crazy-now EVENT you've ever witnessed! The books existed to tell stories. Characters lived their lives and experienced changes; developments. They reacted. Grew. Or resisted the change. Whatever. And it all took place in the times between the times we met them or it would happen right there in front of us. Either way, you felt you were getting your money's worth and not just having your chain yanked.
"Reality" was just what it was. It wasn't constantly up for grabs and getting redone. "Hey, Rocky, watch me pull a Post-Crisis Universe outta my hat!" "Again?? That trick never works." "This time for sure!"
I miss finding out what was up with former heavyweight champ Ted Grant in his on-again, off-again dealings with the Darknight Detective. He wasn't being restarted. He wasn't denying this mini-series from five years ago while vouching for this one two years ago. It didn't all hinge upon what the editor had for lunch that day and which red string tied which reality to which character. He was a hard-living, knockabout one-time celebrity with real problems. That wasn't just "this iteration" of the guy. It was consistently the one Batman met in Brave and the Bold. He didn't hang out with the JSA or go with them to fight Mordru and Darkseid each summer. He was a real world guy.
Fans wrote letters condemning him for not showing up at a summer crossover to account for his place in the continuum, but y'know what? **** them. Did you like the story or not? Because I liked the story. It had more to say than just "I trained Catwoman. Or did I? I know I trained Huntress. The mob daughter one, not the Earth-2 Batman one. I trained her back in... Wait, did that series happen? I'm not sure that series happened anymore. So, Catwoman, maybe, except probably not, or rather, not in the stories you already own. We'll re-tell you what we think you need to know when we decide what the story there actually was...Don't rush us."
I liked it when reality stood still and things happened inside of it that had to do with something other than the nature of reality itself, then played fast and loose with it forever afterwards, because that becomes the only way to play it. "Bruce! The Omniversal Accumulator's Infini-Sphere! The missing Earths are inside it! See if you can hit it with your batarang and I'll swing in to catch it before it falls into the Void of Ultimate Sadness!"
I no longer give a damn if their plan succeeds. Wake me when the New New Earth is farther along and things are well underway. I hate noisy newborns.
* Or, hey, Earth-B, if you like. Take your choice. It really doesn't matter to the story itself. Only to the fans keeping score at home on their red-yarn conspiracy walls.
Edited by Brian Hague on 09 July 2019 at 7:13pm