This subject keeps coming up, but in other topics. So let's get down to brass tacks.
|Posted: 01 October 2019 at 9:58am | IP Logged | 1
First - does anyone not know the set up? Back in the early 80s, DC editorial decided that their books were two confusing, what with all the Earth-1, Earth-2, Earth-S, etc. craziness. So it's time to clear the decks, start over, and make it easy to understand for everyone.
Which I believe is a huge lie. I think what happened is that Marvel was pretty dominant over DC, and they needed a BIG idea to get readers back. How? Start 'me over from scratch. After all, who wouldn't buy the hell out of a new Superman or Batman #1? And - so SOMEONE thought - no writers would ever have to rely on a past story or element. They could make it up as they go.
CATASTROPHE #1: Writing doesn't depend on one book and one writer. What happens with team books, where the same characters are being written independently by two writers with carte blanche (e.g., Justice League of America)? Or characters such as Superman and Batman, who have multiple books? Now TWO writers are bound by each other's continuity.
The Plan: Find a story that will give DC a reason to get rid of ALL EXISTING STORIES, CHARACTERS, HISTORY, and CONTINUITY. And let's call it a crisis, since the first universal crossover was called Flash of* - that is, Crisis on Earth-1. It has to be far ranging to *pull in every reader of every title* - No, no! To affect every character from Anthro to Kamandi to Dr. Fate to Amethyst to Jimmy Olsen to the Legion of Super-Heroes to Hawkman to Wonder Woman to Superfriends.
*Flash #123, "Flash of Two Earths", was the first crossover book. But "Crisis of Two Earths" isn't quite as dynamic a title. No complaints about "Crisis on Infinite Earths' as a title.
Solution? Create a story that literally erases the DC Universes in every way shape or form.** Everything starts over from brand spanking new, and they can go whatever direction the writer wants.
**"Hey, can we erase and rewrite the Marvel Universe too? Those four crossover books are legit and part of history that CAN'T be changed." "Shut up, Melvin."
Once the DC Universe is entirely removed, we start again from scratch - every character. It has to be everyone or it doesn't count. So it is decreed, so it is done.
CATASTROPHE #2: They cheated and didn't restart everyone. Among whatever others anyone can think of, Batman, Green Lantern, and New Teen Titans were NOT restarted - they were barely touched by the Crisis - because they were selling so well, and DC didn't want to kill the Golden Geese. So there's a brand spanking new Superman, a totally recreated Wonder Woman - and 45 years of Batman continuity that now not only DOESN'T start from the beginning again, but has to be fine-tooth combed as far as existing history to see what to keep and what to dump.
CATASTROPHE #3: In addition to some titles cheating as above... some writers just played with it a little, and found that they didn't WANT to recreate Green Arrow from the very beginning. So they throw in story elements that they want, but don't coordinate them with others, or even with the original stories. Just little bits, not enough to build a story on.
CATASTROPHE #4: Atom, Flash and Green Lantern from Earth-1 and Earth-2 are pretty independent of each other; no need to consider too much crossover. But we get to Superman, Wonder Woman, Batman and Robin - even Aquaman, Black Canary, or Hawkman. It's a new universe; they CANNOT be in two separate times**, because DC isn't doing time travel any more***. This has to be resolved, and Roy Thomas made a creditable effort for the 40s. But how do you replace Superman and Batman and Robin? In a way that makes them believable?
** All hail Mr. Byrne, who found a perfect way to address Wonder Woman as secretary of the JSA... or at least, as perfect a solution as I could conceive or desire.
** Time travel became forbidden. Oh, but we can't just abandon the Legion of Superheroes - they're selling too well. And now that there is no Superboy (per editorial dictate, 'cause I'm sure Mr. Byrne could have easily addressed this), those books and stories got turned round and round and ended up stuck standing on their heads.
These are some of the reasons that Crisis just plain failed; it fixed a problem that didn't need to be fixed (except for increasing sales) and it wasn't done as described, nor consistently.
Now, let's see what you think. What worked? What didn't? COULD it have worked? Let's chat!