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Ted Downum
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Posted: 02 October 2019 at 11:25am | IP Logged | 1 post reply

Eric: "Shucks, I even believe I recall reading that Marv and George had a different ending to Crisis that would have preserved everything, and just turned COIE into one big bad gangbuster of a company wide crossover, with few or no after-effects."

*****

See, now that would have been enjoyable. Aside from the twelve issues of Perez art, Crisis (as I remember it) wasn't that much fun, especially as it plodded into the later issues.

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Michael Penn
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Posted: 02 October 2019 at 11:27am | IP Logged | 2 post reply

Ignoring what no longer works certainly seems to be the simplest way to make comicbook characters continue to work for later generations. 
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Adam Schulman
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Posted: 02 October 2019 at 11:34am | IP Logged | 3 post reply

I ended up using poor Lana, as I felt I could contain the damage as much as possible that way.

***

And soon after that story was over we all forgot about it and it was never, ever mentioned again.

MILLENNIUM was just a bad story not worth telling. ARMAGEDDON 2001 was much the same. (And I guess nobody thought about how both had titles that were going to become anachronistic -- especially the 2nd series.)

At least INVASION! was straightforward and, yes, entertaining. Aliens attack Earth, superheroes lead the world in fighting back! And that's it. Fine by me. 
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Eric Sofer
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Posted: 02 October 2019 at 11:52am | IP Logged | 4 post reply

But Millennium, for the mediocre story that it was, worked on an already existing story. Armageddon 2001 had to create characters from whole cloth, for the purpose of "Create a story set ten years from now." Stories created from whole burlap. And then, the ending was as muddy and preposterous as could be imagined - AFTER the story had to be changed because everyone figured out who the big bad was. So... they changed the top villain from Captain Adam (a believable adversary who couldn't be conquered) to Hawk (who 'most any super powered hero could take down... yeah, and Batman too.)

But really, I don't know that I've yet seen a company wide crossover that was worth the effort. Maybe IDW's "Super Secret Crisis Wars" - that was tons of fun! - but not really any others.
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Adam Schulman
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Posted: 02 October 2019 at 1:11pm | IP Logged | 5 post reply

I enjoyed BLACKEST NIGHT. Outside of the Green Lantern comics, it had no crossovers into the regular DC titles. There were Special Three Issue Series connected to various characters (Superman, the Titans, Wonder Woman, and so on) when BLACKEST NIGHT came out but one could easily just ignore them. So I did. 

I keep hearing that Marvel's ABSOLUTE CARNAGE is, surprisingly, a really fun read. Hard to believe, but I never thought I'd enjoy reading about Venom (Eddie Brock), and from what little I've read of Donny Cates' VENOM series, by god, somehow he did it!!

But Eric is right about ARMAGEDDON 2001. There might have potentially been a good story in there somewhere (Archie Goodwin was writing it, after all) but the execution was completely botched -- and, to repeat myself, the title was a bad idea. Did DC editors forget that DC Comics was likely to still exist in 2001? And that these crossovers tend to lead to Real Change, not the illusion of change? (Almost always a bad thing.)

Comics writers seem to rarely think about how the choices they make will affect matters in a few years time. This is why Magneto is still a Holocaust survivor, when that should've been proven to be a hoax, a false memory, years and years ago.
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Phil Kreisel
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Posted: 02 October 2019 at 4:48pm | IP Logged | 6 post reply

The main thing that I HATED about Armageddon was how the writer(s) killed Dove* and twisted Hawk.  Eventually, though it took years and years, DC fixed this (though I honestly forget how this was eventually fixed).

*This is the Dawn Grainger version of Dove.  When DC introduced the female version of Hawk (Dawn's weird ass never before mentioned step sister), I was extremely happy when she was killed off (and hopefully never ever ressurected again).


Edited by Phil Kreisel on 02 October 2019 at 4:51pm
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Dave Phelps
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Posted: 02 October 2019 at 8:10pm | IP Logged | 7 post reply

This took the better part of an hour to write and I need to get to bed so I really hope this makes sense as a whole. :-)

 Eric Sofer wrote:
This subject keeps coming up, but in other topics. So let's get down to brass tacks.


And I'm one of the ones discussing it with you (I think) so hopefully there's something new in all of this. Maybe if I crib your footnote (mid-note?) style...


 QUOTE:
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.


I think they quickly realized that was a hell of a lot of baby to be throwing out with the bathwater. If the only thing really confusing people* was the multiple Earth thing, then just get rid of that. You could say that some of the majors could use a shot in the arm, but that left a whoe crop of characters that really weren't all that complicated and didn't need to be restarted.

*I don't know what was so confusing about it, but I talked to a contemporary in an LCS once years later and he said the whole thing was a huge confusing turn off for him, so who knows? And DC writers certainly got mixed up from time to time. (Marv Wolfman tying the (presumably) Earth-1 Immortal Man to the Earth-2 Vandal Savage, the "Earth-1 Wildcat," etc.) Or maybe writers just got tired of The Explanation Scene. I dunno.    


 QUOTE:
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.


Probably more about every JLA/JSA team-up being called Crisis of/on something... This Crisis was basically the JLA/JSA/Other Characters team-ups cranked up to 11 ("And now... The Seven (Hundred) Soldiers of Victory!").


 QUOTE:
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.


It WAS the 50th anniversary story...


 QUOTE:
Solution? Create a story that literally erases the DC Universes in every way shape or form.


Except not... That plan must have dumped pretty early. No way Wolfman was writing his books like they wouldn't exist in the same form by the end (it took about 15 issues post-Crisis to clean-up everything in Titans, for example). Near as I can tell, the only thing he did in Titans that had anything to do with the Crisis was to create a character (Kole) he could bump off in it.

Either way, I can't really disagree with the change in scope. If everything that happened in the Crisis was effectively negated by the end of it, what would've been the point? Barry Allen's sacrifice meant something because Wally was there to carry on for him. Restart at the end and the whole thing turns into a "What If?" story. Supergirl's took a hit because a year later she never existed anyway.


 QUOTE:
CATASTROPHE #2: They cheated and didn't restart everyone.


"Everyone?" They hardly restarted anyone other than Superman, Wonder Woman and Captain Atom (with occasional collateral damage). Then a few years later Hawkman, which people complained about because the reboot window had closed by then (or because he'd already HAD his Post-Crisis revamp?). Most got an origin tweak and/or a softer reboot**.

**Apparently every Deadman story between B&B #86 and the Deadman series got wiped; Martian Manhunter's history took some weird turns in his mini-series***; there was an Aquaman revamp where everything after his son died went away but then THAT series was ignored and it all came back; the Jason Todd Robin got a new back story and Batman started selectively ignoring stories (and never really stopped - remember his "urban legend" phase?), etc.

***Although if you read J'onn's Detective Comics run I suspect Denny O'Neil's story writing him out of the Justice League way back when and subsequent appearances would have also been confusing to you.


 QUOTE:
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?


I wouldn't count Hawkman or Black Canary. Hawkman's a different guy and Black Canary got her continuity patch pre-Crisis (although even then the math was questionable and I guess now she should be carrying on for her Great Grandmother). As for the rest, the early DCU was stove-piped so The Universe doesn't necessarily need replacements.

It contradicts what Roy said in the letters pages at the time, but in one of the All-Star Companions (IIRC), Roy said that he could've lived without the Big Five (Seven?) since he had plenty of other characters floating around, but TPTW at DC wanted him to minimize the use of any characters that would have a present day counterpart (so basically the whole JSA, Robotman if they do a Doom Patrol revival, etc.) to "avoid confusion."**** Thus the Young All-Stars. Otherwise, he could have retold all of his favorite GA stories while plugging in All-Stars and doing fairly note for note All-Star adaptations since Wonder Woman didn't get to do much in those stories anyway (the two exceptions he had already done anyway). Frankly, I think he would've had a blast. But alas, no.

****And then they have a series with seven Green Lanterns forming a team...


 QUOTE:
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.


Yeah, that WAS pretty neat.


 QUOTE:
Time travel became forbidden.


Just harder...


 QUOTE:
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),


I don't believe it was editorial edict. JB was told to recreate Superman and he thought it was better to start with SUPERMAN ("I've never seen anything like this!") than having a Superboy ("oh look, Superboy moved"). IIRC, they were all for it, he expressed concern about about what that would do to the Legion, was assured that wouldn't be a problem, pulled the trigger, and then it was all, "wait, what does this do to the Legion?!"

For what it's worth, I liked the patch he and Paul came up with (although it a) didn't really give us a good explanation for Supergirl and b) got a lot sadder when he used the pocket universe for his Supergirl...).


 QUOTE:
those books and stories got turned round and round and ended up stuck standing on their heads.


By the time of the Crisis, Superboy was down to special guest status so I think the Legion book was fine without him. The problem came when Huge Fans came on board and decided that:

#1 You Couldn't Tell The Origin Without Superboy, which was silly (from Keith Giffens mouth at a Legion panel). Do the RJ Brande sequence as established, when they say "but we're just teenagers," add groups like the Teen Titans to the examples list, and, heck, you can still keep "there are even legends that Superman started out as a boy". It's not like the stories didn't exist anymore and getting details wrong 1000 years later is pretty understandable, esp. given that the One True DCU had a nuclear war in there.

#2 They HAD to have Mon-El in there. (Apparently the Superman office vetoed his use since they were trying to keep a close hold on Kryptonian sounding stuff. See also why the Zero Hour Legion ended up with "M'onel".) Why they couldn't use their Valor notion on a new guy I have no idea.

#3 All those wacky fanzine ideas they had (Proty taking over Lightning Lad's body; hitherto unknown Kid Quantum being a Legion without a super power who died, thus explaining why powers were mandatory (but not why a group known for keeping statues of lost members neglected to ever mention him); etc.) had to be made official.

#4 Not to mention those damn SW6 kids...

I let that go off an a tangent a bit, but that problem writ large is basically what happened with the rest of the DCU over time and affected Crisis' long term ability to "matter."

Someone decided it was really important that Wonder Woman was a founding member of the JLA***** and thus reality was adjusted again. Joe Chill went out of Batman continuity because one editor that The Wayne Murder Should Never Be Solved then came back in because he was a long established part of the history. Barry Allen was just too darn important to leave dead. One person's barnacle is another's precious childhood memory that must live on and as they took over the shop...

*****I"ll admit that I wished George Perez had gone retroactive with the first six months or so of his Wonder Woman reboot. Extend Ares' master plan to the beginning of the Silver Age, touch on the JLA at the appropriate spots, use Julia Kapetilis as your "measuring stick" for timeline, and go from there. Would've required a few tweaks here and there to the long term plan of the series, but I think it could've worked. That said, it wasn't such a catastrophe that it needed to be "fixed" 20 years later.


 QUOTE:
Now, let's see what you think. What worked? What didn't? COULD it have worked? Let's chat!


I liked the Crisis itself. Still do, although I notice some of the sillier elements more and more. (Did the Golden Age heroes experience the Crisis twice? How in the world did a "weakened power blast" reboot Wonder Woman's continuity?) And I'd say it did the job it was trying to do - tell one last big story about the Multiverse before wiping it and set the stage for revitalizations of their major characters and some minor ones.

The more gradual approach to revamps/reboots caused some continuity hiccups and other headaches, but based on how later "generations" of DC folks handled line-wide revamps, I much prefer the approach DC took here. Maybe it wasn't as clear cut as it could have been, but I would have been really annoyed if all of the comics I was buying from DC were just straight up ended and started over from scratch. (More on that later.) Even if the creative teams had advance warning it was going to happen, there would have been a lot of dropped or abruptly ended threads for questionable benefit.

Aside from that, the nice thing to a gradual approach is that editorial gets to focus on one or two properties at a time and give it a proper push rather than one huge in January and then, really, nothing. And as a young fan with a fixed income and minimal access to back issues, I sure as hell couldn't have checked out all potentially interesting titles all at once. That way, I could check a book out, decide if I liked it and then either stick with it or let it drop in favor of something else.

Now the SEQUELs to Crisis I could easily live without. Zero Hour had its charms (it's fun to visit old friends even if time marches on) but I didn't care for how they treated the Justice Society. Infinite Crisis was a lot of ambition for petty ends and Final Crisis was more of the same. Once in a lifetime stories really only to be done once (if at all).


 QUOTE:
It seems there is a difference of opinion about COIE depending on when one started reading comics.



 QUOTE:
There are those who started reading comics around the COIE itself, and heaven save them! A year or two of the prior status quo, then a huge change with characters who were mostly unknown, and then a brand new set of characters... except for the ones whose sales precluded interrupting them.


I'm in here. 3-4 years of the old DCU, and then Crisis. But I think you're forgetting how staggered the reboots really were (Deadman right on the heel of Crisis #12, but I didn't read that one when it came out, but as for the rest - six months for Superman, seven for Batman, almost a year for Wonder Woman, a few more months after that for the Flash (although he hung out with the Titans abit), etc. Most just kept on going with the gradual growth and attrition you would have seen the last however many years of following DC. And Whos Who helped.


 QUOTE:
Crisis never was entirely clear of its purpose, and DC blew a HUGE opportunity to take a little more time to decide exactly what they wanted and how to do it. Why release it in 1985 when it could have been set in 1987, taking a while, and finally restarting DC comics with Superman #1 (or even Action Comics #1) in June, 1988? A fifty year anniversary is a great time to start again!


That's why they did it in 1985. :-)


 QUOTE:
Had Crisis ended with the History of the DC Universe, it might have worked - but it would have taken so long to establish backstory.


They gave you the basics, but details were better covered in the series themselves. Defeats
the purpose of hiring JB to effectively re-create Superman if you're going to beat him to it.


 QUOTE:
And starting all the titles from scratch wouldn't work for team books; you couldn't have a concurrent issue of Justice League or New Teen Titans when Superman had not yet met Batman, nor before the creation of Kid Flash and Wonder Girl.


Exactly. And that covers it so maybe there wasn't "more later" after all.

(And that was a missed opportunity for the "New 52," IMO. Justice League shouldn't have been the kick off book; it should've been the big push for Year Two (or even Three) after you had the time to establish the new versions of the characters. Of course, they screwed up the whole point of a line wide restart - SUperman gets a reboot (but all the major events you might have heard of still happened in some way), Green Lantern continues as if nothing had happened and Batman still found time to have four Robins. Too much trying to have their cake and eat it, too.)


 QUOTE:
Mr. Byrne has related that he had a perfect method of restoring Superman to the Man of Steel from his MoS #1. Same continuity, but hence modified to get everything in order.


IIRC what he's said about it before, it was still going to be reboot; just one kicked off in continuity. Basically picking up Superman where he was, showing him a really bad time, giving him an opportunity to start over, and then we go back to the rocket. I could be misremembering though.

That said, with the exception of the Kents, you pretty much could do it all in continuity:
* By that point Lana and Clark were dating and she really liked that Clark wasn't Superman. Let her discover the secret id, decide she's tired of city life and not meant to be Superman's wife and she's ready for her new role.
* Do some kind of big apocolyptic threat to depower Superman a bit while destroying Rokyn (or otherwise permanently cut it off from our reality) and the Fortress
* The Lex Luthor revamp would've been better saved for a new character, but if you go that route, have him be instrumental in defeating the threat and getting a pardon for it (and n the surface turning a new leaf)
* To get the Kents back, maybe have the big fight occur through time and space - the family is distracted at a crucial moment and decide to not take that fateful vacation after all
* In the face of these changes, Clark decides he's tired of Clark being "the fake id" and starts treating it as the real one and in the process buries Krypton (along the lines of the end of Man of Steel #6).

No Krypton revamp, but I don't think that was mandatory to get the job done anyway.


 QUOTE:
I spoke to one of the DC writers who had submitted a spec script for a possible new Flash, of an entirely different nature.


I liked the Wally idea. Bob Rozakis told us that the sidekicks would one day assume their mentors' roles and it was cool to see one actually do so. The writer should've resubmitted it and called it "Starman." There was a vacancy... :-)


 QUOTE:
It MIGHT have worked. But not in a haphazard rush with no real idea of where DC was going post-Crisis. Shucks, I even believe I recall reading that Marv and George had a different ending to Crisis that would have preserved everything, and just turned COIE into one big bad gangbuster of a company wide crossover, with few or no after-effects.


The whole "we need to merge the Earths into one to save them" came up pretty early so dropping that would've been weird. That said, use the Crisis story itself to merge the Earths and clear out the redundancies and you could have left it at that. Which they pretty much did, now that I think about it. The only big thing they would have needed to avoid was wiping out Wonder Woman.


 QUOTE:
Changing fifty years of DC would mean creating years of stories that had to lockstep into the new reality. And either DC didn't understand this, or had no creators who were willing to do that.


Well, you know how fans are.
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Dave Phelps
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Posted: 02 October 2019 at 8:18pm | IP Logged | 8 post reply

 Phil Kreisel wrote:
The main thing that I HATED about Armageddon was how the writer(s) killed Dove* and twisted Hawk. Eventually, though it took years and years, DC fixed this (though I honestly forget how this was eventually fixed).


Dove's death was retroactively faked (see #50 or thereabouts of the Johns JSA series) and Hawk was simply brought back at the end of Blackest Night with apparently everything being forgiven. I don't recall them even mentioning the Extant stuff but I could be wrong.


 QUOTE:
Eric Sofer]Armageddon 2001 had to create characters from whole cloth, for the purpose of "Create a story set ten years from now." Stories created from whole burlap. And then, the ending was as muddy and preposterous as could be imagined


As a vehicle to tell notional future stories, it was an okay concept.

As a "mystery" and a tool to turn a good guy permanently(?) bad, not so much. I reread the bookends and the JL annuals recently and it doesn't really work. The Justice League just kind of jump ahead 10 years and are largely unchanged while Captain Atom is living in what might as well be Hub City. They don't really go together. But developing a single shared future to gradually determine who the culprit was would've made it tricky to get all three (or was it four by then?) Superman annuals in there...
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Eric Jansen
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Posted: 02 October 2019 at 8:31pm | IP Logged | 9 post reply

I loved Earth 2, and the annual JLA/JSA team-ups were some of my favorite stories.  ALL-STAR COMICS introducing Huntress and Power Girl was one of my favorite series, as were INFINITY INC. and ALL-STAR SQUADRON.  I even enjoyed the MR. & MRS. SUPERMAN feature in SUPERMAN FAMILY.

But I also enjoyed CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS!  I was a fan of the Multiverse, but I was open to seeing what DC was planning.  (Of course, much of the fun of CRISIS was visiting all the parallel Earths, even if it was only to see them one last time.)

It was the CONFUSION after CRISIS that was the problem.  Endless patches for the new continuity (Really, Black Canary was now a JLA founder in place of Wonder Woman?  Did she karate chop all those super-powerful aliens WW went up against in those early adventures?) were an endless turn-off--and they're STILL patching!  Instead of one thing to remember ("Hey kids, there's a second Earth with older versions of the characters you love!"), now there would be hundreds of little fix-its that nobody (including the writers and editors) could keep track of.

I don't know if it was my age or if it was the fallout after CRISIS, but that's when I stopped buying DC and Marvel too.  I lasted through JB's run on SUPERMAN, but I know I didn't finish Perez's WONDER WOMAN stint.  I had already started buying independents and I continued with those for a time, but I know I quit altogether for a few years.  What brought me back was certain artists and writers.  That made sense for the independents (Yes, Image got me back into buying comics! Jim Lee's WILDCATS, Erik Larsen's SAVAGE DRAGON, and even the Liefeld and Silvestri stuff got me coming back to the comics shops on a regular basis) but it made less sense for Marvel and DC.

When I was a kid, I bought DC and Marvel--the whole universes (or as much as I could afford, eschewing the war and western stuff and maybe a few others).  As an adult--and this continues to present day--I followed and bought the talent.  I think CRISIS (and maybe similar crossovers at Marvel) changed the way I bought comics.  I'll buy anything that Neal Adams, John Byrne, or Jim Starlin draw, and I'll check out the latest projects of Howard Chaykin, Jim Lee, Bryan Hitch (see? it's not all childhood nostalgia for me!), and some others.  CAPTAIN AMERICA is still my favorite, and Ed Brubaker's eight years there teamed with awesome artists like Steve Epting and Butch Guice were a dream come true--but I can't follow it since then.

You know there's something wrong when I would love to give Marvel and DC $200 a month to buy favorites like CAPTAIN AMERICA or SUPERMAN but they're not making anything I want--the continuity confusion, company-wide crossovers, and constant rewriting of history are too off-putting.  But the reprints are great!


Edited by Eric Jansen on 02 October 2019 at 8:38pm
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Brian Hague
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Writers and artists weren't just incapable of remembering what had already introduced back into the mix. They seemed intent on recreating things already recreated because they felt they had a better take on them. Hence, the Crime Syndicate (one of the first redundancies done away with in Crisis) came back not once, but three times if I'm recalling correctly. So... there y'go, kids! We fixed the Crime Syndicate! Now they come from NOT Earth-3, but rather Qward! And... someplace else! Annnd... Earth-2! Which now means something completely different than it used to! Because new multiple earths with different numbers are much better than the multiple earths we used to keep better track of! Wait... what was Crisis created to get rid of again?

And... Ice, from the JLI! Super-popular character from a super-popular series! Fans will want to know more about her! How many origins and backstories should she have? Hmmmm... I'm thinking at least two! And however many result from trying to fix that! Wow! SO glad we streamlined this! Everything is SO not confusing now!

Creators seemed in a big hurry to correct one another and write over one another's stories in a rush to put out THEIR version of how this went or that happened. The past (that thing we were SUPPOSED to have divested ourselves from) was actively strip-mined so that we could read THIS story again in a brand-new context! And THAT story again, but now with different participants! And we can explain again how any of THIS happened when everyone in the story is no longer in canon. Um, guys...? The storytelling's in THAT direction... Y'know? Forward? Can we go THAT way, please? No? Want to re-show us some other story you liked as a kid now re-done by you, the way it always should have been? Okay. Fine. I'll just be over here... not reading your books.

In general I found so much of the patchwork and idiotic explanations insulting not only to the original stories and storytellers, but insulting to me as a reader. What was done to shore up and fill in the past of the Legion was a hot mess of convoluted stupidity. The death of the pocket-U Superboy was probably the worst written thing I had ever seen in comics to that point. The headache-inducing stupidity of everyone spouting their own favorite cliche at his funeral was unendurable. "He was the best of us." "I'm going to miss him." "I loved him, you know." Oh, god. DC paid someone money for this? Really?*

So much, so very very much, of what took place after was so poorly thought out and badly written I felt insulted being asked to pay for DC's barely sketched out guesswork. 

That Deadman mini-series erased everyone's work with the character after the original Strange Adventures series. Ever read it? You know what did NOT need to be done to make that story work?  Erasing anything. Boston's brother Cleveland could just as easily have been killed now rather than back then. The "reveal" of a Black Adam-style previous Deadman (yawn...) could have taken place at any time. But hey, Crises gonna Crisis, I guess. 

Crisis was a supposed exercise in streamlining and clarification that created nothing but inferior knock-off versions and endless, self-contradicting confusion. The number of redundancies shot upwards after the event at an alarming rate. 

In all honesty, I must admit there are actually five stories that took place after Crisis having anything to do with it that I enjoy. One makes little or no sense but has a kind of wonky Silver-Age charm to it. That's Grant Morrison's Post-Crisis "Flash of Two Worlds" from Secret Origins #50. Now, instead of having to explain Earths One and Two at the start of your story, you have to explain how Keystone City vanished from the map for twenty years or more, all of it's highways and roads leading to... someplace...? And no one noticed. For more than twenty years. Because of a giant violin. Have fun doing that forever. I think everyone's just ignored it since.

Peter David's retelling of the Justice League's origin in Secret Origins was a fun time. Nonsensical, but fun. The tree joke was funny. Really, I think it's Eric Shanower's art that makes that story for me. Same with his inking on The Legend of Aquaman... in which we discover that Aquaman's outfit is what he wore in prison. They didn't stick with that, did they? Having all the bad guys in Aquaman suits? I mean, yeah, sure, it's a deterrent, I suppose. One nice thing about being in prison in Atlantis, when you drop the soap, you don't have to pick it up. It just floats there where you can get at it again.

Then there's Alan Brennert's retold origin for the Black Canary in SO #50. Whoever it was who didn't like Joe Staton (you and I can never be friends, btw) should stay away, but seriously, there has never been a more heartfelt and moving re-examination of a character's history ever. Yes, the Roy Thomas wacky incest-fest that was his take on the modern BC's origin** was the kick-off point for this tale, but don't hate it for that reason. It rights the ship in good order. Brennert incorporates BC's entire history and makes it something thematically sound and genuinely moving. Highly recommended. Unless you don't like Joe Staton, and then, I can't even understand anything about you... (shakes head) :-) (I'm kidding, by the way.)

Brennert's Deadman story in Christmas With the Super-Heroes #2 enjoyed editorial approval at the highest level and deservedly so. The mysterious "Kara" is exactly the right person to counsel someone on heroism for the sake of applause. If you know anything about her history and how long it took for her to even appear in public, this story has a decades-long wind up for the solid, emotional punch that it delivers. And again, it couldn't have been possible if not for the Crisis, unfortunately. It remains the best answer yet given to the giant "F.U." DC delivered to its readers on a monthly basis back then. 

So, there you go. Even I, who have not good thing one to say about Crisis ("George? One more page of everyone looking gobsmacked and stupid, okay? No, I know, but I promise, another completely blank one is coming up soon...") still have five stories I can look back on fondly in the Post-Crisis era. That's five out of... how many has DC published since 1987? ****

* Yes, in real life people say stupid things at funerals. Doesn't mean your characters are pinatas filled with wonderfulness for being just as stupid on the page.

** Sing it with me...*** "Now, many many years ago I left GCPD, I was married to a florist who was pretty as could be. This florist had a grown-up daughter who had hair of black. She thought she was her mother and two worlds went out of whack..."

*** Sung to the tune of "I'm My Own Grandpa."

**** Batman: Year One doesn't require the existence of Crisis any more than his Dark Knight did. That would be my sixth choice if it did. Killing Joke is another that could easily exist out of continuity and, with that photo of the Bat-Family on his dusty old bat-computer, I'm pretty sure still does. 


Edited by Brian Hague on 02 October 2019 at 11:21pm
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Carlos Velasco
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Joined: 02 August 2019
Location: Spain
Posts: 57
Posted: 02 October 2019 at 11:49pm | IP Logged | 11 post reply

 Brian Hague wrote:
In general I found so much of the patchwork and idiotic explanations insulting not only to the original stories and storytellers, but insulting to me as a reader. What was done to shore up and fill in the past of the Legion was a hot mess of convoluted stupidity. The death of the pocket-U Superboy was probably the worst written thing I had ever seen in comics to that point. The headache-inducing stupidity of everyone spouting their own favorite cliche at his funeral was unendurable. "He was the best of us." "I'm going to miss him." "I loved him, you know." Oh, god. DC paid someone money for this? Really?*


 Brian Hague wrote:
* Yes, in real life people say stupid things at funerals. Doesn't mean your characters are pinatas filled with wonderfulness for being just as stupid on the page.


Ha-ha, It's funny that you mention this... In my previous message, I said that I started reading superhero comics just after Crisis happened... Well, that was not totally accurate. I actually started a few months after Legends, and the Superman-Legion crossovers were my 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th superhero comic books ever (I was 8).

Yeah, I understand that killing that character, the whole pocket universe thing... I get that it was all some kind of patch, but... Oh boy that story worked for my 8 year old self. Perhaps the dialogs at the funeral were a bit silly, but John and Paul created a very entertaining and dramatic story and John (again) and Greg a great artwork for it.

Of course, I am biased... this was my first crossover and also the first time I saw a superhero group in action. After reading the first Superman issue in the story (part 2 of the crossover), I told my family that I absolutely needed the previous Legion number to understand the story. Being able to find the last number to finish the story, the one where Superboy dies, was also epic.

I used to force my grandpa to walk from shop to shop to find Superman issues and, in this case, also Legion of Superheroes issues... I remember having difficulties finding these 2 Legion issues in my city in Spain.


Edited by Carlos Velasco on 02 October 2019 at 11:51pm
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Eric Jansen
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Posted: 02 October 2019 at 11:51pm | IP Logged | 12 post reply

Alan Brennert wrote about twelve DC stories and they're all winners.

Am I wrong or is BATMAN: YEAR ONE just part of "Frank Miller World" now?  (Along with DARK KNIGHT RETURNS, ALL STAR BATMAN AND ROBIN, and, I suppose now, SUPERMAN: YEAR ONE.)  I don't think it lines up with pre- or post-CRISIS (or FLASHPOINT or whatever) Batgirl's life.
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