Come with me now, to those golden days of yesteryear...which could be about four or five years ago, by my reckoning. I am speaking of course, of Comics. Remember when comics had an actual STORY? A plotline, that had a beginning, a middle and...brace yourselves...an end? I'm not speaking of a final ending such as Sandman, or Preacher or Hitman, although ALL of those comics were pretty sensational. I'm speaking of regular Super-hero comics, that come out every month.
It is possible, to have a monthly comic, with cliff-hangers, and such, and still tell a definitive story. For example, look at Blue Beetle. Not the one that they have now, but the OLD new Blue Beetle. When John Rogers and Kieth Giffen came out with Jaime Reyes. From issue 1 through 25, there was a definite story. Everything was eventually leading up to that huge finale in issue #25, when Jaime finally and totally beats the Reach, with a little bit of help from Guy, Ice, Fire, Booster, Dani Garrett, Batman and his family and friends.
He not only beat the Reach, but there was a celebration afterwards, and we all got to bask in the glory of a superb story, superbly told, with a clear victory, and a chance to all rejoice in that victory, and catch our breath, and heave a sigh of pure comical joy. And then, next month, the story picked up again.
Geoff Johns has done that with the return of Hal Jordan, when Parallax was beaten, and Hal became a Green Lantern again. Then slowly, things built up to the Sinstro Corps War, which was fabulous, and they won after a lot of trials and tribulations, and we got to celebrate, and then it was on again. Scott Snyder just did it with the Owls story in Batman. We had it all leading up to a very satisfying conclusion, and then a chance to rest, and reflect.
I like stories like that. I like a chance to see it all start to build up to a massive battle, of fists or wit, to see the hero win out, and to have a chance to cheer and a chance to decompress a bit before the next story starts. But this seems to becoming more and more of a rarity, at least in some books.
Marvel for example doesn't seem to be able to just put an artist and a writer on a book and let them collaborate and tell their own stories anymore. Everything...EVERYTHING is part of a Huge Mandated Editor-Driven Narrative...the Next Big Cross-over. Barely does one massive Cross-over end, than the next one starts. There isn't any opportunity to catch our breath, for the heroes to sit back, patch their wounds, and go out for a drink before it all starts again. It is a frenetic pace, and it is...wearying.
Maybe it's just me. DC seems to be doing much of the same thing, although not quite to the same degree as Marvel. It's nice to see that the different universes, all use things from the different books, consequences in one book should show up in other books, at least sometimes. But when I read a book, I want to read about the Hero or Heroine of THAT book...not necessarily to see how he or she is tied into what is happening in another book...possibly a book that I don't read, and have no desire to read.
Yes, it may just be a ploy to get us all to buy each and every single book put out by the Publisher...but that's not going to happen. No matter HOW dedicated a reader you may be...who can afford that? Especially when they are just going to collect the whole darned thing in a couple of months anyway.
This is starting to get convoluted, and it is probably just a bit of me whining, that things aren't as good as they were in the Good Old Days...but I rather miss, being able to open a book and read about an adventure and have it NOT tie into thirty other books. Cross-overs must be popular, and they must be lucrative...otherwise, I can't see why the various Publishers would continue to produce them...but it is past the point of getting out of hand. How can you possibly attract new customers, when every single issue is the middle of a 12 part series, with off-shoots into 30 different OTHER books! It's a little crazy out there.
I read the whole Blue Beetle series over the weekend, and it made me...happy. And I like that.