Hal Pictures Green Lantern Butt's FOREVER!: Remember When...?

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Monday, July 16, 2012

Remember When...?

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.


At 7:46 PM, Blogger notintheface said...

I'm having this problem with Avengers Vs. X-Men. I stopped giving a crap about that event after AvX#2, but it's tying into 2 regular books on my pull list, Avengers Academy and Wolverine & The X-Men.

It's not hurting Avengers Academy (which somehow has a unique ability to maintain its quality and even thrive during these tie-ins). But it's absolutely KILLING my enjoyment of Wolverine & The X-Men. I'm almost considering temporarily dropping the book.

At 11:37 AM, Blogger SallyP said...

I used to be SUCH a huge Avengers and X-Men fan...and nowadays I just Do Not Care. This constant Cross-over mania, and the fact that all they do is fight each other instead of actual Bad Guys...is really starting to get tedious.

At 12:26 PM, Blogger Shelly said...

No, not just you. But then, I'm not reading a whole lot right now. Batwoman seems to be building toward something, so I'm looking forward to how that works out. And Nightwing, which I just started reading, seems to have a real story going on. But comics just aren't what they used to be. Too many of them simply aren't fun.

At 6:51 PM, Blogger SallyP said...

And fun is the key word. I think that Journey Into Mystery has been the only book that has been Fun in a while...so naturally, they are probably going to cancel it. Although The Shade was rather a hoot.

But I LIKE fun!

At 12:28 AM, Blogger LissBirds said...

I miss story in comics, too.

And I miss single issue stories...! It's so hard to keep track of everything, so a nice single issue story would be a refreshing change.

At 10:44 AM, Blogger notintheface said...

I think the key is not buying just Big Two books anymore.

Has anybody checked out the Monkeybrain digital comics on Comixology? I highly recommend them.

At 12:16 PM, Blogger SallyP said...

I'll have to check that out, Face. I DID manage to finally find the first two books of Saga, and it is really phenomenal.

At 12:46 PM, Blogger MetFanMac said...

Strange minds think alike--I just finished rereading my 4 glorious Blue Beetle TPBs, and they age like a fine wine.

You know something else we don't see much of anymore? One- or two-issue stories by the regular creative team. Instead everything either ties into a longer story arc or it's a guest spot to give the regulars a breather.

At 6:29 PM, Blogger SallyP said...


At 7:12 AM, Blogger Marionette said...

The thing is, when you go back and read an old '60's comic, there's so much concentrated story power in ten pages it almost makes your head go kabloowie.

At 12:36 PM, Blogger SallyP said...

Oh, you mean they didn't take an entire page to show the exact same artwork of two character's heads, in 20 tiny frames? They actually used the art to advance the story?

Kabloowie indeed.

At 3:32 PM, Blogger notintheface said...

Or take that Shazam/Captain Marvel backup in Justice League. Would you believe that after 5 eight-paged chapters that Billy is just NOW discovering the secret subway tunnel?

At 9:18 AM, Blogger SallyP said...

Well, Billy has been busy being unlikeable, you know. These things take time!


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