Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Big Picture: "Continanity"

21 comments:

Luc said...

As always, I enjoyed your Big Picture segment. I've never heard of DC's continuity exploitations before listening to this.

Ramzeltron said...

Oh DC, you so crazy.

Adam said...

And here I thought keeping track of the X-Men was a pain in the ass. Thanks Bob.

Jason said...

The whole continuity thing is one of my main pet peeves about the superhero genre. Personally, I hate it.

The Karligarchy said...

So are you going to have a crisis event with the antithinker at the other show?

I love continuity mechanics/franchise management. Has anyone else ever considered what Star Trek crisis event would be like? With the most recent film there are now at least three distinct universes we have and will regularly see. The regular, Star Trek 09 and mirror universes. I know this is next to unlikely but, imagine what it would be like if this current star trek film cycle concluded its run with a crisis type event that merged the Star Trek 09, and Regular universes with the mirror universe somewhere in there too.

TheDVDGrouch said...

Its hard not love a good episode about continuity.

tyra menendez said...

And that's why Marvel created the Ultimate Universe - a stripped down, back to basics, and modernized version of the big guns, without the 30-40 years of continuity to keep up with.
You also didn't mention the gender inversion universe. Yeah, SuperWoman, BatWoman, etc. where Jim Lee draws a female version of Superman that makes Power Girl look small. If you haven't seen the image, look it up, it's hypnotic, in a way.

@Karligarchy,
No.

tyra menendez said...

Actually, screw it, I'll post some links.
http://i7.photobucket.com/albums/y271/calvillo05/superwoman2.jpg
http://loyalkng.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/01/batwoman-superwoman-vs-batman.jpg
And I can't seem to find the one I was thinking of, so those'll have to do.

rob said...

Ok, pretty good episode.
I (M/24) started collecting comics about 3 years ago, started with DC, because Batman and stuff I knew well from TV. But collecting TPB's from Batman is not such a rewarding practice. Most suck, they are bland stories, usually some good artists though (there are obvious exceptions, Killing Joke, Dark Knight Returns, Long Halloween and All Star)
So I moved on to broader DC, Green lantern, also not that great, too many characters, no depth. Then I read Final Crisis, the TPB, didn't understand §#!7 of it.
I switched to Marvel and some of the more independant labels.

Oh, one more thing DC is really good at, or bad depending on your perspective: Wanna start following Batman or whatever weekly? It's tough. A story starts in (example) Batman 781, then continues in Detective Comics 884, then moves to Robin V4 #236, then to Outsiders 123 then to Legends of Dark Knight 224 etc. etc. finding all the titles is a lot of work, and takes some luck. You basically need a Database on a Smartphone to see which you have and which not. Any developers reading? Go nuts!

Here Marvel scores some points, they did it as well with Spidey for 3 series for a while, but during the Brand New Day bit, all series were merged with an occasional special. Making it far more accessible to pick up a bi-weekly issue.

Reverend Allan Ironside said...

I loved Infinite Crisis

asdfasgd said...

I gotta say marvel really isn't a whole lot better. Especially in the last five years or so they have really been making up for lost time with a lot of their events. And the whole Ultimate
s Universe thing worked for a while until now when the Ultimate's Universe is just about as convoluted as the main marvel universe... This is pretty much an industry wide problem that I have always wished would somehow be addressed eventually. I guess its why I don't mind all the comic movie reboots all that much. While some continuity like marvel movies are trying is nice for a while, in the next 5 to 10 years its going to really start to get to be a real b****...

tyra menendez said...

I'd say it's the nature of the beast, though, unless you're Alan Moore and can write ten titles a month, yourself, with any kind of large community, your going to have conflicts.
I'd say Dark Horse is the only company that doesn't have that problem, really. Since all of Dark Horse's major titles are Star Wars or creator-owned titles that don't share the same universe, there's just not as much opportunity for cluster fucks.

Jack T. Chance said...

It's not too hard to follow with a little work. I only started reading comics in 2006 and it didn't take me long to start picking up older trades and surfing wikipedia to get the whole DC history. While my peers were reading manga, I was off reading Sinestro Corp. Strangely it was the DCAU that actually got me interested in picking up comics.

Also, 52 was freaking awesome.

Nick said...

Well, so much for the "Bob cares more about fanboy/continuity stuff than about making good movies!" whiners who are attacking you for ripping on SpiderLight...

Khaki Hat said...

I'm just going to keep watching Brave and the Bold and leave my fascination at that.

The Karligarchy said...

Marvel certainly does have its own continuity problems. The Ultimate universe merged with the Squadron Supreme universe a few years back, which was an odd decision to say the least. I guess Ultimatum was meant to tidy Ultimate continuity up a bit but, now seems to have been rather ineffective. Regular Marvel continuity is virtually splintered between the mutants and everyone else. The mutants almost have their own pocket universe of continuity within regular Marvel books. Hell, to keep up with them completely you´d have to read 15 books. X-Men/Wolverine currently spans 15 on going titles right now! That´s a continuity mess all on its own.

CraftyAndy said...

that is just horrendous and they wonder why they can't get new readers. This is why I stick to independent stories. A beginning middle and end. That's it The Sword, Grils, Y: The Last Man that is how you should be doing comics. How could you expect to keep readers coming when for a second if they mis one or two issues, they'll be lost.

Black Shadow said...

I'm honestly going to have to call bullshit on "getting lost".

I've recently decided to leap into comics and find out the source material for these characters. And thanks to this wonderful device called a computer and if you have internet, within less than 5 minutes I was up to speed on the characters/teams I was interested in reading about.

Along with that I also found out which stories are recommended and which I should avoid.

I mean seriously, this "problem" with continuity isn't as vast a problem as some make it out to be, especially when living in the age of the god-damn internet.

Yea maybe in the 70's, 80's, & 90's this would be a problem, but nowadays? No, it isn't as big a deal as some people like to think.

I say the bigger problem with comics is the amount of writers/artist who do nothing but continue to make awful stories/artwork of these characters.

akkuma420 said...

@Black Shadow
lol... Damn dude, you pretty much took the words right out my mouth, almost word for word.
I have nothing to say now that someone said almost exactly what I was gonna say... hmmm... lol.

(See above comment) lol... I guess that will do.

Damn. haha.

CraftyAndy said...

@black shadow
I have no interest in living a lifetime vicariously through these characters. If there is a story arc and they keep making references to things that happened before or during events that are a required read in order to get the whole picture (like Marvel's civil war for example) I can't possibly conceive how I'm supposed to follow along, hold interest and spend all my damn money. And it kind of eliminates any impact a event or story can have when I have to read the summary on the Wikipedia article to follow. Big crossover events are really nothing interesting just give me a good story arch involving The Punisher, or Spiderman or both, beginning middle and end, and that's it. Don't have a bunch of spin off series and other crap expecting me to shell out money hoping that the other books have good coherent writing as well that fit with the over all event. To hell with that noise, I want a story not mental masturbation.

theblock said...

I loved your take on this topic Bob, as giving up on Marvel after following Weapon X throughout the early 2000s until the horrendously bad "Days of Future Now" ark (cop out ending BTW)I decided to give DC a shot after hearing so much buzz on Infinite Crisis. Especially Wonder Woman. Which brings me to my proposal.
Have you thought about doing another one of your,"Comic Books Are Weird" segment of the BP,only devoting it solely to Wonder Woman? In particular how she still get none of the same respect from the two companies that own her rights, DC and Warner. Or how even most comic book writers don't really know how to make her work to be a big seller and that they always seem to retcon whatever the last writer established and doing their own thing making her the one DC comic with its own continuity problem within itself. Or having to put pants and a jacket on her to get attention from the mainstream i.e. being outraged at altering an iconic figure in pop-culture like they did with Superman in the 90s after his "Death". And how that same guy whom proposed such change to her familiar look for his own altered timeline story(who ALSO wrote that Spiderman Retcon fiasco, J Michael Straczynski) later abandoning said story cause the alternate earth re-telling of Superman's Origin made more money for DC and would walk away from monthlies for graphic novels only from then on.
Or how, EVEN TODAY, Warner is still too uncomfortable with trying a Wonder Woman movie and instead taking the safe route in a dumb TV series which probably will be a more modernized version of the Lynda Carter one like what was done with Nightrider and Bionic Woman..guh! Take a look at the WW section on CBR's message boards and see what us WW sympathizers have to say on the topic Bob: http://forums.comicbookresources.com/forumdisplay.php?f=69