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Michael Barnes
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Godtear Beats the Odds - Review

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Scout Board Game Review

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The Split - Review

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Bugs: Recent Topics Paging, Uploading Images & Preview (11 Dec 2020)

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Continuity in Comics

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14 Sep 2013 17:32 - 14 Sep 2013 17:32 #160966 by Shellhead
How do you feel about continuity in comics? Bane or blessing? Personally, I think it's a mix. Without any continuity, there would just be a bunchy of unrelated one-shot stories lacking cohesion for any kind of world building or epic scale. With too much continuity, you end up with a lot of crap cluttering up each character, and writers are hard-pressed to keep it all straight.

While DC obviously has major continuity problems after multiple reboots, Marvel has problems too. Usually Marvel editors like to just move on and leave the problems in the dust, until some wiseguy writer brings back something that was supposed to forgotten. Like the Magneto/Xorn mess:

Last edit: 14 Sep 2013 17:32 by Shellhead.

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15 Sep 2013 01:47 #160978 by SaMoKo
Replied by SaMoKo on topic Re: Continuity in Comics
It's been a long while since I was into comics, but I didn't find continuity was the most severe problem. The big problem was that I had no clue where a storyline began or ended with plots threading through dozens of different comic series in some arcane way.

Does this still happen, or have they finally cleaned that up, because that's what turned me off trying to follow anything. Why can't Batman have just one series instead of ten? No kid is gonna buy all that shit. Crossover mega-plots should fuck off or be given a separate, temporary series which contains everything in a nice package. Put in a little guide at the back of the first issue indicating when the storyline takes place during each main series. Done.

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15 Sep 2013 03:02 #160984 by Jason Lutes
Continuity in mainstream comics is just one of several delightful illustrations of the extreme contortions corporate publishers will undertake in order to keep wringing money out of the fanboys.

In other words, it's fucking idiotic and insulting.
The following user(s) said Thank You: jeb

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16 Sep 2013 04:57 #161048 by Sevej
Replied by Sevej on topic Re: Continuity in Comics
This is mainly why I didn't get into superhero comics nor get into the discussion of 'em.

Majority of manga is crap, but the really good ones, even the mainstream ones, don't have this kind of baggage.

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16 Sep 2013 09:09 #161053 by tscook
Replied by tscook on topic Re: Continuity in Comics
I just read Berserk and don't care about continuity

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16 Sep 2013 11:15 #161056 by Sevej
Replied by Sevej on topic Re: Continuity in Comics

tscook wrote: I just read Berserk and don't care about continuity


I just hope the author doesn't die before he finish Berserk. Gantz, at least, has finished.

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16 Sep 2013 16:33 #161073 by Juniper
Replied by Juniper on topic Re: Continuity in Comics
There was a time when continuity was a novel thing. It allowed new and imaginative stories to be told. There isn't much fun or imagination in the mainstream superhero comics anymore.

The problem isn't continuity or its absence, IMO. The problem is that the Marvel and DC comics creators stopped having new ideas a long, long time ago. Continuity could be made to work, but only in the context of stories that are worth telling.

I personally find myself enjoying single-issue stories more than long, drawn-out story arcs, but I suspect that's because the multi-issue arcs tend to meander for several months until they reach an anti-climactic conclusion. They don't have the structure of a story, because they don't really have an ending. Instead, they use the death of a long-established character (Captain America in Civil War, Professor X in A vs X) to conclude the story without actually resolving the issues it raises.

It's harder for a single-issue story to fail to have an ending that resolves the major plot threads and conflicts. Editors, not to mention readers, would notice the flaw and reject the story.

So yeah, imagination and story structure are fundamental. Both can, in principle, exist in the presence of continuity, but that's rare.

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16 Sep 2013 16:40 - 16 Sep 2013 16:41 #161075 by SuperflyPete
I'm a short story kind of guy, myself, so continuity in comics is only cool if it's like a 2-6 part miniseries format. I like Punisher, and I always kind of thought the best thing for that Character would be a Tarantino-style hopping around between each issue, with a different story each time, and over the years you could cobble together a history of the character.

I don't know why they don't do this. I know Prophet sort of does this and that's why I like it, despite the horrible art.
Last edit: 16 Sep 2013 16:41 by SuperflyPete.

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16 Sep 2013 18:37 #161112 by Michael Barnes
Horrible art...from the man that loves Stone Age...

Anyway, I have mixed feelings about continuity. On the one hand, I like that it ties characters to a sense of tradition and ongoing, serial narrative. I like that it enables someone like Grant Morrison or Ed Brubaker to come in to Batman or Captain America and pull from a character's rich, diverse history to craft new concepts while hewing to core values and longstanding conventions.

But on the other hand, it's almost completely irrelevant. Not just because there is no actual continuity between Thor #1 and Thor #800 or whatever, let alone Mighty Thor, Thor: God of Thunder, Thor: (insert subtitle here), Thor reboot, Journey into Mystery, and so on and on and on and on. It's almost kind of a myth- or even wishful thinking- that characters have a concrete sense of continuity. Plus, with the whole shifting time scale thing, it practically renders continuity meaningless. I'm reading Demon in a Bottle and all of the sudden Tony creates the Iron Man armor while he's imprisoned in Vietnam. What?

Then there's the continuity shake-up events. DC's Crises, Marvel's big events and so forth, that render continuity a shambles anyway.

I like shorter series or sticking to runs where I like the writer. It's rare that I hang with a book for a very long time. JSA is an exception, it's written in fairly tight, comprehensive 3-4 issue story arcs and I like that the best.

It is correct that some of this has to do with a lack of innovation or creativity in managing these extremely long serial stories...which is why Civil War, for example, is the old "Mutant Registration" trope or "Superheroes- outlawed!" one done over. Throw in the big news death of a major character- which almost always lands in mainstream newspapers and sells books- and you've got a bestselling title.

But it's funny, I've never met ANYONE that likes the big crossover stuff. I'll be completely honest- that stuff, I read the scans. I ain't buying a random issue of Birds of Prey or Batwing to get part of a story that's in the regular Batman title that I buy and read. That's also a nightmare for someone like me that likes trades- impossible to get the whole story. Unless you do something like those god awful Age of Apocalypse volumes.

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16 Sep 2013 20:37 #161117 by Shellhead
Replied by Shellhead on topic Re: Continuity in Comics
I had forgotten about the retconning of Iron Man's origin to Vietnam right in the middle of Demon in a Bottle. I think that was before Marvel started doing the sliding time scale as an overall policy. At that time, Editor-in-Chief Jim Shooter was stuck on the idea of replacing or aging out various major Marvel heroes. He also launched a New Universe comic line, in an effort to start up a fresh continuity that was free from baggage, though most of the characters failed to make a lasting impression.

Another problem with the big crossovers that Barnes mentioned is that they are even a pain to re-read if you already own all the tie-in issues. Most people organize their collections by title, so a story that is veering off into a dozen more other titles may involve poking around in a bunch of separate storage boxes. It's easier to just re-read a comic by title or even run on a title, and so those event tie-ins tend to come across as annoying speed bumps that detract from the rest of the run with incomplete sections of stories.

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16 Sep 2013 21:21 #161122 by SuperflyPete
Dude, Prophet was drawn by a talented 12 year old in crayon, for real. Punisher Max...that's good art. Prophet...not so much.

Still, better than that one guy who draws 50 pouches on people, can't draw legs...yada yada. That guy is GAR-BAGE.

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16 Sep 2013 21:39 #161125 by Michael Barnes
You probably wouldn't like Moebius either. It's about mood, atmosphere, and tone more than anatomical technique or realism. PuniMax was decent, but bland. Lots of black ink, that's for sure. Somebody turn on a damn lamp.

At least we can agree on Liefeld.

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16 Sep 2013 23:09 #161130 by SuperflyPete
For me, Prophet is Pollock. Some people appreciate that, and I give no quarrel for them liking it. Just looks all kinds of fucked up IMO.

I agree with Punisher Max - dark. One could posit that it "should be dark" since it's about a bereaved husband-father/psychopath but IMO the darkness should be due to the plot, not the art. Still, it's among my faves.

I read a lot of the Conan "Volume..." stuff and that art is hit and miss, but when it's on, it's TOTALLY on.

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16 Sep 2013 23:15 #161132 by Michael Barnes
You should look at some of the more painterly European stuff, like The Mercenary (all done in OIL paintings, which is kind of ridiculous...and also why there's just a handful of books) and Korrigans...

Or maybe just stop in to the local Thomas Kincade gallery. ;-)

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17 Sep 2013 02:12 #161149 by Not Sure
Replied by Not Sure on topic Re: Continuity in Comics
Painterly?

I usually stay out of the comic threads, but this is where I get to remind people of "Stray Toasters".

Not just painted, but multi-media madness.

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