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14 June 2011 @ 05:25 pm
 
I've spent years reading serialized fiction. I spent a considerable portion of that time concentrating on the illustration-based graphic storytelling format. "Comic books," if I want to stop sounding like an elitist snob. I don't want to stop that quite yet, because as asinine and pretentious as it may sound, it informs a point I'm going to attempt to make here.

Doesn't make my point sound reasonable or sane, but it's underneath whatever window dressing I may put on the position I'm going to take. Might as well be up-front with it.

I'm done with comic books that have certain characteristics. This list includes (but is not limited to) the following:

Any non-anthology serial with multiple writers over its span. <i>Superman</i> would be included in this list as would almost every mainstream comic book series in print.
Any series starring a character in use in multimedia or multi-format revenue campaigns. Clearly, this would include Batman, Spider-Man, the X-Men, and so on, again heavily spanning superhero comic books.
Any series that involves a "reboot" or large-scale "retcon" that is not itself part of the plot. DC and Marvel, I'm looking at both of you, your entire publishing lines.
Any series that uses time travel as a plot device IF any hand-waving goes on to wash away continuity errors brought about by or as repercussions of time travel. Deal with it or don't use it.

Why am I coming to this point? Take a look at the list. All those qualities lead to are creeping continuity errors brought on by causes beyond simple errors. I can take a continuity error that occurs because a single writer didn't manage to keep every second of every day of every character's timeline in order, committed to memory. When someone wants to change something that happened, for whatever reason (didn't like it, doesn't let them do something they want to do now, blah blah blah), they treat the timeline like a guideline, not as history. Yes, history is written by the victors, but all you can change is the re-telling. The events still happened the way they happened, or causality ends. Yes, I recognize that there are arguments for subjective realities that can warp any attempt to stick to linear time as a foundation of "reality," but storytelling in a format where past events can be referenced depends on causality, and a strict one. Trying to back up and fit in events that hadn't happened to make them possible in the now ignores causality. Events that had happened in the past would have made ripples, consequences that need to be completely covered for why they wouldn't have been experienced. Attempts to do this usually leave holes, and holes are weaknesses that can tear your audience out of their suspension of disbelief. It's weak storytelling and avoidable, so there's no excuse for it.

I'm at peace with comic books as an industry rather than being an art form. Most of them aren't made to be art. They're created to be sold. That's always been the case. Some writers, some artists, have made glorious, beautiful roses grow from a foundation of excrement. I choose not to support that anymore.
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rickvsrickvs on June 15th, 2011 11:33 am (UTC)
If you haven't read "Digger", I recommend it: http://www.diggercomic.com/