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The Ten: Updated Wednesdays-Fridays-Sundays

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

I'll Cross Over YOU! Or, let's talk about Comic Books...

I only want to say this once, because this is my current opinion of comic books and it's likely to change eventually, but comic books suck right now.

...Er, correction. Mainstream comic books suck right now.

There are plenty of nerds who follow comics. That's all well-and-good, but there is no way someone can be a retrospective expert on the DCU or the MU (Marvel Universe). This is because all of their titles and characters have backstories that are so in-depth and spanning that, to know them all, you would have to buy a ton of comics.

You are not a fan of a character if you wikipedia them. That merely means you are interested in them but too lazy to see if they're really your thing.

Comics really are awesome. They are a form of art, and are a blending of story and visual representation that you can't find anywhere else. But the part that has been lacking has NEVER been the art- it's the story. You see, as of late, the DCU and MU have been undergoing their own little crises- and they're dealing with them in their own special way. DC has decided to reboot their universe- wipe clean the slate that they've had going for the past 70 or so years and start their fiction anew, with some minor alterations. Marvel, in the meantime, has kept their continuity intact, but insist on killing off characters and replacing them with new ones, like the recent Ultimate Spider-man fiasco and potential new Thor story, as well as Captain America. Whereas Marvel sometimes goes back on their promises and brings said dead character back to life, but often, the change sticks, and the original character will not return to his role, instead working under a different alias.

IN ANY CASE, this is originality in a way that is not necessarily preferable to we comic fans. This proves that writers, rather than stay faithful to the complex backstories of these characters, have found that they can do nothing else but kill these characters and create new ones to fill their shoes. Now, you may think that isn't exactly the case with DC's reboot, but it technically is- think of picking up a copy of Harry Potter in which he's back at eleven years old, with no recollection of the original seven books, and having the story retold in a different manner, perhaps a completely different way- that says nothing about the writer's ability to build upon what has been said before- but then again, think of having to continue the story of a character that has countless other authors write their story, some of whom are far better than you? That's tough.

Comic books have a knack for over-exposing the characters that are popular. Deadpool has recently become extremely popular because he's amazing (more on that soon), and how does Marvel Comics respond to that? By giving him three titles, that's how (meaning there is a comic book series called "Deadpool," one named "Deadpool Corp," and also "Deadpool Team Up," which all have their own storylines) . That's not mentioning the number of miniseries he had. Batman, Superman, Wolverine, and Spider-man all fall into similar places.

However, this doesn't really apply to other comic companies, like Idea + Design Works. Then again, they have no real "money-making" characters- unless it's just the title character from their respective work. But you know, nobody takes "toy comics" seriously. Also, crossovers. It seems that every year there is a crossover that involves the entirety of a comic universe. How the hell did they tell stories back in the day? Oh, right- they made one-shot issues. That must be so hard, huh?

Now, just because comics have their issues doesn't mean they're bad. Is Deadpool not cool because he has three titles? No. Is the art of any of these comic book titles bad because of the number of them that exist? Again, no. But comic books can be risky- they can draw you into a world filled with vibrant, deep characters, but you may feel lost when there's a group of them, because each character does have their own story- which you can find out about if you buy another issue for three dollars. However, that's only one issue in the many that comprise such a hefty universe.

That's why it's probably easier to start reading the DCU right now, seeing as they've started fresh.

But not all comics suffer these problems! Miniseries and independent comics often try to break the mold as much as possible, so it's always a treat to try to pick up one of those. Not all comics are terrible, but they certainly have enough wrong with them to dissuade some. However, a great deal of art and story is put into each issue, and you have to appreciate them from that standpoint as much as you can.

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