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  1. #1
    New Member drpblunt's Avatar
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    Default why does continuity have to be so important

    i've been giving this some thought, why is the issue of continuity so important to DC? the reason i single out DC is that they seem to have a pathological need to keep correcting continuity issues (some well deserved ill agree) .

    i have always been more of a DC fan than a marvel zombie, but with that said, marvel has almost always glossed over issues regarding their continuity issues and were always prepared to just admit mistake and move on, where as DC almost never seems to really admit making a mistake and try to micro manage a fix with disatrous results (see;hawkman-hawkworld-hawkgod)

    COIE has always been a problem for me, at the time it came out i didn't agree with DC's decision to completely change the framework of their universe however i understood why they felt it was necissary. now with hindsight it became apparent (especially in the early years) that although the intentions were good the execution left much to be desired.

    but after 20 years most of those problems had subsided, like a rock falling into a pond, there were horrible ripples that had finally been quelled, the lake was placid once again, and it is this time that DC decided to throw another rock in the pond.

    i've always felt personally that stories should be the primary goal, a really good story will always trump a story that has to adhere to ridgid continuity concerns.

    the punisher is a good example, when Garth ennis resurrected the title, he barely acknowledged Frank's brief time as an angel of vengence and moved on, never has that sorry storyline ever been refrenced again.

    im buying IC but i dont really think the story itself is really any good, but i do want to be cognizent of the changes that DC is moving forward with, i just hope that when all is said and done, that in 20 years DC isn't wring its hands at all the as yet unforseen continuity issues IC will inevitably bring with it and will just move forward.

  2. #2
    Administrator Expletive Deleted's Avatar
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    'Cause they know their audience.
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  3. #3
    We're done professionally Bruce Wayne Jr.'s Avatar
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    Multi-layered storytelling?

  4. #4
    New Member drpblunt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce Wayne Jr.
    Multi-layered storytelling?
    ?????

  5. #5
    Webhead aeastwic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by drpblunt
    i've been giving this some thought, why is the issue of continuity so important to DC? the reason i single out DC is that they seem to have a pathological need to keep correcting continuity issues (some well deserved ill agree) .

    i have always been more of a DC fan than a marvel zombie, but with that said, marvel has almost always glossed over issues regarding their continuity issues and were always prepared to just admit mistake and move on, where as DC almost never seems to really admit making a mistake and try to micro manage a fix with disatrous results (see;hawkman-hawkworld-hawkgod)

    COIE has always been a problem for me, at the time it came out i didn't agree with DC's decision to completely change the framework of their universe however i understood why they felt it was necissary. now with hindsight it became apparent (especially in the early years) that although the intentions were good the execution left much to be desired.

    but after 20 years most of those problems had subsided, like a rock falling into a pond, there were horrible ripples that had finally been quelled, the lake was placid once again, and it is this time that DC decided to throw another rock in the pond.

    i've always felt personally that stories should be the primary goal, a really good story will always trump a story that has to adhere to ridgid continuity concerns.

    the punisher is a good example, when Garth ennis resurrected the title, he barely acknowledged Frank's brief time as an angel of vengence and moved on, never has that sorry storyline ever been refrenced again.

    im buying IC but i dont really think the story itself is really any good, but i do want to be cognizent of the changes that DC is moving forward with, i just hope that when all is said and done, that in 20 years DC isn't wring its hands at all the as yet unforseen continuity issues IC will inevitably bring with it and will just move forward.
    I think they have glossed over a bunch of things, but they seem to be a lot more resistant to admitting it. Marvel simply ignores bad stories. DC seems to try and "make up" for them.

    Hal Jordan is the perfect example of this. As entertaining as it was, Green Lantern Rebirth was a huge retcon that Hal Jordan went bad. The fan reaction to that was big enough for them to turn around and reverse it. So instead of Hal going nuts because everything he loved was destroyed; a yellow fear monster did it.

    Which is not necessarily bad, considering that the impact of him going nuts was not something you could gloss over. But basically, they didn't ignore anything, they just came up with a good story to explain it.

    DC has ignored a bunch of stuff, or dismissed it via Hypertime. But they put a lot of effort into trying to pull everything together. I believe that part of that is because you have someone like Geoff Johns who seems to treat DC's characters with a lot of reverence, and by extension he doesn't seem to like ignoring stories. Secondly, it's a big difference between DC and Marvel. DC is more of a "shared universe" and Marvel is not.

    I like the Marvel way, since I don't want to read more than the titles I like. The occasional cross-over is ok (the 90s were crap for me); but I find in a lot of DC stories that I need someone to explain something to me. Infinite Crisis bucks this trend, I haven;t had to really pull something else out to explain it; but a lot of times I have trouble with it.

    That point aside, DC kicks major *** right now, they've really pulled a lot together lately.
    -A

  6. #6
    We're done professionally Bruce Wayne Jr.'s Avatar
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    Sorry, I'll clarify.

    I appreciate the fact that continuity is so important to DC. Stories that build on each other and make good use of history just always seem better to me, more important. If I like a new story that references older material, I'll usually try and check out that older material.

    I don't like my characters to exist in a vacuum. When different character threads combine, the end product is usually more interesting.

  7. #7
    Webhead aeastwic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce Wayne Jr.
    Sorry, I'll clarify.

    I appreciate the fact that continuity is so important to DC. Stories that build on each other and make good use of history just always seem better to me, more important. If I like a new story that references older material, I'll usually try and check out that older material.

    I don't like my characters to exist in a vacuum. When different character threads combine, the end product is usually more interesting.
    Both Marvel and DC do this. DC relies more on continuity that Marvel, IMO. I agree that combining threads does make great storytelling, IC is a great example of that. It would be nice to see a world where Spider-Man was the only superhero too.

    I think Marvel will ignore things more often though. They'll say something is crap and tell people to ignore it. God Bless Stan Lee.
    -A

  8. #8
    Veteran Member glennsim's Avatar
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    I think continuity is only important in the sense that things need to make sense in the reader's mind.

    The classic example is where Superman had an Atlantis, and Aquaman had a different Atlantis, and Superman and Aquaman appeared together in Justice League of America. It just sorta begs the question of "why are they different?"

    Now, if Superman and Aquaman didn't appear together, it would be different. There wouldn't be any problem with each having a different Atlantis, any more than it's a problem for Superman and Sub-Mariner to have different Atlantis..es..

    But since they did, we needed an explanation - which we got in the form of the whole "two separate cities on one continent" thing.

    But another question would be "Why did they ever position these characters as living in the same world?" My only answer to that is that the writers just couldn't help themselves. The idea of having one hero meet another was too exciting to resist, despite the problems it might create (which would only be noticable if you're a reader over the age of, say, eight, which they didn't think they had much of).

    And so on. The idea of having Green Lantern and Hawkman battling a menace in space together sounds cool, so we have Rann-Thanagar War. It'll probably continue on in the genre.

    For my money, I'm glad they did, because I do think it creates a more exciting reading experience when I can feel like I fully understand the world the character is living in, and that it's a big one.

  9. #9
    New Member drpblunt's Avatar
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    my big problem with IC stems from my location, i live in Finland, the only comic shop here sells trades and diving equipment (yeah thats right diving equipment, WTF) so im left with purchasing books online, thats OK but i've never been a tie in guy and the tie titles that were launched preceeding IC i didnt bother to get (i mostly buy books by writers i like) so now that im reading IC im somewhat lost, if i was still living in the states this would be a non issue cause i would have skimmed the tie ins at my local shop and at the very least been current with what was going on and if i liked the story i would have bought them, but i have to be very selective in what i buy (shipping charges are pretty high).

    i really don have this problem when buying marvel titles cause they dont tend to tie into each other so much, but with IC i would have had to have bought WW and superman books that i wouldn't have bought normally, and DC tends to do the Tie in quite often.

    plus i hate it when its mandatory for me to buy titles i'm not interested in just to be currentin a particular storyline, for example, i hate Jeff Loeb as a writer (thats my prefrence) so lets say there is a majior plot elemnt in a majior crossover that happens to be in one of his books, i will never buy the book, so now im at a disadvantage when trying to get the whole story.
    Last edited by drpblunt; 01-24-2006 at 01:56 PM.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Capt USA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aeastwic
    Both Marvel and DC do this. DC relies more on continuity that Marvel, IMO. I agree that combining threads does make great storytelling, IC is a great example of that. It would be nice to see a world where Spider-Man was the only superhero too.

    I think Marvel will ignore things more often though. They'll say something is crap and tell people to ignore it. God Bless Stan Lee.

    I think that is pretty funny, it used to be the other way around, DC had almost no continuity outside of a title. Before Crisis you never really knew what really happened or what didn't, Marvel on the other hand was considered to be the continuity king. Under Queseda he's basically stated that continuity is second to stories, which is fine, but it makes it harder to guess or really appreciate a 'hidden' badguy when he shows up out of the shadows if they are 'retconning' his origin to fit into the story (before Joe Q I believe, but the second scourge = nomad was a perfect, horrible example of that)

  11. #11
    Elder Member XPac's Avatar
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    I think DC and Marvel both have continuity problems in different ways.

    Marvel makes a lot of small mistakes all over the place. DC's editors often seem more on the same page. That's not a compliment Marvel gets too often.

    That said, if you follow DC and think of characters like Donna Troi or Beast Boy and the Doom Patrol or Hawkeye, it can drive you nuts. Marvel never decided to pretend all that stuff Stan Lee and Kirby did one way suddenly didn't count. By doing that they have left HUGE plot holes that to this day have never been filled and probably never will be.

    I think the bottom line is that continuity is important because anything that potentially confuses the readers is bad. But that said, no writer will ever let it get in the way of a good story they are trying to tell IF breaking continuity is important enough to tell the story. Right or wrong, that's just the way it is.

  12. #12
    Elder Member Shellhead's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by XPac
    That said, if you follow DC and think of characters like Donna Troi or Beast Boy and the Doom Patrol or Hawkeye, it can drive you nuts.
    I'm assuming you meant Hawkman. Hawkeye's continuity was fine until Bendis came along.
    "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere."
    Martin Luther King Jr., Letter from Birmingham Jail, April 16, 1963

  13. #13
    Webhead aeastwic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Capt USA
    I think that is pretty funny, it used to be the other way around, DC had almost no continuity outside of a title. Before Crisis you never really knew what really happened or what didn't, Marvel on the other hand was considered to be the continuity king. Under Queseda he's basically stated that continuity is second to stories, which is fine, but it makes it harder to guess or really appreciate a 'hidden' badguy when he shows up out of the shadows if they are 'retconning' his origin to fit into the story (before Joe Q I believe, but the second scourge = nomad was a perfect, horrible example of that)
    Most of the time I've read comics, it's been like that. Although I don't have the history on DC that I do with Marvel. Most of the Marvel stories I've read seem to be self-contained or easily accessible. I'd say that 90% of my Marvels are pre-1985 and post-2002, so let's face it...it's the Stan Lee years and Quesada years that dominate.

    Both eras do seem to ignore minor continuty points to tell a story, which I think is ok. After 40 years you write yourself into corners if you are too rigid. I think you need to write good stories that are true to the character and mostly everything else falls into place.

    Since reading DC, I have to admit that it takes me longer to understand what is happening. I loved the $6 IC catch-up TPB that showed all the events that lead up to IC. It really helped me catch up. Until Identity Crisis it seemed like there was a huge crossover every year that I couldn't figure out.

    It's a matter of perspective. I think both ways work. I tend to gravitate towards Marvel (long time zombie) but have really been caught up with Identity Crisis (flawed as it was), Flash, JLA and Infinite Crisis.
    -A

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by aeastwic
    Hal Jordan is the perfect example of this. As entertaining as it was, Green Lantern Rebirth was a huge retcon that Hal Jordan went bad. The fan reaction to that was big enough for them to turn around and reverse it. So instead of Hal going nuts because everything he loved was destroyed; a yellow fear monster did it.
    The funniest thing to me about Hal Jordan (before Rebirth) is that he was essentially a metaphor for his own story. He couldn't accept things the way they were, he kept trying to fix everything, and each time he did, things got screwed up even worse. Exactly the same as the people writing him :)

  15. #15
    Veteran Member DDM's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by drpblunt
    my big problem with IC stems from my location, i live in Finland, the only comic shop here sells trades and diving equipment (yeah thats right diving equipment, WTF) so im left with purchasing books online, thats OK but i've never been a tie in guy and the tie titles that were launched preceeding IC i didnt bother to get (i mostly buy books by writers i like) so now that im reading IC im somewhat lost, if i was still living in the states this would be a non issue cause i would have skimmed the tie ins at my local shop and at the very least been current with what was going on and if i liked the story i would have bought them, but i have to be very selective in what i buy (shipping charges are pretty high).

    i really don have this problem when buying marvel titles cause they dont tend to tie into each other so much, but with IC i would have had to have bought WW and superman books that i wouldn't have bought normally, and DC tends to do the Tie in quite often.

    plus i hate it when its mandatory for me to buy titles i'm not interested in just to be currentin a particular storyline, for example, i hate Jeff Loeb as a writer (thats my prefrence) so lets say there is a majior plot elemnt in a majior crossover that happens to be in one of his books, i will never buy the book, so now im at a disadvantage when trying to get the whole story.

    Man, I think you would have complained more when Crisis On Infinite Earths #1-12 came out with all the main & obscure tie-in books plus the companion book, Who's Who #1-26 (plus their 2 separate update books).

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