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  1. #121
    Senior Member chastmastr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fate's Faith View Post
    While the OP seems to be criticizing the content, I think you make a valid point about they way comics are written. I blame that on this idea that every issue is always in the middle of an arc. At best, issue three of all 52 comics should have been able to be enjoyed by anyone just picking the title up for the first time. Now, I like arcs since they allow for a more developed story. That's fine. But I think the single issue needs to come back. A nice mixture really. Sometimes the way the pages are laid out are confusing to me so maybe that could use some work.
    Oh, that drives me absolutely nuts as well. Before Flashpoint I was saying that while I, as a long-time reader, was able to make sense of what was going on, someone just walking in off the street would be dealing with the middle of a year-long story arc involving Superman taking a very long walk as a result of a war between Earth and the expanded bottle city of Kandor, or another year-long arc involving Wonder Woman trying to figure out what her reality was, or Batman being dead but really lost in time, with no really simple entry point for a new reader, kid or adult. I don't want all stories to be done-in-one but now it seems like everything is part of some arc or other--and the investment of at least, say, ($2.99 an issue x six issues multiplied by tax divided by store/subscription discount) around $18 just to see the beginning, middle and end of a story--well, yikes! Marvel has its issues but I think the point-one comics are a very, very good idea overall.

    I mean, Lord knows I started a thread about the ethics of killing parademons in Justice League, but $3.99 x 6 issues = twenty-four freakin' dollars to see, in my view, apart from morals or philosophy or whatever, very little actually happen in the JL's new origin story, the big shiny centerpiece of the new DCU--eeeeyurgh. I just can't afford that. Especially not in this economy. I really felt like the story, such as it was, could have been told, and told better, in three issues or less.

  2. #122
    Soldier, Teacher Rob Thompson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chastmastr View Post
    I mean, Lord knows I started a thread about the ethics of killing parademons in Justice League, but $3.99 x 6 issues = twenty-four freakin' dollars to see, in my view, apart from morals or philosophy or whatever, very little actually happen in the JL's new origin story, the big shiny centerpiece of the new DCU--eeeeyurgh. I just can't afford that. Especially not in this economy. I really felt like the story, such as it was, could have been told, and told better, in three issues or less.
    I tend to agree with you about how long comic arcs stretch out now, and how that probably isn't much helping the industry. When I first started picking up comics, they generally were single issue focused, with a series of sub-plots running underneath over the course of time, meaning the issue was centered around a main story that was generally resolved in the single issue. Some stories stretched over two issues, the odd one went three or more. But they were all very new-reader friendly, something I think has been sort of lost in today's market.
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  3. #123
    They LAUGHED at my theory SteveGus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by An Ear In The Fireplace View Post
    Now usually in these arguments, someone will point out that back in the 30s comics were meant to be read by adults. And that might be true--although kids read the same comics and seemed to understand the pictures--but for decades after that comic book super-heroes appealed to kids. They were designed to appeal to kids.

    Kids want to read about super-heroes. Super-heroes speak to the power fantasies of kids. And yet publishers continue to publish stuff for an aging demographic.

    What's wrong with that? Well, if you don't bring in new readers, comics become reliant more and more on a smaller and smaller group of niche readers. What made DC strong in the days when it was the number one publisher was that they were able to bring in many different kinds of readers. DC had a big tent.

    The more that comics appealed to a smaller and smaller demographic--the lower their print runs became. Or the lower the print runs, the smaller the demographic. Either way, it was a downward trend. And as long as that trend continues, DC is going to depend on a very small demographic for its sales. But they have so many characters that would attract new and young readers--if they would just make more comics that young readers can read.
    I've also often thought that the encouragement of literary pretensions in comic book writing was a Very Bad Thing, myself. It results in a loss of the kinds of storytelling skill needed to create a serial pulp adventure, with one complete story told, or at least a cliffhanger set up, within the pages of a single issue. Writing this way requires clarity, focus, and quite a bit of re-restating what ought to be obvious to frequent readers.

    Of course, literary pretension changes the nature of the stories told. Even if they don't become dark and violent, the stories still become oblique and inconclusive. I think it's safe to say that the consumer that picks up an issue of Superman isn't looking for a philosophical story involving narrative ambiguity or moral grey areas. But the worst effect is that it encourages the writer to think in terms of the trade paperback rather than the single issue as the unit of story. The writer gets promoted to being a Graphic Novelist, rather than a writer of serial pulp adventure.
    Superhero comic books only become art to the extent that their banal, unrealistic fantasy and garish styles go too far and become interesting. Attempts to ground them in reality can only ruin them.

  4. #124
    Senior Member chastmastr's Avatar
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    I feel compelled to point out that good literature need not involve either narrative ambiguity nor moral grey areas. Just saying.

  5. #125
    Soldier, Teacher Rob Thompson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chastmastr View Post
    I feel compelled to point out that good literature need not involve either narrative ambiguity nor moral grey areas. Just saying.
    I don't necessarily disagree, but do you have an example you're thinking of, 'cause off the top of my head I can't think of one.
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  6. #126
    Senior Member chastmastr's Avatar
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    Well, just off the top of my head, Dante, Spenser, and Milton...

  7. #127
    Soldier, Teacher Rob Thompson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chastmastr View Post
    Well, just off the top of my head, Dante, Spenser, and Milton...
    You don't think those authors wrote morally ambiguous works?
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  8. #128
    Senior Member chastmastr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Thompson View Post
    You don't think those authors wrote morally ambiguous works?
    Er... no...?

  9. #129
    Soldier, Teacher Rob Thompson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chastmastr View Post
    Er... no...?
    Wow. That's the first time I've ever heard anyone say that of those authors.
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  10. #130
    Senior Member chastmastr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Thompson View Post
    Wow. That's the first time I've ever heard anyone say that of those authors.
    That's the first time--apart from the old claim about Milton really being "of the devil's party" (which I believe to have been thoroughly disproved by Lewis in his Preface to Paradise Lost)--that I've heard people try to argue that those authors are morally ambiguous. Indeed, their lack of moral ambiguity seems to be more the sort of thing some people don't like about them.

  11. #131
    Elder Member Mat001's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by glennsim View Post
    For what it's worth, I've never found the statement "I did X when I was a kid and it didn't warp me."

    I'm no psychologist, but I'm not sure everyone who is warped knows they are warped.
    Let me put it to you this way, I never went out and shot people like those in Columbine did, thirteen years ago. The media and so-called professionals were adamant that playing violent video games and listening to certain types of music like Rammstein warped their minds and made them kill. Along with watching "The Matrix". But you know what, that wasn't what drove them to do what they did. I have watched violent movies, played violent video games and listened to music like that. Yet, I never once had the urge to pull the trigger.

    Any psychological issues a person has, they've either endured some type of trauma or were born that way.

  12. #132
    Veteran Member AdamYJ's Avatar
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    I'd like to see someone write an all-ages superhero comic that's fast-paced, set inside an established superhero universe and doesn't look like an all-ages book.

    What I mean is that it doesn't have cartoony art. Not that I dislike cartoony art, but it doesn't need to be used for every book aimed at younger readers.
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  13. #133
    Soldier, Teacher Rob Thompson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AdamYJ View Post
    I'd like to see someone write an all-ages superhero comic that's fast-paced, set inside an established superhero universe and doesn't look like an all-ages book.

    What I mean is that it doesn't have cartoony art. Not that I dislike cartoony art, but it doesn't need to be used for every book aimed at younger readers.
    You mean like this:

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  14. #134
    Junior Member Sk8maven's Avatar
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    Believe it or not, Spiderman #129 (1974) was the story that introduced the Punisher. If you track down the story, you'll find that it was a hero vs. antihero fight set up and manipulated by the real villain (the "Jackal" mentioned on the cover, a guy in a monster suit with souped-up claws). I don't know if he was intended to be a one-shot character or not, but he "caught on" with the public and has been around ever since.
    Everything I state is JUST MY OPINION. Take what you like and leave the rest.

  15. #135
    Junior Member Sk8maven's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cgh View Post
    No, Batman just outright killed that guy. I don't have the full scan here though.
    Then you don't have the full context to prove your point. That cloud by the lower right corner of the window looks an awful lot like a typical 1940's "gunfire" cloud, indicating that the bad guy had a gun and was about to use it. IMHO that makes Bats' action self-defense. (Very early "Batman" stories, especially prior to the introduction of Robin, were more like "the Shadow in a bat-costume", because his parameters were as yet undefined.)

    I admit that Batman punching the guy into acid might not have been on purpose.
    There was a lot of that in the early 1940's. The hero would be put at SUCH a disadvantage that the only way he could survive was by retaliating with what turned out to be lethal force - whether he intended it or not. Sometimes it was a clear "him or me" situation, and sometimes it was the villain's bad karma catching up with him.

    I love the Hawkman one, "So ends another adventure," so casual.
    Hawkman is an exception to most rules, considering that he was introduced as the reincarnation of an ancient Egyptian warrior-prince - and he tended to keep more than a trace of those attitudes in his present-day persona. At that, though, he spent a lot of time sharing covers with the Flash, who had a less violent and more mischievous style (Jay's favorite trick for defeating villains was to yank their pants down at super-speed).

    Face it, these are comic book characters, written by a huge variety of people with their own beliefs and prejudices according to the social norms of the times. Getting emotionally attached to them and trying to defend them as being misunderstood or whatever when they exterminate bad guys makes no sense. There is no consistency, because some guy writing in the 1940s is going to have a very different world-view than, say, Denny O'Neil or Dick Giordano.
    But not than Steve Ditko during the short period (1965-1968?) he wrote for Charlton and had a completely free hand. He shocked everyone by blatantly reintroducing the 1940's mindset to the late-1960's comics world.

    There's one HUGE difference between the 1940's and the present day, though, and it shows clearly in those snippets you posted: while there was plenty of violence and death dealt out back then, it wasn't dwelt on and the (literally) gory details were kept to an absolute minimum - not like today, where the Gorn is exaggerated to Grand Guignol proportions (look that up) and shoved right into the reader's face.
    Last edited by Sk8maven; 04-19-2012 at 10:17 AM.
    Everything I state is JUST MY OPINION. Take what you like and leave the rest.

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