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  1. #31
    Welcome to Bleeker Street MRP's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by berk View Post
    It's an interesting question: you could contrast the Greek myths with the Bible: the Greeks never fully codified their body of myths and there were always multiple versions of the stories, gods and heroes.

    The Bible, OTOH, could be described as an exercise in continuity building: there was an effort to unify everything into one view of God/Yahweh/El, and with the New Testament there were even what might be called retcons, with for example passages in Isaiah being reinterpreted as referring to Jesus. Of course the effort wasn't entirely successful - two different version of the ten Commandments, conflicting details in the four Gospels, etc - but the intent was there.
    Two things I will bring up-if you want an interesting read on the developments of oral traditions in literature, the seminal work is The Singer of Tales by Albert Lord-Lord is a folklorist who spent a good period of time travelling with cultures that maintained an oral tradition to understand how such traditions were maintained and passed down.

    As for the OT, the motivation to codify and record the traditions in writing was the Babylonian captivity. Most of it existed as oral tradition with bits and pieces written down in various forms but was by no means codified or standardized before then. The most interesting thing to look at is to see the evolution of the creation accounts-all three of them-the two most are familiar with from Genesis and the third from Psalms and the Noah story. The third creation account was written in the reign of David, the other two written down in the period of the Babylonian captivity. The first is free of all influence of Sumerian/Babylonian elements, the two from Genesis and the Noah tale, are rife with Sumerian/Babylonian elements, beginning with but not ending with the flood account of Noah, an element that was absent from pre-Babylonian Captivity tradition.

    There is a large body of work examining the evolution of the OT stories. One of the earliest is Sir George Frazier's (of Golden Bough fame) Folklore in the Old Testament, but there is a lot more recent scholarship as well. I haven't dipped into that well much in the last 10-15 years, but I worked with a couple of scholars who specialized in it when I was in grad school and kept abreast of the work on it for a while before more pressing concerns drew my attention elsewhere.

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  2. #32
    Senior Member LEADER DESSLOK's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Captain Jim View Post
    That may be, but the point I was trying to make is that it didn't happen without explanation. There was an "in story" reason for the change.
    Point taken. And I promise to try not to confuse you with Mr.Mets again! (I KNEW I was spending too much time in that Spider-Man forum!)
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  3. #33
    Senior Member LEADER DESSLOK's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MRP View Post
    Two things I will bring up-if you want an interesting read on the developments of oral traditions in literature, the seminal work is The Singer of Tales by Albert Lord-Lord is a folklorist who spent a good period of time travelling with cultures that maintained an oral tradition to understand how such traditions were maintained and passed down.

    As for the OT, the motivation to codify and record the traditions in writing was the Babylonian captivity. Most of it existed as oral tradition with bits and pieces written down in various forms but was by no means codified or standardized before then. The most interesting thing to look at is to see the evolution of the creation accounts-all three of them-the two most are familiar with from Genesis and the third from Psalms and the Noah story. The third creation account was written in the reign of David, the other two written down in the period of the Babylonian captivity. The first is free of all influence of Sumerian/Babylonian elements, the two from Genesis and the Noah tale, are rife with Sumerian/Babylonian elements, beginning with but not ending with the flood account of Noah, an element that was absent from pre-Babylonian Captivity tradition.

    There is a large body of work examining the evolution of the OT stories. One of the earliest is Sir George Frazier's (of Golden Bough fame) Folklore in the Old Testament, but there is a lot more recent scholarship as well. I haven't dipped into that well much in the last 10-15 years, but I worked with a couple of scholars who specialized in it when I was in grad school and kept abreast of the work on it for a while before more pressing concerns drew my attention elsewhere.

    -M
    Have you ever seen any scholastic studies done of the monastic\seer\mystic tradition? I have come to see the evolution of the mystics and prophets as being an evolution of the isolated "seeker" who pursues union with The Universe:These include the Hebrew prophets who had different opinions of what form the legendary "Messiah" would come in. Some seemed to see him as a righteous king who would rule Israel with God-given wisdom versus a "super rabbi" who would establish righteousness througout the world.

    The Essenes, Zoraster, historical Jesus (or rather Yeshua Ben Joseph) and John The Baptist seem to fall in this same seeker tradition which parallel those of the far East in China and India. I think they call this the "Axial period". Stepping outside of my faith, this evolution continued in the person of Prophet Muhammed (Peace be upon him), the unknown writer of the Tao Te Ching, Tien Tai (China) and Nichiren (Japan), where "The Divine" or The Beyond took on increasingly fewer human trappings? At least that's my interpretation of the movement.

    I just find it fascinating that although they used several different languages and idioms, many of these seekers were reaching the same conclusion, that "The Ultimate is mysterious but one thing is certain--it's not like Zeus (or insert anthropomorphic deity here)!"
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  4. #34
    Senior Member Polar Bear's Avatar
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    This has become a fascinating thread upon which to lurk.

    Just sayin'.
    Anyway, it is cool for you to acquire acrimony of crumbling time on blast this website.
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  5. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by LEADER DESSLOK View Post
    Have you ever seen any scholastic studies done of the monastic\seer\mystic tradition? I have come to see the evolution of the mystics and prophets as being an evolution of the isolated "seeker" who pursues union with The Universe:These include the Hebrew prophets who had different opinions of what form the legendary "Messiah" would come in. Some seemed to see him as a righteous king who would rule Israel with God-given wisdom versus a "super rabbi" who would establish righteousness througout the world.

    The Essenes, Zoraster, historical Jesus (or rather Yeshua Ben Joseph) and John The Baptist seem to fall in this same seeker tradition which parallel those of the far East in China and India. I think they call this the "Axial period". Stepping outside of my faith, this evolution continued in the person of Prophet Muhammed (Peace be upon him), the unknown writer of the Tao Te Ching, Tien Tai (China) and Nichiren (Japan), where "The Divine" or The Beyond took on increasingly fewer human trappings? At least that's my interpretation of the movement.

    I just find it fascinating that although they used several different languages and idioms, many of these seekers were reaching the same conclusion, that "The Ultimate is mysterious but one thing is certain--it's not like Zeus (or insert anthropomorphic deity here)!"
    With the Greeks, of course, the movement away from anthropomorphism took place in philosophy and to some extent in drama (see the Chorus's invoction of Zeus early in Aeschylus's Agamemnon), so they weren't left behind by any means.

  6. #36
    Forgive Friedrich's Debt Aaron Kashtan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MRP View Post
    Two things I will bring up-if you want an interesting read on the developments of oral traditions in literature, the seminal work is The Singer of Tales by Albert Lord-Lord is a folklorist who spent a good period of time travelling with cultures that maintained an oral tradition to understand how such traditions were maintained and passed down.
    I haven't read this book (though I've had a copy of it for years), but Albert Lord and his teacher Milman Parry were massively important figures in the study of media. Other books that address similar issues are Walter Ong's Orality and Literacy, and Eric Havelock's Preface to Plato and The Muse Learns to Write.

    With regard to continuity, in Sir Thomas Malory's Le Morte Darthur, he constantly emphasizes that his information about King Arthur and his knights is based on a source he calls "the French book". Oddly enough, he often does this even when he's making up new material that has no known source, which implies that he really wanted to emphasize that his new material was consistent with existing continuity. Malory's own work actually contains a lot of continuity errors -- e.g. stories that are told twice in conflicting ways, knights who get killed and then show up again later -- and I assume this is because he was working from multiple different sources that contradicted each other.

    Another ancient example of continuity is Hindu mythology. It seems like everything in Hindu mythology is connected to everything else somehow.
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  7. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aaron Kashtan View Post
    I haven't read this book (though I've had a copy of it for years), but Albert Lord and his teacher Milman Parry were massively important figures in the study of media. Other books that address similar issues are Walter Ong's Orality and Literacy, and Eric Havelock's Preface to Plato and The Muse Learns to Write.

    With regard to continuity, in Sir Thomas Malory's Le Morte Darthur, he constantly emphasizes that his information about King Arthur and his knights is based on a source he calls "the French book". Oddly enough, he often does this even when he's making up new material that has no known source, which implies that he really wanted to emphasize that his new material was consistent with existing continuity. Malory's own work actually contains a lot of continuity errors -- e.g. stories that are told twice in conflicting ways, knights who get killed and then show up again later -- and I assume this is because he was working from multiple different sources that contradicted each other.

    Another ancient example of continuity is Hindu mythology. It seems like everything in Hindu mythology is connected to everything else somehow.
    Superhero comics are often thought of as modern myths, but I think they're much closer in tone and content to the Arthurian romances: the colour and pageantry are reproduced in superhero costumes, as is the concern with righting wrongs and defending the weak, but most importantly, the open-ended, repetitive nature of the stories - really just 4 or 5 (if that many) different stories repeated endlessly with variations.

  8. #38
    Welcome to Bleeker Street MRP's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aaron Kashtan View Post
    I haven't read this book (though I've had a copy of it for years), but Albert Lord and his teacher Milman Parry were massively important figures in the study of media. Other books that address similar issues are Walter Ong's Orality and Literacy, and Eric Havelock's Preface to Plato and The Muse Learns to Write.

    With regard to continuity, in Sir Thomas Malory's Le Morte Darthur, he constantly emphasizes that his information about King Arthur and his knights is based on a source he calls "the French book". Oddly enough, he often does this even when he's making up new material that has no known source, which implies that he really wanted to emphasize that his new material was consistent with existing continuity. Malory's own work actually contains a lot of continuity errors -- e.g. stories that are told twice in conflicting ways, knights who get killed and then show up again later -- and I assume this is because he was working from multiple different sources that contradicted each other.

    Another ancient example of continuity is Hindu mythology. It seems like everything in Hindu mythology is connected to everything else somehow.
    Malory was part of a literary tradition/trend that my thesis adviser used to refer to as "The Hierarchy of the Ancients"-essentially the older something was, the more valid the knowledge it contained was considered, and you could legitimize new thought by linking it to older work. For example, when, after the fall of Constantinople there was an influx of Greek texts into Italy, Ficino acquired Greek copies of dialogues of Plato and treatises that were part of the Corpus Hermeticum. His patrons though insited he translate the Hermetic texts first, because they were considered older, and thus more valid and important that Plato's Dialogues.

    Several events finally destroyed this tradition, most liked to the Reformation, the Scientific Revolution, and the Age of Exploration, but it lingered on for quite some time in literary traditions, as evidenced by Mallory citing the "French source" to make his works and its original contributions to validate it.

    -M
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  9. #39
    Forgive Friedrich's Debt Aaron Kashtan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MRP View Post
    Malory was part of a literary tradition/trend that my thesis adviser used to refer to as "The Hierarchy of the Ancients"-essentially the older something was, the more valid the knowledge it contained was considered, and you could legitimize new thought by linking it to older work. For example, when, after the fall of Constantinople there was an influx of Greek texts into Italy, Ficino acquired Greek copies of dialogues of Plato and treatises that were part of the Corpus Hermeticum. His patrons though insited he translate the Hermetic texts first, because they were considered older, and thus more valid and important that Plato's Dialogues.

    Several events finally destroyed this tradition, most liked to the Reformation, the Scientific Revolution, and the Age of Exploration, but it lingered on for quite some time in literary traditions, as evidenced by Mallory citing the "French source" to make his works and its original contributions to validate it.

    -M
    Definitely. In pre-modern Western culture, creativity and originality was less valued than faithfulness to established sources.
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  10. #40
    Junior Member The Duke's Avatar
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    Perhaps then the first true contiguous bible stories were in the Gutenberg bible. As that was a permanent version of it without the "chinese whisper" variance.
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  11. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by Polar Bear View Post
    In the 1920s, Floyd Gottfredson was doing continuity in the Mickey Mouse newspaper strips, and he wasn't the first.
    Could you explain what you mean by continuity with respect to the Mickey Mouse strip? I just picked up the first collection of same so it might be interesting to read them with your comment in mind, whether I end up agreeing or not.

    My general feeling is that most newspaper strips, like other serial entertainments(say, Doyle's Sherlock Holmes stories) only had a very basic continuity in the form of a continuing setup that the old readers would recognize and that new readers could quickly assimilate. Most protagonists stay tied to a particular time and place, like Holmes' Victorian London, and don't change all that much.

    Someone mentioned Caniff's TERRY AND THE PIRATES. Since it was a picaresque adventure, in which the protagonists usually changed their locale with each adventure, the stable setup was the bond between the principals, irregardless of their location. There was a certain amount of aging at some point, as I've heard eventually young Terry got old enough to date up the Dragon Lady (though maybe not in Caniff's period). Still, just like comic book heroes, those of comic strips don't age much if at all.

  12. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by benday-dot View Post
    All the replies so far are all worthy of consideration indeed.

    I'll just add that continuity really seemed to become the all consuming gospel truth, in Marvel at least (and it being the company that elevated the notion to principle and myth in the mid 1960's), during the era when editorial centralization started to come to the fore. This period is mostly associated with the "fan inspired period" which was a driver of Editor-n-Chief Jim Shooter.

    Certainly, Lee and Kirby pioneered a consistent mythos that became the shared universe of the Marvel "movement", but Lee never seemed to take the whole notion as gravely as the subsequent generation of fans would. His cornball sense of humour and instinctive feel for irony almost served to undermine the encroaching seriousness of the whole business. It was as Charles Hadfield said, "an inoculation against the real" that continuity in extremes tends toward.

    And Kirby was always too intent on his telling stories, o allow the albatross of extra-territorial continuity to impinge or dilute the energy of the telling.

    We get the strongest sense of this with the Eternals, for which Kirby clearly had a strong and independent vision, only to have it unfortunately absorbed into the enervating and outside realm of Marvel continuity.

    I don't think Kirby, or Lee for that matter if he was still writing, had a chance in the Jim Shooter era when continuity truly began to be king.

    Slight disagreement: I think the growth of continuity catches fire pre-Shooter, because a lot of the fan-writers had grown up reading the stories of Lee and Schwartz and sought to emulate them.

    An interesting influence on Marvel continuity of that period were the Robert E. Howard works, which a number of authors, particularly Steve Gerber, worked into the backstory of Marvel proper. It's one thing to read those old issues where Spider-Man and Red Sonja are part of the same universe, but since Marvel didn't have all that much of an early history, aside from what related to the Kree experiments with the Inhumans, REH offered a ready-made cosmos over which Marvel could graft its own fantasy-world-- though of course all the stories that related Kull's Atlantis to Namor's have lost their cachet, now that others control the REH properties.

  13. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by benday-dot View Post
    All the replies so far are all worthy of consideration indeed.

    I'll just add that continuity really seemed to become the all consuming gospel truth, in Marvel at least (and it being the company that elevated the notion to principle and myth in the mid 1960's), during the era when editorial centralization started to come to the fore. This period is mostly associated with the "fan inspired period" which was a driver of Editor-n-Chief Jim Shooter.

    Certainly, Lee and Kirby pioneered a consistent mythos that became the shared universe of the Marvel "movement", but Lee never seemed to take the whole notion as gravely as the subsequent generation of fans would. His cornball sense of humour and instinctive feel for irony almost served to undermine the encroaching seriousness of the whole business. It was as Charles Hadfield said, "an inoculation against the real" that continuity in extremes tends toward.

    And Kirby was always too intent on his telling stories, o allow the albatross of extra-territorial continuity to impinge or dilute the energy of the telling.

    We get the strongest sense of this with the Eternals, for which Kirby clearly had a strong and independent vision, only to have it unfortunately absorbed into the enervating and outside realm of Marvel continuity.

    I don't think Kirby, or Lee for that matter if he was still writing, had a chance in the Jim Shooter era when continuity truly began to be king.
    Ironically, Kirby's priorities would be right at home in the framework of "revolving continuities" symbolized by Vertigo and "New52," since it would mean he could do his thing without being required to relate everything he did to part of a bigger tapestry.

  14. #44
    Senior Member Polar Bear's Avatar
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    Mickey started out unable to fly. He took lessons, and he could fly a plane for the rest of the strip.

    He got a dog, Pluto, and kept it.

    He met bad guys more than once, remembering past meetings. Same with some supporting characters.

    He has different careers, some of which are briefly alluded to later on.

    It's not as continuity-heavy as, say, Little Orphan Annie, but it definitely has continuity.
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  15. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by shaxper View Post
    I think you could argue that you have continuity as far back as Shakespeare's First Henriad (Henry VI, Henry VIII parts 1-3, and Richard III). The idea of having a clearly referenced/remembered history of events recur throughout a serial work was not unique to comic books. And, truly, anytime a bad guy in a comic book comes back and remembers the last time he fought the hero, you have continuity.

    Heck, the Catholic Gospels contain a well-referenced and generally carefully aligned to sequence of events that are referenced throughout Western literature and spiritual texts. Isn't that continuity? We all know what animal Jesus rode into Jerusalem, who betrayed him, and how the whole thing played out. And, before the gospels, we had the old testament. What happened to Lott's wife? Most of us know what, where, when, and why.

    And, if you're asking when continuity became clearly referenced to the extent that it is today, I'd suggest it was a highly gradual process. Certainly, every time the Atom Age Alfred the Butler dreamed up another tale of Batman II and Robin II in the 1950s, it acknowledged the continuity laid out in the previous adventures. Most newspaper strips of the 1930s and 1940s maintained internal continuity too. Terry and the Pirates is a clear example of this.

    My favorite example of literary continuity is the 13th century PARZIVAL.

    I never finished reading it, but in one chapter, as memory serves, the hero fights the Irish knight "the Morholt," but doesn't kill him. Why? Because the Morholt is destined to be killed in a fight with the knight Tristan, whose 12th-century continuity took precedence.

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