May 22, 2004

Byrne-d By That Pesky Continuity

I have to admit that I am a total comic book fanboy, much more than, say, Kevin Smith, and when I opened that issue of JLA, and heard the news...well, let's just say I'm a little peeved.

It seems that John Byrne, who had his glory days years ago, and who has done some really good stuff in the recent past (including various Generations mini-series that are real-time stories of Superman and Batman), wants to revive The Doom Patrol...but unfortunately, his revamp cuts out years of established continuity.

Now, I admit, I may be taking this a little too personally - after all, Doom Patrol (especially reprints of the 1960s comic in little digests) were my teenage faves. (I discovered them through the New Teen Titans). This is not as distressing as, say, when Arnold Schwartzenegger announced that he was going to play Doc Savage, one of my childhood idols, but...Byrne still writes like it's the 1980s (in my opinion), and unfortunately, no one has bothered to remind him that it's not the 1990s...

Continuity, ah, the fanboy's conundrum. Used well, it really helps gives cohesion to stories, and can provide elements which writers can use (such as Star Trek: Deep Space 9, which I'll blog about at a later date). Used poorly, it becomes an excuse for bad writing (which is why I commend Russell T Davies, producer of the new BBC Doctor Who series - he's asking everyone to keep an open mind, and wants to tell good continuity-less stories. However, unless you're doing a total revamp (like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, which went from crappy Luke Perry film to kick-butt action series), you need to accommodate history, especially if it's well-established. Nothing wrong with taking chances - and there is a creative way to reconcile it (e-mail me for details), but (again, in my opinion) Byrne's revamp of the Doom Patrol smacks slightly of ego - he is doing it merely because he can. I'll give it a try, but simply put, it may be more Voyager than DS9.

In other news, just got some good books to read, including Reefer Madness (by the same guy who brought you Fast Food Nation), and Bruce Campbell's If Chins Could Kill. And they say literacy is dead in America...

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