June 19, 2006

Reboots Were Made For Walking

WARNING: Here there be spoilers
Dear Marvel and DC,

In my youth, you both were the companies "to read" - granted, I was (and am) more of a DC fanboy, but hey, you guys were the Beatles and Rolling Stones of comics...and I'll leave it to you to decide which one of you is which.

However, you're both breaking my heart. So much so that we need to have a chat. A friend-to-friend chat.

You're both doing the inevitable constant reboots - Marvel with Civil War, and DC with Infinite Crisis/52. Of course, as companies, you have the right to make changes, to do with your characters creatively as you wish...but that's the key word, creatively.

Marvel - do you really think that having Spider-Man reveal his public identity, making public statements about his marriage to Mary Jane, and (if Heidi's speculation is correct) threatening another marriage is creative? And DC - after reading the latest issue of 52 (with China's new metahumans), I'm seriously wondering if soon, we'll see Captain Kugelis and the Pierogi Kid.

(Hey, it's my ethnicity, I can make fun of it if I want).

But the problem right now - you're substituting poor writing for character development. You're fixing things that may not have necessarily been broken - in short, you're revealing that the only reason why you're changing it is because you can.

Good example - recently, J. Michael Straczynski's reboot of Star Trek was posted online. And, of course, it reads like a retread of his past work - five year mission, Babylon 5. (I'm watching season five...and am deeply glad that I missed it first time round, the cliches are stacked so high). Quest for unusual knowledge? Crusade. There isn't even the illusion of originality - just a basic sense of "Wow, here are the changes...but don't ask us for details." Or to use Harlan Ellison's favorite turn of phrase, the okeydoke.

(A little mini-rant - mostly about Squadron Supreme # 4: is it just me, or does every gay comic book character have an element of trauma and tragedy about them? Not in a realistic sense, but in a "I-was-abused-so-therefore-I'm-gay" sense. Granted, as a white heterosexual male, my ability to claim outrage may be unrealistic, but the background/origin of one of the characters - written, not so coincidentally, by JMS - seems needlessly exploitive. End of mini-rant).

In addition, both Mr. Quesada and Mr. Didio have publicly stated this is for the fans, to which I respond that I believe that as much as I believe that Mike Sterling is the tooth fairy. This isn't about the fans - it's about the illusion of change. Or, to use a phrase I learned in high school, blinding us with BS rather than dazzling us with brilliance. You seem to have little regard for the intelligence of the average comics reader - but given some of the activity on message boards, that's understandable. However, you're risking losing the smart readers by pandering to the dumb ones. Just wanted to be sure we were clear.

Ok, that's enough of my ranting and raving - I'm off to check out this interview with Andy Martello, as well as Bish the Magish. I could use some fun reading!

And for you, the reader, I hope I wasn't too strident. If I was, just say something in the comments. I can handle it. Honest.

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