Ah, The moment of silence. Usually a time to think kindly on one who has passed and reflect on how they affected us.
There will be…. some of that in this segment, but mostly i’ll be ranting about how stupid i think it is that the powers that be canceled, killed off, or otherwise ruined my favorite character or book.
So i thought ad thought about who to feature in my very first moment of silence.. There have been SO many deaths and cancellations lately. Bucky. Ultimate Peter Parker. Secret Six. Johnny Storm. Nova. Guardians of the Galaxy. and so on and so on. But nothing has made me sadder than the death of the DCU.
One of my least favorite things about Marvel and D.C. is that the rotating creative teams and heavy editorial direction gives the feeling of no real lasting importance to the stories. That sense that what your reading now may not matter in the long run or even 3 months from now. When you watch a movie or read a novel, you know your in for a complete story (usually) and that the writer has a clear vision of where he wants his character to end up. And while that is harder to do in a comic where you want that character to last indefinitely, i think it CAN be done. Marvel has a mandate that if you are going to pitch a new series for an established team or character you have to have a new spin on it. the idea is that the book, as it was, was cancelled because the idea wasn’t strong enough to sustain the book. but the name recognition of an existing character helps so, better to reimagine an old title than think of a new idea. The flaw in this line of thought is that usually the book originally DID sell well enough to sustain itself but then the original creative team split and the new team was hurriedly picked and didn’t have the same passion or insight for the characters that their creators did. Some new teams want to put their “own spin” on the book that feels wrong and a complete 180 to what the readers are used to. Right now Marvel is trying to “Marvelize” the Crossgen books they acquired, but they somehow totally missed the point that the whole fanbase of that line liked it because it was DIFFERENT from Marvel and D.C. They liked it because it was an open ended Sci-fi/fantasy/Pirate, etc story that had a direction and end goal. To do mini-series leaving only the names of the characters intact is a slap in the face to what the Crossgen readers wanted. I was a huge Crossgen fan. I loved the fact that i could every now and then read each series from the beginning and have it tell one consistent ongoing story that mattered.
The funny thing about that is that that feeling of consistency is what made Marvel so much better than DC to so many readers. While marvel readers could point out back issues of fantastic four to show new readers of Spider-man where a certain villain came from or an Avengers reader could look into back issues of X-men to see who Quicksilver and the Scarlet which were, DC fans had imaginary stories and a Batman that could never figure out if he was dark, light, campy, serious, or a vigilante. Until Crisis DC’s backstory was a mess. And while Post Crisis DC had a lot of the same problems i’m about to point out with the DCU, they worked really hard to address and fix them. And that took YEARS. It almost ruined the Legion of Superheroes. It made Hawkman an untouchable mess for over half of the post crisis DC’s existence. And there are still contradictions.
But Didio, Lee and Johns haven’t seemed to learn from the past. Their “soft reboot” is about to make reading for me, impossible. I lend out a lot of comics. And when i lend out comics to people who are new to the characters i start from the beginning. or at least as possible as i can. I already stopped reading Superman comics because starting from John Bryne’s MAN OF STEEL and reading from there no longer makes ANY kind of sense. At some point thanks to events in other books, the whole storyline where Kal gets the eradicator in space and learns of its history no longer fits. The eradicators history on krypton is rebooted. Yet the eradicator has since evolved from a device to a character and is STILL walking around the DCU. And from Zero hour to Infinite crisis to Superman/Batman to Superman Secret Origins DC keeps making it worse. I lent out My Green Lantern run from Emerald dawn on. But Green Lantern secret origins ruined that also. Geoff Johns (who when leaving the past alone, i think is a fun writer) was one of the first to really embrace the concept of throwing out continuity if “it gets in the way of telling a good story.”
Now we have the DCU. Gone are the days i loved when DC loved its continuity by having Conner Hawke and Kyle Rayner (while dating Jade or Donna Troy) hang out at Warriors bar to discuss things going on in metropolis. Now we have to assume Donna, Jade and especially poor Conner, are written out of the universe. And if we wanted to lend out our runs of comics we have to write a guide of what to ignore to new readers. Green Lantern continuity stays as is.. unless the death of superman is no longer in place then the whole coast city being destroyed, Mongul and cyborg superman fights have to be ignored.
Plus.. does anyone else think what they decided stays and goes SMACKS of favortism? Geoff Johns is in charge of this so while it would make sense to reboot EVERYTHING we have to keep his work on GL intact. He spent so long on it after all. And Grant Morrison is DC’s golden boy so dont piss him off.. leave his batman and even Frankenstein stuff alone. But Gail Simone’s hard work on secret 6? The year long effort of Justice league generation lost? Everyone who ever worked hard to make oracle one of the best characters in comics? Gone.
D.C. outside of Fables and a few other vertigo books no longer interest me. For all the great stories ill miss and the others i wont be around to read, i give the first Silent Bill’s Moment of Silence.