Is the Old DC Universe Returning at Last?

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Re: Is the Old DC Universe Returning at Last?

Post by Mbast1 on Mon Jul 20, 2015 6:45 pm

tony ingram wrote:Hmm, well, I think we'll have to agree to disagree.

Of course.

tony ingram wrote: Although curiously, I read a lot of stuff from Dynamite, and their far looser approach to continuity bothers me not all-I suppose it comes down to what you're used to from certain properties.  

True. And DC has been going back and forth between very strict continuity as a goal (I'd say between Crisis and Zero Hour expecially) and very loose for a LONG time.

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Re: Is the Old DC Universe Returning at Last?

Post by tony ingram on Mon Jul 20, 2015 10:12 pm

I think the inconsistency is probably what grates.

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Re: Is the Old DC Universe Returning at Last?

Post by Spektre on Mon Aug 10, 2015 3:03 am

tony ingram wrote:It appears that the original multiverse is back, and so is every previous version of the DCU since COIE. Wow.

I just don't see it that way. Law of non-contradiction and all that.

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Re: Is the Old DC Universe Returning at Last?

Post by Spektre on Mon Aug 10, 2015 3:29 am

Mbast1 wrote:
tony ingram wrote:I don't really see why adhering to past continuity should necessarily put off new readers

This is something a lot of long-term readers say and I think it's because they're not new to it themselves and most of us got into comics before the strict continuity of the late 70's and on took hold, so we knew a lot.
MANY new readers have said that that strict continuity is what causes them to not get into comics. Not only have I seen it on discussion boards (and heard it in real life) but I've seen professionals discussing how to deal with it.

tony ingram wrote:as long as it's handled lightly and not continually thrust in readers' faces.
The problem is that it often IS thrust in their faces. Both from the writers (face it, most comic writers just aren't that good) and from other fans. I've seen many a light discussion of comics devolve into angry screeds about how stupid some new reader is because they don't know why issue 40 of JLA contradicts issue 10 of Superman from decades before. (Yes, that is just a set of issues I pulled out of my hat...) That puts people off.

tony ingram wrote:If an event from a character's past is referenced, a new reader will not know if this is an actual past story or a new invention
And if it IS well-done that's fine. Doctor Who is great at this. But most comic writers don't do it with that kind of skill.
I had a long discussion (?) with Ron Marz and Kurt Busiek on Twitter about this years ago, and it was bizarre. Interesting right up until Marz pulled the saddest argument from authority I've ever seen. But, I digress...


tony ingram wrote:(meaning not in a "you must have read these 119 previous issues in order to understand what we're talking about" way) it shouldn't affect anyone's enjoyment

But it often does because you're often expected to have just that level of knowledge of the characters. Readers today have access to SO much material and other fans but comics writers (ok, superhero writers) often still try to shove it all into a story (I think in part because they know if they don't fandom will blow up at them) and it not only makes for clunky writing it makes the material chaotic. THAT is where I see the chaos, the attempt to wrangle too much into it.
Some writers can write fantastic stories where all parts of a character's past are kept the same, where they can put in Easter Eggs for old readers without stopping the flow of the story (actually one of my favorite things about the current Flash tv show is exactly this). Many either can't or don't bother.

tony ingram wrote:so why contradict anything?
Given the length of some character's histories I doubt you can NOT contradict something. To me, and this is entirely my own preference, as long as the major points are kept I don't care if there's a minor contradiction as long as it's a good story. Which, I know, some people will say can't happen, but I think it can. I honestly know so little about the geography of New York that I can read a Spiderman story where it shows he's from Queens or the Bronx and it wouldn't mean a thing to me if it weren't where he'd been from prior. I wouldn't care, and it wouldn't affect my enjoyment in any way.

tony ingram wrote:I've always thought the real reason for throwing out continuity was to indulge lazy writers who don't like having to do research.  

Lots of fans seem to feel that way. I don't agree, but I'm sure some of that is because I don't much care. I don't find it "lazy" to not research 30-50 years of stories for minor details. I just don't.

I do and agree with Tony. When I started reading comic book I did not have a deep understanding of the characters and their tropes. I enjoyed the stories. The nightly news does not kick off each night with the big bang or "and then there was light", yet people follow it reasonably well. If someone were to chronicle my day, you wouldn't need a biography to follow it. But as you watch more nad more days of my life, certain events WOULD take on extra significance. That's the power of continuity.

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Re: Is the Old DC Universe Returning at Last?

Post by tony ingram on Mon Aug 10, 2015 6:37 am

It adds an extra dimension to the stories, gives them more depth, makes them richer. It's the difference between a story that's disposable and one which has the value of adding to a greater body of work.

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Re: Is the Old DC Universe Returning at Last?

Post by Mbast1 on Mon Aug 10, 2015 7:00 pm

tony ingram wrote:It adds an extra dimension to the stories, gives them more depth, makes them richer. It's the difference between a story that's disposable and one which has the value of adding to a greater body of work.

I don't disagree to those things, and I like when stories do that, connect to the larger uni(multi)verse.
I just don't care when they don't, and I think that trying to make them all connect is a problem for the publishers. It won't work, not across time and a number of titles, and many fans are casual and will walk away from the works when they're that rigid. As many have not only said, but done.
Comics have been around a long time. People who want to read them do, those who don't, don't. And many of those who don't have said that some of the reason they don't is down to the continuity-obsession. I've seen that for years, in interviews, articles about industry-wide problems, and so on.

Some example articles:

http://www.comicvine.com/articles/off-my-mind-continuity-in-comic-books-is-no-longer/1100-143651/

"As long as the quality is there and we're having fun reading them, when they happen in relation to each other doesn't really matter anymore."

http://www.macleans.ca/culture/arts/comics-the-continuity-conundrum/

"Apart from being an easy scapegoat, continuity has also gotten a bad name for itself because of the attitudes of some comics fans who consider all inconsistencies equally important, and equally bad. These are the people you see writing in to ask why a character acts this way in one book when he acted that way in another, or why the new writer isn’t mentioning something terrible the character did in the last run. The obvious answer — because they’re different writers — never suffices. This is literalist, nit-picky reading, on a par with people who want to know why Batman doesn’t just kill the Joker (and the writers who foolishly try to answer this question). "

I'm not saying they're "right" in that their opinions can't be wrong, but that many fans have expressed that a narrow, rigid adherence to continuity keeps them from buying books. And so publishers have responded to that. And they have lost some fans, of course, but they seem to have gained both other readers and more importantly moved into other media without those expectations.

And, back to me, I just don't care if a book contradicts established continuity most of the time. It happens all the time, and I either like the story or I don't.

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Re: Is the Old DC Universe Returning at Last?

Post by tony ingram on Mon Aug 10, 2015 7:10 pm

It just takes me out of the story if it directly contradicts something previously established. I can't enjoy the story because I can't get past the inconsistency. Doesn't matter how well written it is.

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Re: Is the Old DC Universe Returning at Last?

Post by Spektre on Mon Aug 10, 2015 8:13 pm

Mbast1 wrote:
tony ingram wrote:It adds an extra dimension to the stories, gives them more depth, makes them richer. It's the difference between a story that's disposable and one which has the value of adding to a greater body of work.

I don't disagree to those things, and I like when stories do that, connect to the larger uni(multi)verse.
I just don't care when they don't, and I think that trying to make them all connect is a problem for the publishers. It won't work, not across time and a number of titles, and many fans are casual and will walk away from the works when they're that rigid. As many have not only said, but done.
Comics have been around a long time. People who want to read them do, those who don't, don't. And many of those who don't have said that some of the reason they don't is down to the continuity-obsession. I've seen that for years, in interviews, articles about industry-wide problems, and so on.

Some example articles:

http://www.comicvine.com/articles/off-my-mind-continuity-in-comic-books-is-no-longer/1100-143651/

"As long as the quality is there and we're having fun reading them, when they happen in relation to each other doesn't really matter anymore."

http://www.macleans.ca/culture/arts/comics-the-continuity-conundrum/

"Apart from being an easy scapegoat, continuity has also gotten a bad name for itself because of the attitudes of some comics fans who consider all inconsistencies equally important, and equally bad. These are the people you see writing in to ask why a character acts this way in one book when he acted that way in another, or why the new writer isn’t mentioning something terrible the character did in the last run. The obvious answer — because they’re different writers — never suffices. This is literalist, nit-picky reading, on a par with people who want to know why Batman doesn’t just kill the Joker (and the writers who foolishly try to answer this question). "

I'm not saying they're "right" in that their opinions can't be wrong, but that many fans have expressed that a narrow, rigid adherence to continuity keeps them from buying books. And so publishers have responded to that. And they have lost some fans, of course, but they seem to have gained both other readers and more importantly moved into other media without those expectations.

And, back to me, I just don't care if a book contradicts established continuity most of the time. It happens all the time, and I either like the story or I don't.

There are all manner of deviants Smile

Take a look at the number of folks who are fine with lackadaisical, lazy story telling compared to the number of folks who not only enjoy but insist on consistent stories. Take a look at the number of fans who have left DC since their latest reboot.

Your comment is akin to "Look. I don't LIKE pickles in my ice cream, but as long as there are few enough of them, I can still like my ice cream."

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Re: Is the Old DC Universe Returning at Last?

Post by Mbast1 on Mon Aug 10, 2015 8:51 pm

tony ingram wrote:It just takes me out of the story if it directly contradicts something previously established. I can't enjoy the story because I can't get past the inconsistency. Doesn't matter how well written it is.

Right, and I think I've said I've got no argument there. You like what you like, as do I. But I think publishers have to try to reach a larger audience than they have, and opening the continuity restrictions seems to be a good bet.

We shall see, I guess.

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Re: Is the Old DC Universe Returning at Last?

Post by Spektre on Tue Aug 11, 2015 6:15 am

Mbast1 wrote:
tony ingram wrote:It just takes me out of the story if it directly contradicts something previously established. I can't enjoy the story because I can't get past the inconsistency. Doesn't matter how well written it is.

Right, and I think I've said I've got no argument there. You like what you like, as do I. But I think publishers have to try to reach a larger audience than they have, and opening the continuity restrictions seems to be a good bet.

We shall see, I guess.

If recent sales are any indication...They should bring continuity back...fast.

http://www.theouthousers.com/forum/the-news-stand/totally-destroyed-marvel-july-sales-t109890.html


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Re: Is the Old DC Universe Returning at Last?

Post by tony ingram on Tue Aug 11, 2015 6:37 am

What really depresses me about that chart is that the industry is still totally dominated by two superhero publishers while a lot of companies putting out a variety of excellent titles from multiple genres languish so far below them in terms of sales.

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Re: Is the Old DC Universe Returning at Last?

Post by Mbast1 on Thu Aug 13, 2015 8:27 pm

tony ingram wrote:What really depresses me about that chart is that the industry is still totally dominated by two superhero publishers while a lot of companies putting out a variety of excellent titles from multiple genres languish so far below them in terms of sales.

I don't know that that will change. Not that it can't, either one could go bankrupt (although with giant corporations mining them for intellectual property not likely), but without that the smaller ones have a harder time growing market share. Because it seems that the market is growing, but slowly. And then, not really from the traditional SWM demographic. And they want different things, including (as I was saying) less emphasis on continuity.
As a long-time fan, I definitely want more from other publishers but I've seen what DC and Marvel have to offer, probably many times since they seem to recycle stories. Without that I probably would be less interested in "what else" is out there. If that makes sense. Since what most people know are the big name characters (movies and tv shows) that's where their buying will come.
I wonder if newer/smaller publishers do better digitally.

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Re: Is the Old DC Universe Returning at Last?

Post by Mbast1 on Thu Aug 13, 2015 8:32 pm

tony ingram wrote: that chart

Looking at that chart, though, there's no way to pull anything out of it that illuminates. It's static, one-slice data. It doesn't really show trends, and it doesn't tell much about why those trends exist. People in that thread speculate, based on their LCS and I don't think that's really valid. My LCS is heavily DC, the owner loves DC. Which tells me nothing. It really doesn't help you understand who does or doesn't want strict continuity. Just not enough data.

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Re: Is the Old DC Universe Returning at Last?

Post by Sam_Vimes on Sat Nov 21, 2015 7:12 am

Man, when I was a kid the constant callbacks to past stories wasn't a turn off for me at ALL. I loved delving deeper and deeper into the history of the various universes through back issues and Wizard articles, piecing it all together one wrong-ordered step at a time. Maybe I was a weird kid, I don't know, but when I hear people talking about "jumping on" points, or whatever, I just can't empathize with that feeling in the slightest. And I certainly don't think it's fair to take away what the long-time fans like (all that history and continuity I so loved learning about) just to court new fans who probably won't like the sort of depth-less, meaningless crap that DC's (generally) putting out these days anyway.

That being SAID, I don't mind a little discrepancy in the continuity here and there. I just want a reasonable attempt to avoid such things to be made. Is that REALLY asking so much, DC? Is it?

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Re: Is the Old DC Universe Returning at Last?

Post by tony ingram on Sat Nov 21, 2015 7:16 am

DC believes it is, apparently. And yet I would suggest that your attitude as a kid (which was also my attitude as a kid) was probably pretty representative of most of their longtime readers. Very odd behaviour on their part.

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Re: Is the Old DC Universe Returning at Last?

Post by Lucy McGough on Sat Nov 21, 2015 8:05 am

Sam_Vimes wrote:Man, when I was a kid the constant callbacks to past stories wasn't a turn off for me at ALL. I loved delving deeper and deeper into the history of the various universes through back issues and Wizard articles, piecing it all together one wrong-ordered step at a time.
Yes, isn't that what most heavy readers do? It's what I did with the Discworld novels as a kid, and with 2000 AD as an adult.

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Re: Is the Old DC Universe Returning at Last?

Post by Sam_Vimes on Sat Nov 21, 2015 9:57 pm

Me too, Lucy, on both counts. My first Discworld book was Soul Music, not The Color of Magic, and that was just fine (probably better, when I think about it). Either we're a dying breed, or DC just doesn't know what it's doing. And while I'm willing to consider the possibility of the former, I REFUSE to believe the latter.

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Re: Is the Old DC Universe Returning at Last?

Post by tony ingram on Sun Nov 22, 2015 6:55 am

Sam_Vimes wrote:Me too, Lucy, on both counts. My first Discworld book was Soul Music, not The Color of Magic, and that was just fine (probably better, when I think about it). Either we're a dying breed, or DC just doesn't know what it's doing. And while I'm willing to consider the possibility of the former, I REFUSE to believe the latter.
You don't believe DC doesn't know what it's doing? I do. I think they're easily that stupid.

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Re: Is the Old DC Universe Returning at Last?

Post by Lucy McGough on Sun Nov 22, 2015 7:15 am

So do I.

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Re: Is the Old DC Universe Returning at Last?

Post by Sam_Vimes on Sun Nov 22, 2015 10:07 am

tony ingram wrote:
Sam_Vimes wrote:Me too, Lucy, on both counts. My first Discworld book was Soul Music, not The Color of Magic, and that was just fine (probably better, when I think about it). Either we're a dying breed, or DC just doesn't know what it's doing. And while I'm willing to consider the possibility of the former, I REFUSE to believe the latter.
You don't believe DC doesn't know what it's doing? I do. I think they're easily that stupid.

Something got lost between my brain and my fingers. I meant to say that I don't think DC knows what it's doing, and somehow I said the opposite. Must've omitted a word somewhere.

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Re: Is the Old DC Universe Returning at Last?

Post by Mbast1 on Sun Nov 22, 2015 5:34 pm

tony ingram wrote:And yet I would suggest that your attitude as a kid (which was also my attitude as a kid) was probably pretty representative of most of their longtime readers. Very odd behaviour on their part.

This is very likely true. One of the reasons I liked Legion was that there was so much to learn. But, that's a very particular audience, I think, and they're trying to reach a new audience, so they're doing new things. A LOT of people are casual viewers/readers.

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Re: Is the Old DC Universe Returning at Last?

Post by Mbast1 on Sun Nov 22, 2015 5:37 pm

Sam_Vimes wrote:I meant to say that I don't think DC knows what it's doing

You know, I would agree, but I think that's the nature of the modern markets for almost anything. Especially entertainment. There's so much volatility and change, it seems no one knows what they're doing. So they're making it up as they go, and that won't likely change any time soon.

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Re: Is the Old DC Universe Returning at Last?

Post by tony ingram on Sun Nov 22, 2015 5:38 pm

Mbast1 wrote:
tony ingram wrote:And yet I would suggest that your attitude as a kid (which was also my attitude as a kid) was probably pretty representative of most of their longtime readers. Very odd behaviour on their part.

This is very likely true. One of the reasons I liked Legion was that there was so much to learn. But, that's a very particular audience, I think, and they're trying to reach a new audience, so they're doing new things. A LOT of people are casual viewers/readers.
Casual readers do not become long term readers. They must be aware of that?

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Re: Is the Old DC Universe Returning at Last?

Post by Mbast1 on Sun Nov 22, 2015 5:41 pm

Lucy McGough wrote:Yes, isn't that what most heavy readers do?

Sure, but heavy readers are a VERY small number of people. I've seen numbers (years ago) and the number of people who read even one book a year is frighteningly small. So comics are going to have to go after other people. I am hoping that enough of what gets put out will appeal to me to keep me reading comics, but companies are struggling to survive. They can't rely on just heavy readers.

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Re: Is the Old DC Universe Returning at Last?

Post by Lucy McGough on Mon Nov 23, 2015 10:23 am

Mbast1 wrote:Sure, but heavy readers are a VERY small number of people. I've seen numbers (years ago) and the number of people who read even one book a year is frighteningly small. So comics are going to have to go after other people. I am hoping that enough of what gets put out will appeal to me to keep me reading comics, but companies are struggling to survive. They can't rely on just heavy readers.

I get what you're saying, but if they 'reset' an established universe every two years or so to provide the dreaded 'jumping-on point' to entice new readers - say, children who are just getting old enough to get into comics - then they'll lose the cretins readers they hooked with the last jumping-on point. So... are they gonna rely on basically changing their readership every two years?

P.S. Woo-hoo, 2000th post!

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Re: Is the Old DC Universe Returning at Last?

Post by Mbast1 on Mon Nov 23, 2015 4:07 pm

Lucy McGough wrote:So... are they gonna rely on basically changing their readership every two years?

I don't know, and I don't think they do, either. And I think that's not because they're stupid (although I wouldn't argue they're not) but that they simply have no clue how to deal with what look to be fundamental, systemic changes in the system.

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Re: Is the Old DC Universe Returning at Last?

Post by Mbast1 on Mon Nov 23, 2015 4:12 pm

tony ingram wrote:Casual readers do not become long term readers. They must be aware of that?

A few questions, and I do not have answers.

1) Is that always true?
2) How many casual readers do they need to sustain enough interest (money) to publish?
3) Given that the number of long-term readers has been declining for decades (according to many articles I've read and retailers I've talked to) what other choice(s) do they have?

I think it's a complicated issue overall. I like certain things, and not others. I'll buy some, won't buy others. I will no longer invest in brand loyalty. So, for me, I just hope they can get enough income in that they stay able to publish, that they have a broad enough group of books that I can find things I want to read. I certainly CAN stop reading comics if there's nothing for me, but I'd like to keep reading. So they have to keep publishing.

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Re: Is the Old DC Universe Returning at Last?

Post by tony ingram on Sun Aug 07, 2016 2:14 pm

wonder Woman now seems to be starting to recall her various contradictory histories, or parts of them. I wonder whether she'll be allowed to recall all of her past eras...


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Re: Is the Old DC Universe Returning at Last?

Post by Mbast1 on Tue Aug 09, 2016 3:39 am

tony ingram wrote:wonder Woman now seems to be starting to recall her various contradictory histories, or parts of them. I wonder whether she'll be allowed to recall all of her past eras...

Weirdly interesting. As always I WANT to like DC and what they do, but I can't allow myself to buy (although I have cheated on some things, like Future Quest...) as long as they have business practices I abhor.

That said, I would love to know where this goes.

Also, if you are talking about the I Ching era in general, I don't like it. I read the trades a few years ago and it's just (IMO) not very good. I love Dennis O'Neil's work on Batman, Green Arrow and the Question (his run on that book is one of my all-time favorite series), but his work on powered heroes isn't good. His run on Superman showed he meant it when he said he had no feel for the character.

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Re: Is the Old DC Universe Returning at Last?

Post by Lucy McGough on Wed Aug 10, 2016 8:48 pm

Genuinely thought that said "The Incredible Itching."

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Re: Is the Old DC Universe Returning at Last?

Post by Mbast1 on Wed Aug 10, 2016 8:54 pm

Lucy McGough wrote:Genuinely thought that said "The Incredible Itching."

Maybe that suit chafed?

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Re: Is the Old DC Universe Returning at Last?

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