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Author Topic: Preview: ALL STAR SUPERMAN #1  (Read 39498 times)
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JulianPerez
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« Reply #32 on: September 03, 2005, 12:58:22 AM »

Quote from: "nightwing"
I see your point re: the Avengers, but I'm not so sure you can apply it to Superman. All Marvel characters and teams are the sum total of their long, convoluted and near-impossibly byzantine back-stories.


You're...well, right, of course, but the words you use are not the ones I'd use. I'd substitute "rich, engrossing, detailed and immersive" for your choice of words, "long, convoluted and near-impossibly byzantine."

It's like the difference between saying "my girlfriend is curvy and buxom" and "your girlfriend is really fat."

Quote from: "nightwing"
I do think potential new fans are scared off by the increasingly self-referential nature of comics.


With respect, I don't agree with this. The detailed level of worldbuilding that went into the Marvel Universe (and before the goose that laid the golden egg murder that was CRISIS, could also be used to describe the DC Universe as well) can be a DRAW to new readers. Okay, sure, they pick up an issue of JUSTICE LEAGUE, and they won't know right away who somebody like Ultraa is, or who the Gordianians and Guardians of the Universe are, but the fact there is so much detail there in and of itself arouses curiosity, and makes one WANT to know more about who these little blue headed guys are, or what Earth-Prime is and why Ultraa comes from there.

If having an extended, cohesive backstory is what is killing comics, detail-heavy shows like MELROSE PLACE, STAR TREK: DEEP SPACE NINE, DEADWOOD, and BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER would be failures among the general public instead of attracting new fans even after they were canceled.

I'm fascinated by the mentality that goes into distrust of the use of comics' history. On one hand, that very fan praises books like DUNE and LORD OF THE RINGS and Michael Moorcock's work for creating elaborate, detailed, rich settings filled with backstory, but on the other hand excoriates comic book worlds for doing the same thing.

Obviously something created by human beings is never going to be entirely perfect. But even mistakes in previous stories can be used to launch new ones as long as there is something concrete there to build on. Peter David got tons of mileage in his Star Trek novels out of the fact that Gary Mitchell mispelled his "best friend" James T. Kirk's name "James R. Kirk."

Quote from: "Uncle Mxy"
Building a decades-long continuity that makes sense for characters that don't really age will lead to stupid conflicts. Think about any number of good ol' "Lois and|or Jimmy are trapped" stories that'd fall apart in the modern era owing to cell phones. Should Supes reference those? At what point would it become problematic to do a modern retcon of old stories for them to make sense in the current day and age?


Interesting point. In fact, there is a case to be made about leaving stories as "period." Superman, for instance, even when updated to being a resident of the year 2005, is essentially a holdover from the 1930s, a time when we liked our heroes the way we liked our steak: beefy and All-American. One cannot divorce Superman from his World's Fair style futurism; note that every single version of Superman has had an art deco Metropolis and Superman being an alien from a distant planet.

We're very comfortable with characters like the Shadow, Doc Savage, Sherlock Holmes, and Tarzan being period characters; why not superheroes, too?

If they had been more courageous at the DC and Marvel offices, they ought to have made one of two decisions:

1) Leave stories as period pieces. Who says they have to have their pasts rolling up behind them all the time? That is, it's (for example) 1974, Gerald Ford is president, and Reed Richards, Ben Grimm and Nick Fury fought in World War II. Black Canary on Earth-2 is in her fifties, but she has good genetics and works out a lot, and though she sports a gray hair or two, she is still an active though rusty JSA member.

2) Let characters age normally. Alan Moore has taken this approach in his ABC Comics, particularly TOM STRONG, as well as in SUPREME. A "Supreme" story that was "published" in the year 1954 "actually happened" in the year 1954. Obviously this gives rise to a host of questions, but ones that have interesting solutions: for instance, notice the explanation for how Black Canary could be so youthful when it was apparent the age difference between the Earth-2 characters that fought in World War II was becoming greater and greater: the one in the JLA was the DAUGHTER of the original Black Canary.

Quote from: "nightwing"
I welcome "All Star Superman" because, in my mind, I've already grown accustomed to rejecting huge blocks of continuity. I not only don't want to read about "Electric Superman," I don't even want to read about a guy who five years ago used to be Electric Superman. I still can't get into Superman here in 2005 because nearly 20 years ago he murdered three Phantom Zone villains. why should writers be hobbled right out of the gate by staying true to dumb stories by idiots from five years ago? Or worse, spend their whole time on the book trying to undo, explain or make right some other writer's goofs? Far too much time is spent these days either mucking up continuity or trying to fix it again. Enough already. DC's tried to create a Universe with continuity and time and again they have failed. Time for a new approach.


I absolutely agree with your statement, Nightwing. Writers should not be hobbled by the fact they are to work with broken, unworkable variations of a character. You can't see far if you're standing on the shoulders of midgets.

However, the fact that DC handed the job of recreating the DC Universe to bunglers like John Byrne, Mike Grell, and Howard Chaykin, as well as "just okay, but uninspired" writers like Jerry Ordway and George Perez, does not mean that having characters remember their pasts and having a solid history that can be used to propel future plots, is always going to be doomed to be an exercise in futility.

I too, look forward to ALL-STAR SUPERMAN because DC history, as I stated above, at least at this point in time, is so broken and dysfunctional that classic versions of the character are a breath of fresh air.

My problem with the All-Stars is that it's a sign of people throwing their hands into the air and saying "I give up" about the idea that characters can live in an immersive world, just because men that lacked vision were given the keys to the car and totally blew it.
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MatterEaterLad
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« Reply #33 on: September 03, 2005, 01:53:14 AM »

Continuity for me:

Reading one of my bother's comics, circa 1968:  "Hey, Ray, why is Mon-el in the Phantom Zone?"  And he'd tell me... Cool

Slavish continuity is cumbersome, Buffy lasted 7 years (or 5 or whatever), gawd help us if it lasted even 20!

Time travel and quantum mechanics obviate continuity, or suggest that its a limited interpretation...

I just want a decent adherence to the spirit of the mythos...I don't want a new attempt at a mythos in a specially priced mini series or every 5 years...

Or WOULD want if I hadn't stopped reading comics in 1973...
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Super Monkey
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« Reply #34 on: September 03, 2005, 02:55:42 AM »

Quote
With respect, I don't agree with this. The detailed level of worldbuilding that went into the Marvel Universe (and before the goose that laid the golden egg murder that was CRISIS, could also be used to describe the DC Universe as well) can be a DRAW to new readers. Okay, sure, they pick up an issue of JUSTICE LEAGUE, and they won't know right away who somebody like Ultraa is, or who the Gordianians and Guardians of the Universe are, but the fact there is so much detail there in and of itself arouses curiosity, and makes one WANT to know more about who these little blue headed guys are, or what Earth-Prime is and why Ultraa comes from there.


WAS there, not anymore. That universe is gone.

Quote
If having an extended, cohesive backstory is what is killing comics, detail-heavy shows like MELROSE PLACE, STAR TREK: DEEP SPACE NINE, DEADWOOD, and BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER would be failures among the general public instead of attracting new fans even after they were canceled.


But those shows were self contain, DC publishes what 100 of titles a month. Big difference. You didn't have to watch 10 or 20 other series to know what was going on on MELROSE PLACE, STAR TREK: DEEP SPACE NINE, DEADWOOD, and BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER.

Quote
I'm fascinated by the mentality that goes into distrust of the use of comics' history. On one hand, that very fan praises books like DUNE and LORD OF THE RINGS and Michael Moorcock's work for creating elaborate, detailed, rich settings filled with backstory, but on the other hand excoriates comic book worlds for doing the same thing.


Those are just one or a few books, it's self-contain. Comics do not work that way.

Quote
Obviously something created by human beings is never going to be entirely perfect. But even mistakes in previous stories can be used to launch new ones as long as there is something concrete there to build on. Peter David got tons of mileage in his Star Trek novels out of the fact that Gary Mitchell mispelled his "best friend" James T. Kirk's name "James R. Kirk."


Sure, but Crisis happen, so now what?

Quote
I too, look forward to ALL-STAR SUPERMAN because DC history, as I stated above, at least at this point in time, is so broken and dysfunctional that classic versions of the character are a breath of fresh air.


I agree, it's doomed, but really doomed, since DC will start over again soon and it's going to be 1,000 darker than it is now. Yippee :roll:

The new DC will have all the books extremely linked to one another. So if you love continuity, you sure are going to get it, and so is your bank account and your sanity.  :wink:

The old DC continuity was great, really. I loved it, I loved all the different Earths, but current writers couldn't reference those old stories even if they wanted to.

I much rather buy a Graphic Novel with a beginning, middle and end. It's easy to do complex continuity when it is only one comic book, one book series, one TV series, film series when these things have the same writers throughout the whole run. When one person has full control.

The way comic books are today at, DC and Marvel, that can never happen, because there will always be editors forcing people to take part of huge marketing ca...er crossovers. In the old days the Superman Family of titles were pretty much self contain, Mort ruled with an iron fist making sure every fit or else.  :shock:  He didn't want Superman to appear in any other comics, he HATED that DC forced Superman onto the Justice League, since he couldn't control that book and JL many times confuse and went against the continuity of the Superman Family comics. It's not even part of the Supermanica. You never needed to read anything other than the Superman Family titles to understand the stories and characters, crossovers were very rare other than between the family titles. The characters that did crossover were so iconic that only a panel or two explain everything you needed to know to enjoy the story and avoid confusion.

That kind of continuity worked, because it was self-contained. When it's not, it is just chaos, a sea of confusion and contradictions. It just doesn't work.
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MatterEaterLad
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« Reply #35 on: September 03, 2005, 03:36:21 AM »

Quote from: "Super Monkey"

WAS there, not anymore. That universe is gone.


Well, THERE'S a question no one seems to want to address...that times change...and that has to do with people and what they think they want...

There will always be sites like STTA that keep the memory alive...

But I'll never forget...

Showing my mom a comic with the Flash (she was a fan of the Jay Garrick Flash), it was a JLA/JSA teamup with the preservers or whatever the hell they were throwing nets over Earth 2 heroes and having it affect Earth 1 heroes...she just kept saying, "The Flash captured bad guys, he didn't travel through space or time"...and I knew that I could accept sci-fi and that she never could...

http://www.comics.org/graphics/covers/1449/200/1449_2_082.jpg


Flash forward to a bud who bought "The Dark Knight Returns" and I started to read it, and he said, "Hey, that's a potential collector's item"...cripes, I read my Batman 80 page Giants until they fell APART...

The world is not the same, and sad to say comics will NEVER go back...
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Klar Ken T5477
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« Reply #36 on: September 03, 2005, 05:57:38 AM »

Hey ME Lad - I stopped reading in 73 too! Are you my evil twin? Ive kept abreast recently after popping my head in circa 92 and going BLECCH.

80 page Giants I bought last week are falling apart and Im sure someone out there's got my Composite WF ish with my name on it that my mother wrote. Somewhere on E-bay. I just have no idea what Im going to read after I rebuild my lost youth. Start reading Tomahawk? :roll:  

BTW Mon- El is the Phantom Zone TODAY. He won't be released until the 21st cen...uh...30th Century! :shock:  :lol:
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ShinDangaioh
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« Reply #37 on: September 03, 2005, 06:14:35 AM »

Quote from: "Uncle Mxy"
Quote from: "ShinDangaioh"
Lana Lang aka Insect Queen(this power set stayed with her until Crisis)

The "power set" was in the form of an alien bio-ring, which sometimes found its way in the hands of other Superman friends when the comic book title called for it (Lois in Lois Lane #69, Jimmy in Jimmy Olsen #94).  It was quite a powerful item, as it could be used to turn into super-powerful Kryptonian insects.  Just imagine pollinating all the flowers on Earth at super-speed.  Smiley

Yes.  It was a powerful artifact.  Sheer versatility and power made Lana a high tier heroine.  She could easily fit into the Justice League with that ring.  Notice, most villians did not go after Lana to get at Superman.  True, the writers didn't really mess with Lana other than a foil for Lois.
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JulianPerez
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« Reply #38 on: September 03, 2005, 07:40:34 AM »

Quote from: "MatterEaterLad"
Well, THERE'S a question no one seems to want to address...that times change...and that has to do with people and what they think they want...


I'm not willing to let untalented artists and writers, and thoughtless, greedy editors, off the hook that easily. Yeah, sure, times change, but how come YOUR books are so lousy, Mr. Bigshot Writer?

There are talented people born in every generation. There are talented people out there now, most of them consigned to fringe books (Dan Slott), retired (Alan Moore), marginalized or ignored completely (Christopher Priest, Jim Shooter) or chewed up and spit out by a comic industry that doesn't appreciate their great worth (Steve Englehart, Elliot S! Maggin, and since his JLA firing, it looks like Kurt Busiek too).

There can be multiple successful takes on a single character. When seeing the Superman movie, it had charm and imagination and so comparing it to the Superman comics is like comparing apples to oranges. My problem isn't that times change, but that change has really been terrible and creatively lousy. If someone did a "reboot" Superman that had the same strong emotions and imagination and central concept that the Superman of previous generations possesses, yet was very, very different in many ways, I could not compare it the previous ones because they are different and appreciate them on their own merit.

The problem with post-1986 non-stories is not that they are DIFFERENT from the Superman of previous generations, but that they have been pretty bad and clueless and thoughtless and ugly.

Likewise, my semi-objection (if it can even be called that) to ALL-STAR SUPERMAN is more complicated than just "well, it isn't my Superman."
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« Reply #39 on: September 03, 2005, 02:02:22 PM »

Well, I'm not substituting "times change" for "bad writing" -- but just suggesting that its  a melange of these things...cable TV, participatory video games (if you interview a famous athlete, they won't say they read comics in their spare time but they will say the have a Playstation), the internet, etc, have changed kids expectations, the casual comics fan numbers are shrinking...

Klar:  LOL, well, for me, I stopped reading (and I have none of my comics) when the "Bronze" age was getting a little more realistic and relevant (that's fine, just not my taste) and because I was just finding other things that were more socially smiled upon... Cheesy
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