But given DC’s penchant for “crisis events ever couple of years, my bet is it won’t last long.
I agree. It’s more frustrating knowing that going in for me.
But was it really necessary for you to go that far back? If you’ve read the Terrifics you’d know that his wife had died in a car crash and that Ms. Terrific was an alternate universe counterpart. Knowing how he became Mr. Terrific or the exact details of what happened to his wife aren’t really essential to the stories being told.
I think that’s the big problem with some new readers. That they seem to think that unless they know everything about the characters right away you’d be lost or continuity is ruining comics. You don’t know everything in any aspect of life from the get go, so why should this be any different. The problem only really arises when the writers make past story necessary reading, but most of the time you’ll learn more as you go along.
In fact I keep arguing that it isn’t really much different to when you meet someone new in real life. When you first meet you don’t know anything about that person’s past, but the better you get to know each other the more you learn. And if you get to know some of his or her friends you might get a different account of some past event, meaning the truth is probably somewhere in between. Same with comics. Sure, you’ll have some discrepancies but for the most part they don’t matter much and as long as the characters are written somewhat consistently it shouldn’t really be a problem following the books or getting to know the characters.
Unfortunately, with the reboots it does become harder to tell what is and what isn’t canon and as a result you often get more and more discrepancies. So instead of focusing on fixing the past, DC and the writers should concentrate on moving forward rather than looking back.
You could just quote the post you are replying to, then you can see it above your reply in the preview. You can always remove the quote again before posting if you don’t want it to appear in the actual post.
Yeah. For me it was necessary to go that far back. For me to care about who a character is and why they’re motivated it sure is. I’m not exactly a new reader. I’ve been reading DC comics since 1986.
I think you missed my point. Was going back necessary to understand the story itself? If you didn’t get the full backstory you’d still be able to understand what was going on. I get that it can be interesting to learn more about the motivations of the characters and so on and I think that’s what any good story should do. Make you interested in learning more. But it should not require you to go back and read another story in order to understand the story you are reading (these days by “story” you probably have to regard that as “storyarc” as coming into a storyarc in the middle will leave you baffled)
I don’t mind jumping into a story midway if I’m familiar with the characters. I enjoy stories (in any medium) about characters I’m already familiar with. I’ve gone through hundreds of origin stories. I’m burned out.
If for no other reason this makes me apprehensive about another reboot.
Regarding The Terrifics…
No. I didn’t need to go back that far to understand the story. Then… We don’t all read the same way. I did in fact have to go back and have the information in order to care about the story.
For me, because of origin burnout, if I don’t already have a basic understanding of where the character came from, I’m uninterested. I did enjoy Phantom Girl’s origin inside the story, but only because it wasn’t the only thing happening. It was more peripheral.
I suspect, in the new GL series for instance, that the whole arc for the first year or two will be about becoming a GL and/or the responsibility involved. I’ve read this with John Stewart, Guy Gardner, Kyle Rayner, Jade (to a lesser degree), Simon Baz, and Jessica Cruz. (I really actually ended up liking Jessica because they made her origin really interesting to me. It was an exception.)
My point is, as a fan, for me, the vast majority of the time I’ll choose to read characters I am familiar with on purpose and intentionally avoid characters I’m less familiar with. Word of mouth sometimes changes this. I’m sure it’s bias and I’m playing favorites. I should be allowed to. It’s also that I only have so much space in my brain to keep adding this information.
Familiarity is more comfortable at this point in my life.
If you want a reboot with a bunch of origin stories then you should get that too. I just think it’s not a great idea to abandon readers like myself who believe the 7,000 (guessing) named characters in the universe are plenty and we should focus on fleshing out instead of adding to it just to create a jumping on point for new readers.
I read comics to watch the characters I know and care about become more complete. I prefer having detail added to a legacy character over having to start from scratch. My favorite titles during the Rebirth rebranding highlight this. I’ve really enjoyed Hawkman, The Green Lantern, Martian Manhunter, Mister Miracle…
Like I said before…you can’t dismiss older readers for the sake of newer, younger readers. The last three reboots did not bring on new fans in a way that can always justify the changes. I remember reading a survey back in 2013 maybe? New 52 created a whopping 5% additional readers.
Before that can be viewed as a positive for DC you have to consider readers like myself. Older fans with more expendable income. I got frustrated and quit reading DC altogether during the New 52. This also means I wasn’t buying merchandise during the period. So if you’re adding a few new, younger fans who can only afford to be readers of certain titles (comics aren’t affordable anymore) while losing fans who spend 5x as much per month as the selective new reader, is that a win?
Anyway, my point is with comics publishing in the shape it’s in they can’t afford to make old readers unhappy for new readers…or vice versa.
To be perfectly honest I agree with pretty much everything you say. I’m an old reader myself, going back a bit further than you and had the same problems going into the New 52. I tried it but had a really hard time getting exited about DC Comics at the time. And after having read practically every single DC book since Crisis (and a lot of what came before) I found myself actually quitting titles and having others end up in a big pile for months before giving them a try.
Things were in many ways changed too drastically or the changes seemed to have been done just to make changes and not because it actually made for better stories. Eventually we did get some good stuff out of the New 52 (we also got some good stuff at the beginning, but for the most part I didn’t get to appreciate those until after I had pretty much given up).
The only point I wanted to raise in regards to your original post was concerning your statement that:
…and that you wouldn’t and shouldn’t NEED to go that far back. What you need to understand the story should be IN the story and in this case I actually think it was. That you wanted to learn more in order to get more enjoyment out of it is another matter.
I completely agree that changing the characters too much or too often is not good. It alienates old readers and honestly if the stories are good enough it shouldn’t matter that they have a back story. The fact that you had to go back to a previous continuity to learn more about the character I don’t necessarily see as a bad thing (aside from the fact that the change in continuity in my opinion wasn’t needed), as it shows that the character stayed pretty much the same, despite the change.
Also would this have been any different had we not had a change in continuity? If the Terrifics had been set in the pre-Flashbpoint DC Universe you’d still have to go back to old issues to learn more about what drives him.
My point is that new stories should be more concerned about moving forward than looking back. And that if they were then reboots wouldn’t be all that important as you wouldn’t need to learn years and years of continuity to read and enjoy a story. You’d learn what was relevant within the story itself and then IF you wanted to learn more there’d be plenty of stuff to dig into without having to worry whether or not it was still in continuity.
@Tenzel It was in the story, but not out of the gate as I remember. Maybe I’m wrong. I read a lot. There were a few past references I don’t recall understanding in the first and second issue.
I think there is a right way to do this and Marvel figured it out with the Ultimate Comics that were later dropped. There is a way for DC and comic books in general to appeal to different age groups at the same time. Considering DC has the Multiverse things are even easier. You can easily create a new Superman or Batman with a brand new origin while keeping Clark and Bruce. Think of how easy it would be to do a crossover between the two universes to have Clark and not Clark in the same book, bringing together both groups. Once that happens you are building a larger audience for each universe as people who didn’t care about the not Clark Superman now have a reason and the people who want to read about Clark’s adventures have a HUGE back catalog and can find some key stories to read.
That would be fine. You’d have to leave the universes separate and avoid crossovers though. That sounds like it’s a potential fan base divider too. The Marvel Ultimates Universe never seemed to achieve the success of the Earth-616 Universe. If you take 80 year old legacy characters and put them in a different universe I’m not that’s the solution here. Not one that keeps old fans happy anyway. I think it’s a pickle indeed.
There is no easy fix outside of letting a continuity last for a decade or 2 and then doing the inevitable reboot. The idea of removing characters that have always been there is less than exciting. I will give it a shot but expectations are low.
One solution would be to have a significantly less populated universe. I mean, I think about it this way. Who is your favorite C character? How important have they been over they years? Does DC need Resurrection Man, Ragman, Detective Chimp? Do we need both Captain Atom (love him) and Firestorm?
If there are fewer characters in the stable then continuity gets much easier. I hope there aren’t as many characters in the Dark Label Universe (or whatever it’ll be called). 100 super heroes globe trotting seems to me to be more than enough. It would make it easier to keep up with things and allow for stability and permanence of that fictional universe. Then you can have your overpopulated DCU that requires a reboot every 5 years.
You are 100% correct. A smaller cast makes things a lot easier to work with.
Honestly, the huge number of characters is part of what has always drawn me to DC. I get the I might not get to see all of the all the time, but I relish those moments when I do. Losing them would definitely not be the way to keep me as a fan.
Continuity isn’t really that hard. You just need a certain number of golden rules that you have to follow and you’d be able to avoid most errors. You won’t completely eliminate them but they would be much less glaring.
See, I’m the opposite. My favorite stuff is the mature reader material that ultimately became Vertigo. It was “in the universe”, but just barely. Martian Manhunter pops up in Sandman. The JLA in Animal Man. I enjoy the looser connection.
I’d count a lot of the DC Universe related Vertigo stuff among my favorite as well.
My point was simply that tighter continuity doesn’t need to be all that difficult. That doesn’t mean everything should cross over all the time, but simply that when you do make crossovers you just need to follow some golden rules and you don’t have to worry about big discrepancies.
Oh, god…what now? I haven’t even bothered with DC continuity in a while. It seems like many titles just ignore each other.