It Ain’t No More To It: 4thlettered!

April 26th, 2011 Posted by david brothers

started one minute into Saul Williams’s “Tr(n)igger.” 2245 on 04.25.11

Lettering in cape comics tends to suck. I don’t mean that it’s not technically proficient, because it is 99% of the time, but that it’s boring. Lettering is a vital part of comics. It’s an information delivery system, and too often, it’s treated more as USPS than… I dunno, a singing telegram or something that delivers something with some panache.

My eyebrows always sorta narrow when I see word balloons in comics that were taken straight from Comicraft’s site. It gives books this same-y, bland feel. There’s no personality in there, when the letters should definitely have some. I mean, the letters are supposed to represent people’s dialogue, right? I’m not asking for every character to have a distinctive word balloon (thought it was dope when Johnny Storm and Bobby Drake had fire and ice-based balloons back in the Onslaught days), but something more than the default white balloon would be nice, wouldn’t it? I like when you can see the gravel in Ben Grimm’s voice right there on the page.

Letterers like Stan Sakai, John Workman, Tom Orzechowski, Dustin Harbin, and Jared K Fletcher tend to do it right. Their splashy, interesting balloons add to the art, rather than interfering with it. The balloon tails meander and wiggle, rather than coming to a perfect 30 degree angle or whatever. Font sizes vary, balloon shapes warp, and on and on.

Sound effects are one of those things that I feel should be handled by the entire art team, not just the letterer. There’s nothing like seeing sfx integrated into the art. It makes the art just that much more exciting, just a little more like the platonic ideal of comic books. I do like books without sound effects, but if you’re going to use them, why not use them? Make them pretty, not just a Photoshop (Illustrator?) level on top of the colored art. Sketch in a “thwip” or throw a big fat “BOOM!” behind a punch. Let the sound effect serve as your panel, like this bit from Kathryn Immonen and Tonci Zonjic’s Heralds.

I read Moebius’s The Airtight Garage the other day. It was fantastic, as expected, but what leapt out at me maybe the most was one sound effect in this panel partway through, the boom:

Because oh man, Frank Quitely totally used that in his run on Batman & Robin, didn’t he? This is nothing, just four letters and an explosion separated by publishing company and probably 20-some years, but it creates an interesting link between two works. It’s interesting, and it doesn’t dominate the page or look like it doesn’t belong. It’s part of the page, and it’s interesting.

Marvel does this thing that I hate. I think it’s a company-wide general rule for books of a certain rating, but I haven’t put any real study to it. Pure anecdotal, whatever whatever. When someone gets stabbed or shot, the exit wound is almost always covered by a big ugly sound effect. Not all the way covered, but significantly so. It bugs me so much, because it’s just another reminder that I’m reading a comic book that’s stuck pretending like it’s for children. It’s positively graceless. If you can’t show something, why do it and then hide it? There’s got to be a better way.

finished two and a half minutes into Saul Williams’s “NiggyTardust.” 2258 on 04.25.11

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Feeling Good, Feeling Great, How Are You?

April 4th, 2011 Posted by david brothers

I spent this weekend at Wondercon, and more specifically, I spent Saturday night hand-selling Frank Quitely’s original art to attendees at Isotope’s smashing Saturday party. I was in the room from around 2100-0330, talking to people about the art, pointing out his insane perspectives, astonishing blue line work, and pencils. I never got bored, only repeated myself a few times (I really liked his blue line work, shut up) and generally had a lot of fun putting on an impromptu art school. (Which will pay off here on this blog once I get a chance to sit down with my favorite X-Men story ever, believe you me.)

So I’m high on comics right now. You know how it goes. Here’s two recent things in comics that I liked and just sorta want to present to you so that you can like it, too. There’s also one thing which is a total downer but beautiful and amazing and the saddest thing ever. Figure out which is which! I was going to do these with no commentary, but blah blah whatever. I’ll keep it brief.

Mike Mignola, Hellboy – The Wolves of Saint August
collected in Hellboy, Vol. 3: The Chained Coffin and Others

It’s “He made me this,” it’s Kate physically trying to hold back a sob, and it’s Kate’s slump. It’s Mignola, man. Precious few can touch him.

Frank Quitely’s CBLDF print

She’s brown. Do you see that? And she’s cute, and her necklaces are neat.

From Stan Sakai’s Usagi Yojimbo 136,
in honor of the Dark Horse’s 25th anniversary.

I love Usagi, and I love this image. I mean, dang, look at it already.

Bonus round: X-Men To Serve and Protect, which was otherwise completely forgettable (or, no, strike that–the Immonen Gambit/Hellcat jawn was pretty good) comes this treat from Jed McKay and Sheldon Vella:

Two things:
1. “DEATH! SQUAD!” is ill
2. “White chicks, am I right?” Colleen is so down. She’s great.

Good time to be a comics fan, I think.

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No Effort Week: Death to the Uncool

January 24th, 2011 Posted by david brothers

Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely at what was, at this point, the top of their game. From Flex Mentallo to We3 on through to All-Star Superman, this duo has proven to be one of the best in comics.
New X-Men: Riot at Xavier’s remains one of the best, if not the best, X-Men stories.

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Gamble A Stamp 04: Why Didn’t They Stop My Mum and Dad Fighting?

November 24th, 2010 Posted by david brothers

I want to talk about this, from what’s probably the best single chapter of Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely’s All-Star Superman (#6, “A Funeral In Smallville”):

(Words by Grant Morrison, art by Frank Quitely and Jamie Grant)

But I need to talk about this before I come back around to it:

(Morrison/Quitely/Tom McCraw)

I may get lost along the way, because this is probably actually about a lot of things I’ve been working through over the past few months that I still don’t have a handle on, but follow along and maybe we’ll get there together and in one piece.

I’ve read Flex Mentallo a ton of times. Dozens, even. Every time I do one of these posts, I end up flicking through the series as a whole two or three times while writing. This panel (and a caption in the panel before it that reads, “Why didn’t the superheroes save us from the fucking bomb? I feel so sick.”) kept sticking in my head every time I ran through the book. I couldn’t quite wrap my head around it.

The rest of Flex is pretty clear and easy to understand. It’s easy to figure out how the idea of superheroes intersects with and brushes up against real life. Most of the questions posed in the book, like the point of comics about broken heroes or the soft and mutable nature of comics in the Silver Age, are answered explicitly or implicitly in the text itself.

“Why didn’t they stop my mum and dad fighting?”, though. There are no captions or glimpses of superheroic life to give it a deeper context. There’s just a guy dying in an alley, wondering why love doesn’t last forever. For my money, it’s the saddest scene in the book. If you want cape comics with gritty realism, you don’t need rape backstories and heroes moping on rooftops. All you need is something basic going wrong with no easy answers to be found.

The word choice stuck with me, too. It’s not “Why couldn’t they stop my mum and dad fighting?” It’s not “Why wouldn’t they?” It’s “Why didn’t they stop my mum and dad fighting?” The superheroes had the will and the way, but they didn’t do it. That implies a choice, maybe even a conscious one, to let the fighting happen.

Try as I might, I couldn’t find an answer in Flex. There’s not even a hint, near as I can tell. It’s just dropped into the narrative, this drop of real-life despair in the middle of the fantastic, and then left there.

I had a few guesses about what it meant. None of them were very good. It could have been tough love. It could have been not wanting to interfere in the lives of humans too too much, like in JLA: New World Order (by far my worst guess, considering the rest of the book). Maybe they just simply couldn’t interfere due to… something something.

All-Star Superman 6 put it into better focus, though. I was rereading the series in prep for a different post (maybe GAS05) and the solution leapt out at me. ASS 6 is about failure and what superheroes cannot do. It features Superboy, rather than Superman, and is a flashback/time travel episode.

One more digression. Way back when DC let John Byrne revamp Superman, he did a story where Superman killed General Zod and the Phantom Zone criminals and cried a little bit. The purpose of this story, according to an interview I read forever ago and now cannot find, was to show exactly why Superman doesn’t kill. So, to show why Superman doesn’t kill, Byrne had him slowly kill three people.

Get it?

Byrne got it wrong, but when Morrison went to show Superman’s first failure, and thereby introduce a certain limit to the character, things turned out much better. Superboy chose to do the right thing without even thinking, against great odds, and in doing so, lost his chance to save his father. Three minutes of his life were taken, and in those three minutes, his father died. Superboy’s scream that he “can save everybody” speaks to a certain youthful invincibility, but also to what Superman will one day become. His scream of defiance as a child becomes a foreshadowing of his modus operandi years later, as he does his level best to save everybody.

But what’s important here is what Superboy did not do, which is save his own father. One of the other Supermen in the story explains that “his heart just ran out of beats.” He goes on to say that if Jon Kent hadn’t died, Clark Kent might have stayed in Smallville, “and none of us would ever have been born.” Put differently: “This had to happen.”

A few pages earlier is another key scene. While walking and talking with the Unknown Superman, who is actually the modern day Clark Kent in disguise, Jon Kent asks, “He’ll be okay, won’t he? The boy.” referring to his son. Kent clearly knows both that the Unknown Superman is not who he says he is and that his time is up. He wants to be sure that his son ends up okay, considering the amount of power he has. Superman’s response is “It all comes out right in the end.”

There’s a vein of fatalism there, isn’t there? In other hands, it would be “it is what it is.” Here, it’s an admission that even though this is a hiccup, that this will not work out like Superboy wants it to, things will work out in the end. This is just something he needs to learn before he can grow.

So, there are two answers here to consider. One is that Kent’s heart “just ran out of beats.” The other is that everything “comes out right in the end.” What that puts me in mind of is inevitability. You can’t fight certain things.

I think Byrne’s logic was atrocious (I haven’t killed anyone and don’t currently plan to, and I didn’t need to kill anyone to come to that conclusion) and his execution worse, but he was at least cognizant of the fact that there have to be limits. By forcing the hero to make a choice, though, Byrne shot himself in the foot. Morrison’s method, where the hero is forced to confront a shortcoming, seems much cleaner.

If superheroes can do anything, then you don’t have a story. There have to be things that superheroes cannot or will not do. Sometimes these limits are there to preserve the reader’s suspension of disbelief. Other times, it’s to maintain a profitable brand. Batman can’t kill the Joker and Superman can’t use his technology to make the world a better place. Flash can’t just end every fight in half a second.

These limits often tend to line up along real world lines, too. Tony Stark can never eliminate poverty and Superman can never battle racism. Those two things will just make the readers aware that they’re reading a comic book and that, hey, life still sucks.

I’m beginning to think that “Why didn’t they stop my mum and dad fighting?” is the one spot in Flex Mentallo that’s a rejection of the “Clap your hands if you believe in superheroes!”/”They will show us the way to a better life” philosophy that makes Flex such a strong and vital work. The rest of the book is about the glory of superheroes, the way we can become them, and how comic books are just a reflection of the cultural (un)consciousness.

Real life is the only inescapable hole in the philosophy. Yes, you can use superheroes as a model for life, and yes, in a certain way, we did create them to save us from ourselves, but they only go so far. They’re still fictional. They can’t stop your mum and dad fighting, they can’t stop the bomb, and they won’t actually save your life. Superheroes cannot stop real life–they can only delay it. Even Regan, the girl who Superman stopped from committing suicide, is going to die one day, and Superman can’t stop that.

There’s a Kanye West line I’m fond of from the 808s and Heartbreak era. It’s from Young Jeezy’s “Put On,” a song that banged before Kanye came in with some emotion. “I feel like these butt niggas don’t know he’s stressed/ I lost the only girl in the world that know me best/ I got the money and the fame and that don’t mean shit/ I got the Jesus on the chain, man, that don’t mean shit.” Since the death of his mother, all the stuff that brought him happiness and gave him peace, the money and fame and fancy necklaces, are worthless. Real life struck and they hit their limit. Kanye was at a point where they couldn’t serve their purpose.

Pulling back again. “Why didn’t they stop my mum and dad fighting?” makes sense to me now. It’s speaking to the fact that superheroes are wonderful, wonderful things, but even then, there are some things they can’t do. Taken alone, it’s a question without an answer. In concert with All-Star Superman, though, it makes much more sense.

When a little boy asks “Mommy, why don’t I have a daddy?” Superman can’t swoop in and give a little speech or solve that problem. That’s stupid. It doesn’t work. It’s pushing the idea of a superhero too far, and at that point, the idea breaks.

It’s interesting to me that it took All-Star Superman for that one line to click. It’s like if expanding upon it in Flex would’ve broken the story, but freed of the restraints of proselytizing the superhero, Morrison is much more free to demonstrate where capes fall short.

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Pretty Girls Interlude: Babes With Big Bazookas

October 15th, 2010 Posted by david brothers

I’d intended to have a Pretty Girls ready for today, but NYCC caught up to me last night and I passed out pretty much as soon as I got home from work. But whatever, there’s no shortage of good art online, so I can flip the script this week and present you with this: Babes With Big Bazookas, written by Robbie Morrison, drawn by Frank Quitely, and posted by Joe Bloke at Grantbridge Street.

It’s from Judge Dredd Megazine vol 3 #26, and if anybody reading this knows word one about British comics, leave a comment or email me with some info on where I can buy a collected edition because I need this.

Any readers feel like schooling me on British comics? I know a little, but not enough, and I want to know more.

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Gamble A Stamp 02: Fredric Wertham Was Right

October 14th, 2010 Posted by david brothers

NSFW images after the jump. Let’s talk about sex, baby. Let’s talk about you and me.
Read the rest of this entry �

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Gamble A Stamp 01: It’s Only Like Heaven

September 29th, 2010 Posted by david brothers

I think that if you are a fan of superhero comics, Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely’s Flex Mentallo should be your holy book. It caused a seismic shift in my enjoyment and understanding of superheroes after I read it, simultaneously deepening my enjoyment of the good stuff and my willingness to ignore the terrible. It’s a story, it’s comics journalism, it’s a history lesson, it’s evergreen, and it is auto-critique in pamphlet form. It’s about comics, you see, and if you haven’t read it, you should. This is part of a series of posts relating to the book.

At one point in the book, Sage says, “Because listen! When it all comes down to it, how could you love ANYBODY the way you loved THUNDERGIRL? You try and it’s like Heaven. But it’s only LIKE Heaven. It’s NOT Heaven, is it?” It’s one of those points that stuck with me after reading, kind of like “Sometimes her cigarette smoke smells like flowers” from Brandon Graham’s King City carved out a space in my skull.

A teen in the throes of puberty and wishing for a Mary Jane Watson of his very own isn’t wishing for a real girlfriend. He’s looking for someone who resembles the stories and beliefs that he has built up around Mary Jane. Maybe she likes his favorite kind of music, has a certain cup size, or will do all those nasty things in bed that he’s been curious about.

What can compare to that? The only possible end point of that is disappointment. No matter how much you love someone, no matter how heads over heels they are–they’ll never be Mary Jane Watson, tiger. You can’t build a lover out of ideas. And yes, on the very next page: “What’s like Heaven? Shit. Oh shit. They fuck you up, those comics. They really fuck you up…”

Just like romance movies, fairy tales, sitcoms, and every other thing that tells us how life is before we get to experience it ourselves, superheroes sell us a reality that only works with archetypes. Every romance is an atom bomb of passion or strife. Lovers embrace against all odds and damn the consequences. No one gets to settle for someone they didn’t want or to be content with somebody who is just okay. Love triangles aren’t a ball of stress and drama so much as an entertaining diversion. No one comes home, hugs their wife, and goes to bed early. Everything is larger than life. Superheroes go hard or go home. There is no in-between.

At the same time, this is the strength of superheroes. Superheroes exist as archetypes that have been drawn from the same collective unconscious that has been creating stories about heroes for thousands of years. They represent abstract or unquantifiable values–responsibility, vengeance, altruism, guilt–and work out our insecurities and fears on the comics page. Spider-Man insists on a world where people take responsibility according to their ability, no matter how marginal. Batman is about emerging from darkness, away from your baser instincts, and into the light. Superman is a father figure, there to protect us from all possible harm and guide us on our way.

One of the points of Flex Mentallo is that superheroes exist to save us from ourselves. They provide an example for us to follow and embody the best aspects of human nature. They represent the hole that’s present in reality, the thing that’s missing that resulted in the world being in the shape it’s in. They’re the memory of a better time.

Flex provides a reason for comics to traffic in the stories that they do. The superheroes exist outside of the comic books, having escaped from their doomed reality by becoming fictional in ours, and live in our imagination. The comics are an attempt by the superheroes to show us what things could be like, if only we tried a little harder.

Sage’s feeling about Thundergirl and love–it’s not just about love. It’s deeper than that. It’s about archetypes, period. Your father may make you angry and let you down. Your friends may betray you. But, when you get down to it, Spider-Man will fight to the death to save you. Superman will always be there with a kind word when you need it. His stories and his reasons for being don’t change.

This is the power of superheroes. They touch on something deep inside us, whether as adults or children, and show us something we need to see. This is one of several messages in Flex Mentallo, and it’s one that places superheroes on a direct level with every other story. They represent something bigger than themselves and better than us.

How could you trust anybody the way you trust Superman?

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The Cipher 06/09/10

June 9th, 2010 Posted by david brothers

batman 700: words by grant morrison, art by frank quitely, tony daniel, andy kubert, and david finch/richard friend.

Down at the labor camp, they make a drone of men, mama’s boy once, but now I’ve learned to speak draconian!

I was thinking about picking up Batman 700. Morrison hasn’t been hitting for me like he should lately, but Quitely’s always worth a look. I was even willing to look past buying a book with art by Tony Daniel and David Finch, two of my least favorite artists. Except I read the PDF preview on DC’s site after David Uzumeri shot me a link and had all my goodwill sapped right out of me. For five bucks (!) you get eight Tony Daniel pages, nine Andy Kubert pages, six David Finch pages, and somewhere between one and eight Frank Quitely pages, with the difference being made up by the certainly-capable-but-not-Frank-Quitely Scott Kolins. For those of us who went to public school, that’s thirty-one pages for five bucks. Add seven pages of pinups (Shane Davis, Juan Doe, Guillem March, Dustin Nguyen, Tim Sale, Bill Sienkiewicz, and Philip Tan) and a couple pages of Batcave layouts by Freddie Williams II and you’ve got a book I don’t think I want any more. Five bucks? Get real.

Great art + great story = comics worth buying. That’s the rule.

I know I’m picking up Captain America (Ed Brubaker/Butch Guice) and Heralds (Kathryn Immonen/Tonci Zonjic/James Harren). Amazon just emailed me to say that Icon Vol. 2: The Mothership Connection is on the way. That’s a Dwayne McDuffie joint. I’m not sure which artists are involved, because it’s an odd mix of Icon issues. I know the Buck Wild stuff is in there, though, which means we get some Doc Bright. I’m psyched to reread it.

Shame about there not being any other Milestone books on the schedule, though. I’ve got the two Icon volumes, the Brave & the Bold: Milestone book, and the Hardware and Static trades. With the exception of the JLA trades that reintroduced Milestone (which I didn’t buy because every time I look at them I want to fire shots DC’s way) (don’t forget industry rule 4080) I think that I own all of the currently in-print Milestone books. We’re missing Xombi, Blood Syndicate, Shadow Cabinet, Heroes, and a few odd miniseries or one-shots. Wise Son and Milestone Forever. C’est la guerre, I guess.

What’re you folks buying, or not buying, as the case may be? Any trades you wish happened? I’d kill a man dead for Flex Mentallo, and I may be adding “more Milestone trades” to that list.

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Fourcast! 02: She Is Her Own Mother

June 8th, 2009 Posted by david brothers

I managed to pull myself away from Final Fantasy VII long enough on Saturday to record another Fourcast! with Esther. Of course, the looming specter of technical issues ended up eating about twenty minutes of what we recorded, if not more, but we pulled it out in the end. You can tell that there were issues because my headset suddenly changes sounds with five minutes to go. Whoo!

Here’s the breakdown:
-We open with a brief chat about the unnamed Secret Six, courtesy of Gail Simone and Nicola Scott, and beefcake. Did I call beefcake gross? No, but I did call Bane’s chest gross. Look at it.


-Look at that chest.
-Next up is Grant Morrison & Frank Quitely’s Batman and Robin, where we praise the book, namecheck frequent commenter ACK (holla!), and critique Quitely’s art.
-Thomas Wayne can beat up your dad.
-Dumb comics, like Spider-Man: The Short Halloween, are fun comics!
-No, wait, dumb comics are bad comics as we discover in a new segment that is as-yet unnamed. Esther explains the history of Dinah Drake, later known as Dinah Lance, while I go into a brief overview of the Clone Saga.
-Neither of us escapes unscathed.
-At the end of the show is a surprise for you, listener! And also one for you, Esther!

Kapow! We’ll see you in… seven days?! What new development is this?!

(boilerplate stuff: subscribe to the podcast-specific RSS feed, or grab us on iTunes. feel free to drop a review on us!)

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Who Cares About Comics, Anyway?

August 5th, 2008 Posted by david brothers

Comics are a bastard medium.

It isn’t fine art. Even the commercial art doesn’t quite stick– it’s for sale, yeah, but it’s still somewhere between the two.

Comics are for children. They feature men in tights re-enacting the same simple good versus evil fights they’ve been doing for decades. How deep do you think Batman vs the Joker really goes? Don’t even try to play the “graphic novel” card– graphic novels are just comics with a spine.

The time of comics being worth a grip of money is over, too. It kind of blows my mind when I see people buying variant books for twenty bucks. I have trouble paying more than ten cents a page– why would you go for a dollar a page? Do you really expect that much of a return on your investment? That comic is worthless, son, and it isn’t going to make you money. The ’90s are dead and gone.

Comics are the red-headed stepchild of Hollywood. How many IP farms are out there now? How many people write comics that are obviously movie pictures or storyboards in sequential art form? How many Hollywood writers drop in, dabble a bit, and drop back out, sometimes mid-series? Hollywood options are big news these days– why? Easy: Hollywood is where the money is, friends. Money talks.

Comics are a bastard medium. Not quite fine art, not quite commercial art. Disrespected, not respected, and used as a stepping stone. What do comics have to lose? Nothing at all.

Why not take greater advantage of that?

I love Gotham Central. It’s a great little police procedural. Everything from the writing down to the art clicks. But, take a look at it. It looks like it could have been The Wire or The Shield. It’s staged and laid out like a TV show. It’s got realistic angles, establishing shots, and pretty realistic looking characters. This could’ve easily been a TV show. I’m not dissing or anything. The realism is a point of pride for the series, I’m sure.

Comics can do Hollywood. Hollywood is easy. However, can Hollywood do this?

Look at that. Hyper-compressed information dump gives way to a wonderfully wide open two page spread. The eighteen panel grid is positively claustrophobic. The lack of words and panel size forces you to take your time and pore over each panel. The panels even reflect the reality of the situation. They’re inside an oppressive military facility, and when they escape? A wide open breath of fresh air.

What about the insane style switches in Seven Soldiers #1?

Comics can do so much that movies cannot. However, the general style at the Big Two, and even beyond, tend to stick to realism. Chris Bachalo and Humberto Ramos are a nice look, but work by them, and those like them, is fairly rare.

David Aja made wonderful use of the comics page in his work on Immortal Iron Fist. He kept the straight-forward, realistic storytelling and flipped it. Each strike gets its own panel. Iron Fist dances around the comics page in a scene that would take a split second of action in a movie. He makes the page part of the story.

I loved We3. There are a ton of little narrative tricks and details that force you to read the book slowly and take it all in. The spread above, of the animals attacking the soldiers, is more exciting than bullettime was when the Matrix hit. Every single action gets its place in time. If you look at the panels in order, it’s like looking at a film strip.

No one cares about comics, so comics can get away with a lot. Grant Morrison’s Flex Mentallo is one of my favorite comics. It tells the tale of a forgotten superhero and how you can make fiction a reality. It’s a love letter to comics and it flits from era to era over the course of the series. It’s brave.

We need more Flex Mentallos. Tell a story that might not sell, but is worth the time. Marvel’s started moving in this direction with their revamped Marvel Knights series. Who’d have thought that a story about Daredevil’s Dad would be an excellent comic?

There’s a lot of attention paid to continuity, as well. Things have to line up just so or else the story is ruined.

Screw that.

Keep the stories internally consistent, but go wild. I may not like Marvel Zombies very much, but I can respect what it represents. Take advantage of the fact that most of these characters are unbreakable. Toss Captain America into 1602, sure. Pop Spider-Man into feudal Japan. What if Luke Cage was in his ’20s in 1930s Harlem? What did the Black Panther cult do to fight colonization in Africa?

Take your characters and bend them. If they break, guess what– you can just dial it back to what it was before. You don’t need Continuity Patch Comix. Fans aren’t stupid. If you say “That was then, this is now,” they will assuredly grumble. They’ll grumble regardless, to be honest. But, they’ll get over it. They always do.

Spider-Man made it through the Clone Saga. Batman made it through the ’90s. Luke Cage, Ms. Marvel, Emma Frost, and a host of other d-list characters are headlining now. You can’t break these characters, so don’t treat them like fine china. Throw them against the wall. They’ll bounce back.

Comics need to start acting like comics. No one expects anything out of them but a story that goes from A to B to (sometimes) C. If no one expects anything out of you, you’re free to do what you like.

We need more Seth Fishers.

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