Where Have All The Editors Gone?

Alan Kistler

Alan Kistler is a freelance writer who has contributed to MonitorDuty.com and PopCultureShock.com. He is a freelance video editor who occasionally acts in independent film projects. His blog is located at alantkistler.squarespace.com.

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11 Responses

  1. Vinnie Bartilucci says:

    Ian Sattler was hired to be the "continuity Cop" at DC (tho he has a different title and the continuity aspect of his job is more a secondary role), but in his first interview with Newsarama he admitted he knew spit-in-a-cup about the history of DC.As many of us have noted, our own Bob Greenberger was the continuity cop at DC for many years. There are any number of people in the industry with both the knowledge of the history and the experience in editing to do that job. It's a fine line to walk. The one rule above all should be "Don't let continuity get in the way of a good story", but somebody really needs to be able to give a good idea of what the continuity IS so it can be decided if the story is good enough to break whatever story it would have to in order to get told.Peter David had a great example once; "Uncle Ben was actually a drug lord. The crook who killed wasn't in fact a connection there to get revenge for a deal gone wrong." Now that could be a GREAT story, but if actually true, would bollix up so much of Spider-Man's history as to render the entire character invalid. Now most of the things Alan is talking about in this story isn't continuity as much as it is simple traffic management and fact-checking. And while you can get away with "post crisis history" a lot, it wouldn't hurt to try and make things match up a little bit. As more and more time passes in the months that Final crisis is being published, it's going to get harder and harder to figure out where in the "two weeks before FC started" all of the stories we're reading are happening.Now in some cases, it's a wrter of note (like Grant Morrison) saying he wants to use version xyz of a character, and even tho that character has been changed, undone, or even completely replaced by another story, what are you gonna do, he's Grant Morrison for pete's sake! So now we have two completely different versions of the evil justice league, the one from the Anti-matter universe that's being used in Trinity and Superman Beyond, and the one from Earth-3 that was shown in 52 and used all through Countdown. since they claim they are (now, after fans demnaded one) giving us a resolution between the conflicting stories in Countdown and FC, we may see that explained, but we'll see.Dan didio has pretty much recanted the hawkman special. At a couple shows he's said that was more of a testing the water kind of thing, to see if fans would like the change. IOW, he backpedaled better and faster than Dr. Evertett (von) Scott in Rocky Horror. I just took it as a massive lie by this total stranger who we had no reason to believe in the first place, so I had no problem with it.

    • Alan Kistler says:

      I definitely don't think continuity should get in the way of a good story, but there's a difference between tweaking the past to give a richer history/story and just not being aware of what's been established. When James Robinson did STARMAN, he altered it that Ted Knight invented the gravity rod rather than receiving it from a friend. And he even had Ted's son Jack mentioned that the story of having received it was a falsehood that Knight himself had perpetuated. That was fine. It changed things while keeping it clear to readers that this was the intention of the piece. The same can be said of Geoff Johns tackling Hawkman. WHat he did altered some things, but he was upfront about the fact that this is what he was doing and he did it in a way that the past was still addressed, just interpreted differently.

  2. Paul1963 says:

    When I saw the headline, I thought this was going to be about things like misspellings–which comics never used to have, and which now show up all the time–or art mistakes. One of the comics I picked up last week had a panel showing the entrance to a police station with the word "precinct" misspelled on the outside of the building. And there was that early issue of the current run of Jonah Hex where the art was flipped on a couple of pages so the balloon tails were all pointing in the wrong direction and Hex's distinctive scar was on the wrong side of his face! (The artist on the otherwise-excellent JH #36 didn't draw the scar at all for the entire issue and apparently nobody noticed that either).I really dug the ultra-high-tech apartment Busiek created for Clark Kent, and knew as soon as the description was over that we'd never see any of that stuff again–because I've seen lots of things like that introduced over the years, and 99.9% of it is forgotten as soon as another writer comes on, or another big event happens. Anybody up for figuring out all the homes and careers 20something Dick Grayson has had since he joined the New Teen Titans at the apparent age of 19? (I love the current one–he's a museum curator who's in his mid-twenties and doesn't have a college degree. The trustees must have loved that!)And I'm still waiting for the Batman story that explains what happened in Gotham City during the 52 year to oust Commissioner Akins and coax Gordon back out of what was at least his second or third retirement since the 1980s.

  3. Anonymous says:

    You bring up many good points, but what makes you think that the Hulk wouldn't have his strength in zero-G? He would; however, he would also be subject to Newton's Laws–particularly the one about every action having an equal and opposite reaction. His application of said strength would be likely to have unintended consequences.

  4. Joe in Philly says:

    I complained about the various events in the Superman books and other books such as Final Crisis. This article seems to validate my complaint. Continuity is all a mess, and they don't care. So neither do I. It makes it much easier for me to decide to stop buying "Batman R.I.P." and "DC Decisions" before the stories end.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Too many books and a distate for continuity from both editorial teams.

  6. lorinheller says:

    Yeah, continuity has had problems, to put it mildly. Bad enough when something contradicts a story a few years old, but when you have major continuity gaffes during CURRENT EVENTS, it's especially sad. Take Civil War. Continuity problems between the main book, and the series that were crossing over with it. Ayii….. Not to mention that you have characters doing stuff which is pretty inconsistent with past depictions. (My hope was that Secret Invasion would explain some of that, and maybe it has helped… a little bit.)

  7. Delmo Walters Jr. says:

    Please-the "editors" at DC & Marvel have been phoning it in for years now. Must be nice to go to work, do nothing for 40 hours a week, and get paid. Obviously there are exceptions. The less said about Dan Dildo the better.

  8. Alan Coil says:

    Many editors today are merely traffic managers. And some are people barely out of their teens who know little about the characters or basic storytelling.I wish I had Wolverine's frequent flier miles. With all the books he's in simultaneously, he must be amassing a million miles in air travel every year.

  9. Rick Taylor says:

    In most cases we aren't getting continuity OR a good story.Just an multi-part 'event' will too many tie-ins where they cal kill off a bunch of characters and restart new ons so they don't have to pay the creators any royalties.That passes 'continuity'.