MIKE GOLD: The Only Thing To Fear Is…
I just read the penultimate issue of Marvel’s Fear Itself miniseries. This means that next month, April, should maybe possibly mark the end of their big 2011 crossover event, also titled Fear Itself. It started a year ago. Longer, if you add the event implants.
The Fear Itself storyline has several epilogues – the Shattered Heroes books, sundry miniseries as well as this particular 12 part miniseries. It ends next month, right in time for the Avengers vs. X-Men event. In total, if you wanted to read the whole thing, you’d be reading something in the neighborhood of 135 separate comic book issues.
All this leaves me with one question: does anybody give a damn?
Like the overwhelming majority of big event crossover series, Fear Itself was pretty lightweight. Yeah, yeah, death, resurrection, worlds shattered, nothing will ever be the same again, and Ben Ulrich updates his résumé. Blah blah blah. If you haven’t read any of this and you are undaunted after considering this task, let me make two suggestions.
One: You do not pile all these books up on your lap. Particularly the hardcover editions. They will crush you, physically and spiritually.
Two: You might want to consider reading the Esperanto edition of James Joyce’s Ulysses instead. You only have so much time in life; go for the gusto.
O.K. I’ve been railing against endless phony dull event stunts for over a decade, but even if Fear Itself was among the best, it went on far too long. We have entered the era of the never-ending event, where one seamlessly segues into the next. Not only are these stories trivial and redundant (Norman Osborn’s back? Really? Next you’ll tell me they didn’t kill off Captain America or the Human Torch!), they no longer deserve the honorific “story.” A story has a beginning, a middle, and an end. A story has at least one climax, and a payoff that justifies your participation. These are qualities that are now lacking in mainstream event comics.
More fool I. As I’ve stated, I’ve been bitching about this for a long time. Yet most of these never-ending tales start off quite well and I get sucked in. Probably the best part of DC’s New 52 is that it wipes out or ignores most of their previous events. Probably the worst part of DC’s New 52 is that, eventually, they’ll do their own big event series – undoubtedly under the pretense of explaining everything that they “decided” not to explain in the individual 52 titles.
If history is any guide, in this they will fail miserably. I’m not knocking the abilities of the writers, artists, editors and editorial directors involved: the odds are overwhelmingly against them. It’s like writing a completely original episode of The Simpsons: after 500+ episodes, good luck with that. However, I am knocking the abilities of the publishers and the marketing executives who take such a short-term view of their bottom line.
I’ve said it before, and unfortunately I’ll have to say it again: What do you say, guys? Let’s try going back to simply producing great stories! You know, it just might work!
THURSDAY: Dennis O’Neil
I’ve been boycotting Marvel’s events for a few years now. They piss me right the #$%& off trying to get the entire storyline from 80 limited series and one-shots and cross-overs with 60 on-going titles, then in the end it’s back to status quo.
My argument extends to DC as well, Brandon. This event thing has grown to ridiculous proportions and they never end (in DC’s case, they often “reboot” right after the event — starting with the post-Crisis reboots of such minor characters as Superman and Wonder Woman). Creating a more closely integrated universe is a good thing, but not at the expense of solid individual character development.
Only DC stuff I read is Warlord and Jonah Hex, so fortunately I’ve not been exposed to the DC mega events.
But, seriously, man…Marvel’s piss me off so bad as a reader.
First off, even amongst epic-crossover-events…Fear Itself was weak and stupid. Matt called it the “michael bay comic series”. Second, DC hasn’t “ignored” any of the previous events. The reset only ignores SOME of them, or has rewritten others. Most of Superman’s backstory is gone… Green lantern’s hasn’t. It’s the most convoluted BS move they could pull. I’ve been railing since they made it clear that in order to know WHAT events were done… you just need to “keep reading!” It’s a total cop out allowing them to continue to sell back issues, and trades, and eventually repackage the events in the context of the new 52. Because they didn’t have the balls to just reset everything.
Marc, over the course of the past 27 years — since Crisis — DC has literally rebooted their superheroes more frequently than I’ve bought new shoes (Vans excepted). What they chose to remember, what they chose to forget, and what they chose to remember that they’re previously forgotten varies like Proty on crack.
You note Green Lantern. Hal Jordan was Green Lantern. Then Parallax. Then dead. Then the Spectre. Then dead. Now he’s Green Lantern. I probably missed a few. I don’t know what the hell he is now. Kind of a wise-ass, I think. Well, that’s better than being a drunk.
I was eight when Hal Jordan was introduced. By the time your son is eight, which would be, oh, about eight years from now, DC will have rebooted again. As Santayana sort of said, those who cannot remember the past are condemned to buying a lot of confusing trade paperbacks.
“27 years since Crisis”
I’m feeling old.