Hot on the heels of our Infinite Crisisreview (audio edition) comes word that 52 is getting the exact same treatment: a novelization this July by Greg Cox, and a full-cast audio adaptation by GraphicAudio.
Greg tells our Glenn Hauman: "I thought I’d shamelessly plug the 52 novel, which goes on sale in a couple of weeks. If nothing else, this is the first gay Batwoman novel, which gives it some small claim to newsworthiness! :)" Probably so; those introductory issues of 52 have been up-priced in some venues and doubtlessly will be footnoted in next year’s Overstreet Guide.
Thanks for the news, Greg. We’re looking forward to both versions!
If you’ve been taking careful notes while reading my sundry ComicMix entries, no doubt you’ve noticed I’m quite a fan of audio drama. There are a lot of reasons for this, the least of which is that I prefer driving to all locations within a thousand mile radius instead of subjecting myself to the massively frustrating incompetence and arrogance of our air transportation industry.
Ergo, I have a lot of time to listen to stuff in my car, particularly around convention season (May through April, each year). I’ve got a six-disc mp3 player buried in my little 2005 Ford Focus hatchback, which means I can program enough sound to drive from Connecticut to California without actually changing discs. I (literally) just got back from a round-trip to Chicago, my most frequent location, accompanied by my patient wife Linda and my beautiful daughter Adriane. All three of us are comics fans.
Usually, I program a Nero Wolfe adaptation – brilliant stuff, wonderfully produced – and one of Big Finish Productions’ full-cast original Doctor Who shows. And some other stuff – lots of music, some comedy (Firesign Theater, Jack Benny, or in this case The Marx Brothers), maybe a podcast or six. But this time, I was armed with GraphicAudio’s adaptation of Greg Cox’s novelization of the DC Comics miniseries Infinite Crisis.
All three of us had read the original miniseries, all three of us had read much of the sundry miniseries that lead up to Infinite Crisis, and all three of us figured that by listening to this adaptation we might, this time, actually figure out what happened in the miniseries. Not that it really matters, as we’ve lived through 52 and One Year Later and World War III and now Countdown and we’ll probably sucker down and read Final Crisis after that. After all these years, DC still has problems maintaining a cohesive thought.
The GraphicAudio adaptation is only the first half of Cox’s book, and is clearly labeled as such. The second half will be out soon; it was listed in last month’s Diamond catalog. The adaptation is neither full-cast audio nor a straight-forward spoken word reading. There is a narrator who dramatizes the narrative (hence his title), but when it comes to the actual dialog each character has his or her own voice. With original music and full sound effects, it works quite nicely… although I did have to get over my initial disappointment that it wasn’t a full-cast audio theatrical production.
I hadn’t heard any of GraphicAudio’s other work, although there is a heck of a lot of it. They adapt many paperback action-hero series such as The Destroyer and The Executioner (and others), and if the quality of these productions matches their Infinite Crisis, I might check a few out.
We were particularly impressed by the production itself: the original music and the sound effects were appropriate and gave the two-dimensional world of original audio much needed depth. They summarized all of the various miniseries that led up to Infinite Crisis in the three minutes before the opening credits, which was all that was necessary to provide the backstory.
I like continuity. Always have, always will. It enriches serialized fiction as found in pulp magazines, comic books, movies and television. In an ideal world, things would be consistent from the beginning of any new creation, but it rarely is.
Johnston McCulley altered his own reality after one Zorro novel because he decided more people saw the Douglas Fairbanks silent film than read his book and anyone coming to the second book should recognize elements.
Gene Roddenberry was building his worldview for Star Trek so details such as the name of Starfleet and the United Federation of Planets evolved over the course of the first season. Unlike many of its peers, it actually had more episode to episode continuity than the majority of prime time in the 1960s.
In comic books, after 60+ years of publishing, even I recognize that it’s impossible for a singular continuity to exist for long-running characters from Captain America to Superman. What editors need to strive for, today, is consistency so the reader isn’t left scratching his head week after week.
During my tenure at Marvel, I pointed out to the editorial team that three different titles released the same week gave Henry Peter Gyrich three different jobs. That serves no one well and meant no one was paying attention at a company that prided itself on its shared universe.
More recently, DC Comics released, a week apart, a Nightwing Annual and an Outsiders Annual. Both were solid stories that wrapped up some long-standing threads and filled in gaps left by the time between Infinite Crisis’s conclusion and the “One Year Later” re-set. Read separately, they were fine, but read against the largest context of the DC Universe they massively contradicted one another.
At the conclusion of Infinite Crisis, Nightwing was completely zapped and left for dead. In his own annual, we’re told he was in a coma for three weeks and then so badly banged up he needed additional time to recover and retrain his body. Finally, when he was deemed ready, he left Gotham City with Batman and Robin for what we know to be six months of bonding. And from there, he returned in time to meet the new Batwoman in the pages of 52.
A week later, though, we get the Outsiders Annual where Nightwing is running around with his teammates to break Black Lightning out of Iron Heights prison and once that’s done, he goes with the team for an underground mission that lasts the better part of a year.
OK, so what is the reader to accept as the actual sequence of events? He cannot be in two places at once, yet these annuals ask us to believe exactly that.
Doctor Who fans have been getting all-new full-cast audio adventures for years. Recently, Dark Shadows has been invited into the club. And now, GraphicAudio has signed DC Comics up for the ride.
Purveyors of full cast audio adaptations of such well-known action paperback series as Stony Man, The Destroyer and The Executioner, the Graphic Audio corporation will be releasing DC’s Infinite Crisis miniseries in two box sets, each containing six hours of programming. The first will be released in May, the second in June. They describe the plot thusly:
"Superman, the Man of Steel. Wonder Woman, Amazon Princess. Batman, the Dark Knight. Together, they are the greatest super heroes of all. But they have turned away from each other in Earth”s hour of greatest need. As space is ripped apart, super-villains unite, and four mysterious strangers threaten reality itself. Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman must put aside their differences to save the world, but even the combined might of all Earth”s heroes might not be enough to stop the coming crisis…"
Actually, the CD sets are an adaptation of Greg Cox’s novelization of Infinite Crisis, buy why quibble. I’m a fan of such original audio shows, and I’m looking forward to reviewing the series. GraphicAudio CDs are widely available at truck stops and Interstate rest areas, and through the manufacturer.