Monday, February 13, 2006


When I initially started this blog, it really was to discuss comic books.
I haven't done that in a while (in part because I only hit the store once a month or so, and thats just coming up next weekend).
I was thinking about tension.
And things that defeat tension.
Let me start out by saying i hate stories with time travel machines.
By their very nature, they defeat tension. They make every event near-irrelevant (since you can always go back and change how everything came out).
You can get around this, but it always feels like a poorly executed hack.

This same sort of thing happens in comics.
What are the chances that the Flash is going to die in any particular issue? Sure, Barry died in the most massive comic book epic ever (Crisis On Infinite Earths) but what about Flash issue 184? Did anything change there? No. NNot in 211 either.
My point is that given the nature of the beast, change isn't something that happens much in comics, and death even less so.
Push comes to shove, you need to get that title out every month. You need to acknowledge that you aren't going to be the last person to work on that title, either, so you can't really screw anything up for long. And lets not forget all the history.
Just imagine if someone decided that Superman wasn't from Krypton and, instead, was a plant-being created by the super-science of Atlantis.

This isn't to say we don't get changes, that there aren't repurcussions, just that they are few and far between. Superman became electric. For a bit. Spiderman wore black. For a bit. The Hulk was intelligent. For a...well, you get my point.
Hal Jordan, Jean Grey, Oliver Queen...all died. All came back.
As I understand the Marvel Universe, there are only two characters who don't come back. Uncle Ben and Bucky. I'm pretty sure Bucky came back, but its hard to tell. We can also add in Gwen Stacy. In DC, its pretty much Thomas and Martha Wayne, and probably Jor-El and Lara. Why? Because you can't have Spiderman, Batman, or Superman without these deaths. I don't know why Bucky is on the list (Captain America has zero angst). He just is.

With all that said, does this mean the medium is for crappy writers?
It means the medium needs BETTER writers.
Watch Apollo 13.
Great movie.
Lots of tension.
And yet you know...and I mean you know from HISTORY, not from 'oh, the hero always lives'...that it all ends up OK.
And yet...
Good writers create tension, drama, conflict, uncertainty where, by all reasonable views, there should be none.


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