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Post By
America's Captain 

Location: Bayville New Jersey
Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 11,633
In Reply To
The Mandarin

Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 5,630
Subj: Re: I care about takes, not continuity, and I've never bought that others truly care about continuity
Posted: Tue Mar 06, 2018 at 04:03:06 pm EST (Viewed 227 times)
Reply Subj: I care about takes, not continuity, and I've never bought that others truly care about continuity
Posted: Mon Mar 05, 2018 at 07:21:24 pm EST (Viewed 295 times)

    The thing is, when you actually ask someone who claims to consider continuity sacred what they mean, they typically refer to a particular take on the character that itself contradicts previous takes. Michelinie and Layton, whom some on this board treat as golden sacred cows, themselves contradicted bronze and silver age writers and even contradicted themselves between their first and second runs. So this supposed "continuity" obsession is a lie. It's a lie born of trying to bring the weight of history and tradition to what is really just a simple expression of a preference for a particular take.

I think there are three types of people:

1. Those for whom your statement above holds true (and I'm one of them)

2. Those for whom your statement above does not hold true, and I know such people exist, and in fact we have the pleasure of their company on these very boards

3. Those who don't even try to say continuity matters. They just don't care at all. Give them good art with explosions and jokes and they're satisfied. These are the people Bendis writes for, and they are legion.

    Moreover, when writers attempt to reconcile continuity, the result is typically a dry, awkward, mess. A story or at least a chunk of a story that is just a big No-Prize, trying to neaten continuity that is so contradictory that it can only be neatened by the most tortured of Frankenstein stitching. The result lacks any entertainment value, because all it is is a big No-Prize pretending to be a story.

Oh yes. I strongly agree. Don't reconcile disparate continuity streams. Pick the one you like and reference the heck out of it.

My only pet peeve is this:

If you're going to use a character, then reference that character's most recent appearance and explain any point-A-to-point-B transition logistics. For example, if the Abomination was last seen on the moon with no way to get back to Earth, then take a few panels and explain how the Abomination got back to Earth. I don't need to know what the Abomination has been doing for the last 20 years. Just tell me how he got back to Earth and I'll be satisfied.

    Now that's not to say I despise old continuity. For example, I prefer Silver/Bronze age Mandarin to what he mostly became from the eighties onward. I still think that that little five page origin story Stan Lee wrote for him was the best Mandarin story ever, combining the pathos of tortured aristocrats like Roman Sionis and a tortured super-soldier like X-23 with the disturbing exploitation of Christopher Columbus.

And I would have no problem with a writer who went back to that well and drew water from it. Which doesn't mean the writer needs to contradict intervening continuity. Simply don't reference it. With one caveat as already noted: Reference the character's most recent appearance.

But the "most recent appearance" principle forces us to contend with some irritating stuff, unfortunately. Does anybody really want Doctor Doom to be a good guy? Yet he's being presented right now as semi-good. What do we do about that? Semi-good Doctor Doom is useless for most stories I would ever want to read or write. Yet we can't just ignore these developments. They're too momentous. What's a writer to do? Don't use Doctor Doom - that would be my answer. Either that or tell a story that returns Doom to villain status.

    But I prefer that simply because I think the take Stan Lee had on the character was the best, not because I think Silver Age continuity is inherently sacred.

Exactly. What really irks me is the way writers will go out of their way to obliterate any vestige of more recent characters. Case in point: Warren Ellis's supporting characters from the Extremis story line. Now don't get me wrong. I mostly disliked that story line. But the supporting characters were interesting! There was no reason to kill them off. Simply don't use them if you don't like them.

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