SUZY SPREADWELL #1 by John Linton Roberson, available at Google Play Books!
I Didn't Write That!
07 March 2008
  Alan Moore: A Primer

At the Onion.


Also, there's a link in it to yet another place on the internet that his abortive Twilight of the Superheroes proposal has turned up, till DC has it removed again. If you haven't read it, you ought to, if you're at all interested in the way Moore's mind works. And if you want to see the corpse that DC has been picking pieces from for a couple of decades and change.

In particular is a piece of advice, in this context regarding the effects of Crisis on Infinite Earths in the mid-80s, on the ultimately destructive effect that constant reboots of longstanding characters can do. This is a piece of advice that Joe Quesada and Dan Didio would be wise to take. From what I can see when I go into comics stores these days, all the titles seem to be so interlaced that they resemble one big comic series. This is not a way to get new readers. The strategy seems to be to force readers to buy many, many different comics every week just to get one story straight. But few will do that; most likely they'll realize what a waste of time it is and give up altogether.

In the wake of the time-altering at the end of the Crisis we are left with a universe where the entire past continuity of DC, for the most part, simply never happened. While I understand that Paul is attempting to sort out the Legion/Superboy problems over in LSH at the moment, and that other writers are tackling similar discrepancies, the fact remains that by far the larger part of DC's continuity will simply have to be scrapped and consigned to one of Orwell's memory holes along with a large amount of characters who, more than simply being dead, are now unpeople.

I believe this is dangerous for a couple of reasons. Firstly, by establishing the precedent of altering time, you are establishing an unconscious context for all stories that take place in the future, as well as for those which took place (or rather didn't take place) in the past. The readers of long standing, somewhere along the line, are going to have some slight feeling that all the stories that they followed avidly during their years of involvement with the book have been in some way invalidated, that all those countless plotlines weren't leading to anything more than what is in some respects an arbitrary cut-off point. By extension, the readers of today might well be left with the sensation that the stories they are currently reading are of less significance or moment because, after all, at some point ten years in the future some comic book omnipotent, be it an editor or the Spectre, can go back in time and erase the whole slate, ready to start again. I myself felt something similar at the end of the first Superman film, when he turns time back to save Lois. It ruined the small but genuine enjoyment that I'd got from that first movie and destroyed all credibility for any of the following sequels as far as I was concerned.

I know that the average eight year old reader in the street is not thinking these things consciously while buying his monthly batch of titles. Probably the average seventeen or twenty five year old reader isn't either, although that's more open to debate... Attendant to this, there are a number of people in the industry (and in my opinion they have a good case even if I'm undecided about the right means to carry it off) who feel that it's time to break down the continuity and try to get rid of a lot of the rather anal and obsessive attitudes that have been allowed to dominate the marketplace and to some degree have hindered it in its periodic attempts to be taken seriously. I suppose a shining example of this would be Frank[Miller]'s Dark Knight, which, while it doesn't seem bothered about fitting into any graven-in-stone continuity, does service to the legend of Batman and brilliantly redefines the character for an eighties audience, and nobody really seems to care much how this all fits into the continuity because it's such a bloody good story. Will Jason Todd really die? Will all the superheroes leave Earth to Superman and his government pals? Will Oliver Queen really get his arm burned off at the elbow in a fight with Clark Kent and become an embittered urban terrorist? Who cares?

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