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Are Marvel and DC too complicated?

Last posted Aug 19, 2015 at 02:30PM EDT. Added Aug 18, 2015 at 12:18PM EDT
10 posts from 6 users

I was at Barnes and Noble the other day when I heard some nerds complaining about how Joss Whedon was a terrible director and how the MCU is crap because it doesn't follow the original comics. I decided to do a little research. I have read comics in the past, but not too much, so I started watching the Comicstorian videos on youtube and learned a couple things
1. Green Latern and the lantern corps are really interesting. I might actually read some about them. The red Lantern corps looks awesome.
2.Comics are so convoluted that it almost seems like a joke.

How the hell can anyone in the right mind think that a movie can stay true to a comic? They are just a mess of characters and twists and turns. They are just incredibly intimidating to get into, which sucks because the DC universe is amazing.
Do comic readers feel the same, or is it just a learning curve?

Everyone wants to have their cake and eat it too. I say let the cinematic universe be as it is. There's really no way they can hope to capture the backgrounds that comics have spent decades building in a 2-hour movie. Hell, I don't think they'd be able to do it in a trilogy.

As for complicated. As far as I can tell, that's pretty common in comic books. Convolute the story until shit hits the fan, then kill everyone off and make a new universe to start over. That's my understanding of it.

People has to understand this are movies and for the same, you have to adapt the characters and the universe they live in for this medium.
Besides the fact you cant put 75 years of ongoing character history in a movie.
Besides the fact every single comic book artist has his own take in every character and his own vision.
In words of the immortal master Stan Lee, every comic is someone first comic.
DC and Marvel should try to remember that.

The problem is that comics are non-linear in nature. Their stories don't really "flow" into one another, and carry an active continuity, especially in the early days. Like, most comic book stories are a 6 to 10 issue event, followed by an immediate drop and return to status quo, with a few off-hand comments about what happened last arc, until the new arc starts.

Comics method of distribution is somewhat irritating as well, speaking from personal experience. Unless you picked up issue 1 you won't have the context outside of the first page narration box to know what's going on. Issues tend to not be available to you once the new ones come out, making getting full context difficult, as well as creating a need to make the issues disjointed from one another, in an attempt to continue to draw in new readers even if they missed issue 1.

Finally, comics in modern times are very, very, very, very, liberal when it comes to resetting their universes canon. Meaning that at any moment, the comic you read will not matter. Because its events will not have occured, and we'll be reading about a different universe all together next time. The multiverse means you have multiple incarnations of characters who you could be reading and not realize which event correspond to which issues. Big crossover events are spread over multiple issues of multiple comic book series, making getting the big picture really difficult. And many writers brought on can create a bad interpretation of a character, which can vary from issue to issue erratically.

Compared to manga's, where there tends to be 1 artist, 1 writer, and 1 story creators vision at work, which allows a more coherent and linear story to be told. Also, the practice of keeping the series avaliable in compilation form that doesn't cost an arm and a leg and is easily accessible to digital distribution. Or at least, this practice exists once a comic book is out of compilation-manga distribution such as Shonen Jump, which release new chapters of manga each issue which eventually get compiled into its own series of books.

No.

If you really wanted to, you could find individual stories. These companies have loads of out of main continuity stories. Marvel even had the Ultimate series, which was its own universe and was much more clear with continuity (this where the a lot of Marvel of films get the storylines, mixed with regular Earth 616 stories). DC did something similar with the New 52. Even out of that there are things like Marvel MAX stories, adult themed comics with 1 or 2 Marvel characters and not really any continuity outside of the series (i.e Wolverine MAX and Punisher MAX don't share the same continuity, they are both separate).

It's all about whether continuity appeals to you though. To me it's exciting that there are hundreds of characters all sharing the same space, and any of them can meet and go on adventures.

With something like say a Manga, you wont have things like Goku doing something that affects Kenshiro. It adds a whole lot more possibilities.

Marvel and DC are about possibilities and character and they are meant to be timeless. You don't get into them to just read a select few series, you get into them because you want to see someone else's portrayl of a character. Nothing is ever really the same, anything can happen. Batman could appear in a Green Arrow story and help the guy out, or Thor take on a Fantastic Four villain because within that universe it's possible. Maybe you want to see someone take a darker tone with Iron Man, one that really tests his character.

One final example. What made The Dark Knight Returns (which is out of universe and could confuse readers) so interesting? Essentially as far as the story goes, it's a guy starting a rebellion against crime and a corrupt government. But it's who that man is. He's a psycho and deeply disturbed, It's THE Batman. But it was Batman we never saw before. This was What If Batman was very unhinged after decades of crime fighting?

As someone who grew up around tons of Marvel/DC comic book nerds, I can say yes, even they joke about how absurdly convoluted the stories are. The fact that there are even "multiple continuities" in the first place should be proof enough, not to mention the hundreds upon hundreds of the same characters from different universes and dimensions all interfering with each other, and the fact that several stories have been completely overwritten and redone countless times. It's probably the main reason that the movies just stick with the core/origin stories over any of the complex plot stuff; it just wouldn't make sense to anyone not familiar with the characters and settings already. The audience for that kind of thing would be far too small.

That being said, there is absolutely no way any of the movies have even a snowball's chance in hell at being completely accurate.

Last edited Aug 18, 2015 at 09:32PM EDT

@Spider-Byte

To be honest, that kind of reinforces what I was saying. There is too much going on, its not something that you can pick up easily. At least that's how I felt when I tried to get into it when the MCU started kicking ass. But there is just so much to read, nothing seems consistent as characters die and come back. Maybe as a comic book fan, you think I am just a casual, but I just can't get into it because of that. I really loved the Justice league and Teen Titans as a kid, and I would like to read the comics, but I don't even know where to start.

With something like say a Manga, you wont have things like Goku doing something that affects Kenshiro. It adds a whole lot more possibilities.

Honestly, I think thats a good thing. I don't want Matoko seeking help from Makise to build a time machine to help Princess Yona. I prefer stories and characters that exist within their own world and are not connected to a million characters. It keeps focus and is easier to just pick up and read.

Last edited Aug 18, 2015 at 10:46PM EDT

Dac wrote:

@Spider-Byte

To be honest, that kind of reinforces what I was saying. There is too much going on, its not something that you can pick up easily. At least that's how I felt when I tried to get into it when the MCU started kicking ass. But there is just so much to read, nothing seems consistent as characters die and come back. Maybe as a comic book fan, you think I am just a casual, but I just can't get into it because of that. I really loved the Justice league and Teen Titans as a kid, and I would like to read the comics, but I don't even know where to start.

With something like say a Manga, you wont have things like Goku doing something that affects Kenshiro. It adds a whole lot more possibilities.

Honestly, I think thats a good thing. I don't want Matoko seeking help from Makise to build a time machine to help Princess Yona. I prefer stories and characters that exist within their own world and are not connected to a million characters. It keeps focus and is easier to just pick up and read.

The appearances are never just big crossovers, like it might just be small like Hulk might make a mini earthquake, and in Spider-Man, Peter Parker might feel the ground tremble, but move on to do whatever is important to the story.

Thing to note, most comic book stories do actually work on there own. Even something like say, World War Hulk, which carries on from Planet Hulk, The Illuminati, and bits of Civil War will fill you in on what you missed out. Marvel even has pages at the beginning of their floppies (individual issues) that will give you important information.

If you want to get down to it, they are stooped in continuity, arguable more than any other fictional universes. But think of it more like real history, you can't possibly learn everything.

There are plenty of choices for you to read stuff and not have to worry about continuity. It only becomes a problem if you worry about it too much. If the book does rely on continuity take it like a stepping stone. One story leads to another.

An example I was shown when I introduced my friend to Daredevil, he read Mark Waids run, in that there is a crossover with Spider-Man and Punisher. You don't need to know what either character is doing in their own book, the story flows naturally, there is a major character in the Punisher that is important to the story, but the explanation is simple and summed up in 1 sentence. But my friend found the Punisher interesting so he read the Punisher series that was crossing over from the beginning and loved it. That got his interest in the character so he looked for more Punisher and found his favourite comic because of it.

One of the biggest problems with the large continuity is that there are too many cooks trying to dictate the events that shape the entire universe of their individual stories. Characters develop wildly out of synch with even themselves issue to issue because of whose brought on to write for them.

Just look at spiderman for an example of that. God knows between One More Day and Superior Spider Man, horrible things happening that change the character forever, only to be undone a few issues later without real focus on undoing them, have been a staple problem with comics for years.

Marvel and DC's insistence that any writer can writer these characters well borderlines on Konami levels of disregard for individual talent and contribution. And it hurts readers trying to get into the stories because they can't keep up with the constant back and forth.

It'd be like if Goku was written by Akira Toriyama until halfway through the Cell Arc. Then someone else came aboard and wrote about Goku killing cell, then Vegeta, then trying to blow up the earth in a fit of sayin blood rage, with gohan killing him. Then having another writer come in and write that no, Goku never died, he survived thanks to the help of Luffy D Monkey, and the blood rage was actually an evil entity that possessed Goku from the Naruto Universe named Madara Uchiha, only for another retcon to go, Did we say entity? We meant to say Frizea's ghost, oh and that ghost also took Gohan's form and raped Lucy from Fairy Tail, so now here's that story arc to clean up. Then the producers being like, "We gotta clean this up" and rebooting all of Dragon Ball Z, and the first story arc of theirs being how Frizea's ghost was actually Raoh, Toguro, and The Epion fused together the entire time and Goku is now a zombie possessed by him and has to be beaten by Trunks, Gohan, and Ezra.

It's like, at what point is a reader supposed to jump in this constantly changing writer list and get invested in a character, whose actions are gonna get retconned as soon as a new writer takes over?

Last edited Aug 19, 2015 at 01:31PM EDT

Black Graphic T wrote:

One of the biggest problems with the large continuity is that there are too many cooks trying to dictate the events that shape the entire universe of their individual stories. Characters develop wildly out of synch with even themselves issue to issue because of whose brought on to write for them.

Just look at spiderman for an example of that. God knows between One More Day and Superior Spider Man, horrible things happening that change the character forever, only to be undone a few issues later without real focus on undoing them, have been a staple problem with comics for years.

Marvel and DC's insistence that any writer can writer these characters well borderlines on Konami levels of disregard for individual talent and contribution. And it hurts readers trying to get into the stories because they can't keep up with the constant back and forth.

It'd be like if Goku was written by Akira Toriyama until halfway through the Cell Arc. Then someone else came aboard and wrote about Goku killing cell, then Vegeta, then trying to blow up the earth in a fit of sayin blood rage, with gohan killing him. Then having another writer come in and write that no, Goku never died, he survived thanks to the help of Luffy D Monkey, and the blood rage was actually an evil entity that possessed Goku from the Naruto Universe named Madara Uchiha, only for another retcon to go, Did we say entity? We meant to say Frizea's ghost, oh and that ghost also took Gohan's form and raped Lucy from Fairy Tail, so now here's that story arc to clean up. Then the producers being like, "We gotta clean this up" and rebooting all of Dragon Ball Z, and the first story arc of theirs being how Frizea's ghost was actually Raoh, Toguro, and The Epion fused together the entire time and Goku is now a zombie possessed by him and has to be beaten by Trunks, Gohan, and Ezra.

It's like, at what point is a reader supposed to jump in this constantly changing writer list and get invested in a character, whose actions are gonna get retconned as soon as a new writer takes over?

This is grossly over-exaggerating everything.

This is because you are reading them expecting some sort of end goal. These characters are not made to have a resolution. They care more about the journey. They are not the writers characters, they are the companies characters. That's the deal. You can play with the toys and but even if you try break them, someone will fix it.

If you want Marvel but are extremely put off by a messy universe watch MCU films or read Ultimate Marvel, up till Ultimatum. Only Ultimate titles are in the same continuity and are a lot more clean. For DC, read New 52.


"Just look at spiderman for an example of that. God knows between One More Day and Superior Spider Man, horrible things happening that change the character forever, only to be undone a few issues later without real focus on undoing them, have been a staple problem with comics for years."

There were no real massive changes between OMD and SSM. Peter never died, never got new powers and only switched costume for a few issues. Clearly, you have not even read Amazing Spider-Man or probably not even any Spider-Man titles like that.

I'm not gonna deny Spider-Man has a bit of a mess when it comes to this, but it sure as hell got a lot better. Even with Superior Spider-Man, every Marvel comic that even guest starred Spider-Man had SpiderOck and told you that Otto was in Pete's body.


Even Dragonball has weird continuity errors and multiple universes.

Skeletor-sm

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