Monday, October 13, 2003

CONTINUITY AS AN INNOVATION DRIVER, NOT A CREATIVE HINDRANCE: Reading Jim and Dirk talk continuity, I'm wondering if sometimes a shared continuity promotes creativity by forcing a writer to not raise the stakes of a story to blowing-up-the-Death-Star levels. As in the recent X-Men Dirk mentions where Grant Morrison has Magneto take over New York despite New York being the Marvel Universe's superhero headquarters--I mean, was that necessary? Wasn't there some other way to establish Magneto's villainy besides having him knock down the Statue of Liberty and the Brooklyn Bridge? I kept waiting for the point where it gets revealed that Professor X had Magneto trapped in a world of his own imaginings but that moment did not come. This is of course early in the story, and it's a fool's game to try and judge a Grant Morrison story before you have the whole thing in front of you in trade paperback form--but still.

I have more to say about this and hopefully will say it at some point. What I'm thinking is if you want your superheroes to have a strong commercial presence you need a strong continuity, otherwise the stuff that's coming out in the present cheapens the stuff in the past and you end up with characters that look like the ones you remember but aren't really them. Or you can just allow that these days that a new creative team means new characters, which is probably the more mature, less fanboyish attitude. And there's nothing wrong with that--I wish Marvel would admit that continuity is over, because I think they want to have it both ways. At least DC told you when it was an imaginary story....

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