Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Haven't We Seen This Before?

Once in a while... There are times when I think that I am getting too old to read comics. At least recent comics. It seems like so many comics repeat themselves. Take this new Green Arrow comic for instance...

I just gave the first issue a try and I couldn't help but make comparisons to the Mike Grell Longbow Hunters Era.

Heck both Green Arrow #1 comics start pretty much the same way... although the newest one takes more pages to get the same point across.

Here is he first page of Mike Grell's run...
Here is the first page of the new series by JT Krul...

Here is are next 3 pages of Longbow Hunters

And the next 3 pages of the new series

Damn... They brought back the Silver Age Green Arrow not that long ago... and it did not take them long to get back to him being the Longbow Hunter. It makes me think that no one at DC knows what to do with the character. So now they are trying to get back the magic of the Mike Grell Green Arrow.

Now they are back to the more edgy... not afraid to maim... maybe even kill... Green Arrow.
So in short after the Silver Age version failed...

...The Longbow Hunter is back.
HE'S BACK BABY!!!.............. (sorry)

I was a big fan of the Longbow Hunter era of Green Arrow. Although I am curious about this new Green Arrow series... I can't help but feel this strong sense of deja vu. I guess we will have to wait and see how it measures up against the original Longbow Hunter comics.... and how different it will be. Probably why I barely buy new comics anymore and am mostly buying some Omnibuses/Essentials/TPBs of comics of an era long since gone.

No... not because of nostalgia... I started reading comics because them comics at the time had just the right balance of story/action that I craved. So to get the balance that I think is just right for comics.... I mostly have to look at older comics to try and find what I love about comics. But there are also various other reasons behind that.

You can sometimes look at older comics and tell that some of them were made for 12 years old. But for about 10 years now... when you read a comic.... you often get the feeling that them comics are made BY 12 years old kids. Maybe it has to do with the fact that now I am as old... or older then most of them guys producing them comics?? Could be.

There also is the factor or continuity... and the fact that history gets to repeat itself. For an example of continuity that makes me feel too old to read comics... I have been reading the FF since Hickman took over the title with Eaglesham... and it was mostly a fun ride so far.... although I have no clue what the Nu-Earth sub-plot is even about. I only looked at a handful of issues of the Millar/Hitch FF... and from what I understand... Nu-Earth has to do with that run.

But in the latest FF issue (#580)... I could not help but get pulled out of the story and tell myself.... "Hey... Reed and Ben both knew that Ben could transform himself."

In the Thing #23 (did not even need to look it up... I only own 3 Thing comics.... okay 4 if you count FF # 274)... Reed tells Ben that he could transform at will... that it was just some mental block (Ben thinking that Alicia loved the Thing) that was preventing him from transforming.

Now that Ben no longer loved Alicia... he should be able to transform at will between the Thing and Ben Grimm. But then it was too late... the Thing had KILLED Ben Gimm on Battleworld. So no more transforming into Ben Grimm. Of course... that was changed in FF #39 by Pacheco where Ben could transform at will. I have no clue how long that lasted.

But the on/off switch was nothing new... and Ben had made peace with him being the Thing ages ago. So seeing that idea of curing Ben once more... and how Ben and Reed did not seem to remember the event from the Thing #23.... made me feel old.    

We shall see.
So is it that I AM too old to read comics??

Should I leave comics behind?? Should I just move on?? Or should I simply stick to reading some of them older comics?? Is there a time when you must stop/give up reading comics??? What do you guys think?? I am curious to read your thoughts on the subject.

Until next time.

- Pierre


Trey said...

You're obviously not too old to read comics, but maybe your too old enjoy comics. ;)

Just kidding. I think one of the biggest problem with comics is continuing (perhaps unconsciously)the Silver Age DC idea of the recycling of stories--except now the readership isn't turning over. Ironically, this just reinforces the recycling, because something old is something the large reactionary portion of the fan base will accept.

And yes, Longbow Hunters was awesome.

Reno said...

One thing I find amusing is that the original "Longbow Hunter" Green Arrow series had a mature readers tag. But the new pages have more blood and gore than the previous series, and it's suitable for all ages nowadays!

Luke H said...

This is an interesting question Pierre. I think it is probably different for everyone: some people actually get pissed if there IS any change while others crave it and then are angry when they don't get it from superhero comics. Personally, I want change and that I think is why I have gravitated to indy books (mostly through Image) where real change is possible. That's what gets me excited in comics nowadays. I can enjoy the Brubaker's Cap or Daredevil runs BUT I know none of this stuff is going to stick and I have to admit that, once I realized that's how it works, Invincible, Savage Dragon, or The Walking Dead gained a big upper hand.

Anonymous said...

I'd say the problem you're encountering is one of continuity itself. Marvel and DC took on the burden of ongoing continuities without considering that it might encourage readers to stick around for decades. They didn't foresee comics historians, the internet with its fansites and wikis and blogs, and they never, ever thought they'd encounter a time when the creators were split between grown fans who want the comic to look like their nostalgia demands and adult writers who couldn't care less about last year's comics (never mind decades ago). And then there's Grant Morrison, who manages to be both at once and yet neither. ;)

Plain and simple, ongoing continuities have screwed Marvel and DC because there's a mountain to slog through every time they create, it will invariably get compared to something that came before, and the readers will always know if something is contradictory and/or already happened.

It's not that you're old, Pierre. You've just encountered the flaw in ongoing continuity and years of fandom. You've been promised constant newness that the publisher cannot adhere to in the extreme long-term. DC at least recognized the problem and tried to Crisis it away... only to have nostalgic creators come along and unravel it.

Pierre Villeneuve said...

Trey; Thanks.... I think. ;)

I know that there is this cycle about the turn-around of the audience and how every 5 to 7 years.... your audience should be entirely new... allowing you to repeat whith no problem what was done before.

Not quite true anymore.

And we agree... The Longbow Hunter was awesome.

Pierre Villeneuve said...

Reno; The ratings in comics is completely messed up.

So I would suggest not to trust it.

Before giving a comic to a kid, look through it first.

Pierre Villeneuve said...

Luke H; I don't think that it is a matter that people don't like change.

I think that readers will accept change if it makes sense and happens organically.

But when such change feels forced... sure it is pretty tough to swallow.

Pierre Villeneuve said...

lukeblast; I think you just hit the nail on the head.

Thanks and great comment.

Caine said...

Cherry Pick what you like and don't like, that's what I do (and I definitely LIKED this Green Arrow reboot).

Sphinx Magoo said...

I kinda miss the old boxing glove arrows and such...

MattComix said...

Ideally, I think unless you've got a jones to do a book like the Authority or something superhero comics can and should be enjoyable wether you are 12 or 52. At the very least when it comes to DC and Marvel.

Rather than polarizing into some narrow pretentious yet faux-porn idea of "adult" or serving it up in watered-down fashion via an Adventures title superheroes should hit on a kind of general audience level that the classic Star Wars movies do. Where you can come to it as a kid and it's a blast and then as an adult you pick up on all the subtle things and greater meanings.


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