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$k!d M@rk$ : When Will It End?

Written by Zenguru on Monday, April 25 2011 and posted in Columns

I've written before about crossovers that pop up in response to others.  But what about the ones that never stop?

Ah, yes.  Another toilet bowl rant on crossovers.  My recent sojourn to Pittsburgh Comicon got me thinking about them again.  Especially after a conversation with Jim Starlin while he was signing my Dreadstar comics.

This wasn't an interview, but a discussion. 

I asked Jim if he had anything else coming out from Marvel or DC.  Even in addition to his work on Breed, coming out in early May!

Jim Starlin told me he's pretty burnt out on the big two right now.  He's perfectly happy doing his own thing with Image.  I asked him if he follows anything.  Especially since DC's Green machine is really pumping right now.  Nothing ever ends, he told me.  Everything bleeds into the next story.  There's no definitive end anymore.  It never ends.  All it's designed to do is suck up money.

Remembering my previous rant on crossovers, I had to nod in agreement.  Take the Green Lantern storyline, for example.  This all started with a bombastic build-up to Blackest Night.  A story which really rocked the GL mythos, as well as the rest of DC proper.  That bled into Brightest Day which begat War of the Green Lanterns which (will) beget The Search.  And probably more.

Now it's been a while since I read it, but Blackest Night pretty much did have a definitive end.  Except that Black Hand was now with the Indigo Corps and a white lantern landed on Earth.

Thus began the grand saga of Brightest Day and all these characters brought back to life.  And a bunch of new ones popping up, like the new Aqualad.  Having been pumped by Blackest Night, I was raring to go on Brightest Day. 

But Brightest Day is now over 24 issues.  I thought it was going to be 7 or 8 like its predecessor.  No, it had to go on and on and on and include vignettes about every damn character in the DC universe.  When was it going to end?

I got sick of Hawkman and Hawkgirl fighting for love.  Got sick of Deadman eating a cheeseburger.  Sick of Hawk wanting to kick everybody's ass......and then not doing it.

There were so many stories going on in that book that I was overloaded.  I promptly dropped it.  I couldn't take it.  I wasn't reading a comic anymore.  I was hooked to the Matrix.

I even dropped Green Lantern.  A book I'd been loving since Johns restarted the franchise with Rebirth.  Now there's so much stuff happening that the characters are getting lost in the mix.  They're not growing.  They're not evolving.  They're not even interesting.  They are chameleons.  Ciphers changing as circumstances dictate.

Brightest Day had a chance to be as good as Blackest Night.  But there was too much involved in it.  Too much stuff happening.  It went on too long.  And it probably could have waited a while longer to come out.

And what's happened to Green Lantern in the meantime?  It's not just a title anymore, it's a family.  There's now GL Corps and GL Emerald Warriors.  I'm sorry.  I don't subscribe to the theory that one book isn't big enough.

Remember that episode of Arrested Development when David Cross's character grew hair?  It was lovely luxurious hair and he loved that hair dearly.  More than his own life.  Ironically so, since the price of having that hair left him physically incapacitated.

Remember the glut?

Maybe I'm reaching here, but sometimes it's allowed to overstate your point in order to make your point.  All these books coming out are so shiny and beautiful, we just can't help picking up one issue.  And then they have to go and get creators who do good stuff initially.  It's so good we may not even notice that good storytelling is being subjugated for the sake of making one company the sales leader for that quarter.

But then, that wouldn't happen if not for a choice.  A choice we make to pluck those books off the shelves and spinner racks.  Many comic readers are like action movie addicts.  They see something cool and they HAVE to have it.  I remember a time when I was like this.  It was the '90s.

Companies see that certain stuff sells well, so they elect to put out more of it.  Give the fans what they want and they'll buy it, right?  Sadly, yes.

Comics, like movies, is a visual medium.  A very attractive one.  So enticing at times, some may have a sort of withdrawal or letdown if the pace falls off even for a bit. 

So how do we control this? 

Well, we can't.  Sucks to be you.  The only control we have, as fans, is our choice.  As long as we choose pap over premium, we'll have pap coming out every orifice.  As long as we don't care if storytelling gets steamrolled by sensation, nothing will change.

Maybe that's a harsh view.  Maybe it's not shared by a lot.  But dangit, I remember a time when I enjoyed a good done-in-one or a two or three parter.  I just don't see much of that these days.  And as long as Green Lantern is embroiled in event after event, I'll pass it over. 

I really don't blame Jim Starlin for being disenfranchised.  There's nothing more I'd like to be able to enjoy a good Green Lantern story.  I'd just rather wait until all the lucky charms are back in the box.

So I ask again:  When will it end?

Written or Contributed by: Zenguru


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About the Author - Zenguru

Zenguru has been an Outhouser since the days it was blue. He's the Rick Jones of The Outhouse. Not always in the mansion, but always around in a pinch. Just don't pinch too hard, okay? He's written a few articles, notably $k!d M@rks, and has published several books of poetry. Lately, he's been writing poems and fiction about diners. He's been reading comics since the mid-70's. He dreams of one day traveling between dimensions to be Jonah Hex's sidekick.

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