Sunday, June 17, 2018 • Evening Edition • "The comic book industry's inflamed butthole."

Five Things I Think I Know: The Comic-Con Aftermath Edition

Written by ELijahSnowFan on Monday, July 25 2011 and posted in Columns

ElijahSnowFan reaches a surprising conclusion in the latest edition of "Five Things I Think I Know"!

The Preamble That Will Surprise You
This isn't a typical edition of "Five Things" this week, Faithful Reader. Bear with me, because I'm only talking about one topic this week -- and wait until you see the impetus for that one.

You see, there are days when I wonder why, exactly, I still read comics.

Easy, people -- back away from the keyboards. Conserve your rage. Let me finish.

I'm not questioning the years I've spent collecting them, the hours and hours I've spent reading them, the money I've spent acquiring them.

Even with the industry about to undergo massive change, I don't regret a moment of it. Yes, there are storylines that clearly could have been executed better, but even with those lackluster efforts that we all can recite, I still wouldn't go back in time and trade those experiences.

My question is more built around this concept: I've been fortunate in my life, to the degree where I've been able to buy and read tens of thousands of comics, of all genres, shapes and sizes. From digests to treasuries, I've been fortunate enough to read the adventures of many a character. Those memories are precious to me -- in some cases, depending on the era, I can remember exactly where I was in life when I think of a certain issue or run.

In some cases, I can literally recall what I was eating or drinking when I was reading them -- don't judge, haters. "Five Things" doesn't buy comics for resale value. "Five Things" reads purchases, sometimes over and over, and doesn't give a damn if there's a smudge or six on the holofoil cover.

So the question is this: Why continue? Yes, I could certainly still read comics, and enjoy them, and do the same things I've always done with them. But, at a time of seismic change, when Dan DiDio has stated that the DC relaunch is geared toward those between 18 and 34 years old...why continue? When I'm older than that, and the industry really hasn't been about me and what I want to read since "Zero Hour?"

Well, it's funny. I've stayed away from the Outhouse forum thread because I didn't want to necessarily have my thought processes swayed in one direction or another by it, but the reason I still read comics is because of two words:

Cable Reborn.

What? What's that? Has "Five Things" finally jumped the shark? Is the preamble really talking about a "guns, pouches and shoulder pads" character from the 90s? Recently killed, and according to Marvel's announcement at the San Diego Comic-Con, coming back?

Well, yeah. Because as much as I loathed the concept and usage of Cable for many, many years...I saw something different in the character when Mike Carey and Craig Kyle and Craig Yost, among others, used him in X-Men in recent years. How they used him, as an aging, borderline washed-up mutant warrior, was...well, I'll say it: It was touching. It was interesting.

Most importantly: It mattered. And Cable's death...well, to be honest, I have it short-listed as one of the top comic-book deaths I've ever seen. Man, for those who read it...that one mattered a great deal.

So why would I want the character to be reborn, and so soon after his death?

Because if there's one thing DC's relaunch has taught me in recent weeks, and is teaching me now, is that there is very little in this industry that a reader can grab onto, and hold, for very long. You can't know when an editor is going to come along and not like a title's direction, or if a creative team will change and a new status quo will follow. You don't even know, depending on the change, if a set of characters will even be in existence anymore.

I've always been a believer that comic book characters should never be allowed to be put away in a box by a company. It's disgraceful what has happened to Malibu's characters after Marvel acquired them, or how poorly used the Charlton characters were after DC acquired them, and so forth. Comic characters may not sell for one company, and that's fine. But holding onto the characters themselves as long as the trademarks last, whether you intend to publish stories with them or not, is pathetic.

So. Cable, then.

Yes, the character died recently -- less than four years ago. And yes, it appears that the character is returning.

But you know what? It's not that big a deal.

Shared universes are overrated. Continuity's overrated. Those are both nice things, but they also are the direct reasons why we have reboots and relanuches and sliding scales of time. They are why Mainstream Franklin Richards can never grow up and replace his father or uncle or mother in the Fantastic Four.

What matters, and is increasingly important, is story. Character usage. And whether or not the creative team and editorial staff actually care about the character in question.

Jeph Loeb, for all his flaws, cares about Cable. Marvel wants to publish the character. And those who either like Cable as a character, or might pick up this new book, will have the opportunity to read about the character again.

That can't be a bad thing, in an era where so much change is taking place, where the name of a character may remain, but the backstory is so different, it might as well be a different character.

Sometimes, the trees don't have to hide the forest. Cable's a character. He has fans. If enough of those fans exist, they shouldn't be deprived of whatever opportunity they can grab onto to read about the character.

Why? Because you never know when that's going to be taken away, and for what reason, and by what mechanism. Enjoy these books, these characters, while you can, folks. That's what they are here for.

Enjoy them. Enjoy characters you like. Try new characters. Just read as much as you can, enjoy as much as you can. That's what this industry can provide, more often than not: Enjoyment.

Written or Contributed by: ELijahSnowFan

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About the Author - Christian

Christian is the exasperated Abbott to the Outhouse's Costello. When he's not yelling at the Newsroom for upsetting readers or complaining to his wife about why the Internet is stupid, he sits in his dingy business office trying to find new ways to make the site earn money. Christian is also the only person in history stupid enough to moderate two comic book forums at once.


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