Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Copying The Basement Tapes

Joe Casey and Matt Fraction, two more guys who know more about comics and storytelling than I do (so far), discuss Countdown to Infinite Crisis and House of M here: http://www.comicbookresources.com/columns/?column=17 I want to preprint something Matt said, because I think it has merit, and it mentions porn:

FRACTION: isn't all of this prelude, and isn't the titular Infinite Crisis itself a move towards DC hitting some kind of candy colored reset button to set the wayback machine a little bit? Isn't this whole exercise in bleak and brain matter a journey back to The Way We Were? ... And I very much think that DC is going to meticulously walk readers every step of the way to wherever it is they'd like to go. Lest we forget, my friend, this is, in fact, merely the COUNTDOWN to the Infinite Crisis and not the Infinite Crisis itself. Which is, as the title suggests, Infinite. This? This is but the paradoxical counting down. To infinity. And then? Then to crisis.
I guess it's like the talking bits in porno movies. The fast-forward-y bits. They get written, cast, blocked, framed, lit, filmed, and recorded, then transferred and edited even though everyone at every step along the way fully expects those bits to be wholly ignored. Only, here, instead of fucking, people get shot in the head. People want the fucking Joe. Why don't you give them the fucking?

He's got a good point. If the endpoint of all this stuff that's been going on since Donna Troy died is a return to a better, loving DCU, why isn't there just a press of the reset button, which most fans I've talked to would be just as happy with? Have the Spectre wake up and find Bobby Ewing in his shower or something. (Okay, bad idea, even though Peter David just played with that and the St. Elsewhere ending in Hulk.) They're running the same risk Joss Whedon did in Season Six of Buffy: Turning off so much of the audience with the darkness, that no one might show up when the light arrives.

Putting your characters through hell is a good writing practice; it creates drama. No one would have been interested in whether or not Frodo managed to destroy the Ring if we hadn't seen the slow effect of decay it had on his soul. When Luke Skywalker learned that Darth Vader was his father, his quest to become a Jedi took on a whole new level of meaning. The Master Planner Saga would have been a blip in Spider-Man history had the substance MP stole not been the only thing that could cure Aunt May's blood poisoning.

But it's a very fine line to walk, making things darkest just before the dawn. There must be a belief in that dawn, a faith that, yeah, everything will work out OK. In the modern media world, where two years can seem like a mayfly's age, stretching out the darkness this much is playing with fire. It should be considered with the utmost care. And for the sake of the DCU, I hope that the writers and editors behind this event are doing so.

Bottom line, I want things to work out in the end. But I need to believe that they will.


Joe Rice said...

So DC might make everything good again? Why would I sit through seven people taking a giant shit on my face, even if I knew there was going to be a nice hot shower and massage afterwards?

And if the same hacks are writing the books, it doesn't matter if it's dark or light. They'll be bad stories anyway.

Jane Vincent said...

in life as in art it takes belief in the dawn to appreciate the darkness.