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  1. #16
    Disney Subsidiary Personamanx's Avatar
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    Generally speaking modern comics writers have more trust in the artists they're paired with. They understand that the visuals can, and should convey much of the information in the story. It doesn't stop certain script writers from being verbose, but at least we no longer have Claremont levels of redundancy in every comic.
    Continuity, even in a "shared" comics universe is often insignificant if not largely detrimental to the quality of a comic.

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  2. #17
    Mighty Member Ptrvc's Avatar
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    Used to be if a comic said "This issue The Incredible Hulk fights The Ever-Lovin' Blue Eyed Thing"* and y'know showed a cover of them punching each other, you could be fairly confident that you were getting a 20 panel slobber knocker of a fight.

    Nowadays you might get a two page spread or something. And pages and pages of dialogue.

    *Insert whoever here

    I might be exaggerating a tad but Superhero comics used to always have a good punch up, now we're lucky if we get one every half dozen issues or so.

  3. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raye View Post
    Well, a lot of this varies more from writer to writer than decade to decade, no one writer will encompass all the hallmarks of any particular time period, some were ahead of their time in the olden days, some writers now are throwbacks to an earlier era... but... as someone who began reading in the late 90's, and has gone back and read some earlier stuff:

    - more natural dialogue with less blatant exposition dumps, villain monologues explaining their plans, and characters explaining their powers to no one in particular every other issue
    - less exposition in general, readers are often expected to put things together themeslves and infer what is happening
    - themes tend to be a bit more layered and subtle
    - less black and white take on morality, many more anti-heroes and anti-villains roaming around and less certainty on what is right or wrong
    - more decompressed storytelling, usually (but not always) with more intricate plots to match. Really, this is the key thing, because it is those extra pages that allow for the more natural dialogue etc. because now we can spend time seeing these things happen rather than have them explained to us. Sometimes it is abused to pad out a story when not warranted, sure, but in general, it was a positive move.
    - on that note you tend to see more in depth character studies, because there is more time to devote to that sort of thing due to the decompression
    - less thought balloons, though these are coming back in vogue lately. but generally, they switched from thought balloons to internal captions, more of a stylistic change, since the purpose behind them is about the same a lot of the time
    - more intricate art, coloring and lettering as printing and coloring/lettering processes improved

    That's what comes to me off the top of my head. Some of these are neutral, some I prefer over the old stuff. Mostly I prefer the modern stuff in general, but there are some that are modern, but have elements more associated with older comics, like Squirrel Girl, that I enjoy.
    I was going to write my thoughts but you summed them up very well. A couple additions/expansions..

    The writers give the readers more credit that they can figure some things out on their own. There's way less "By drawing my fist back like so, and then swinging it forth towards Stilt-Man, I should be able to hit his legs, thereby..." and more of just punching Stilt-Man's legs.

    Characters have been developed to the point where we can expect very different, specific reactions to the same event depending on the character. In the past, you could swap out, say, Daredevil for Spider-Man in a random issue and not have to change much, sometimes (not always, obviously). We expect a lot more depth and nuance now than the past and there aren't nearly as many issues that would work for several different characters with minimal changes.

    There is a much broader range of writing styles. There has always been some outliers, but generally speaking a large portion of the writers had a similar tone and style. Now we have North who is nothing like Cates who couldn't be more different than Montclaire who shares very little with Ewing who will never be mistaken for Ahmed. This is one of the biggest strengths of modern Marvel over the past imo.

    There's way more meat on the bones as far as subtext and overarching themes and commentary. You would be hard pressed to make any kind of real literary dissection for most of the comics of the past. For Marvel, I think that is true up until the mid 90's at least. Today, you can choose to read things like Aaron's Odinson arc, or King's Vision, or Strain's Generation X or Coates' Captain America just as straight up comics, or you can have real in depth conversations on the themes and ideas presented.

  4. #19
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    Yeah, i find a lot of old comics a bit of slog to get through. While i can recognize what they contributed to where we are now, and can see that they were important to the history and good for their time, I just prefer the modern decompressed style.
    "Good for their time" only carries so far.

    Michelinie's "Iron Man" run was ~10 years ahead of its time, which was impressible. But, that still makes it dated by ~25 years. And, when the standards of that time were low, being "good for its time" is less impressive.


    This is one of the biggest strengths of modern Marvel over the past imo.
    It is not just Marvel. But, yes.


    There's way more meat on the bones as far as subtext and overarching themes and commentary. You would be hard pressed to make any kind of real literary dissection for most of the comics of the past. For Marvel, I think that is true up until the mid 90's at least.
    Old comics had ideas and themes. But, there was no dissection needed. Readers were beaten over the head with the moral of the story. X-books spent pages virtue signalling about civil rights (which was nonsense, as the X-Men do not work as an oppressed group), Spider-Man about struggling young adults, Captain America was polemical navel-gazing.
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  5. #20
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    Well, comics are more politically correct these days. And superheroes used to live in their own little bubble. Spider-Man lived in his own universe, Hulk in his own, X-Men in their own, and so on. Now and then they would meet, but those were the exception from the rules. Today they all feel like they share the same bubble. And there are a lot more consequences these days. In the old days Hulk could smash a couple of buildings and in the next issue it was like if it had never happened. These days it would probably lead to Avanger or Fantastic Four hunting him down. All in all, more politics, social realism and stuff like that. And in my opinion, in general less fun.

  6. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Banner View Post
    Well, comics are more politically correct these days. And superheroes used to live in their own little bubble. Spider-Man lived in his own universe, Hulk in his own, X-Men in their own, and so on. Now and then they would meet, but those were the exception from the rules. Today they all feel like they share the same bubble. And there are a lot more consequences these days. In the old days Hulk could smash a couple of buildings and in the next issue it was like if it had never happened. These days it would probably lead to Avengers or the Fantastic Four hunting him down. All in all, more politics, social realism and stuff like that. And in my opinion, in general less fun.
    Early Marvel comics were all about the crossovers, all the time. Johnny Storm helps the X-Men! The Avengers visit the FF! The Avengers were a built-in crossover, being a super-group, but events in their respective titles affected the team more than happened with the JLA.

    There were loads of politics in 70s GL/GA, early 70s JLA, and the like. Captain America is inherently a political statement; his very first issue involved punching out a foreign head of state, a year before America declared war on Nazi Germany. Golden Age Superman was a SJW. We just didn't think in those terms when we were kids; all we thought about was the action scenes of guys punching other guys.

  7. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel22 View Post
    The writers give the readers more credit that they can figure some things out on their own. There's way less "By drawing my fist back like so, and then swinging it forth towards Stilt-Man, I should be able to hit his legs, thereby..." and more of just punching Stilt-Man's legs.
    True. This is partly because the average readership is older (like, 40 years older) than it used to be, and partly because they've all been reading comics that whole time. They aren't new readers for whom "Use your Adamantium claws, Wolverine!" is a necessary piece of exposition.

    Characters have been developed to the point where we can expect very different, specific reactions to the same event depending on the character. In the past, you could swap out, say, Daredevil for Spider-Man in a random issue and not have to change much, sometimes (not always, obviously). We expect a lot more depth and nuance now than the past and there aren't nearly as many issues that would work for several different characters with minimal changes.
    True. In Silver Age DC, you could put the same dialogue in the mouth of Hawkman, Flash, or Green Lantern because none of them had actual personalities. Marvel changed all that, so that Spider-Man, Thor, and Hulk would react differently to the same circumstance.

  8. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by RBerman View Post
    Early Marvel comics were all about the crossovers, all the time. Johnny Storm helps the X-Men! The Avengers visit the FF! The Avengers were a built-in crossover, being a super-group, but events in their respective titles affected the team more than happened with the JLA.

    There were loads of politics in 70s GL/GA, early 70s JLA, and the like. Captain America is inherently a political statement; his very first issue involved punching out a foreign head of state, a year before America declared war on Nazi Germany. Golden Age Superman was a SJW. We just didn't think in those terms when we were kids; all we thought about was the action scenes of guys punching other guys.
    Crossovers did not happen often in the comics I grew up with. And when it did happen, it was not two worlds colliding. If Spider-Man met Daredevil in the Spider-Man comic, it was still Spider-Man's world, and vice versa.

    Regarding politics; again, not the comics I grew up with.

  9. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Banner View Post
    Crossovers did not happen often in the comics I grew up with. And when it did happen, it was not two worlds colliding. If Spider-Man met Daredevil in the Spider-Man comic, it was still Spider-Man's world, and vice versa.
    I suppose if you define a comic book as "a world" then by definition every crossover is "entering another character's world."

    However, it seems to me that early Marvel went to great pains to establish that the characters inhabited the same world, so that events in one title affected characters from and in other titles.

    Regarding politics; again, not the comics I grew up with.
    Which comics did you grow up with?

  10. #25
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    The good and bad are the flip side of the same coin. Writers no longer need to explain everything that's going on in a panel or have the characters literally tell us what they are thinking or feeling. But this sometimes results in visuals that look cool but leave the reader in doubt to what is going on, or characters who lack nuance; I know many people who feel today's characterization is more nuanced, but I think while it's darker, it's less nuanced overall in terms of things like giving the characters inner lives or showing how they interact with people who aren't superheroes.

    Chris Claremont's "all thought balloons, all the time" style is corny and, later in his career, became downright unreadable, but by telling us in detail what the characters were thinking, he developed the characters into more than just the superficial stereotypes they might have been, and today's writers are able to trust the readers more because they're working from the foundation of characterization that earlier, less subtle writers built up.

  11. #26
    Incredible Member charliehustle415's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Banner View Post
    Well, comics are more politically correct these days. And superheroes used to live in their own little bubble. Spider-Man lived in his own universe, Hulk in his own, X-Men in their own, and so on. Now and then they would meet, but those were the exception from the rules. Today they all feel like they share the same bubble. And there are a lot more consequences these days. In the old days Hulk could smash a couple of buildings and in the next issue it was like if it had never happened. These days it would probably lead to Avanger or Fantastic Four hunting him down. All in all, more politics, social realism and stuff like that. And in my opinion, in general less fun.
    I don't know if it is more "politically correct" than mirroring the realities of the world, comic books are mainstream and there are readers of all walks of life so they need to speak to their audience.

    As for consequences, we live in a post 9/11 world so seeing a building knocked down needs to have consequences. I think that is one of the biggest reasons Civil War came about, because heroes, not villains, were knocking down buildings without thinking about the people in said buildings. Comic books are no longer the "funny books" because we as the audience know of the realities of such destruction and as hard as you try audiences cannot separate that from fiction.

    I don't know how old you are but when 9/11 happened movies were canceled and shelved for years because they depicted buildings being blown up or various terrorist acts, so books have consequences now. I mean the best recent example I can think of in regards to movies is Man of Steel, I personally thought the movie was good, but the scene where Superman is leveling skyscrapers was something that illustrated the close proximity that fiction still has with reality and the critics dragged it accordingly.

    Crossovers especially in superhero books are part in parcel from the very beginning.
    Last edited by charliehustle415; 05-21-2019 at 11:59 AM.

  12. #27
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    Giving writers like Claremont credit assumes that the characters are the same as they were 30+ years ago, or that the characters existed 30+ years ago.

    And, there is no reason that Claremont et al could not have defined characters by their actions and interactions, rather than through tedious I-statements.
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  13. #28
    Incredible Member Anthony W's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ptrvc View Post
    Used to be if a comic said "This issue The Incredible Hulk fights The Ever-Lovin' Blue Eyed Thing"* and y'know showed a cover of them punching each other, you could be fairly confident that you were getting a 20 panel slobber knocker of a fight.

    Nowadays you might get a two page spread or something. And pages and pages of dialogue.
    ....While they sit around eating. Don't forget the eating.

    *Insert whoever here

    Quote Originally Posted by Ptrvc View Post
    I might be exaggerating a tad but Superhero comics used to always have a good punch up, now we're lucky if we get one every half dozen issues or so.
    And when we do get them they aren't as satisfying, maybe if it was two chefs fighting....
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  14. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by CentralPower View Post
    Giving writers like Claremont credit assumes that the characters are the same as they were 30+ years ago, or that the characters existed 30+ years ago.

    And, there is no reason that Claremont et al could not have defined characters by their actions and interactions, rather than through tedious I-statements.
    Actually I would argue that they could not have been so fully defined through actions and interactions. There isn't enough room in a monthly comic to do all that work by showing and not telling, especially not in a team comic, which means that there isn't a lot of room to get into the inner life of a character if it's not directly related to the plot. It's closer to the style of movies and TV.

    This can actually be a good thing, since it leaves it up to us to extrapolate about the characters and argue about what motivates them. It was harder to have arguments about the inner life of a Claremont X-Men character because they told us everything they were thinking about absolutely everything. But it means today's comics are more like movies, while the older comics at their best were more like novels, where the inner life of a character can be analyzed and explained in detail.

  15. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by gurkle View Post
    Actually I would argue that they could not have been so fully defined through actions and interactions. There isn't enough room in a monthly comic to do all that work by showing and not telling, especially not in a team comic, which means that there isn't a lot of room to get into the inner life of a character if it's not directly related to the plot. It's closer to the style of movies and TV.

    This can actually be a good thing, since it leaves it up to us to extrapolate about the characters and argue about what motivates them. It was harder to have arguments about the inner life of a Claremont X-Men character because they told us everything they were thinking about absolutely everything. But it means today's comics are more like movies, while the older comics at their best were more like novels, where the inner life of a character can be analyzed and explained in detail.
    Movies and TV use two techniques to replace thought balloons. One is lingering meaningfully on the changing expression of a person as dialogue progresses. Obviously comic books can do this to some degree, but real actors can display more nuance, changing more rapidly, than a panel or two of art.

    The other technique is what I call "the amazingly insightful friend." Instead of Johnny saying or thinking, "I am acting out because I am angry that my father called last week and said he wasn't going to visit this summer," Johnny's friend Sam will make the brilliant observation that, "You are acting out because you are angry that your father called last week and said he wasn't going to visit this summer." I used to envy the psychological insights of characters on TV shows until I remembered that they have the unfair advantage of being written by the same person who writes the other characters in the drama.

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