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  1. #1
    Astonishing Member babyblob's Avatar
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    Default Why does continuity in comics matter to you?

    So a few months ago I posted a thread on does continuity matter to you. A lot of people said yes.

    My question is why?

    With over 80 years of comics history, so many reboots and recons making it so hard to keep up why does continuity matter to you?

    For me it does not. I jump all over the place in my reading. I read Golden age and Silver age mostly but have been cutting my teeth on some newer stuff over the last 4 or 5 months. I am glad I did because I discovered Ms Marvel Kamala Khan my new favorite super hero

    My point is I do not care is a writer knows about every part of a heroes history, or if they change something, because chances are good the next writer will ignore it or change it back any way. Dc has done so many reboots I lost count. Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch have had their origin changed more time then I change a shirt. Every hero has gone through a ton of Recons (Im looking at you Spiderman) Who can keep up? And for new readers why does it matter what happen ten or 20 years ago?

    So at the end of the day if the story is good and enjoyable it does not matter to me about continuity.

    Why does it matters so much to some of you? For those like me why does it not matter?

    I am not bashing anyone I just enjoy hearing other peoples views on what they read and why?
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  2. #2
    Astonishing Member Zelena's Avatar
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    The continuity in the characterization of the characters?… Yes, it matters to me.

    Not that it usually the case, anyway. Every author has his/her opinion about how a character should fit in his/her story. There’s little fidelity about the past and it’s normal: it would be a bother, a constraint…

    Nevertheless, too many differences in the characterization feels like a betrayal: the same name is used, more or less the same appareance, and yet, behind it’s someone completely different. There’s a gap between what is shown and the good, fond memories, a dissonance that annoys… It feels like a marketing ploy. A more honest approach would be to use complete new characters.

  3. #3
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    DC and Marvel continuity doesn't much matter to me, since I read mainly Image series that are stand-alone titles. There's nothing for them to be continuous with, and it works far better than the contrived continuity-of-the-month that the DC and Marvel Universes (or multi-verses, or mega-verses, or hyper-verses, or ultra-ultra-everything-and-we-really-mean-it-this-time-verses) strive to achieve but inevitably fail to do so. I'm old, and I started reading comics in the days when almost every issue was a collection of stand-alone stories. It was (correctly) assumed that comics were read primarily, or only, by kids who would age out of the hobby in about 3 or so years and would be replaced by a new group of young readers, so maintaining a multi-year history that was necessary to understanding the stories was in fact a really bad idea. All you needed to know was the very basics about Superman and the Daily Planet (or whatever the title was that you pulled off the spinner rack), and you were off. It didn't matter whether the big bad in this particular story was a new one or a recurring villain, because everything would be made clear within the story itself. If the comics industry has any desire to continue publishing after the current generation of middle-aged fanboys loses interest and moves on to some other form of entertainment, then they should try to do more continuity-free series.

  4. #4
    My Face Is Up Here Powerboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by babyblob View Post
    So a few months ago I posted a thread on does continuity matter to you. A lot of people said yes.

    My question is why?

    With over 80 years of comics history, so many reboots and recons making it so hard to keep up why does continuity matter to you?

    For me it does not. I jump all over the place in my reading. I read Golden age and Silver age mostly but have been cutting my teeth on some newer stuff over the last 4 or 5 months. I am glad I did because I discovered Ms Marvel Kamala Khan my new favorite super hero

    My point is I do not care is a writer knows about every part of a heroes history, or if they change something, because chances are good the next writer will ignore it or change it back any way. Dc has done so many reboots I lost count. Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch have had their origin changed more time then I change a shirt. Every hero has gone through a ton of Recons (Im looking at you Spiderman) Who can keep up? And for new readers why does it matter what happen ten or 20 years ago?

    So at the end of the day if the story is good and enjoyable it does not matter to me about continuity.

    Why does it matters so much to some of you? For those like me why does it not matter?

    I am not bashing anyone I just enjoy hearing other peoples views on what they read and why?
    What I'm getting here is that you've given up on bothering with continuity because there is no continuity. There have been so many reboots, soft reboots and so on that, if you're going to read comics, you just have to throw up your hands and give up on continuity.

    I'm not talking about a story contradicting a story from five or ten or fifty years ago. But when the most basic things keep getting soft rebooted, that's different.

    It is a problem for me if I really like a character and it's direction with a story that is pivotal and then, a few months later, it never happened and that version of the character and his background is no longer relevant to the stories.

    Like you, I read from all different "ages", Golden, Silver, etc. I didn't so much mind the Golden Age getting relegated to an alternate reality because I grew up on the Silver Age. More recently, my philosophy is that massive reboots are a mistake. It's a comic book. It happened how and when it happened. Ignore the passage of time. Stop rebooting. Well, stop unless you can explain it away as if it was always true.

    For instance, Captain America being frozen was explained as the Cap that was around in the 1950s being a fake to keep people believing Cap was still around. It probably doesn't work if you actually read the comics because there were probably stories where it was clearly Steve Rogers but still.

    I tend to psycho-analyze myself and I'm pretty aware of why I feel this way. It's age. I want the stuff I loved as a kid to still be relevant and admired.

    In practice, I don't read almost anything now except stuff that is self-contained and finite. Batman '66, Wonder Woman '77, Superman Smashes the Klan, etc. These are clearly self-contained realities that are not part of the main continuity.

    I mostly prefer television/ streaming now to comics. Some of that is the price but, mostly, a movie has too little story, a few installments. Even with the MCU, for example, Iron-Man has only a few appearances. A comic book is a nearly infinite continuity filled with reboots and contradictions and no way to collect every appearance of a character. But a television series has a good number of installments, usually over 150 episodes over seven years. Unlike a comic book, I can collect the whole story and it usually has a solid continuity.

    As to why, besides the other reasons I mentioned, it probably has to do with suspension of disbelief. Lack of continuity takes me out of the story. It's hard to invest myself into a story I suspect will be out of continuity soon or ever.

    Interesting note is that, when Arthur C. Clarke wrote 2010, he refused to call it a sequel to 2001, insisting on calling it an alternate reality sequel to an alternate reality 2001 that was not the 2001 we in this reality saw on the movie screen. Why?

    In 2001, Dr. Heywood Floyd knew very well that H.A.L. had been programmed to lie to the astronauts because he was the one that ordered that programming. In 2010, Floyd knew nothing about it. Clearly, Clarke had directives on what the story had to be with Floyd being the main character in 2010. I admire that integrity.

    It always bugs me when a story in a continuity rewrites and tells us that what happened before is not what happened before.
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  5. #5
    My Face Is Up Here Powerboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by seismic-2 View Post
    DC and Marvel continuity doesn't much matter to me, since I read mainly Image series that are stand-alone titles. There's nothing for them to be continuous with, and it works far better than the contrived continuity-of-the-month that the DC and Marvel Universes (or multi-verses, or mega-verses, or hyper-verses, or ultra-ultra-everything-and-we-really-mean-it-this-time-verses) strive to achieve but inevitably fail to do so. I'm old, and I started reading comics in the days when almost every issue was a collection of stand-alone stories. It was (correctly) assumed that comics were read primarily, or only, by kids who would age out of the hobby in about 3 or so years and would be replaced by a new group of young readers, so maintaining a multi-year history that was necessary to understanding the stories was in fact a really bad idea. All you needed to know was the very basics about Superman and the Daily Planet (or whatever the title was that you pulled off the spinner rack), and you were off. It didn't matter whether the big bad in this particular story was a new one or a recurring villain, because everything would be made clear within the story itself. If the comics industry has any desire to continue publishing after the current generation of middle-aged fanboys loses interest and moves on to some other form of entertainment, then they should try to do more continuity-free series.
    i think this is a good point. For instance, one of my complaints about All-Star Superman was "Now, who are these guys? You're not explaining anything. You're just assuming everybody knows this". In most cases, I did know because of age but I think a new reader would just wander away in confusion. When they rebooted Superman in 2011, one of my problems was that I thought they were taking everything from Superman history and trying to throw it in within months, often without any real explanation of who and what these things were. It was kind of like a tabletop role-playing game where the Games-Master doesn't have a real story so he's throwing in everything including the proverbial sink to impress people with his three-ring circus, "And now, for the next amazing thing that you won't believe..."

    Basically, if you are going to reboot, then reboot, don't partly reboot. If you are going to introduce, say, Braniac, introduce him with the assumption that your readers have no idea who he is. That's how you should do it if the goal is to acquire new readers.
    Power with Girl is better.

  6. #6
    Swollen Member GOLGO 13's Avatar
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    Doesn't matter to me. Cool movies is all I care about. The companies certainly don't care & I care even less.

  7. #7
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    Continuity is a way to indicate there's some point to the comic book you're reading, beyond the story at hand, and there's a reason for you to come back next month, because it will all make sense within the life of the character.

    I like Bugs Bunny. But it's a bit tiring when there's no context to the story. Sometimes, I want to watch the Flintstones where there is a context to their world and time moves forward.

    After six or seven hundred issues of a comic book, you're going to get bored with stories that never go anywhere and characters that never remember what they ate for breakfast.

    If there's no foundation to the world and the actors are just slip sliding around like the cast from STORY THEATRE, you'll soon realize that continuity is important. Otherwise, comic books might as well be anthologies like TALES FROM THE CRYPT and WEIRD SCIENCE, where each story has no relation to the next.

    I doubt that people who say they don't care about continuity really mean what they say or know what they would get if there was no continuity at all.

    Unless we're talking about continuity in the Russell Carley sense. That continuity is one of the fundamental principles of comic book story telling--each panel exists in continuity with the others on the page.
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  8. #8
    Astonishing Member babyblob's Avatar
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    @ Jim Kelly.

    My question is this. You say you want a point to the comic you are reading. But what is the point of the comic you are reading if the next writer ignores the story done before him, or they recon a huge part of a characters history? Or if a reboot gets complete ignored and they reboot again? Like the whole New 52 being pretty much ignored.

    I think that having stories that go some where for a few issue story arc or a whole writers run is cool. But at the end of the day what things from the last 30,20 0r Hell even ten years as really stuck around in a meaningful way? Does it get annoying to read a good run and a great story just to see it ignored by the next guy or erased and never referenced again a few years later? I mean does anyone really care about the origins of Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver any more since it has changed so often?

    I guess for me like if I am reading an issue of Spiderman and they make a reference to a comic from the 70s or 80s cool that is like a little Easter egg for me. But if they ignore part of the history and do something else (Which happens all the time in comics) it is not really a big deal if I enjoyed the story.

    Im not saying 100 percent continuity free but I just dont understand why people flip over changes that dont match up to a history that was established before because there is a 99 percent chance they will not last any way.
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  9. #9
    Astonishing Member babyblob's Avatar
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    Like Spiderman and Green Goblin. I get they need to have a history for world building and drama. But is every story with the two of them important or have a point when they have changed often through untold tales, recons, etc... what exactly has happened between the two over the years? The same with Spiderman and a lot of his villains. They had stuff change stuff recon etc.. So is the story really making a valid point any more? Does the point of Gwen's death get lost with the clones? or Peter being her great love when she had an affair with Osborne that is pretty much ignored so does the point of the affair matter?
    Last edited by babyblob; 03-05-2021 at 12:42 PM.
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  10. #10
    Incredible Member Odd Rödney's Avatar
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    I like continuity but I understand how it can be a hindrance to new readers. So when I read a book I think my wife will like I recommend it to her by saying something like "this is a really great X-Men story, I think you'd dig it! Just know that they've been around a long time and have had many adventures". I usually follow that with "if the characters reference an event you're interested in, let me know". That way, she can read Mike Carey's run and not be bogged down by the history too much. Coincidentally, her favorite character is Ms. Marvel too!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Havok83 View Post
    This issue did not damage Laura or Darwin in anyway and I feel the outrage against how things were presented to be a bit blown out of proportion.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by babyblob View Post
    @ Jim Kelly.

    My question is this. You say you want a point to the comic you are reading. But what is the point of the comic you are reading if the next writer ignores the story done before him, or they recon a huge part of a characters history? Or if a reboot gets complete ignored and they reboot again? Like the whole New 52 being pretty much ignored.
    You're putting the blame on continuity, when really the source of your frustration comes from the writer, editor or publisher. Continuity is just the tool that is used to tell the story. If a novel is bad, you don't blame the alphabet for its failure.

    Everything has continuity. So even if you're just random sampling stories, there's a continuity for each. It can be long or it can be short. But it's there.

    Personally, I like the Batman and Robin stories from the 1950s, when there was no end goal. There was no expectation that Robin would grow up or Batman would change his uniform. There were stories that speculated about that, but I envy the readers who would just go and pick up those comics each month and know that they were going to get another adventure--with the same characters, the same art style, the same tropes.

    And I don't know many posters that share my perspective. They probably would say those stories had no continuity. But they do. You know who that Batman is, where he comes from, what his objectives are and where he lives. You have reason to expect, next month, everything is going to be in that same context. That's continuity. It's continuity without an ultimate resolution, but it's still continuity.
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  12. #12
    Incredible Member Odd Rödney's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Kelly View Post
    You know who that Batman is, where he comes from, what his objectives are and where he lives. You have reason to expect, next month, everything is going to be in that same context. That's continuity. It's continuity without an ultimate resolution, but it's still continuity.
    Kinda like a sitcom, yeah?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Havok83 View Post
    This issue did not damage Laura or Darwin in anyway and I feel the outrage against how things were presented to be a bit blown out of proportion.

  13. #13
    Boisterously Confused
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    Continuity matters to me when it's used as the centerpiece of a story. The X-hundredth story of Green Lantern having to be sneaky about his secret id around Carol Ferris doesn't require a lot of fealty to what went before, unless the plot twists require something from the past in order to work. Roy Thomas' work on All-Star Squadron and (maybe even more so) Infinity, Inc., on the other hand, were absolutely dependent on a stable and well-referenced continuity. While, in some respects, that imposed a handicap on the new reader (although Thomas was pretty good about not letting newbies get lost), it can also make for a really rich story.

  14. #14
    Astonishing Member Zelena's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by babyblob View Post
    I mean does anyone really care about the origins of Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver any more since it has changed so often?
    It matters to me only if it matters to Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver. Are their reaction to what they are going through believable or not? To know that, I have to take in account all what happened before. Continuity is important for that: we, readers, can’t decide what is relevant and what it is not.

  15. #15
    Hold your machete tight! Personamanx's Avatar
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    It doesn't really to be honest. Not outside the context of a single series or storyline at least. There's a certain point in any piece of indefinitely ongoing, serialized fiction in which the established continuity stops being beneficial for creators, and readers. Whenever that state is met, it is usually a good idea to roll things back to a more comfortable point. Whether it's narratively explained or not, any newer elements that were well received will likely be absorbed/retained for as long as they are deemed relevant and/or useful.

    Character evolution in ongoing serialized comics only comes in the form of change to better reflect the times in which they are published.

    As for shared universes, that's just a marketing tool with very little effect on craft when it isn't entirely detrimental.
    Continuity, even in a "shared" comics universe is often insignificant if not largely detrimental to the quality of a comic.

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