Thursday, June 29, 2006

A Super Addiction

New superhero movies like Superman Returns and X-Men: The Last Stand remind me of my one time comic book addiction. As a child, I liked to read superhero comics but they had simple stories of saving the world. As I grew up the stories became less interesting and I stopped reading them. In my senior year of college I had a friend who collected comic books and convinced me to start reading them again as the stories have added some sophistication to them. During my last summer before I went to grad school I read through much of his collection. In my first few years of graduate schools I continued to reach comics voraciously and at one point I used a mail-order service to get 25-30 comic books a month.

At some point I realized that I read the books not so much for enjoyment but to finish before the next month's batch arrived. So I went cold turkey, I stopped reading comics and never went back.

However I had gotten my apartment mate hooked and he decided to take over my subscription. Several years later, this would be the mid-90's, the two of us were walking around and entered a comic book store for old times sake. I saw a rack of new releases and we had a conversation that went something like this.

Me: There's Batman, I thought he was paralyzed.
AM: He got better.
Me: I heard Superman was dead.
AM: He got better too.
Me: And the Flash? I remember when he died.
AM: That's Kid Flash all grown up.
Me: At least Wonder Woman hasn't changed.
AM: Actually that's her mother.

The Chicago Tribune just ran an editorial on Spiderman revealing his identity to the world. No worries, in due time the world will forget.


  1. Geeez, don't make me rembember that dark age!

    Here, the Brazilian Portuguese pulisher, Abril, decided to not publish the "Genesis" storyarc, cause they thought the quality was low and wouldn't sell weel. Ok.

    The problem was... WW died in "Genesis" and was replaced by her mother. And THEY DECIDED TO HIDE IT FROM THE READERS!

    They continued publishing the stories like Hypollita was Diana and changed dialogues according to that. I don't even like to remember that. I was not buying DC comics anymore, btw...

  2. Here's a mildly interesting article detailing all of the very strange things in the Superman universe.

  3. 1) YES, comic books are really bad at
    consistency and continuity.

    2) However, Comic Graphic Novels, which
    are stand-alone pieces, can be quite good.
    Two I recommend:
    WATCHMEN which takes place NOT in the
    Marvel or DC universe so it doesn't have
    all of that baggage, and
    THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS which is a gritty
    look at BATMAN (It had a sequel
    the usual continuity problems.)

    3) Worst Revisionism in comics in my
    experience: when I was a kid The Green
    Goblin killed Spidermans girlfriend
    Gwen Stacy, and later was killed
    (by accident) while fighting spiderman.
    Later Gwen Comes BACK- but NO, she's
    a CLONE. And much later The Green Goblin
    Comes back (the original one). He
    never died! The reason this one strikes
    me is that (again, I was a kid) this
    seemed to be very important- bad guy
    kills your girlfriend and ends up dead.
    But no, just press the giant RESET
    button and all is back where it started.

    4) The CIVIL LIBERTIES series (or whatever
    its called) in the Marvel Universe
    now MIGHT be interesting as a stand-alone
    piece, but Lance is right- Spiderman will
    go back to having a secret identidy
    at some point. Mass hypnosis? Time Travel?
    They'll find a way.