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mygif

The lack of chronological progression is one of the primary reasons that I stay out of superhero comics, actually. Brian has a point in saying that a lot of these characters are extensions of the time in which they were created, and I don’t think that there’s anything wrong at all with letting them be just that. Given the way that the Big Two are pushing more and more every year to have a cohesive over-universe, there very well should be some natural sense of progression. It doesn’t have to happen in real-time, certainly, but when you start to establish multiple characters acting independently of one-another in the same universe, crossing each other in encounters both personal and story-based, there has to be some sense of greater timeline in place for the sake of the reader’s understanding. Yes, it means that characters will age and die and their super-persona will fade away or be filled by another character, but these are not events that have to be immediate either.

There’s also not any need to completely dismiss the older characters and their pasts. There’s no reason whatsoever that a Captain America story set in the ’60s couldn’t be told today. No. Reason. Whatsoever. Indeed, a good portion of the readership may enjoy such a thing. I’m sure that there are people who would be willing to write it, and I can guarantee that there are artists who would be willing to draw it, so why hasn’t it been done? It’s a question for the publishers, I have to assume, though I suspect that they’re precisely the reason why such a thing doesn’t exist.

NOTE: It’s entirely possible that I’m talking out my ass on that retro-storytelling thing. I’m not familiar with any book ever doing that other than as a couple of gag pages, but then again I don’t think I read anything anymore that DOESN’T feature a constantly advancing timeline.

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mygif

Overarching continuity doesn’t prevent “retro-storytelling” — or perhaps more helpfully, alternate continuities. The animated “Timmverse” DC continuity and its associated “Adventures” line of comics did — to my mind, at least — an excellent job of developing a relatively accessible, intelligently conceived alternative to “mainstream” DCU continuity.

Just as importantly, though, DC’s been pretty clear that most of its more recent direct-to-video animated features are not part of that particular continuity — which gives those features the freedom to put their own stamps on the characters involved. That’s been a good example of how to build stories featuring iconic characters without doing undue violence to shared-universe timelines.

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Walter Kovacs said on October 11th, 2010 at 1:34 am

While aging in real time would be problematic … having the characters age at some rate (i.e. having say a 5 years “real time” for every year of “comic time”, or some other equivalent) would be appreciated.

While yes, people read the comics for the characters, if nothing ever really happens to the characters, then really, what is the point? What makes a character interesting if they aren’t allowed to grow older, make mistakes and learn from them, make decisions with consequences, etc.

Eventually, Superman and Lois got married. Peter Parker wasn’t in high school forever. Robin stopped being a teenager. Etc, etc, etc …

The problem is that it’s a balancing act between the consumer and the “potential” consumer. Comics have to keep to the status quo so that the stories are accessible to new readers, especially those with knowledge based on stuff other than just the comics. Like, for example, cartoons and movies.

So, in order to make it easier for new people to buy the comic, they have to make it so that people that are already reading it don’t get to see full character arcs (for many of the core characters). At best, they get circular arcs that provide some interesting stuff for a while, but ultimately lead back to the status quo. [See the most recent Superman comics with New Krypton … end result? Superman and Supergirl (and Superboy and Power Girl and Krypto …) only Kryptonians left, Zod and his followers in the Phantom Zone, Mon-El in the Phantom Zone waiting to be rescued by the Legion, Lex in charge of Lex Corp, Sam Lane dead … net result, putting everything back the way people expect based on Superman in other media].

Comic book buyers want to justify continuing to purchase comic books they have been buying for a long time. They want their comics to grow with them, and not be sold what ammounts to the same comics they bought before.

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mygif

On one hand, letting the characters age *somewhat* seems necessaryl. I certainly wouldn’t want to read forever about Kitty Pryde, teenage mutant and she has become quite interesting as an adult.

OTOH, I’m all with John on this issue, I want to continue reading about the characters I’ve grown to love over the last three decades, so having the current line-ups age into their fifties and be completely replaced with new characters doesn’t really work for me, outside of “What if” books, like the MC2 books which spawned Spider-Girl.

Of course Brian Bendis is not letting Peter Parker age in Ultimate Spiderman and that is the consistently best book Marvel has been putting out for the last decade, so I guess the exception proves the adage in that case.

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mygif

I agree with Brian. Mainstream MU/DC superhero comics are not simply intended as an ongoing finite narrative. Never will be either due to needs (licensing) outside of the stories themselves.

You can read them a few years, maybe even as many as ten, but when you start thinking it’s too repetitive it’s time for moving on to other stories for the monthly fix.

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Norman Rafferty said on October 11th, 2010 at 9:46 am

It’s funny that you ask if comic-book characters should age, in the era where continuity is slavishly worshipped. It’s a bizarre circumstance where we readers are supposed to believe that his character has years, perhaps even decades of back-story that’s all relevant to this thing we’re reading right now … and yet the character was 22 years old the whole time.

Characters do age, even if they just change over time. Every now and then, real world events get mentioned in the comic, which are indisputable calendar days. Stan Lee said he wanted his Marvel characters to progress, at about 3 years of real time for 1 year of comic-book time. (This was back when Marvel was hip and trying to shake up the status quo.)

What’s strange is that US superhero comics live in some strange limbo where there’s both aging and statis. Big meta crossovers happen that promise to change everything in infinite crisis of hypertime during the blackest night … only to be undone a year or two later. Or mostly undone. If you’re going to re-boot a franchise every 10 years or so, do characters actually age?

One continuing reason for manga’s popularity is that you know where to start. If a kid comes up to me and says he thinks Naruto is cool, how can he learn more, I can point him to Naruto #1 on the shelf and he can start from there. But if a kid just saw Iron Man’s movie and thinks it’s awesome, where do I tell him to start reading?

The real key to manga’s popularity is that they retire characters and series when they’re done. If there’s call for a sequel, then the writers often use that as an excuse to age the characters and talk about how they’ve changed. Dragonball is an excellent example of this — modern readers and viewers are far more attached to Goku’s family than they are to Marvel or DC’s latest woman in a refrigerator.

Heck, if your manga is really popular, you can just keep making it. Tenchi Muyo had teenagers well into it 10 years later, which is the subject of much nerd rage about quality. The notion that popular characters should continue where unpopular characters should be cancelled still eludes much of the comic book publishing industry.

The elephant in the room is that US comic books are burning out their relevance faster and faster, every day. For decades, the makers have seen the characters as an IP to be exploited for merchandising. All this pulp they print is just grist for the mill when they want to make a movie or a TV show, so they can sort through the dross to find the 10% that’s salvageable. As long as the characters are IP, they will remain static, crowding out any new titles that might star hip, young kids with issues that modern readers could relate to, and surrounded by walls of impenetrable continuity. Decades of history, and nothing to show for it.

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Stressfactor said on October 11th, 2010 at 10:15 am

Actually, counter to the idea, anyone who ever read either Nancy Drew or the Hardy Boys in their younger years know that those characters never age. Even when I was a kid reading these books I recognized that no matter how many summers passed or winter breaks from schools Nancy and Frank and Joe never got older than 16 and 17.

Rex stout acknowledged the passage of time but most of his regular characters never aged. Archie Goodwin, Nero Wolfe, Inpector Cramer, etc., all of them stayed forever the same age but everything around them moved on. Stout, said about it “These stories have ignored time for 39 years. Anyone who can’t or won’t do the same should skip them.” He also said “I didn’t age the characters because I didn’t want to. That would have made it cumbersome and would seem to have centered the attention on the characters rather than the stories.”

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mygif

I’ve been a big proponent of allowing comic book characters to age for a long time now, and I still think it would produce better stories. I also understand that it would be very difficult to pull off, and would likely make it more difficult to get new fans into an ongoing book.

Take, for example, the Archie comics. The characters have been teenagers since they were introduced in, what, the 1940s? In Riverdale, it’s always a sort of timeless “now,” which works because of the sorts of stories the Archie comics tell, which are more interested in telling a funny story than in developing “realistic” characters in a “realistic” environment.

There’s no reason that you can’t do the same thing with superhero comics, of course. Those are essentially the same sort of stories that most comic-book characters were in up until the 1960s.

At some point, though, the idea developed that these characters lived in a universe that grew and evolved and changed much like the real world. Unfortunately, the actual stories themselves were caught in a strange tension — the creators tried to create stories with real change over time, while at the same time maintaining the status quo.

That tension has created a situation that presents the very worst of both worlds. We have a setting that, on one hand, attempts to be “realistic,” whatever that means, while on the other hand we have characters who never age, or age on marginally. This isn’t all that much of a problem for casual fans who read a book for a few months or a few years and them move on to something else; it is a significant problem for fans of a book who read for years or even decades.

It all goes back to that old canard, the suspension of disbelief. In order to enjoy any story, one has to be willing to buy into it. If you read an Archie comic book, or watch an episode of the Simpsons, you’re willing to buy into the story — and suspend disbelief — because you understand what the creators are doing and you’re willing to go along with it as far as it goes.

The same would be true for superhero comics if they consistently did the same thing — you have a story, things happen and at the end, everything goes back to the status quo. You make no attempt to create stories that exist in anything other than an eternal “now.”

Unfortunately, that’s not what contemporary superhero books do. They attempt to create a continuity that mirrors, more or less, the continuity of the real world. And I would argue that you simply can’t do both and expect to have anything like a coherent, enjoyable ongoing story.

One of my favorite ongoing fiction series is Wild Cards, edited by George R.R. Martin. The books are very much tied into the passing of time, the first book starting out just after World War II and taking the reader through various events up until the present of the time the book came out. Some characters continued through that continuity, but they aged, and sometimes eventually retired. New characters were introduced. Things changed. Do I miss the old characters? Absolutely. I miss being 21, too, but that’s never going to happen again.

I think that a comic book universe should allow time to flow forward. It may be that, in one book, a year’s worth of issues all take place over a three-day period, while in another book, that year’s worth of issues may cover events of several decades. There’s no reason that can’t happen. The timelines for the various books don’t have to be a 1-to-1 match with each other or with the timeline of the real world.

That being said, there needs to be a master timeline that dates certain events. The invasion of the pan-dimensional aliens from Kloraxian Prime devastates Earth from August 15, 2011 through Sept. 7, 2012 — any books in the setting that take place during that period have to deal with that event. Books taking place before it don’t need to, while books taking place after it have to deal with whatever consequences of that event are still relevant to the story at hand. There’s no reason that every book in a company’s line needs to take place at the same point in the fictional history of that universe; at the same time, they do need to keep track of events and fit them into an ongoing timeline of events.

However, there’s no reason that the same company can’t have a completely separate line that features whatever characters it wants that exist in a timeless, never aging continuity. It’s just that these stories have to be separate from the evolving continuity stories.

All I’d like is some consistency.

L.

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mygif

The thing about having characters whose personal arcs ooze back in time like a nostalgic event horizon is that they end up having mutually contradictory developments in their history. You can’t convince me that present-day Batman has EVER has bat-shark-repellant in a handy can. Even if you sand away the obvious things like archaic speech and habits, references to dated world events and all… people do things in the old comics that make little to no sense in the context of who they are now.

I mean, we’re comic book fans. We’re USED to this. We think it’s situation normal. Even go so far as to say it’s part of the charm. We are like cats playing with the tangled ball of yarn that is “canon.”

But yeah, no, it doesn’t actually make sense.

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mygif

…now there’s a thought, somebody should write a comic-themed Austen pastiche called Canon & Continuity.

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“In any event, at some point in the mid ’60s, Stan or one of the other editors said flat-out that their rule of thumb was that one year would pass in the Marvel universe for every three that passed in ours.”

I NEVER KNEW THAT WAS AN ACTUAL RULE! Here I thought that was just some kind of loose guideline! Thanks for this illuminating tidbit, Obedient Serpent.

This has been something I’ve been in full support of for the longest time. It works beautifully, and if a rule like that is in place it actually FORCES writers to keep thinking in a forward fashion. This is what is missing from the Marvel Universe today; that feeling that the stories actually matter. But if writers & editors are constantly going back and undoing things from years prior just because they don’t like them, then you’re just eroding your own foundation. It’s like taking a lit cigarette to a 50 year old quilt, just because you don’t like this patch, or that one, or that one…

…in any case, I liked that characters aged in the Marvel universe because it showed growth and progression; it implied to me that in buying their comics, I was getting something that was more than just the disposable entertainment that comics had always been considered. And that feeling has been fading for me more and more, of late.

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Interestingly, Wild Cards is about to relaunch itself; within the next month or three the original anthology will be re-released — with a handful of additional stories by new writers featuring new characters, which have been interpolated into the existing material.

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I think we’ve had quiet a few comic books where heroes successfully passed the mantel.

The X-men aren’t just a single team of a dozen teenage bad asses, they’re practically a legion of Xavier-trained mutants and heroes who have seen their leadership passed around on numerous occasions.

The Flash and Green Lantern have gone through a number of iterations. Several of Batman’s proteges have gone into their own spin-offs with varying degrees of success. So Legacy characters have a history of working.

And fans enjoy new heroes just as much as they enjoy the oldies. So you can’t insist “Only Spider Man will ever do as a cartoon hero” when we’ve seen Air Benders and Pokemon and Kick Asses and Smurfs all enjoy varying degrees of success.

Legacy seems like a happy compromise between nostalgia and the desire for change. Characters can get phased in and phased out as their popularity rises and falls. And you can enjoy a variation of Captain America that is fresh and new without explaining all the baggage off the original. :-p

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Unfortunately, Greg, though I vividly remember reading it in that grainy sans-serif font that characterized Marvel text pages for the first couple of decades of the House of Ideas, I have never been able to find independent confirmation. It’s a classic Wikipedia [citation needed] scenario.

(Alas, the other person who mentioned it a couple of comments after mine isn’t an independent source. He’s someone I’ve known for years, and he got that tidbit from ME.)

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I’m not sure you can really call the X-Men a successful legacy book when they’ve still got eleven members from the “All-New, All-Different” incarnation of the book from the 1970s. The last successful major roster shake-up occurred somewhere around the time I was born. 🙂

Likewise, while there have been lots of Flashes and Green Lanterns, the current “official model” of both is the Silver Age iteration of the character. The legacy versions, while they’ve had their followings, have not been able to supplant the “classic” characters. (As for Batman…while there have been “replacement Batmen”, I don’t think there’s ever been a full year where we didn’t know that Bruce Wayne was going to be returning to the role.)

Ultimately, I think legacy characters were only really possible during the period where there was no organized comics fandom, no institutional memory to keep the older characters popular. Jaime Reyes is never going to get the kind of chance Ted Kord has because Ted Kord (and his contemporaries) created as much as benefited from an environment that rewarded loyalty to him.

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mygif

Why should characters age?

Because it’s more interesting than them not aging. Because change and growth are inherently more interesting than stagnation.

“You’re reading for the dynamic between Reed, Sue, Ben, and Johnny, and their various supporting cast members and villains.”

Sure. So it’s about characters as much as the stories the characters are in. It’s about bringing those characters to life, finding them so interesting and evocative that it’s like they’re real people.

Real people age.

You’ve already read stories with those characters the age they are. If you want to read them again, there they are in the Ultimate Collections. Why shouldn’t the characters be allowed to evolve? If the best stories are ones that are at least in part character driven, won’t they be more interesting and fresh if the characters and their dynamics can change with time, just like real people do? Story arcs are more interesting than one-offs that reset to the status quo every issue. Lost is more interesting than Gilligan’s Island. Things that change are interesting. People and characters that change are interesting. Characters that are exactly the same person year after year after year are not.

I don’t read a lot of comics. This is one of the reasons. I did read Mike Grell’s run on Green Arrow. It was fascinating. The character was different than what he had been. Older. Grittier. More cynical. Less naive. And he continued to change over the course of the series. And then he died.

Then, because he’s comics, someone hit the reset button and he started all over again. Why would I read about that? I already read about that character.

Two of my favourite book series are Bujold’s Vorkosigan Saga and Forester’s Hornblower series. No two books deal with the character at the same age, the same career stage. Each book brings new challenges, new situations, new problems and responsibilities, a character richer and more interesting than the book before, because they’re allowed to change and grow from book to book. Because they’re allowed to age.

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mygif

A fan asked Grant Morrison something just like this at SDCC this year and I really liked his answer.

The first fan asks “how old” Bruce Wayne and Tim Drake are. Morrison: “It doesn’t matter. You have to understand: these people aren’t real. They don’t live in the real world.”

“There’s no science, it’s the science of anything can happen in fiction,” Morrison continued. “We’ve already got the real world. Why would you want fiction to be like the real world? In fiction, you can do anything.”

“You can’t make it realistic, because it’s not,” Morrison said. “Batman is 75 years old, and Robin is 74 years old. But they’ll never grow old, because they’re different from us.”

How old the character are is goddamn boring.

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John Seavey: “…while there have been lots of Flashes and Green Lanterns, the current ‘official model’ of both is the Silver Age iteration of the character.”

What’s sad about that example is, they aren’t even the ORIGINAL versions of that character. The great potential of that example is, once it was decided that Jay Garrick and Alan Scott would not be remade into The Flash and Green Lantern at th advent of the Silver Age, then those respective mantles don’t have to be tied to one lead character. At the height of my enjoyment of comics from the 90s to the Aughts, I dug that there had been three central Flashes, and three central Green Lanterns. No matter how good the individual stories may be, I’m still very disappointed that DC took that step backwards for whatever reason, and went back to Barry Allen and Hal Jordan. Giving each generation of readers their very own Flash and Green Lantern could have been a very cool little tradition.

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Brad Hanon, I love your proposal!
so many comics are stuck in this nostalgic ‘no-time’
maybe Batman DID have Bat-shark repellent. it was the 60s. a bunch of tough Liverpool lads were dressing up in psychedelic rock band outfits. things were strange, so Batman was strange
i could keep going on… each comic series is tied to a real world timeline anyway

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@Oneminutemonkey and this is why we have Jeff Parker, pumping out missing time tales that thrive. Hell he made The Sentry work as a character, because he could exist in the pre-Marvel time era. Also Agents of Atlas play with this a bit.

It works because missing time capers allow for free-wheeling storytelling not constrained by contradictions.

Example – Superman has met and worked with Ronald Reagan. That was almost thirty years ago, but he has not been active that long according to DC rolling time scale.

Whenever a banner poster features the year in question, you can pretty much write that off. Beatnik Dick Grayson from the Teen Titans bears little resemblance to post-Crisis Dick Grayson, who in turn should have aged twenty years.

I read about the Justice Experience a few years back and it sounds like a fun idea.

Or how about this – use acquired comic company characters to fill the ‘missing time’ eras and then reintroduce legacies of these characters in the present day. Sticking to DC for now, that means half a century worth of publishing history to allocate Red Circle, Charlton, Milestone. Over at Marvel you have Malibu titles sitting in Limbo. It could work.

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Seavey:
“Likewise, while there have been lots of Flashes and Green Lanterns, the current “official model” of both is the Silver Age iteration of the character. The legacy versions, while they’ve had their followings, have not been able to supplant the “classic” characters.”

Except that in the case of the Flash, Wally DID fully supplant the classic version. It was only the failure of the new status quo in the wake of the totally unsuccessful attempt to hand the name down yet again (just because there’d been another series with “Crisis” in its name) that weakened things enough to provide an excuse for the totally unnecessary push to bring back Barry.
Green Lantern, fine, there were always vocal anti-Kyle fans, but there was no great 20-year pressure build-up of demand for a return of Barry for the most part, or even a general sense that that Wally-as-status-quo was “unnatural” or fated to revert.

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mygif

“In any event, at some point in the mid ’60s, Stan or one of the other editors said flat-out that their rule of thumb was that one year would pass in the Marvel universe for every three that passed in ours.”

This rule of thumb would absolutely fail in the Manga world where decompression is the rule of law. There was a major plotline in Blade of the Immortal where a series of events over the course of two weeks took… FIVE YEARS to serialize. On a monthly schedule. And the adventure wasn’t over yet.

One thing I always thought would be helpful in aging characters would be that it could help readers determine what timeline the most memorable storylines took place. It’s easy to find your favorite For Better or for Worse story by how old Elly’s children were. In contrast, every other ageless strip from Beetle Baily to Wizard of Id to Cathy are almost impossible to disinguish from one another since they’re virtually identical.

I suspect that my reasons for supporting aging characters aren’t part of the majority of what everybody’s talking about here, but those are my views. Who’s to say they’re not the same as the major reading public?

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Mister Alex said on October 12th, 2010 at 1:05 pm

DOONESBURY, bitches.

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*high-fives Mister Alex*

@ Ed (Jack Norris): I think part of that was Barry Allen got a very satisfying send-off in COIE. Went out big, and went out a hero. Hal fell to the Parallax after his home city got obliterated. If Hal Jordan went out in a fashion similar to Barry Allen, that probably would’ve given Kyle Rayner a much better foot to start on.

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Well, that too, Greg; I have no arguments there.
I just said that there were always vehement anti-Kyle GL fans, and that there was no equivalent in Wally’s case, and that Wally had been pretty much fully accepted as the “official” Flash much more fully*, not that I was on the side of the Kyle-haters.

*And that bringing Barry back was a stupid and needless move that has not in any way been an improvement or resulted in better (or even particularly good) Flash comics.

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True that – personally, I didn’t even care about Hal Jordan OR the Corps. the only Green Lantern comics I have feature Kyle Rayner, and the one where Batman gets his punch back from Hal. LOL

And the other thing about aging characters that I think people miss the point on, is given the rule-of-thumb that was in place at Marvel, it takes a GOOD LONG TIME for those characters to show any age. It took 30-40 years of real time for Peter Parker to go from teenager to young adult. Doesn’t anybody realize how many more stories and adventures there are to be told, before he sees his first gray hair?

And can you imagine the kind of storytelling potential there is to be FOUND in that single gray hair?

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Gray hairs are caused by yellow fear demons you silly, not age and experience!

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I’m not saying I’m in favor of Barry coming back, or that I think it was a good idea; only that anyone who thinks that the Flash successfully transitioned to a legacy character does kind of have to explain away the fact that the Silver Age Flash is still the guy in the costume. 🙂

Not to mention, it’s worth remembering that Barry’s death never sat particularly well among the creators working at DC, even as the fans embraced him; Marv Wolfman famously came up with a plan to bring Barry back even as he was writing his death scene, while Mark Waid is on record as spending his entire run on the Flash lobbying behind the scenes for Barry’s return. (Which shows in his plotting; it sometimes felt like Mark Waid only had one plot, which was “Wally vanishes! And now there’s a mysterious new Flash who just might be Barry Allen! …but he’s actually Wally.”) And of course, Geoff Johns was the one to actually bring Barry back.

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Candlejack said on October 13th, 2010 at 1:52 am

I’m curious why editorial fiat is being treated as the only way to age some characters and not others. Time could still be allowed to pass without physically aging the popular characters into retirement; comics universes are crazy, after all, and wild stuff can happen.

I mean, Batman routinely fights a dude who’s got a Lazarus Pit. If he seems to be getting too old and creaky to be Batman anymore, he doesn’t have to pass the mantle–he just has to fall in the Pit during a fight. Kingdom Come indicates that Superman ages slower than humans, and that Wonder Woman doesn’t age at all. Just about all mutants in the Marvel universe heal faster than regular humans; why couldn’t they live longer too? Hell, most superpowered people could be tweaked so their powers give them extended youth, if that’s what readers want. And if there’s nothing innate to work with, there’s always magic and weird science encounters.

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@Candlejack
Two words: Supporting cast.

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Candlejack said on October 14th, 2010 at 11:49 am

Which could be used as a hook to hang stories off. What wouldn’t Superman do to stop Lois Lane from dying of old age while he still looks 40? Or (borrowing a note from Tranquility) if a supervillain found a limited-quantity fountain of youth, would heroes who discovered it destroy it because everyone couldn’t have some, or would they give doses to friends, loved ones, and respected figures until the resource ran out?

I guess I’m seeing story possibility while writers and editors are seeing hassle. *shrug*

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malakim2099 said on October 15th, 2010 at 12:57 am

@malakim2099: So what you’re saying is that the fact that Spider-Girl is constantly on the verge of cancellation is actually a sign of the popularity of legacy titles? 🙂

The fact it’s being removed a lot, no.

The fact it keeps coming back? Yes.

If it was a horrible concept, it’d stay canceled wouldn’t it? 🙂

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@ Candlejack: I’d love to see Reed Richards become hopelessly distracted by little Valeria constantly going on and on about how dreamy Kristoff Vernard is…

@ malakim2099: It would make total sense to me that Spider-Girl would become just the natural extension of the overall Spider-Man story. Imagine if Peter Parker were allowed to age…once he gets to a point where his being Spider-Man doesn’t seem as plausible, you jump ahead some ten years and BOOM! Now it’s the adventures of Mayday Parker. I for one would keep buying…

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I don’t see why the fictive pace of time should keep pace with the real flow – I think that setting everything explicitly in the past might offer some valuable perspective – but the immortal always age X always now model has got to go. Stories must end, or else they are not stories.

To explain why, I refer to an essay Brian Clevinger wrote a long time ago (forum link because it almost got lost): http://www.nuklearforums.com/showpost.php?p=1080190&postcount=3

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Kommenczar said on October 17th, 2010 at 1:39 pm

…Earth 2…?

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dannywetts said on October 22nd, 2010 at 12:05 am

I think the problem comes with having a universe with CERTAIN characters that shouldn’t age and certain characters that should.

Some characters are iconic enough to earn that special, ageless quality that fans need. Others beg for change — I want to see the kids and teens grow-up and mature to adulthood. I don’t really want to see Frank Castle getting hip replacement surgery.

So who cares — it’s comics, and continuity amongst the big two has been f’d for years. Let’s just let the characters age as each needs to — most likely, the the characters that do age will eventually hit a point where everyone is comfortable and they will cease to age. Granted, I don’t want to ever see Kitty surpass Peter Parker in age, nor can I ever see that happening — she should hit her mid-to-late 20’s and stick.

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Somnopolis wrote:
“Example – Superman has met and worked with Ronald Reagan. That was almost thirty years ago, but he has not been active that long according to DC rolling time scale.”

I like the one where Superman asked JFK to pretend to be Clark Kent. (Action Comics 309.)

http://media.comicvine.com/uploads/0/3125/136007-18005-110539-1-action-comics_super.jpg

http://i43.tinypic.com/dgmnt0.jpg

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Kommenczar said on October 25th, 2010 at 10:09 pm

That particular one was even treated on this very blog if I’m not misremembering…

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I think too, that legacy characters when they are WELL DONE; as was the case of Hal Jordan and BArry Allen, and Wallace West too; is one good way to keep the comic book stories advancing.
It’s been proven we as fans won’t mind a big character passing down the mantle to a younger generation; but emphasis again; when it’s DONE WELL.

Much of the anti-Kyle sentiment stemmed from the fact he had no character at all previous to him being turned into a GL. Wally West was Kid Flash for years before becoming the next flash.
Kyle just got everything handed over to him; Hal was killed over twice just to try and force the GL mantle to be passed to Radner, with Gambit-esque levels of trying to make Kyle look like he was better than Hal.

Now it’s too soon to bad mouth the return of Barry Allen; but there is still some tragic, meaningful plot issue keeping his return from being completely cheap: he still has to return to the Speed Force and finish his run to catch the tachion, die, and become the lightning that gave him his powers. Allen, in a way, is already dead, and has been for 20 years in real time; he knows it, you know it, and everybody in universe know it; he died to save the Universe. Or will die at any rate.

conversely, Jordan’s return to the forefront of GL mythos feels cheap (even if it’s awesome, I feel he shouldn’t have had to go through emerald Twilight just to validate that young punk Radner; at the time it happened anyways) because for funks sake; he has died what, 3 times already? And has come back.
I’d have preferred after all that build up for him to stay as the new Specter. Dammit, his sacrifice to reignite the sun is now just something that happened one day; instead of having a now fully memorable storyline like Flash had with COIE, and being able to completely pass the mantle to Radner (wich was better written by this time) it’s back again to the beginning, completely downplaying his tenura as Parallax; wich his sacrifice was meant to atone so he could finally get sent off as a true hero and the greatest Lantern in the history of the corps.

And this is why the reset buttons sting so hard; they rob great story lines of meaning. I did enjoy the rainbow corps storyline; but thankfully it was because I had already dropped the title for years; yet I keep wondering if instead of being used to cement Jordan’s status as a godlike Lantern it had been used to validate once again Radner’s status as a new Green Lantern? what if Jordan’s spirit had materialized from thw White Lantern, and gave Kyle a last lesson, finally passsing the torch to him?

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