Comic Book Continuity - Good or bad?

Does continuity hurt comics - whether for new or current readers?


  • Total voters
    45

Ice

Teh Sexy Monkey Queen
Joined
Jul 24, 2004
Messages
43,800
Location
The World of Icelandia.
I saw this from this week's X-Position: First Class at CBR, and it's worthy to actually be its own poll/discussion.



Jim Shooter, Marvel’s Editor-In-Chief from 1978-1987, used to insist that every comic book the publisher released was new-reader-friendly. He believed that every story could be a reader’s first introduction to any given comics title, so why confuse that new reader by dropping them into the middle of a story they couldn’t hope to understand?

This argument continues today: does continuity hurt or enrich stories? How should it be used? And what kinds of stories should the Big Two publishers tell, especially with respect to children and younger readers? This last question has been the subject of much debate lately, especially in light of “Invincible” writer and Image Comics partner Robert Kirkman’s video editorial posted last week here on CBR, in which he mentions specifically the Marvel Adventures line of all-ages superhero books, saying the titles “talk down to kids to a certain extent.”



So what say ye? What do people say on the subject of continuity?
 
Re: Comic Books Continuity - Good or bad?

What Shooter was talking about has nothing to do with continuity, just accessibility.
 
Re: Comic Books Continuity - Good or bad?

Personally, i enjoy continuity rich stories. I think Trek and to a lesser extent Star Wars proves that a casual audience can still enjoy stories in a continuity rich world. I feel what's hurting the business, is the big 3's insistence on catering to the Superhero Market. The reason why manga and even european markets succeed is because there is no one game in the market. They have something for everyone, I think that it's evident it can work here when books like Naruto hitting the NY Times best seller lists... regularly.
 
Re: Comic Books Continuity - Good or bad?

Which continuity can hurt. Not necessarily, but it can.

It's can't hurt it if it's presented properly, which is what Shooter was all about.

Every character being named in every issue, their powers used/explained, references boxes to past events, flashbacks. . .
 
Re: Comic Books Continuity - Good or bad?

It depends on how the writer addresses it. Take Captain America, I knew next to nothing about the character but Brubaker tells the story in a way where I'm given all necessary background info without having to look up wikipedia.
 
Re: Comic Books Continuity - Good or bad?

I personally love continuity. One of my favorite aspect in stories, whether they be comic book, movie, tv I love seeing an unique and consistent universe. Because they can create an incredibly rich atmosphere and really enhance the story. Of course this does work better with stories that have endings an not decades long on going.

I never had a problem jumping into the middle of a story. When I was younger I would only pick up a comic in passing at 711 or something cause I couldn't afford to buy a bunch of comics regularly. There have been a lot of times where I only read one issue in the middle of an arc. But that only got me more curious to find out what happen before and after. So it really hooked me into it more and if only I had the money I would buy more. Keep in mind this mostly happened when I was in grade school. So being too young to understand is bullocks.

I think the problem most writers see with continuity is either because they're too lazy or its an easy miss. A lot of times when I've spotted continuity errors they can be easily resolved by changing dialog around. Because you can do that and still have your own story be exactly the same.
 
It's can't hurt it if it's presented properly, which is what Shooter was all about.
But a lot of the time it's not. During comics these days, it's not always reader accessible at just any point, especially during the middle of a story.

It depends on how the writer addresses it. Take Captain America, I knew next to nothing about the character but Brubaker tells the story in a way where I'm given all necessary background info without having to look up wikipedia.
Excellently put.
 
Last edited:
Re: Comic Books Continuity - Good or bad?

But a lot of the time it's not. During comics these days, it's not always reader accessible at just any point, especially during the middle of a story.

Then they're doing it wrong.


Getting "lost in continuity" was one of the biggest draws of comics or me when I started reading them. Figuring out everything I missed, having it all come together.
 
Re: Comic Books Continuity - Good or bad?

Then they're doing it wrong.


Getting "lost in continuity" was one of the biggest draws of comics or me when I started reading them. Figuring out everything I missed, having it all come together.
But not everyone is like you. You like that, and hey - that's cool. But there are people who don't like that (I've had chats like this with some old friends). They don't like getting "lost".
 
Continuity is a necessary part of comic books. Therefore, it depends on how the writer uses it. I love Geoff Johns because he is able to reference and bring continuity into the story in a way that is easily accessible to me. However, others may not like that he draws from the past.
 
If you have to use comment boxes to reference older stories, or if characters have to explain their names or powers, then you aren't doing continuity right. Continuity shouldn't be an impediment to reading. It shouldn't circumvent the process of telling a story. It should supplement the richness of the characters and the stories.

skotti-chan said:
Personally, i enjoy continuity rich stories. I think Trek and to a lesser extent Star Wars proves that a casual audience can still enjoy stories in a continuity rich world.

Eh? I don't really consider Star Trek as appealing to a casual audience.
 
Continuity never hurts a well-written story. Look at Loners. Cebulski picked up story arcs and characterizations from extremely minor characters that hadn't been used for years. A character in the story was looking for a missing character who was in Puppetmaster's slavegirl harem in a different title. I hadn't read anything with any of the characters in Loners except for Runaways and Alias, but I was easily able to grasp their situations and characterization.

Even if an author doesn't want to be like Cebulski, they shouldn't contradict previous stories. Look at the mess 616 Spider-Man's history is now. You can't tell which characters are alive or dead, who knows his identity, or what events in his history have been changed. Fully expect to see future stories exploiting this to pull **** out of their asses that contradicts everything and call it a plot development. Some may argue that this is a good thing, but I think you can tell by my tone what I think.
 
Creators use continuity as a crutch excuse for poor writing

continuity, is kindof esseential especially in serialized-fiction like comic books
 
Continuity is a necessary part of comic books. Therefore, it depends on how the writer uses it. I love Geoff Johns because he is able to reference and bring continuity into the story in a way that is easily accessible to me. However, others may not like that he draws from the past.

EXACTLY!!! Johns is an excellent example of someone who uses continuity to his advantage. I NEVER read any golden age DC comics and very few silver age. I knew next to nothing about the Legion of Superheroes (aside from they were supposedly buddies with Superboy), but Johns is able to present them in a way that not only makes them feel familiar but actually helps the reader understand and appreciate their rich history and impact on the DCU.
 
Continuity...

The way I see it. A story arc should be first and foremost a good story arc. It should work for people who've never once read the comic before. It should be able to convey emotion and characterization every issue of every arc and be newb friendly.

Continuity is something I see as bonus stuff. A story that relies too much on continuity is only fun for one group of person...those who read the other stuff. Continuity should be acknowledged as long as it makes sense in the story. If the last time Character X saw Character Y they had a huge fight, then the next time they see each other they should in some way acknowledge it. That doesn't mean pages of flashbacks or pages of them growling at each other, but something as simple as just not looking at one another is something long timers will pick up and understand but the new guys don't have to understand it because that's not the plot of the storyline.

But if your story absolutely depends on bringing out 40-10 year old continuity to work properly....you've failed at writing. Pure and simple. This is why I don't like Batman R.I.P. I'm lost enough as it is without people online telling me this is from that story, this is a homage to this story, and so on and so forth.
 
Maintaining continuity can be a great tool. To take it outside of comics, look at Arrested Development. There were tons of jokes referencing past events throughout the series. It was a great device.

Mind you, that show was cancelled, which might tell you that most people don't respond well to continuity-rich stories. Still, when used well (like in AD, or in any of the several comics already mentioned which employed it skillfully), it not only improves accessability (letting you in on the story so you're not entirely confused) but also makes the experience richer for those who understand the references.
 
I like continuity in a comic. But i'm on the fence on this one as the "norm" now days seems to be continuity that crosses over into other comics just so you'll buy the other ones. Then I feel like it's a bad thing.


I guess IMO the best way of doing it is like the stories when they explain what has happened before that little arc started. Maybe I'm explaining it wrong I don't know
 
I think it depends. The answer would not be the same for 616 as it would be for the Ultimate Universe, for example.
 

Latest posts

Back
Top