Thursday, July 30, 2009

Characters worth saving: A clarification


I'm a long-time comics reader, so I remember reading the X-Men first time around. One of the things that used to amaze me was how Chris Clarement would "borrow" a character from another comic's run (say, Belasco from "Kazar the Savage"), do a little hocus-pocus, and boom!, a new character is interacting with the X-Men. This was the way crossovers and such used to be done. I remember this happening most often in the team-up books like Marvel Two-In-One and Marvel Team-Up (which, incidentally, Claremont used to work on, including a memorable run with John Byrne).

Anyway, one thing he'd usually do (but not always, as Rachel van Helsing can attest) is that he'd leave the character in a state where the original character was left intact and could be picked up by another creative team and used in their stories. Thus Dracula would harass the X-Men or the X-Men would travel to Asgard and met Loki and when the story was done, Dracula was still undead and loving it, and Asgard was still intact.

Nowadays, the Avengers travel to Canada and meet Alpha Flight to fight some menace, and Alpha Flight is wiped out by said menace! What the...?!!?

Now the next creative team who wants to use Alpha Flight has to jump through hoops to explain how they've returned? That's just ridiculous...

One thing an old time editor (I think it was Julie Schwartz, but don't hold me to it) used to tell his writers was: "If you're going to wipe out an old character, you've got to create a new character to replace him." There's none of that going on, especially it seems at Marvel. Old characters are removed and then resurrected, with no new ones being created. Characters like the Owl and Alpha Flight are going through their 3rd or 4th re-conceptualization. New characters don't last long enough to make an impression before they're wiped out.


Anyway, this rant is long-winded way of describing "Characters Worth Saving from Oblivion". Some of these characters been done wrong. They need to have their Reset button pressed so they can start over and get back to basics.

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