Why Do We Fall?January 25, 2011
Remember this moment? Remember this question? “Why
do we fall, Bruce?”
So we can lie on the floor stubbornly insisting we haven’t?
So we can sit with our aching ass on the cold terrazzo insisting that gravity is a myth?
How about repeating like a politico’s talking points that it’s not the floor at all and we are, in actuality, on Dancing With the Stars foxtrotting with Jennifer Gray?
No. Why do we fall? So we learn how to get up.
I recently saw a piece on the 10 biggest WTF moments in comics. Not surprising which company took home the trophy for the big #1.
In 1998, DC made the mother of all WTF decisions when they opted to change the character of Superman. This character that had stood for 60 years, and had just been killed off a few years prior to show his utter importance not only to comics but to the world, was out the door…
A change of costume or marriage status is one thing, but completely altering everything that established the character as an American icon in the first place is something else entirely.
Several readers marked this as the first pock of the disease which has now consumed just about all the DC characters, the first warning sign that those entrusted to write these characters have no understanding of what defines them or of their iconic significance in the greater world outside their Thursday To-Do list.
But not me. For once, I’m going to stand between DC and the ones throwing stones, because here’s the thing: as soon as they realized the ground had given way under their feet and they were falling into a deep pit with a bunch of angry bats baring their teeth and hissing bat-spittle into their faces, they changed him back. The article itself admits “the explanation to get him back to normal was quite vague, probably a result of the severe backlash of comic book fans and (DC’s) desire to fix the problem as quickly as possible.”
They didn’t tap Wizard to call it a giant step forward in comics, they didn’t embark on a PR campaign to try and convince the terminally stupid that unsweetened lemon juice tastes just like water, they didn’t figure there would be a new crop of gullible half-wits who would be coming along any minute to replace the 80% of their readership heading out the door. They didn’t think up even worse things to do to Superman to punish the fans for not accepting the fiasco. They got up. That’s why we fall. And if we can’t get our asses out of that hole on our own, we scream for help before the rest of the ground gives and we fall farther.
Remember a few weeks ago I said The Reaper is out there, and DC’s attitude that it’s okay to mess things up further/they’ll fix it (or not) next year was horrifically out of touch with the reality that there may not BE a next year? Anyone who thought I was being melodramatic, please turn and wave goodbye to Wizard. It’s gone, as of yesterday. All staff let go. If a new online magazine transpires to replace it, the focus is to be on pop culture generally and the non-comics media where these characters still thrive. Not print comics.
Do I have your attention now, boys?
Fantastic Four is snuffing a major character today. What makes this different from past fan-inflaming stunts is that it’s the first under Disney. That means if it doesn’t work out (and by “work out” I don’t mean by the comics definition ‘everyone hate it’ but the definition of everyone else on the planet), then those responsible are going to be introduced to a concept that is new to them but familiar to everyone else who works for a living: consequences. You make a bad decision, you piss off customers, you materially damage a company’s assets, there are consequences. I don’t think it’s a bad thing. It’s not going to be a pleasant adjustment. Growing up often isn’t. But it’s pretty much the only choice the medium has if it wants to survive.
Why do fall? Well, eventually to learn how to get up. For some though, there is an intermediary step: to learn to recognize the hole, and then to accept that the hole is not the place to be.
On a lighter note, it’s a big week for Cat-Tales. The Dracula spinoff Capes and Bats releases its penultimate chapter today, and there’s a plot twist that absolutely nobody saw coming–but which was right in front of us the entire time. I have to admit, I was floored when I read it. Scared the cat with my gasps of surprise. We’re also less than 48 hours from the launch of a new feature to make life easier for our mobile friends. Work is underway on the new chapter of Trophies, while reviews continue to come in on À Bon Chat, Bon Rat.
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