Welcome to the first post of 2008, the year in which, if we can believe the hype, that “everything changes”! At least, that’s what Marvel and DC are hyping; but so what? Marvel just decided to erase two decades of continuity by having the Devil change history so Peter Parker and Mary Jane never got married. That means, every single Spider-Man comic you bought over the last two decades — TWENTY YEARS WORTH OF COMICS — never happened. So sorry. Please throw them all away.
Marvel pulled this before back in the 90′s, saying that Spider-Man was really a clone and that the real Peter Parker has been alive and well elsewhere. Yes, all those Todd McFarlane Spidey-with-his-head-between-his-knees-poses comics were about a clone. Readers dropped the comic, and Marvel had to backtrack by saying no, Spider-Man isn’t a clone after all, but the guy we thought was the real one — he’s the clone. It took years to sort it all out and the whole sordid mess is now remembered as the “Clone Saga”, just as fondly as Germany remembers the Holocaust. Even now, the current storyline is being referred to as “a mistake of Clone-Saga proportions”, and it won’t be long before you hear “Honey? I’m trying to take a Clone Saga and we’re all out of toilet paper. Could you hand me some current Spider-Man comics”?
Still, that’s not as bad as DC’s plan for 2008. Go get an aspirin and a bottle before reading this; you’ll need it. Ready? Okay, back in the 1980s, DC used to have a bunch of “universes” where different characters lived. Superheroes comics from 1956-1985 happened on Earth-1; Golden Age superheroes were on Earth-2; Shazam comics all happened on Earth-S; etc. It was pretty easy to follow; there were even “Imaginary Stories” (aren’t they all?) for things like having Batman marry Catwoman or whatever. Then DC decided to have a “Crisis on Infinite Earths” where all the worlds got scrunched into one new continuity. Most of the comics started over, and if you’d been collecting comics prior to 1985, well throw them away, ’cause they never happened.
Now, there were holes all over this. DC had to do another complete revamp a few years later with something called Zero Hour, and I think there was another one @1999-2001. If there was, it left no impression whatsoever. Anyway, a few years ago, DC decided to do “Countdown to Infinite Crisis” followed by — you guessed it — “Infinite Crisis”, which led to “52″ in which we now have 52 DC universes floating around out there. Still with me? Fish your comics out of the trash, because they MIGHT have happened. No promises.
Now DC is having another big crossover hoo-hah where everything changes forever, again. This is the worst editing hack job since the Council of Nicea in 300AD voted to throw away 80+ gospels and settled on four (Sorry, but if it ain’t Matthew, Mark, Luke or John, then it didn’t happen). And they wonder why their sales suffer…
There is a silver lining here — 2008 will be remembered as the year that the BIG THREE returned to the indie scene. Dave Sim, Jeff Smith and Terry Moore dominated the indie-comics scene for years with Cerebus, Bone and Strangers In Paradise, respectively. These self-published series all features stellar writing, spectacular artwork and — most importantly — each one had a beginning, middle and end. That’s right; they all wrapped up and disappeared not from low sales but because their creators knew that the stories and characters had run their course! No clones, no universes in crisis; characters grew and aged and in some cases died. Permanently. It was wonderful.
And now all three creators have announced new series to come out in 2008. Keep an eye out for “Glamourpuss,” “RASL” and “Echo” — that’s where the REAL action will be this year!