Sunday, October 11, 2009

Are Event Comics Inherently Evil?

I have come to the conclusion that event comics are inherently bad.  Now, don't get me wrong.  Some event comics are true gems with wonderful art, compelling storylines and memorable characters.  These are the minority.  It's like finding an honest politician.  In theory, some have existed, but their numbers are so few that no one believes you when you actually manage to find one.

Crisis on Infinite Earths was an amazing event comic. 52 was pretty darn good (although I think it's slightly over-rated). Sins of Youth was fun and vastly entertaining, but it was hardly earth-shattering. Other good event comics? Well, I'm drawing a blank sadly. (And I refuse to include Final Crisis because the stupid tie-ins and spin-offs won't let the thing end.)

Here are problems that event comics frequently run into (and the reason that they should be incredibly rare):

1) Inconsistency- The more writers you involve in a single work, the more likely you are that inconsistencies will occur.  This is true with both the artwork and the story itself.  Characters personality, motives and appearances may vary greatly from issue #1 to issue #2.  It's one thing for a book to get a new writer after a 20 issue run on a series, but it's quite another for writers to be changing within a single event comic that only lasts ten issues.  (Plus the obligatory 20 tie-ins.)

2) Editorial Mandates- Sadly, in current comics, it is the editors who are determining what happens in the event comics.  They tell the writers what they want, and the writers have to try and find something good within the lousy fanfiction they are given.  Editors do this rather than doing their JOBS, and EDITING the stories that the writers write.

3) Poor/No Editing- Editing of event comics seems to have become non-existent.  Probably because the editors are too busy writing to edit.  Stupid editing mistakes that a 6-year old would laugh at are let through.  This is one of the reasons why there are so many stupid mistakes in Amazons Attack and Countdown.

4) Plot Derailment- Event comics, by their very nature, have multiple characters in them from multiple books.  This means that every plot line in every book must be temporarily derailed so they can have a tie-in to the latest event comic.  It's faintly unnerving at best, but more often than not, it destroys all tension and momentum the story had.  And it also creates confusion on the part of the reader.  It makes the reader feel like the comic's company is playing Keep Away with the plot.

"Do you want to understand what's going on?  Huh?  Do you?  Do you?  Well, then go buy the issues of the event comic plus the 20 some odd tie-ins!"

5) Too Many Event Comics- Event comics are omni-present.  Every time you turn around, another is beginning, and few accomplish anything that lasts beyond that event comic.  There have been so many recently, that I'm sick of them.

Event comics used to be huge, earth-shattering events, but they seem to have become huge wastes of paper.  Countdown ran for 52 issues, plus about a dozen tie-in books.  Can you name a single thing it accomplished?  (Pointless character deaths and derailments do NOT count.)

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