The Theorist: Ending Franchise Continuity (As We Know It)

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By Spencer. A recent piece on io9 examined the contrasting ways that two mega-franchises—DC Comics and Star Wars—have recently attempted to make their sprawling backstories more accessible to new viewers and readers. After rebooting their entire comics line in 2011 with the “New 52,” DC is un-rebooting its universe with the Convergence event, bringing together competing visions of characters like Superman and Batman from different continuities in another confusing reshuffle. Meanwhile, with Star Wars: The Force Awakens coming to theaters this December, new franchise-owner Disney is simplifying things. They are wiping the slate clean on the huge Expanded Universe of books, comics, and video games that, over the past two decades, has mapped out several thousand years of history in that galaxy far, far away. Now, only the movies and the two animated series, The Clone Wars and Rebels, will be considered “canon.”

The question you’re no doubt asking right now if you’re not a Comic-Con-attending cosplayer is, “who cares?” But I’ll go you one better, because I think it’s time that even the most obsessive fans start asking the same question. Why, if at all, does continuity matter anymore? Is it time to leave the whole concept behind? Continue reading

The Projects: The Amateur Comic, Vol. 1 – The Dark Knight Returns

Dark_knight_returnsBy Jeremy. Full Disclosure: I am a nerd and am completely comfortable owning that label. Everyone should be a bit nerdy; it’s a necessary component for being a well-rounded person. There has always existed a stigma around being a nerd, but recently (meaning the last 3-4 years) it has become quite cool to be nerdy.

Television shows like Game Of Thrones and The Walking Dead have broken down the wall and now are fixtures in mainstream media. Historically, the genres of these shows, fantasy and zombies, have been regarded as nerdy. Now the masses have adopted them. The trend is even more prevalent in theatrical films; the popularity of The Lord Of The Rings and The Hobbit trilogies prove that fantasy stories have become cool. And there is a larger steam engine that is driving this movement — comic book movies. Comic books are dominating the box office and this trend is not going to stop any time soon. Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy, The Avengers, and X-Men: Days Of Future Past have completely redefined what is popular at the box office. With Disney’s acquisition of Marvel Entertainment, it is expected that comic book movies will continue to dominate.

“The book was better than the movie.” This statement is common whenever a film attempts to recreate the same experience as the book. I remember reading comic books as a kid, but I only had the ability to read issues sporadically. My first exposure to comic book films was Tim Burton’s Batman and I had no frame of reference. I walked away from the film ignorant of the accuracy of the story. Does one really need to understand the original material in order to be entertained? With those questions still in mind, I’ve decided to conduct an experiment: I am submersing myself into reading nothing but comic books for the summer. Continue reading