The Big Picture: Continanity: Rebooted

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BOBOOT, NEW ACCENT! ALL NEW REACTION FACES!

Can't ... get ... past ... accent .

I know I've heard it before from Bob (as other posters have astutely pointed out) but this is the longest maintained Bostonian I've heard from him, and I just can't hear what he's talking about past the urge to ask if he wants to take a waak in the paak.

And I spent a few months in Charlestown and Cambridge.

P.S. someone tell my browser that it's not Charleston.

Sounds like you where going old school gangster in this video.

First thing I thought of was this

Yes! The drug store/supermarket checkout/whatever placement being better for comics is something I've been saying for years. Thank you, Bob! I only hope someone with clout will take this to heart and I'll get to see some comics in a general marketplace. Let me qualify that: something besides Archie. Please.

Everybody, let's keep these posts coming! I'd like to see us break the posting record of every, "What's Wrong With Yahtzee's Voice? He Has a Cold." thread. "Bob's Boston Accent" - it's the topic to post on, people.

Sorry, MovieBob, but you're flat out wrong about continuity not being a problem. Sure, marketing and accessibility is an issue too, but continuity is a huge, huge problem for the "mainstream" DC and Marvel comics.

Here's the thing about the comparison to other forms of media (movies, books, tv shows, e.t.c.). Those forms do not have have half a century or more of a single long running continuity with vague backstories and interconnected bullshit that constantly comes up.

See, I run into this problem constantly, because while I read comics, I don't always have a lot of free time, so I can go months or years between when I read. And, for example, if I pick up Spiderman after a year or two, I find out he's dead and has been replaced by a black Mexican kid. And no, I can't just go "oh, huh, time to start reading from the beginning of this particular series" I have to figure out exactly how this NEW story fits in with the OLD story, and do freaking hours of research just to find out where I need to start reading from. That's mildly annoying with a well-known character and world I already enjoy for only year or two of continuity. To do it for an unknown character and 50 years of backstory is just impossible.

With a book series, it's not hard to just pick up the first book and read from there. You always know precisely where to start. The series with looser "start" points (like say, Warhammer) are always, as a rule, broken up into much smaller series with, again, clear start points. With most American superhero comics, that's just not the case. Some trades I can pick up and read, like Batman: Year One. But others require a level of familiarity with the material that just may not be there. And since shit is never numbered in a clear fashion, I can't just go "oh i need to read THIS first and then THAT" unless I decide to hunt down and read every single comic from the original #1 printed back in the dawn of time. Which I'm just not going to do.

A similar distinction can be made with TV shows. See, long-running TV shows do this thing where they don't actually require any knowledge of past episodes. If the episode is part of a story arc, they'll spend some time summarizing what happened previously to get you caught up quickly. And even then, they are ALWAYS broken into seasons with set limits and bounds. Even if you are just catching the "999th" of whatever, you can at least start with the first episode and not worry about unexplained stuff from the last season messing up the narrative. And once again, the entry points are clear. You start with the first episode of the show, or the season for continuity based shows, and any episode for non-continuity based shows.

This is not to say that it is impossible to get caught up with a comic series. I did it. But it's an irritating, terrible waste of time and effort that detracts from the value of the entertainment. There are plenty of good, well-written series with decent characters that I'll never read simply because the cruft of continuity is just too cumbersome to get through. I've never read a Green Lantern comic, and unless there's a reboot (not that brightest day crap where I still need to know who the hell all these dead people are), I never will. And that's just sad, both for me because I'll miss out on good comics, and for the publisher because they'll miss out on a sale.

Frankly, I think the comic book industry just needs to sit down and establish a 20 year time limit on stories with the same continuity. You can use the same worlds, franchises, e.t.c., but once you hit that 20 year period it's time to end things and start up with something new. 20 years works fairly well, because it allows characters to "age out" of the status quo. For example, Spiderman at 20 can be basically the same guy as he was at 16 or at 30. Maybe he gets a car, or has to worry about making excuses to his boss instead of his teacher, but the same basic guy. Spiderman at 45 though, is a whole different dude who pretty much has to have a stable family/career with a wife and kids or SOMETHING.

See, the way I see it, at the end of the time span there's a large series ending event that resolves any and all loose threads, leaving the way for the whole comic to end, or for a new series to start. And each new series would start off tabula rasa, as if it was a brand new superhero with an origin story that needed to be told. Maybe you have an "issue 0" that handles the origin story so that long-time readers can just skip it and new readers can get it on the ground floor.

Using the Spiderman example, you could have Spiderman get married at 32 and that would basically end the original spidey arc. All his rogues gallery would be dead, or in jail, and he'd have a stable, long-term career as a physics professor at some upstate community college who occasionally moonlights with the Avengers.

Then, if it seems warranted, you'd pick up the new Spidey arc with him at 40, solidly married with a couple kids, and the comic wouldn't be about "the fast talking webslinger" but about issues more relevant to people in middle age who need to worry about IRAs and paying for their kids' college.

Or, you could "pass on the mantle" to a new Spider hero (spider girl, spider-teen, whoever) with a new costume, limited connection to the past. And, this is the important thing, never, ever, ever again go back to the old story or reference stuff from that story. If fans don't like it, tough noogie, it's dead and needs to stay dead. They can re-read their old comics or read "alternate universe" retreads if they like. But the chronology ends.

It doesn't have to be an exact 20 years, and most stories should end much shorter. But 20 years seems like a good maximum limit to put on things. For any hero who isn't immortal and ageless, 20 years of actual time will change them too much to stay within the same plot and character arcs.

p.s. the above obviously only applies to comics like Superman, Batman, X-men, e.t.c.

After watching the big picture for a while I decided to go get into comics. The best place for this, and I'm not kidding here, is a library. I walked into mine, and they had a selection of the past 3 years comics for DC and Marval, plus heaps of other graphic novels that I had only heard about. I got Blackest Night and some batman comics, which were part way through the story line, and loved it. Wikipedia caught me up on so much. I also picked up the complete history of the green lantern, that got a bit boring though.

Littlejib:
After watching the big picture for a while I decided to go get into comics. The best place for this, and I'm not kidding here, is a library. I walked into mine, and they had a selection of the past 3 years comics for DC and Marval, plus heaps of other graphic novels that I had only heard about. I got Blackest Night and some batman comics, which were part way through the story line, and loved it. Wikipedia caught me up on so much. I also picked up the complete history of the green lantern, that got a bit boring though.

Same, my library has all the comics stacked in Character order, so you'd have the Batman comics and I read all the way from Year One to Dark Knight Returns. Very useful resource!

Snooder:

See, I run into this problem constantly, because while I read comics, I don't always have a lot of free time, so I can go months or years between when I read. And, for example, if I pick up Spiderman after a year or two, I find out he's dead and has been replaced by a black Mexican kid. And no, I can't just go "oh, huh, time to start reading from the beginning of this particular series" I have to figure out exactly how this NEW story fits in with the OLD story, and do freaking hours of research just to find out where I need to start reading from.

To be fair that change wasn't in the mainstream universe and it was part of massive step to overhaul a successful franchise (the ultimate line) that had been driven into the ground by an author (Jeph Loeb) who didn't respect any of the previous stuff written (by Mark Millar). Regular Spiderman is untouched and status quo remains god. As we saw from the One More Day debacle, Spiderman will forever remain unmarried and have his identity hiden from the public eye.

For the most part serial comics try to be acessible, while certainly a significant amount of stuff does happen over time, for the most part they try to contain it in each arc. You don't need years of knowledge you just need to know why you're reading the character.

But I'll agree what is sometimes called the "The Five Year Rule" http://mightygodking.com/index.php/2010/11/14/the-five-year-rule/ is a problem, stuff that gets introduced into comics that everbody immediately knows it will inevitably get ret-conned out. You pick up a Hulk book and he's red and smart, well that won't last.

Frankly, I think the comic book industry just needs to sit down and establish a 20 year time limit on stories with the same continuity. You can use the same worlds, franchises, e.t.c., but once you hit that 20 year period it's time to end things and start up with something new. 20 years works fairly well, because it allows characters to "age out" of the status quo. For example, Spiderman at 20 can be basically the same guy as he was at 16 or at 30. Maybe he gets a car, or has to worry about making excuses to his boss instead of his teacher, but the same basic guy

Interestingly enough there was a line that tried this style of continuity. Valiant Comics back in the late 80s and early 90s was up there with Marvel and DC for sales. Everything that took place in a comic (except well labelled flashbacks and historic events) took place in the month it was written, time passed in real time, characters aged realistically. There was never any retcons, if something happened it was set in concrete. It only lasted for five years though as Valiant went under with the comic crash of the nineties but it would have been interesting to see if they'd made it to now.

that's his real accent? i thought he was doing some type of east coast or Elmer Fudd impression for lols or something. i never even got a hint of it before now. >.> it not that i don't like it, its more like it came so far out of nowhere that it blew my mind...

ot: mostly why i never got too deep into comics. all of them use the multiverse like its bread and butter. i like the marvel movies of late, but im not gonna try and wrap my head around all the past incarnations and how the movies tie to them.

I'm glad i'm the only one who didn't notice the accent, what's going on there?

As long as they reboot Doom Patrol to the full weirdness and Suicide Squad to exactly how it was I'll be happy.

heh, speaking of DW and continuity...
look up 'River Song'
Not everyone is pleased with that fairly unusual time travel idea :P

It doesn't feel like a proper reboot. Everything that happened in Batman continuity did happen but only in a 5 year period? Green Lantern continuity is remaining largely untouched? Superman is the only one that feels like a proper reboot. It like post crisis on Infinite earths, especially with the folding in of the wildstorm universe to the new 52 and the DC characters who made it big in Vertigo making their way back. It feels like house keeping. Tidying everything up, getting rid of the sprawling arcs and threads and making everything simpler and easier to manage until, more likely than not, everything gets out of hand again and we go through this all over again.

I'm more pissed with what they've done with the Authority/Stormwatch.

WolfThomas:
I'm more pissed with what they've done with the Authority/Stormwatch.

Me too, but they have Paul Cornell writing it and I have the utmost faith in him. He wrote the Doctor Who episodes "Fathers Day" and "Human Nature/Family of Blood" two parter. Also Captain Britain and MI13 and Knight and Squire. Loved those books, very smart writing, good characters and just fun stories. If anyone can do those teams justice, it's him.

Gennadios:

MrMisfit:
I have to ask, what's up with the accent?

Beat me to it. I was hoping the thick Brooklyn would be explained in the post credits.

Dude, that accent was as Boston as JFK and those damn Red Socks.

Regardless, fun episode, as always Bob!

You can start anywhere.

Exactly. Thank you.

WolfThomas:
I'm more pissed with what they've done with the Authority/Stormwatch.

Strangely enough as a fan who dropped out after some 50 issues into The Authority, I'm rather interested in picking up the new Stormwatch.

But yeah, did Power Girl get cancelled or is she outside the reboot thing or what?
Universes die around her and she just keeps on living.

I only live on the edge of the major universes and pick up a book here and there so I don't follow the main news.

Not Enough Gun:
Me too, but they have Paul Cornell writing it and I have the utmost faith in him. He wrote the Doctor Who episodes "Fathers Day" and "Human Nature/Family of Blood" two parter. Also Captain Britain and MI13 and Knight and Squire. Loved those books, very smart writing, good characters and just fun stories. If anyone can do those teams justice, it's him.

I'm well aware of his writing credential "Captain Britain and MI13" is one of my favourite books written and was cut short way too soon.

I wouldn't be annoyed if they'd inserted the Authority and/or Stormwatch right into the DCnU but this new Stormwatch is strange, it's basically replacing JSA (so annyoing two seperate groups of fans) in the history. While at least Midnighter and Apollo are still gay, they're not the adopted parents of Jenny Quantum (it appears the Engineer is), which is kind of a step back. They're weren't just gay characters they were also fully functional parents, which is an exceptionally rare combination in comics.

Vortigar:

WolfThomas:
I'm more pissed with what they've done with the Authority/Stormwatch.

Strangely enough as a fan who dropped out after some 50 issues into The Authority, I'm rather interested in picking up the new Stormwatch.

Heh, I never said I wouldn't read it. Just worried about the above stuff. I do find the idea of Stormwatch pre-dating the Justice League awesome, but it's got to piss of some hardcore DC fans.

Just a couple of ocmments -

1) Comics will probably never come back to the grocery store or corner shop. They're just not efficient use of space for volume or purchase. But that's okay, because Bob is right - you should get your weekly/monthly fix via digital and then if you really want a paper copy, buy a trade.

2) After years of living in Australia, hearing an American accent is strange to me. Hearing a Boston accent has now become practically incomprehensible to me. It did my head in.

SomeBritishDude:
Wondered when he was going to start talking about the 52. Good episode.

BTW, for those of you are are interesting in DC comics a bunch of stuff is being release TOMORROW including Batgirl, Animal Man, Swamp Thing, Stormwatch and Grant Morrison's new Golden Age, champion of the oppressed take on Superman in Action Comics (among other things). Justice League came out last week and the best of the new #1s are going to be released over the next 3 weeks. And like said the whole thing is being release digitally, via Comixology.com mainly I think.

Moviebob said people always ask if they want to get into comics where do they start? Well folks, you start NOW!

Will need to read the Batman stuff because it's not "continuity madness" that puts me off but the damn cross-overs with the other comics I have no interest in reading. I dislike about half the Justice League members, never got into Wonder Woman, Green Lantern is just a character that makes me a bit bored from time to time and Superman I can't get into because of Kryptonite overuse :/

NOW THEN. I will be reading the Batman stuff and checking out Young Justice and The Flash. But if I hear good things about the rest of the series, I will have to find them because I really do want to get into it D:

Bob's brain was apparently raped the previous night by The Fighter, The Departed and the Red Sox's Green Monster mascot.

I agree with the whole thing about Reboot problems, but the thing is, you don't need to get into old characters and concepts to bring up continuity.

If you're doing your job right, the reboot will have continuity by itself. And after a couple of years, there comes an entry barrier. As time goes on, you will have a larger and larger entry barrier. This means that the simplicity can only be maintained for a finite period, anyway. So unless you want to do reboots every five years or so, you have problems.

Comics are bound to create continuity unless they're really bad or one-shots. You can't avoid it.

Also, HELL YES to making them more available. There's no comic shop around here anymore, period.

I wholeheartedly agree with all your points. I read comics in middle/high school then stopped for about 10 years. I got a job at the local comic shop at one point (for my knowledge of manga) and was pretty intimidated by comics at this point. But I was curious enough that I started to pick some stuff up. I started with easy stuff like The Walking Dead and Invincible and moved on to other independent comics. But I was still having a hard time with DC and Marvel there was just so much.

Until on day one of the guys at work talked about this comic coming out soon called Nextwave: Agents of Hate. And I was like OMG, I need to read this, it sounds so cracktastic! So, I did and it was. Then I jumped into some other Marvel titles like the Avengers, and Daredevil. These were actually pretty easy for me to get into because from my teen love of X-men I had read a lot of Marvel.

DC was the tricky one. I had never really read any DC titles, but working at a comic shop I felt I was missing out on what people were talking about. So I just jumped into 52. I guess 30 or so issues of it were out at that point so I just read them all. Just like you said when there was stuff I was interested in (ex: Black Adam) I just went on Wikipedia and looked it up (which got me to read some JSA) and some of the stuff I cared less about (ex: Adam Strange) I just glossed over it. It didn't make a big difference in my enjoyment of the book.

Woah, where did the ridiculously thick Boston accent come from? lol

Dr Who sort of does reset the continuity every time he regenerates, everything that happened still happened it just becomes mostly irrelevant. Kinda the same thing.

Woah, where did the ridiculously thick Boston accent come from? lol

Dr Who sort of does reset the continuity every time he regenerates, everything that happened still happened it just becomes mostly irrelevant. Kinda the same thing.

The deadpan ending really made me chuckle.

Why are there more comments about his accent than there are comments about the content of the video? Yes, he spoke with an accent. Move along please.

I was hoping he'd cover the constant reboot hardon Hollywood as right now as well. Spiderman is getting a reboot after only 3 movies (well, 2 movies and a bowel movement). You know Batman's going to get rebooted once Christopher Nolan finishes up his trilogy. Superman's getting rebooted after 1 movie an a lot of time off. Reboots for a reason are good; reboots for the sake of milking the public for further profits are not.

Woo! Bob's letting us hear his accent again, for the first time since the 20th episode of the Game Overthinker.

OMG Aero:
Bob is rebooting The Big Picture.
He has now always used this accent.

image

Great comment. I shall now protest this change to the continuity... ON THE INTERNET!

lowkey_jotunn:
I just can't hear what he's talking about past the urge to ask if he wants to take a waak in the paak.

XD

Vortigar:

But yeah, did Power Girl get cancelled or is she outside the reboot thing or what?
Universes die around her and she just keeps on living.

They only JUST started talking about it, but DC is actually keeping "Earth 2" around as part of the reboot, only now it'll be exclusively (so far) used as an alt-universe book where James Robinson's "Justice Society" book takes place. Power Girl, and apparently most of the 'main' popular JSA characters are going there. No idea how that works out.

Great Episode Bob, I like how you addressed people 'wanting to get into comics' It's always been an issue that's a bit of a pet Peeve with me..
I got into comics by going to my local library, and reading almost every comic in stock, I liked some, didnt like others, found out what was interesting, what I liked etc..
I then went to another library and did the same thing, and am currently making my way through sections from a third.
I've started buying my own comics now that I know, I actually enjoy them!
I never got why people 'wanted to get into comics'. It's just a literary medium, the goal of which is enjoyment, not a from-memory continuity web. People should just read what they find enjoyable & continue with it. Just like any medium, you simply have to start and follow what you find of interest
(oh, and realise that is 99.999% Impossible to start from the start on each comic, there's just too much. Wiki EVERYTHING!! It helped me out & all pages are brilliant!!)

ps. Gotta love the good ol' Broklyn accent :)

Aptspire:
heh, speaking of DW and continuity...
look up 'River Song'
Not everyone is pleased with that fairly unusual time travel idea :P

I adore River Song! I think she's a fresh new twist on the sires
I honestly think that she's one of the most interesting, inventive & smart charichters in the whole DW universe

and now that the show is properly popular, they can 98% gaurentee the next season will happen (as distingt from origional which was touch & go for most of its life, aka cancelled 3 times!!) it means they can have a full charichter arc for her spanning multiple doctors (hopefully)

That's what you doin'?

I think this episode was unintentionally hilarious to me.

WOOOOOO hold on the phone i this reboot of big picture sucks! bring back the old story with the guy with the normal voice!1!@!#2131klashdsad

internet shows
Are
WEeerrid!

lol bob i love you

Problem is, reading about a comic is not fun. Reading them is fun. Having to jump from comic to Wiki then comic then wiki is a chore deprived of all the fun.

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