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Does Comic Book Continuity Matter?

April 19, 2017 | Posted by Steve Gustafson

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I’m Steve Gustafson and thanks for stopping by. Don’t forget to check out 411mania’s Comic Book Review Roundtable, every Thursday! Read up on the best reviews and let us know what you’re reading as well. Click to read the latest Comic Book Review Roundtable! Nightwing #18, Mighty Man #1, and more!

Now, on with the show!

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Last week we discussed, “X-Men Gold Controversy & Secret Empire: Marvel’s Wild Week”! Here’s what some of you had to say:

And due to the hacking incident at 411mania over the weekend, those comments are lost!

But they’ll always be in my heart.

This week we ask…

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Does Comic Book Continuity Matter?

Writer K. Perkins is taking over DC’s Superwoman starting with issue #9 and plans to explore the new status of the character after the continuity-changing events of “Superman Reborn.”

With Lana Lang in the lead role, Superwoman launched in last summer with an origin story that was directly related the deaths of New 52 Superman and New 52 Lois Lane. But in “Superman Reborn,” those characters’ deaths have now been changed, as their “essence” and history was merged with the post-Crisis Superman and Lois.

That’s enough to give anyone a continuity headache.

The comic book industry has had a love/hate relationship with continuity since it’s inception. It’s an industry big on legacy but is also hampered by a weird sense of time. While weeks, months, years pass for us, a comic may only progress days, weeks, months. When you have popular characters who were first introduced back in the 1930s and 40s, it’s inevitable that you get tripped up on decades worth of storytelling.

The problem is compounded because when you’re dealing with a whole comic book universe, everyone’s backstory will never match up perfectly. Timelines are always shifting, events are always tweaking, and reboots are always confusing.

Comics intricate continuities were a point of pride for a while. Then slowly little questions started popping up about which stories actually happened and how to explain mixing old characters with new ones? Was this character around during WWII? It got confusing.

Then in 1985, DC wanted to simplify things and gave us Crisis on Infinite Earths. Written by Marv Wolfman and illustrated by George Pérez, the series removed the multiverse concept from the fictional DC Universe, depicting the death of long-standing characters Supergirl and the Barry Allen incarnation of the Flash. Continuity in the DC Universe is divided into pre-Crisis and post-Crisis periods.

For a while it fixed things, mostly, but soon enough, continuity started to get confusing again. It seemed DC kept having to tweak things and launched Zero Hour: Crisis in Time! in 1994, Infinite Crisis in 2005, Final Crisis in 2008, and Convergence in 2015. The New 52 in 2011 was a revamp and relaunch that gave us mixed results and the recent DC Rebirth seems to be working. For now.

If comics books didn’t have it tough enough, it faces a new enemy to its continuity with the arrival to the cinematic universes. Marvel and DC have put a lot of time and money to their big screen offerings and we are getting a trickle down effect from it.

For a new fan, comic books can be intimidating. Keith Giffen once said, “Continuity: How important is it? Not at all. Continuity hamstrings story and keeps comics inaccessible to casual readers.”

Is he right?

How important is continuity to you?

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That’s all the time I have. Check out our Comic Book Reviews tomorrow and see you next week!

URGENT NOTICE: For the time being, ONLY access the site using 411WRESTLING.COM. Bookmark that URL and only access the site via that address. 411mania.com has been compromised and for your own safety, don’t use that domain for now. You’ll notice that all the links already go to 411wrestling.com URLs. Please only use that domain until further notice. Thanks.

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