Comic Books, Part I: Story Arcs
If you are anything like me, you love comic books. Everything about them makes you happy. The heroes, the villains, the regular folks, and even the (or more importantly) stories. So I decided to talk about what draws me to certain comic books or comic lines. We are going to start with this part discussing Story Arcs.
Story arcs are the most important part of the comic for me. The characters can be great, and the villains can be compelling, but if the story sucks, then *yawn*. That is why I find so much of modern comics boring. They don’t seem to have the same flair as the stuff I grew up with. Not that there are not good stories out there (Court of Owls comes to mind), but most of it is just middling.
Some of the best stories that I grew up with came from Marvel in the mid-1990s. Phalanx Covenant, X-Cutioner’s Song, Age of Apocalypse, The Infinity Gauntlet, Fatal Attractions, and Infinity War all come to mind (and yes, most of these were X-Men events!). As you can also see, I was heavily influenced by the X-Men TV series from 1993 (who wasn’t!?). But what made these so cool to me?
Well there are three things:
- Compelling Heroes and Villains– The Heroes and Villains were very well defined and furthered the story line. None of the people involved felt forced or felt like there was no reason for them to be there. As stated above, compelling heroes and villains don’t make good stories, but they sure as hell can make a better one.
- Detailed stories– The stories don’t feel shallow or short. Many of them are what are called “cross-over events” that involve several different teams or heroes. Take the Infinity Gauntlet, it wound up taking three cross-over events to settle that in totality. A lot of the newer cross-overs take way too little to tell the story (the new Secret Wars being the exception).
- No agenda behind them– There is no agenda behind much of the 1990s stories that caused me to fall in love with comics. Nobody wants to read a comic telling them what to think (or most anyways). Comics are designed to help escape and be entertaining. Even the few that had a message were not ideologically driven. They told their stories and messages with a touch that didn’t exclude people nor make anyone feel like the publisher didn’t like them. Some of the newer cross-overs have turned into political talking points, and they have demonized people with whom they disagreed with. I mean, having Kitty Pride attack a thinly veiled head of the Heritage Foundation was kinda crappy.
All of that being said, everyone will have different reasons for reading a story. You may disagree with point #3, and that is fine. You don’t have to agree. I am simply stating why I love comics and what drew me to them in the first place. We welcome comments on why you first came into comics and in particular the story lines. As always guys follow the three rules:
No Ad Hominem Attacks
No making fun of someone else’s race/religion/creed/ect
No being a dick