Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Readers' Rumblings: True or False - The New Marvel Universe is Better Constructed Than the Original

Karen: Hello folks. We haven't done a "True or False" in a while.  Here's how it works: the first commenter can pose a statement.  Of course, it should be somewhat controversial, and you of course do not have to believe the statement yourself.  The goal here is to stimulate some lively conversation.  In the past we've had conversations such as - "Rock is dead" and "Fantastic Four is the World's Greatest Comic Magazine." We can have multiple themes going on, as long as it stays manageable. Have at it!


The Prowler said...

Marvel's Universe, their new history, is better constructed and executed than their original history.

(More beans, Mr. Taggert).

William said...

Boy that's a loaded question. LOL

Like almost everyone around here will probably do, I will say definitely FALSE. The original Marvel Universe had a much more cohesive and "logical" continuity than it does today.

That's one of the big reasons I don't like today's comics. There's not as much of a sense of a single "world" with a traceable history.

Edo Bosnar said...

My gut reaction is to say "false." However, I haven't read any of the Marvel Now stuff, so my response is just based on conjecture and, perhaps, a dose of the cranky old man in me that wants to tell to those scruffy kids to get off of my lawn...

Anonymous said...

Okay, we're allowed to have more than one theme and it must be controversial so HERE'S something controversial - the Beatles are over-rated. A few years ago BBC radio had a show where the audience were asked "Are the Beatles the best ever British band ?" - the result was: 51 per cent said YES but 49 per cent said NO so nearly half the audience made up of the Beatles own countrymen thought they weren't the best ever British band, in other words they thought the Beatles were over-rated. The show was called 'Heresy' by the way.

Humanbelly said...

Prowl, Prowl, PROWL, Prowl, Prowl---

Now who. . . WHO (whom?) is gonna answer "true" to your innocent query, eh? That's like walking into an American History symposium and positing that Calvin Coolidge set the high bar of excellence for all other presidents to measure up to. Or that THE ROPERS or DUSTY'S TRAIL were the pinnacle of sitcom entertainment.


I mean, there has to be SOME kind of argument for both sides of the equation, right? Something demonstrable or quantifiable? Beyond a vague, "Dewd, New Marvel is SO much freakin' better, 'cause it totally has so much more freakin' AWESOMENESS in it!" (Although, yes, I suppose I may be exhibiting a bit of a get-off-my-lawn mindset as well. . . )

Hey, BUT--
I wonder how the comparison works between the original comic book universe and the current developing Cinematic Universe-- which seems to be very carefully thought-out, and I daresay could still reasonably absorb the Spidey and X-verses someday, should they become available. (I hate to punt on the FF, but that simply looks like an abomination in the making. . . )


Humanbelly said...

Ooo, I'm no statistician, there, Colin-- but I think those numbers (beyond the fact that it is, indeed, still a very thin majority in favor of the Fab Four) still support the statement. That's 51% for the Beatles specifically, and 49% for every other band combined. So. . . no other single band would likely have been very close to the Beatles in that poll, correct? I'm guessing the Stones, the Who, Led Zeppelin and possibly the Kinks would have been the next contenders. . . ?

Granted, I'm a hopelessly biased Beatles Forever-type monomaniac. . .


Anonymous said...

HB, that's not really the point - the audience weren't asked to choose their favourite band just to agree or disagree that the Beatles were the best ever British band and nearly half disagreed.

Humanbelly said...

Typical weighted promotional gimmick masquerading as statistical "science", yep-- agreed. But still-- the reasoning that would follow is that pretty much every individual of the remaining 49% would have said "no", because to each of them the best/favorite band would have been "X". And each X would still have been drawn from a pool of other fine bands. But heck, as you suggest the structure of the poll invalidates it completely. If you'd put the Stones up there instead, they'd likely have won (or had the largest plurality) as well.

As a side comment on this skewed sort of polling tactic-- an election cycle or so ago, when the marriage equality issue was at its most contentious, we got a robo-phone-poll, and the only "very simple" question that one was asked to respond to was: "Should marriage be between a man and a woman, yes or no?" Which is impossible to answer in a way that reflects support of a Marriage Equality act. "Yes" is of course taken as being directly opposed to it. And "No" to the question, as stated, is simply stupid ("You don't believe men and women should be allowed to marry??").

And it's a robocall-- who do you argue with? I simply hung up, but was appalled to see this particular polling data being cited later on.


Anonymous said...

FALSE to the first. Although I only know about the new Marvel Universe from stray information. I would like to hear from someone who actually has been keeping up with the recent comments.

TRUE to the second question. Colin's question was if the Beatles are overrated, not if the are the best band. They may possibly be the best band ever. But are they so much better than the nearest competitor that it's no contest? No way! So from that perspective, I would say they are overrated.


david_b said...

I really can't argue the 'new marvel universe' because I could not care for it any less than I do.

Other than a nice cover or two (and yes, I did buy and read the "Avengers Forever" series), my collections and heart are all pre-1977 so I cannot contribute to that.

Colin.., I just found this link below, which unabashingly signifies the Fab's greatness with Pepper, nice article with wonderful insight.


"Achieving space flight in the age of steam..?" Wonderful metaphor.

J.A. Morris said...

Okay, a possibly "dum" question:

Since I don't keep up with current continuity, is there a url that contains all the differences between the 2 Marvel Universes? Thanks.

All I know is that everyone seems to be an Avenger in the current iteration of Marvel and that's wrong.

Edo Bosnar said...

...Dusty's Trail? Why did I not know about a western version of Gilligan's Island until just this moment? Holy cow! And I see that - of course - there's some episodes posted on YouTube. My pop culture education will continue some day soon...

Garett said...

Nice article on Sgt. Pepper, David. I wish he'd gone through more of the individual songs on the original and the remake, and said why he liked them or didn't. Interesting read nevertheless, and I liked his optimism about possibilities for musical greatness today. Also good how he puts the making of the album in the context of its time.

I did see the Flaming Lips perform live on a show with Miley Cyrus, and he was right that her part was lackluster. I think she's talented, but on this Beatles cover she brought the song down. Here it is, "A Day in the Life":
It starts off strange and trippy, could be cool. And you're waiting for Miley to burst out and do something spectacular...and she comes out and the whole song takes a nosedive and never recovers. : (

Anonymous said...

false, FAlse, FALSE!
In England we would use the term 'a load of bollocks'.
Yes, the old Marvel Universe had problems...just count how many Spidey themed Christmas stories there are - and all set in different years - to see that the minimum age of P.P. could NOT be what was claimed. BUT the Marvel Now-verse is so full of holes and inconsistencies that a Swiss cheese would make more sense to live in...I mean does Thor have a real arm or a metal one?...Please, don't get me started, the present arrangement is nonsensical!!!!

Doug said...

Wait, Thor has a metal arm? Is that our Thor or the new Thorette?



Anonymous said...

I'd have to say FALSE as well; in trying to "update" the MU, they lost whatever it was that made it special in the first place.

For instance, Tom Brevoort has said that he doesn't care about continuity, but the continuity was one of the things I always loved about Marvel.

Mike W.

Doug said...

I enjoyed Marvel continuity for material during the Silver and Bronze Ages. However, I also have always enjoyed just a good Spider-Man, or Batman, or Fantastic Four story that exists in a vacuum. Just a great read...

I fully understand how continuity for characters, some that are 75+ years old, can get in the way. My issue with what little I know of current Marvel (and DC) seems to fall more into the respect category. Sometimes, and again from what I know, there seems to be no sense of obligation whatsoever to what came before.

That doesn't seem to me to be right.


Humanbelly said...

Oh geeze, I go off to a looooong staff meeting, and find that I inadvertently left edo unwittingly playing with a brain-disintegrator ray-gun. . . !
NO, edo-- turn BACK-!
The only thing watching any of those old DUSTY'S TRAIL episodes will do is tarnish your idyllic Gilligan's Island memories! It is quite bad. Very, very bad. And I'm quite forgiving along those lines. (Although Bob Denver did say that he enjoyed making the ill-fated series).

Boy, Mike W, Tom Brevoort's dwindling esteem in my eyes has now taken a fatal nosedive forever. Continuity is a foundation stone of any kind of story-telling narrative. We only know characters well through the lens of their experiences over time. If a writer decides to cherry-pick those experiences to suit the story they want to tell (regardless of precedent), then that's a different character-- not the "real" one. The bigger problem, naturally, is that the Marvel Universe, like DC a few decades back, is crippled under the weight of its own unnaturally long continuity. The volume of history each character must carry around now-- and the effect that it should be having on them-- reached a tipping point quite awhile back where it makes them less believable. There's. . . just not a perfect fix for this dilemma, although I personally would opt for a less-is-more approach to the stories in general, and COMPLETELY get away from the biggerbiggerbigger, stoopidstoopidstoopid events & megamultiuniverse brouhahas.

I do understand much better these days why DC's first CRISIS happened. NOWMarvel is the result of not taking that route.


pfgavigan said...


Had no idea what this conversation was about. Went to read the news.

Jim Shooter couldn't make this work.

DC's post Crisis was a mess because individual editors couldn't reign in their writers from bringing back what ever concept or characters they wanted.

Yours in relief that I don't buy many comics nowadays anyway,


Dr. Oyola said...


That doesn't mean the original is "better," only that comics are a mess, always will be a mess and move ever forward towards new levels of messiness. There are multiple levels of forces influencing the stories: marketing, the actual narratives and the legal ramifications of the possibility of creators' rights, and other legal entanglements that lead to stuff like Marvel now owning a character from Spawn comics, or like DC once acquired Charlston, or like ROM belonging to Hasbro now.

Ultimately, all I care about as a reader are stories or runs of stories I enjoy regardless of time period. There is plenty of drek in the Silver and Bronze Age, just like there is plenty now (only the 90s had a disproportionate amount of drek).

Anonymous said...

Well, (since HB mentioned universal reboots), have you seen this? (Spoilers for anyone currently reading Marvel comics...if anyone around here still is!)


Sounds like Marvel might be imitating DC, either with a Crisis-type thing, or a milder DCnU reboot. Either way, looks like major changes in store; maybe the weight of all that continuity finally collapsed.

Mike W.

Dr. Oyola said...

There are no "real" characters. That seems patently silly to me. Comics writers and artists have been picking and choosing (and having bad memories) about the characters since the very early days.

There are no authentic version of characters like these.

The question is if any particular version can be made to jive with out personal platonic ideal of the character based on what WE have picked as important or essential to that character.

R.Lloyd said...

I just had to put in my two cents on this one. Noooooo! The universe that was Marvel back in the 1960's and 70's is the Marvel I know and love. For me it all ended when John Byrne left Marvel for DC to write and draw Superman because of a certain Editor and Chief I'm not going to name here. It was the original Secret Wars that left me disillusioned with all things Marvel and I started to question the quality of it's product after that "event"

Anonymous said...

The question is "better constructed" - and the answer is false. The Marvel Universe as constructed in say the 1960s or 70s held together better and was more internally consistent.

This is likely due to it being entirely overseen by Stan Lee in the 60s and by a fairly small group in the 70s. There were fewer characters and fewer people messing with things.

So, the characters seemed consistent - Spider-Man in 1972 seemed to be consistent with the guy in 1962; and the 1982 version seemed consistent with the 1972 version, etc. Now, he's been put through so many wringers, he really does not seem like the same guy - and he tends to change depending what they want in the storyline (cough Civil War cough).

Moreover, the characters seemed like they consistently belonged in the same world with each other. Again, part of it is that you had a smaller world and fewer hands directing things - but it seemed consistent that say Hawkeye was inhabiting the same world as Nick Fury - they seemed to be inhabiting the same kind of existence.

This does not appear to be the case today. The world with the Kate version of Hawkeye does not seem to be in the same world as the dour, world destroying current version of the Avengers.

Though, I will say this kind of divergence started in the 1970s - where say a mind-trip like Warlock did not seem to really go together with the more straight forward space superheroics of Nova. On the other hand, when Marvel did push those kind of divergent properties, they seemed to work then, with neither side coming out too bad. As an example I would point to the Marvel Team Up issue with Spider-Man and Warlock.

Anyway, just speaking to construction, it is old school all the way. Though the commenter who stated the comparison should be with the movies was dead on. There you could definitely argue both sides.

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