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Eric: A pause, because my brain is full and mushy

Hey all. Not much on the snark front today. I'm tired and worn down, in part because it's been a busy week at work (though the students are leaving! Soon, all will be joy!) and in part because I had an excellent, but late night last night.

I and a couple of friends (and fellow Superguy authors, for those playing along at home who read Randy Milholland's news post on Superguy -- though no, he wasn't at dinner with us) did our "friend's Christmas night out" last night, as they're both driving for home tomorrow, and they wanted a day of recovery between the events.

So, we hit the comic book/game store. Which looks different to me now (I look a lot more at the alternatives than I used to, I have to admit). And, while they both negotiated their purchases (which took a while -- I wasn't buying today but they were) I read Identity Crisis. All seven issues. I'm a fast reader.

It... well, it made me sad. I mean, it was something of a complete waste. They hired a writer of thrillers -- stunt casting, except in the writing world -- and it really showed. The "shocking twist ending" was straight out of the last ten minutes of a melodramatic TV movie, right down to the "smiling, calm, insane discussion." Hack work at best, in my not so humble opinion, and utterly out of place in the world of DC Comics. There were also implications throughout that... well, that are meant to tarnish. Specifically meant to tarnish the Justice League, in fact.

And I put it down, and glanced at the comic. Obviously, there was no Comics Code Authority emblem on it. (Is there even a Comics Code Authority any more?) And that's okay....

...but I realized that it was official. The Justice League just isn't for kids at all any more. Superman and Batman and Wonder Woman aren't being written for 12 year olds any more.

Oh, I know. This is a comic book store. This isn't the newsstand. This wasn't meant for the kiddies (though I don't think I saw a Mature Readers label -- though there may have been). But they're simply not even trying any longer -- this is an event meant to span all their titles (certainly every issue of Batman is going to have to deal with this, as is the Flash, the JLA...) and it was clearly intended for people in their twenties and thirties, not their tens, tweens or teens.

And that's sad. I mean, no one needs to sell me on the idea for comic books for grownups. I'm sold. Whether Fantasy or SF or contemporary or real life, alternative or mainstream... I'm good with this concept.

But that doesn't mean giving up comic books for kids in the process. Especially the core Super Heroes -- especially Superman and Batman, Wonder Woman and the Flash... the heroes who create a sense of wonder, who encourage a sense of justice and honor, and who thrill kids with every minute.

It's just sad. But that was just part of the evening. From there, we did some light shopping, then hit dinner at Uno's, where we traded friendly gifts. (My gifts were largely DVD based, and involved the suggestion that perhaps the Murdering of William was in order. Plus a season of South Park). And then we went to see National Treasure at ten to ten.

It was fun. We did some MSTing of the movie (no one was within four rows of us, so we didn't disturb anyone), but there was also a basic element of the clever throughout. I like Clever. And the ending was not what I expected from a Brukheimer movie, and that's a good thing.

And then home, well after 1 in the morning.

So today, I'm tired. I'm stoked, because my cable modem was installed today (yes, my school's T1 is so oversubscribed it's worth it to me to get outside internet access again), but I'm also blunted. And I don't think the snarking is going to come to me today. Well, beyond this bit here.

Peace, all.

Posted by Eric Burns-White at December 16, 2004 4:06 PM


Comment from: Phy posted at December 16, 2004 6:12 PM

Sounds like you had a good, full evening. I also saw _National Treasure_ recently. I thought I'd hate it. While it was pulpy in too many places to mention, I found myself liking Nicolas Cage's character. The dude never lies, even when it comes back to bite him. He turns telling the truth into an art form.

This was a popcorn movie for a slightly different crowd, and I found myself enjoying it even while I was poking fun at it in my head.

I've been reading Stephen King's book _On Writing_ and reached the place last night where he says the he takes the first sprint through a novel and then sets it aside for a minimum of six weeks. That way, you flush the rose colored glasses of your short term memory and view it somewhat afresh when you do get back to it for a solid second scrub.

I've decided that I like my NaNo entry, _The Sky Pirate_, enough to develop into a full novel. I was going to take December off anyway (to catch up on all the reading that I missed out on in November. Now I'll just add two more weeks to that self-imposed timeline.

Comment from: Dave Van Domelen posted at December 16, 2004 6:52 PM

Actually, Identity Crisis has had very little impact on any other book. JSA had a tie-in, as did the new Firestorm (in part because of the fact they killed off the old Firestorm in IC). Batman is busy with War Games, in which someone tries to use Batman's plans to take over all the gangs and ends up setting off a massive gang war.

Comment from: Shaenon posted at December 16, 2004 8:41 PM

As Roger Langridge put it, DC is now doing to their core characters what Disney once sued the Air Pirates for doing. And in a deeply insipid comic, at that.

Read Plastic Man. You'll feel better.

Comment from: Joshua posted at December 17, 2004 10:07 AM

Heh. Where have you been the past fifteen years? The sad fact is the average age of a DC comics reader is something like 24, and they aim to please the audience they have. There is a line of comics for kids (generally with Adventures in the title), but it's been a long time since the main DC titles were suitable for 12-year olds. The 12-year olds are all busy with manga anyway.

Comment from: Eric Burns posted at December 17, 2004 11:40 AM

Actually, that's fair question, Joshua. I punched largely out of the comics game the day I read a comic where Green Lantern had turned into the greatest supervillain of all time, and he tore the upper half of Cosmic Boy -- who himself had become one of the greatest Supervillains of the Legion of all time -- from the lower half with his bare hands.

"Huh," I said. "This comic wasn't written for me, was it?" And I walked away.

That the Legion and Green Lantern are currently both desperately trying to make up for the terrible, terrible mistake means I was more right than wrong in my reaction to it, but it still meant I was more or less out of serious comic book collecting and reading. I'm a piker at it these days, and I know it.

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