Blogging the Crisis Introduction

David Plotz's Blogging The Bible has inspired me to give the same treatment to some of comicdom's holy texts. I'm going to start with Crisis On Infinite Earths.

A little background: Crisis came out when I was 15. I was reading comics heavily at the time but it was nearly all Marvel. Therefore, I was entirely unaware of the series when it was originally published. I didn't start reading mainstream DC regularly until Byrne's Superman revamp. I consider myself to be a C-student of DC continuity. I know the broad strokes but I couldn't tell you everyone who's ever been in the JLA. I have an embarassing amount of information in my head about the Green Lantern Corps but I am an ignoramus when it comes to Haunted Tank or The Crime Syndicate.

This will be my first time reading Crisis even though I know the general storyline. It's kind of hard to hang around other comic geeks without learning about Crisis through osmosis. I'm going in with no preconceptions. I have heard the series called everything from "masterpiece" to "clusterfuck" so I think it's time to form my own opinion.

And to inflict it upon you.

I'll do one post per issue. I've got the 1998 trade-paperback edition and for this post I'll talk about Marv Wolfman's Introduction:

Marv starts out by giving us a little history on himself. Like most comic creators, Marv started out as a fan and he tells a story about a very Monitor-like character he dreamed up as a kid. His excitement about getting to write the story that had been in his head is obvious even 13 years after the fact. He heaps well-deserved praise on George Pérez and then he goes into their motivations for the project and whether they achieved them. His opinion: Pretty much. Well, it got at least one new reader for DC. I didn't even know about Crisis but the reset on the DC Universe got me to pick up some of their titles (see Byrne's Superman, above).

Also, he says something I want to highlight:

"In many ways, I fear, the annual stunt has taken over comics publishing. If it isn't big, if heroes don't die, if worlds don't change, then, many feel the stories aren't worth reading."

A-freaking-men! Wolfman wrote that in 1998! I'll bet he's still saying it. Even louder. This whole Civil War/Identity Crisis thing is like what Hollywood does when a movie makes a surprising amount of money. They keep making it again and again but each generation is weaker than the one before it.

Wolfman then goes on to address the "Why did you kill X?" questions he gets every time he leaves the house. His answer: "Lay off! We didn't kill that many specific characters. We had good story and continuity reasons for the ones we did kill." Of course, he said it more politely than that. Marv's that kinda guy.

One last thing: Wolfman decided not to kill any character who had been created before he was born. Still that left him with a bunch of opportunities to cull the herd. I wonder if he had a hit list of characters he hated like all those lame-ass villains Scourge killed back in the day.

1 comment:

chuck w. said...

Wow! You've got quite a journey ahead of you.

I was reading these issues as they came out back in the day, and the sheer scale of things blew my tiny mind at the time. Reading it with twenty-odd years of perspective, having seen the crossovers that came after it, will be interesting. Should be fun! (At least, fun for me to read the posts . . .)

Here's everything you need to know about Haunted Tank and the Crime Syndicate:

They are completely awesome. (I'm pretty sure Dave Campbell would back me up on that.)