Friday, August 03, 2007

Multiple Choice Question

I think it's pretty clear that I loves The Question. I even like the new Question.

It's a great character design (from Steve Ditko, who made a career of great character designs) and The Question, a.k.a., Vic Sage, is a compelling personality, a crusader for absolute truth.

And it is as a fan of the character that I'm bothered by comments like this:

Poor Question. Right when Timm, Dini, and company made you popular, DC has the foresight to kill you off and replace you.
Luke's implication that there can be no more comics featuring the Vic Sage Question is patently false, because the post he's commenting on is about a comic that came out THIS WEEK. In fact, it was in Justice League Unlimited, the comic that's specifically designed to capitalize on the success of "Timm, Dini, and Company". So he's getting exactly what he wants.

But of course he's not happy getting a new Vic Sage story. He wants a new Vic Sage story "in continuity," so that it "really happens." Well, Luke, I've got some bad news for you...

It's all fictional. The Vic Sage that died in 52 is no more real than the Vic Sage fighting space yetis on comics shelves RIGHT NOW!

And that's the wonder of these characters, they're flexible and you can tell many stories with them, AT THE SAME TIME. Don't like Judd Winick's Trials of Shazam? Try Jeff Smith's Monster Society of Evil. Don't like Richard Donner and Geoff Johns' Superman? Try Busiek's. Or Morrison's. Or...

These are not real people. They're characters and it takes a lot more than death to stop them. DC can still publish a Vic Sage Question series, and he could be Bruce Timm's paranoid theorist, or Denny O'Neil's kung fu master, OR Steve Ditko's objectivist vigilante. Take your pick, it's a wide open multiverse out there. In fact, Vic Sage wouldn't even need to fit into any previous continuity. After all, continuity isn't a real "reality" for him to fit into anyway.

I think he'd kind of like that idea.


Will Staples said...

(Filby speaking. Blogger's posting my real name rather than my Internet handle for some reason.)

The thing that bothers me about people who bitch and moan about character deaths is that they seem to think that a character dying in the present is supposed retroactively wipe the character from our hearts and minds FOREVER, when they're still as available as ever for flashbacks and the like.

Case in point: Ted Kord has been appearing in comics almost constantly since DC Countdown. Hell, he's had more appearances since he died than he has for years.

To paraphrase something you said a while back, once created, Ted Kord cannot be uncreated.

Anonymous said...

Still, despite the whole "It doesn't really change anything" thing, it is kinda funny.

Odd, notable if only minorly relevant funny, but still.

Bully said...

The interesting thing about comic book deaths (and much of fantastic literature) is that the moment a character dies, we start thinking "Well, how and when are they gonna bring this guy back?" And more often than not, sooner or later they do. Death is cheapened by this general overview: not merely the death of that character, but the concept of death as a whole.

There's a recent popular series of fantastic literature (I won't name it in order to avoid spoilers) that went against all expectations and brought back no one who had died, even those that fandom cooked up plausible explanations as to how and why the characters couldn't be really dead or could return. I salute that approach as well.

Filby also hits the nail on the head about retroactive death. It's the same thing as the complaints about pre-Crisis comics after Crisis on Infinite Earths. "You've just rendered my 1970s Batman comics non-existent!" Um, no, they're still there and they're still good stories, and they still "happened."

collectededitions said...

Agree completely with Bully. No one really believes Captain America is gone for good; death in comics has become nothing more than a marketing ploy, almost a parody of its own self. The even bigger problem is that, say, when Captain America dies, the outside non-comics-reading world thinks it's actually "happening," and then comics get a bad rap when Cap comes back, whereas we comics readers know what to expect. So I think this also cheapens comic books' reputation as a whole.

(Steve, actually was trying to email you on another question but couldn't get through. Would you shoot me an email to my collectededitions account at Yahoo? Thanks.)