Crazy Ideas – Planning Comics Decades In Advance
I was going through a review of a comic and a thought occurred to me. What if these decades-long stories had been planned in advance so major events could be properly foreshadowed? Think of it, from the moment Gwen Stacy is introduced, her death is constantly hinted at. She’s afraid of heights, we keep seeing the George Washington bridge showing up. How about bird imagery constantly popping up from the moment Jean Grey joins the X-Men?
The real impetus for this was the revelation of Moira MacTaggart as a mutant who has set the stage for this new direction that Professor X and Magneto have taken with mutants. Magneto’s cultivation of threats to prepare the X-Men is an interesting spin. What if we constantly saw examples of this cooperation, such as Magneto intentionally keeping one of his mutants from killing an X-Man? How about if Moira intentionally pushed away Sean Cassidy at first, refusing to tell him why? What if she confided in someone, perhaps Wolfsbane. that she had secrets that she could not share.
Let’s explore this throughout some of the various comic books that have been written more catch-as-catch-can and have suffered for it. Of course , I acknowledge that there’s absolutely no way that a comic created in 1938 could have planned something sixty or seventy years in advance. This is just a crazy idea for the sake of coming up with a hypothetical situation. We can imagine that our favorite comic didn’t have that unfortunate period where everything just fell flat.
Here’s The Problem
This type of planning requires a very heavy editorial hand. Essentially, we have writers being hindered. If someone wants to tell a story that doesn’t conform to continuity precisely, then it can’t be done. It also keeps characters from changing from how they were initially conceived. The Superman that exists today isn’t the same as the Superman being currently published. Deadpool would never have broken the fourth wall.
It also prohibits characters from being overhauled into something that could be great. I am long time fan of the Legion of Super-Heroes, but I acknowledge that if it was always the same it was in the Silver Age, it would be boring. I am looking forward to Brian Michael Bendis’s take on the teenagers from the future. If there was an edict that it was too much of a change, then we wouldn’t have the excitement of the Legion erupting into the foundation of the United Planets in Superman #14.
It’s a little uncommon for me to begin one of these crazy ideas and essentially convince myself that it’s a bad idea. Of course, super-hero comics are not strangers to bad ideas. ZFortunately, every once in a while, there’s a few good ones.