Real Change?

| July 29, 2014

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Soap operas don’t have real change. There is a status quo, and while the writers move the characters through the stories, they always have to return back to the status quo. It’s a merry-go-round, and the only exit is when the show goes off the air.

Marvel and DC face the same thing. They have a status quo, and while the writers move the characters through the stories, they always have to return back to the status quo. (It almost seems like there’s an echo in here.)

The reason being is because the companies own the characters, and as such, they have to think in the long term. You can do almost anything you want to the characters, just as long as you don’t permanently change them, and put everything back the way you found it before moving on to something different. The companies are the shepherds of the characters, and they have to think beyond just an arc or two. They have to weigh how much this will help or hurt the character.

There is not a lot of real change at Marvel and DC. They haven’t had real change in decades. Even after the multiple Crises at DC, the core hasn’t changed, because the characters have to be recognizable to the hoi polloi. DC rebooted their entire universe, wiping the slate mostly clean, and they still have characters that haven’t changed that much.

Marvel doesn’t do much of a hard reboot. They barely do soft reboots. They just tweak the timeline every so often, in order to remain relevant to today’s readers. And now that their movie universe has taken off, there are some realignments that have gone on: Spidey had organic webshooters for a while until everyone essentially forgot about them (in reference to the Raimi movies), Nick Fury is now black (like the Ultimates version, which was then reflected in the movies, and has now crossed over to the main Marvel universe), and Agent Phil Coulson has crossed from the movies to the comics, to name a few.

And now, the Falcon is Captain American, and Thor is a woman.

I’ve already given my thoughts on the first. The latter doesn’t bother me. But these aren’t real change. These are change for the sake of a sales boost, and will only last until the next movie comes out.

If you want real change, you have to go to the indies. Stories of both merit and moment, that have real, lasting repercussions. The Savage Dragon? Erik reinvents that character every so often, when he’s taken a set of stories as far as he can. The same thing with Spawn. And the stories at Image Central are tearing it up on a “change” level. It’s amazing to see.

I want real change in my comics. Just because I understand why there isn’t real change doesn’t mean that I don’t want it. When you can hop onto a “jumping on point” and basically know everything that has gone on before because the reset button has been hit, you know that you’re either doing something exceedingly wrong, or exceedingly right. Only the readers will really know.

And there’s your Daily Dose.

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Category: Columns, The Daily Dose

About the Author ()

Steven is an editor/writer with such credits as Fallen Justice, the award nominated The Standard, and Bullet Time under his belt, as well as work published by DC Comics. Between he and his wife, there are 10 kids (!), so there is a lot of creativity all around him. Steven is also the editor in chief and co-creator of ComixTribe, whose mission statement is Creators Helping Creators Make Better Comics. If you're looking for editing, contact him at for rate inquiries.

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