The Tyranny of Crisis

Yeah. I feel your pain, bro.

Some of you may recall that a while back, I did a poll asking whether or not I should finish reading Crisis on Infinite Earths. At the time, I wasn’t enjoying the book, but I thought I’d let you guys decide. By a very slim margin, it was decided that, yes, I should finish the book. I said that I would do it; therefore, I felt like I had to do it. I also had some sort of misplaced loyalty to comic fandom. Much of what I read is DC, and this is a part of DC continuity — a very big part. But you know what? I can’t fucking do it.

This book just doesn’t do it for me. The ’80s were a much different time for comic books, and when I was five, I didn’t read comics. It is not nostalgic; it’s not even vintage. It is just boring. I’m not a masochist, but it started to feel like I might be teetering on the edge. I tried to finish it. I picked the damn thing up countless times, only to fall asleep after ten pages. Other times, my mind would drift off to how I’d rather be cleaning my tub. Twenty pages would go by, and I’d have no idea what I just read. Sometimes I just put it down out of sheer frustration.

While Chucks, skinny jeans, and those stupid plastic sunglasses have made a comeback, big hair, female leads drizzled in weak sauce, and a story that’s been done a bajillion times over HAVE NOT. I get it; at the time it was a big damn deal, and it is the very thing that inspired the previously mentioned done-over stories. But I read those stories first, so reading this is not satisfying. This particular story is SO CONVOLUTED, and the characters I love now were portrayed so differently back then. Particularly Batgirl. I couldn’t stand the envy scene with Supergirl, where Babs is all self-deprecating because she doesn’t have super powers. UGH! Give me a break.

I will acknowledge two things: First, Superman throwing planets is so absurd … it’s awesome. Second, George Perez is the man.

My dismay of “big hair” is not a knock on Perez’s pencils. I get that they were a reflection of the times. Honestly, his pencils are stellar. That is a lot of art and a lot of characters smooshed into those panels, and he pulled it off. He did better than pull it off. George Perez is a force to be reckoned with. I have the utmost respect for his art. Now, what I don’t like are the colors. Perhaps it would have been difficult to differentiate between so many characters without the extreme color, but frankly, it was garish. It detracted from Perez’s work and just annoyed me.

So there it is. I don’t like the story, and the ostentatious coloring irked your girl. There are far, FAR too many other books out there that I would love to spend my time reading. If that makes me less of a DC fangirl, well I don’t care.

For the record, the above mentioned poll determining whether I was to finish Crisis or not was tainted anyway. A coworker and fellow geek thought it’d be funny to vote a bunch of times for me to read it, because he knew that I didn’t want to. I’m looking at you, Truelove.

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18 thoughts on “The Tyranny of Crisis

  1. I guess that’s how we separate (forgive the masculine nouns) the men from the boys, fandom-wise. It’s kind of a bulky story and lacks a grounded human story, but I don’t see how (if you’re interested in the history of comics) it can come off as boring. It’s cool if you’re not, I’m not putting you down, enjoy comics on whatever level you like. But I think this is very telling as far as the difference between “comic fans” and “comic readers”

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  2. Vanessa, I can completely understand where you’re coming from. It’s one of those things where you had to be there… the bloody Galactus trilogy, absolutely ground-breaking, mind-blowing stuff when published, wouldn’t raise a ripple nowadays. A few years ago, in an issue of Captain Marvel, the Universe ended AGAIN – off panel!! So the scale of Crisis is relatively diminished, leaving only the emotional investment in the characters and histories – IF that applies. I was gutted to see obscure characters appear just long enough to be annihilated! And Supergirl, never a favourite but… well, she was SUPERGIRL!!

    Decades have passed, I have the Absolute edition, it’s an important piece of comic history which still tugs at my nostalgia buds… but, really, it’s just a string of big fight scenes with a huge team-up cast, beautifully drawn. It was only ever meant as a ‘fix’ for continuity, not a great work – the DCU was considered too confusing for new readers, it was that simple. While some of the tie-in issues of affected titles were OK, Swamp Thing was the only one that managed to acknowledge Crisis and actually match it with it’s own ongoing storyline. If you were sick of Crisis, there was ST & the assault on Heaven and all reality, starring all the supernatural heavyweights, up to and including… well, God…

    *Ahem!* Sorry, digressed… anyway, Crisis was big and groundbreaking and what-have-you, but it’s really not that relevant anymore. The Silver age is dead, other than as a reservoir of characters and ideas to play with & possibly rework. There’s enough to keep up with TODAY, you can always go back and check out archive material if a character’s revived and you’re intrigued. It adds a frisson for old-timers (I’m 48) to recognise references to the past, but that’s all.

    Perhaps, next time, skip the poll… take your cue from Harvey Dent & flip a coin.

    And don’t reveal the result!

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    • Ah, Mark, you are an absolute doll.

      I do understand (and respect) the nostalgia for some. Obviously, that did not play a role in my perception of the book. I’ma take that advice … I think Harvey has the right idea … half the time anyway.

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  3. I support you giving up. Your comic adolescence was during a post-Crisis age. While Crisis was ground-breaking at the time, it’s been done over and over since then. It definitely wouldn’t read fresh, original, or ground-breaking to someone that’s read modern comics. I can envision a modern day reader enjoying Crisis as much as I enjoy the “Honeymooners” sitcom. I can accept that it set a precedent, but it’s not that enjoyable to my modern sensibilities.

    Since I grew up with “Crisis on Infinite Earths”, it’s still one of my all-time favorite comics. Beautifully illustrated and a powerful story with real consequences. A work of art!

    With that said, I reject your enjoyment of “Final Crisis”. That comic was a steaming pile of nonsense built on the back of “Crisis of Infinite Earths”. Please don’t sully “Crisis on Infinite Earths” any further with your “Final Crisis”-tainted soul. :)

    The Irredeemable Shag

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    • HA! Well, I appreciate your support my friend. But your Final Crisis blaspheme can not stand. Maybe I’ll re-read it for the fifth time, and talk about it next Geek Lunch. Yes … yes. I think I will.

      Aaaaand …. IT’S NOT A PHASE!!!

      ;-)

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  4. Good for you! I read it in pieces over the years since getting my first issue (#8,) and I agree that it’s a terrible story with gorgeous art. Read History of the DC Universe instead.

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  5. Wait, wait. Reading Shag’s comments, am I to understand that this Geek Chick likes Final Crisis over Crisis on Infinite Earths? If so, I’m speechless on that.

    However, I can understand your difficulty in reading Crisis on Infinite Earths. While I thoroughly enjoyed reading it after the event in the early 90’s I can say that I would probably not enjoy it as much now, even though I have read the mini-series more than three times. I base my dislike on it now from the fact that I have recently gone back and read some stuff from the 80’s and have been bored to tears; even stuff that I really enjoyed reading during the 80’s (I’m looking at you Firestorm, although I still love you). It was the times, the 80’s was just a decade of cheese.

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    • “… the 80’s was just a decade of cheese.” What an apt description.

      Yes, yes. This Geek Chick loves (not just likes) Final Crisis, and very much dislikes Crisis on Infinite Earths.

      Ed, I don’t know if you are speechless in a good way or a bad way, but I’ll take that over the “it’s just a phase” haranguing I’ve endured from Terry and Shag. *winks at Shag* Unless, of course, you’d like to join in. Well, then … I’m used to it, being one of the five people who love FC.

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      • Vanessa G. :

        Ed, I don’t know if you are speechless in a good way or a bad way…

        Just put it this way: I am in the majority who thought Final Crisis was a steaming pile of elephant excrement.
        Oh, and don’t get me wrong about the 80’s. I am a child of the 80’s and love the 80’s but I also recognize a lot of cheese was produced during that time.

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  6. Vanessa,

    I have to disagree with Mark and say that you are thoroughly fine in not digging CoIE, because even if you WERE there you didn’t necessarily like it.

    I got the first few issues when they came out, I hated them, and I quit getting the maxi-series. For one thing, I could see the writing on the wall: they were going to thoroughly wipe out a fictional universe I’d loved for so many years, so that wasn’t such a big incentive to keep me reading. But, furthermore, the “story” was awful. Well, really, there seemed to be no story to me whatsoever. A bunch of super-people stood around talking, then they ran and/or flew around some, then they stood around talking some more, then something “cosmic happened. Repeat and repeat, ad infinitum. It was just wretched.

    It did LOOK pretty wonderful, tho — if just a taaaad crowded. Perez is pretty cool, indeed.

    And I read a POOPload of DC comic books every month (favorites include Secret Six, Tiny Titans, Sweet Tooth). Am I still a DC fanboy, or do I have to turn in my card?

    Matthew

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    • A bunch of super-people stood around talking, then they ran and/or flew around some, then they stood around talking some more, then something “cosmic happened. Repeat and repeat, ad infinitum. It was just wretched.

      Mmmmmmm!!! Sweet, sweet validation. It’s tastes sooo goooood. *laughing maniacally*

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  7. Um, not seeing a disagreement, Matthew… I even mentioned Swamp Thing as an alternative for those sick of Crisis. Being there certainly didn’t necessitate liking Crisis, but it helped – the characters and storylines were familiar, if not current… not so for today’s readers.

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  8. The problem is, that this event at the time was so big you just couldn’t get your head round it. I read it at the time as part of my regular buying habit; generally buying the main books and those that intersected with the ones that I was reading regularly, and it fitted in nicely over the year that it was published, so you tended not to get to bored when the story got turgid. I remember sitting down and reading it as a collected series and thinking, “I don’t remember this being so bad at this point”. It was the time, and we had all been so used to reading crap stuff, that this and others (Camelot 3000…what a piece of toilet paper)were somehow a breath of fresh air.

    I haven’t read Final Crisis, I tend to steer away from these multi-crossover mega events these days( thanks to the Marvel”let’s burn the punters” attitude of the late 80s mid 90s)so I’ll have to take your word for it that it’s good. But CoIE is a classic turning point in the history of comics in general and the history of DC in particular. Shame they’re fucking it up again now.

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