It’s that time of year again, where the members of the legion of Doomkopf take a crack at praising and condemning the very best and worst of the previous year in comics. A new Best or Worst post will go up every day at noon, and its opposite number will show up 12 hours later at midnight. We’re going to start with a few looks at the business side of comics, then transition to the stories we loved and hated, and end it all with the best and worst creators of the year.
This year we’ve dropped “Best & Worst Publisher,” because there’s usually only two companies we’d ever bring up in that discussion. So this year I’m just being a little blunt about it. To start things off, we’re going to discuss which publisher was better in 2007:
Marvel or DC?
Fin Fang Doom says: Marvel!
This was the hardest pick out of any catergory for me. Both publishers put out a lot of really good stories, but both put out a whole lot of bad ones. DC probably put out more bad stories this year with Countdown (more on that later this month), but Marvel’s fewer bad stories were probably worse than DC’s were. Similarly, DC probably had more quality titles in 2007, but Marvel’s fewer quality titles were better.
I think the key to enjoying comics the majority of the year was just staying away from the mega-crossovers. Civil War, Countdown, Fallen Son, The Ligntning Saga, World War Hulk, Amazons Attack and Annihilation: Conquest were some of the most disappointing stories of the year. Not that they were all bad, but with Infinite Crisis still fresh in my memory, it’s hard for a crossover to deliver in the way I expect it to. Both companies turned that around by the end of the year by delivering fantastic crossovers in the Green Lantern and X-Men titles, but the majority of good titles stayed as far away from the crossovers as they could.
I have to go with Marvel in 2007, though. The year was bookended by a really bad decision at the beginning of the year (Civil War) and an infuriating one at the end of the year (the Spidey retcon), but nothing in the middle was very offensive. Hell, some of it was downright spectacular. DC, on the other hand, didn’t have anything that knocked my socks off (with the exception of Sinestro Corps War), and there was whole lot of stuff throughout the year that kept my socks in place. 2007 was an improvement over the previous year for Marvel, while it was a step backward for DC. That might not be a fair reason, since Infinite Crisis and One Year Later happened in 2006 for DC, as opposed the the excruciatingly delayed Civil War at Marvel, but it’s the best way I can distinguish the two companies.
Doom DeLuise says: DC!
DC. They’ve been putting out loads of crap all year, but they’ve somehow managed to put out a lot of really good stuff, too. Marvel has produced some fairly entertaining things as well, including the ending of Civil War. But, unfortunately, Marvel shot themselves this year, right before the finish line, otherwise I’d say they probably did the better job this year. After all, DC’s constructed its entire universe around a weekly lame-duck of a series, but, for crying out loud, Marvel erased twenty years of Spider-Man’s history. That’s just so friggin’ bad. So, congrats, DC. You win by default, since your competition is run by an even bigger, fatter moron than you are.
Jim Doom says: Marvel!
This year I’m taking Marvel for precisely the reasons I would have chosen DC in the build-up to Infinite Crisis.
DC rewarded its readers for paying attention to detail and acknowledging continuity. Whereas Crisis on Infinite Earths eliminated inconvenient continuity, Infinite Crisis embraced it and built something beautiful out of it.
Beats me if the timing is coincidental or not, but Marvel is doing something remarkably similar in their buildup to the Skrull Invasion. They’ve taken those continuity errors and perceived inconsistencies, embraced them, and started building a huge story out of them.
Some comics have been derided as “continuity porn,” and appropriately so. Simply entangling oneself in a web if previous events does not make a writer good. However, conditioning readers to believe that events matter will allow them to emotionally invest themselves in the stories you want to tell.
A bad writer forces the reader to suspend their disbelief. A good writer takes the choice out of their readers’ hands, as their meticulous attention to the details of their artificial world results in something so well-crafted, the reader’s common sense and critical thinking alarms are never tripped. They immerse themselves in a world that is believable through its consistency.
Good writers earn the benefit of the doubt when something is wrong or out of place. In a well-crafted world, if the reader ever thinks “Wait a minute, that shouldn’t be a happening,” that’s usually a hint that something is deliberately that way. When inconsistencies happen with a bad writer, or at least someone who hasn’t earned that trust, it’s just something wrong that pulls the reader out of the story rather than inspiring that creative part of an active reader’s imagination.
A good writer can deal with inconveniences, honor them and write a good story around them. A bad writer just ignores the inconveniences and just makes stuff how he wants it.
In 2007, not only did Marvel improve in this area, DC did a complete reversal and showed an utter disrespect for their continuity.
One need look no further than virtually every single issue of Countdown for constant examples of this. And I mean CONSTANT. Doom DeLuise has been our gracious masochist, indulging in every issue of this awful series. Fortunately for us, he has a great memory and has great attention to detail, so he’s been noticing these glaring yet pervasive lapses in good judgment.
DC is simply cranking out so much crap – crap that seems almost to exist with contempt for the reader – that Marvel could’ve had a mediocre year and I’d still have no way to give the nod to DC.
The Sinestro Corps War was great, but even World War Hulk was pretty good. Marvel had a really good year.
That is, unless you read Spider-Man.
Doominator says: Suck it!
This debate sucks. I’m going to choose Fantagraphics for releasing Love & Rockets collections at affordable prices.