Joel Stadler

Contributing writer for The Artifice.

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    Latest Topics


    Why is comics continuity so dense and how to make it less so

    superhero comics can be very hard to break into because they have years of (often convoluted) continuity that people feel they need to understand in order to fully engage with the comics. Why do comics insist on linking connecting everything into a confusing mass of continuity, and how can we make it easier for new and potential readers?

    • This is a great topic to discuss. From a storytelling perspective, I find this to be one of the biggest frustrations with the industry. Even the MCU films are reaching a point where I feel that the continuity is beginning to weigh it down and restrict it. – Sean Gadus 2 years ago
    • Cool topic, though would suggest tweaking the wording of the title. Title - Why do comics have such complicated continuity? OR Why are comic series continuity so dense and what can be done about it? I suspect this continuity issue you're talking about applies to super hero series mostly. The continuity issue could be compared to long running manga or independent comic series. I think there are super hero comics that are not the main Marvel/DC series that do not have the same issues as those ones. – Jordan 2 years ago
    • I love the mcu And it is an issue. I will like to say that you should make the distinction between the marvel comics and the MCU as they do it differently In the comics continuity only works if it sells. If not the character gets a new back story etc. plus in comics there are multiple writers, where they have the license to do something different with the characters. They are more flexible. Just look at any of the characters, like spider man he went through so many reruns that he has a lot of what makes his character rewritten. It’s comical . Where as in the MCU Every director/writer is under the control of the glorious Kevin Figie (forgive me for misspelling) He is the one who calls the big shots I love what he does but sometimes as of late it feels like every movie must be connected some way and that leads to a restriction on what writers/directors can do with their own movies. I feel the weight of continuity started with endgame and it’s convoluted time travel which constantly gets rewritten with every new installation I hope that with the multi verse we get more diverse stories but at the same time not every thing needs to be connected – Amelia Arrows 2 years ago
    • At the end of the day, this tactic is used to drive sales. Comics have done this for decades and will continue to for the foreseeable future. I think a better topic might be "How to break into dense comic continuity" or "How new readers can make comic continuity less daunting/intimidating." Trying to change the industry especially now that movies and tv shows have adopted the same kind of continuity will only leave you disappointed, but guiding those who want to enter the scene is a great way to introduce fans to the world of comics! – Taylor 2 years ago

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    Latest Comments

    And thank you for clearing that up. I am used to genre fiction getting the raw treatment, and do apologize if I read to much into things (distinctly possible). But yeah, overall it’s great that the gap is lessening between the two.

    Genre Fiction in University Writing Programs: No longer the MFA's Red-headed Stepchild

    I have done no looking into MFA programs, but I am a recent college grad who majored in creative writing. I wish to be an author and am currently working on a book I would like to publish. I am also an avid fan of fantasy (and to a lesser extent scifi). I have encountered a lot of criticism against genre fiction and how it is “lesser” to “true literature” and so on.

    I do agree with a lot of what this article says, and believe me, I am one of the people most in favor of getting rid of these ridiculous distinctions. However, this article still seems (to me anyway) to be setting up a bit of a dichotomy that I disagree with. Now sure, there are some mainstream novels that are of sub par quality. The are (and have been) some mainstream titles that were/are just bad (I’m looking at you 50 shades of gray and twilight). But after reading this, it sounds like the author is still distinguishing between lit and genre fiction, saying that we should be raising genre fiction to the intellectual level of literature (forgive me if I am misrepresenting the article). Especially when analogies likening the genre fiction to a kids meal, and the literature to the vitamins are used.

    Also, I got the sense that a dichotomy was set up such that either you write to be an intellectual literary award winner, or you write to sell. Personally, I believe that most writers simply write because they want to, and if they can live off of the writing alone that would be ideal (I know that’s my dream).

    Again, I just have to say that I think there is much less difference between so called “literature” and genre fiction. To a large extent, I think it is a meaningless and potentially harmful distinction that only serves to further lend credence to the lit snobs who look down on all us other writers.

    But please, do not confuse my ranting with a total dislike of this article. I agree with most of the points raised, and I think only good can come from more open-minded and inclusive MFA programs. And I will not dispute that this article is well written.

    So overall I would definitely say this is a very good article, but it did have a few key points I felt were not representative of fiction. And if I read too much into this and misrepresented the article I do apologize. But the bottom line is I feel like it is still (unintentionally or not) making distinctions between literature and genre fiction that I think are unfair.

    Genre Fiction in University Writing Programs: No longer the MFA's Red-headed Stepchild

    I like Fairytail a lot. Personally I do not think it is that bland or repetitive (though everyone is entitled to their own opinions obviously). It does have fan-service issues. But the best thing I can say in its favor is: Erza Scarlet. Seriously, no question my favorite female character in all of anime. In my mind she more than makes up for the fan-service.

    The Fairy Tail Franchise's Success: Love and War

    I thought Asterisk War was a fine show (not amazing). And I will acknowledge I am a sucker for most any shonen fighting anime. However I do recognize that this show has a lot of issues, and I understand why lots of people dislike it. I would highly recommend to anyone who thought the show had potential it didn’t live up to (and to anyone in general really), the anime Chivalry of a Failed knight. In my mind that show is just a better version of Asterisk War (though I haven’t seen season two yet so I can’t speak to that). Still, Chivalry of a failed knight is amazing.

    The Anime Guide to Spring 2016