Saturday, August 3, 2013

365 Comics... 214: Marvel Saga #1 (1985)

In the mid-1980's DC and Marvel became obsessed with continuity, largely because the narrowing and aging comic book fanbase were constantly asking about such things.  DC collapsed and rebooted their universe at an answer to continuity criticisms via the Crisis on Infinite Earths after first trying to archive their history in the Who's Who character guide (then followed by the History of the DC Universe).  Marvel had a doubly robust character guide in the Handbook to the Marvel Universe and created Marvel Saga as a means of putting 20+ years of storytelling into some sort of chronological order. 

Where DC's History was told in grand sweeps over 2 prestige format issues by Wolfman and Perez leaving the finer details off the page, Marvel Saga was 25 issues of scenes excerpted from past works with framing text (I don't envy whomever had that task) tying it all together.

It's a messy Frankenstein monster of a comic that exposes and even exacerbates the cIunkiness and awkwardness of storytelling from Stan Lee's heyday, particularly when juxtaposed against even the modest improvements of John Byrne some 20-ish years later.  What it really validates is my decision to not read (or need to read) most silver age comics.  The Fatastic Four segments of this comic are unbelievably painful to read.  The manufactured drama and complete about-face resolutions are maddeningly bad.  Oh, we need to convert these to motion comics and MST3K them (or just listen to Norm Macdonald's Origin of the Fantastic 4 )

No more of this, please and thank you.

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