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May 5th, 2019

The Doylean trauma

Leaving aside probably more relevant reasons of changing personal and social contexts (let's call some of it the tribology of accumulating nostalgia, mostly because I love the word "tribology"), one reason I find comic events increasingly off-putting is the way their meta-cosmology keeps getting not just more involved, but doing so in bizarre and repetitively anthropomorphic ways, and without any sort of build-up. The basic nature of reality keeps being re-revealed every year or so, Cosmic Entities get biographies and family trees every bit as ridiculously involved as any other character, and conflicts where the stakes are, literally, everything that ever was, is, or will be, keep being set up and resolved in a span of a few reader months, even if they are supposed to have taken place during thousands or billions of years.

That's a mostly DC-apposite description of the Crisis pattern, although it does apply to the Hickman Omni-apocalypse. Marvel's specific compulsive apocalypse is the Age of Apocalypse retelling, although both companies fall back equally often to the Cosmic War. And similar things could be said about more character-specific but still repetitive arcs, like Batman Gets Broken Down.

I understand the Doylean reasons, and Huge Events, like fossil fuels, are a non-renewable and toxic but short-term fantastic resource that you have to have a certain level of maturity not to rely on, but at this point it's less an annoying quirk than an unheimlich compulsion we're all (as comic book readers, while and if we read those specific comics) locked inside of.

BTW, I've written this before, and I'm likely to do it again. We're all vulnerable to our own patterns.

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