Mental Flotsam, Mental Jetsam

Because the only thing that beats going crazy is going crazy with somebody else

Thursday, May 22, 2008

The Comic Art of Cliffdropping, Part 1

*Spoilers, aha, below.*

Once again, DC Comics has demonstrated why it's such a great place to exist: Though the crime rate may suck, (High security asylums can't keep tabs on crooks worth a damn) it still beats the real world. Why, you ask? You don't have to be Jesus to come back from the dead!

Stephanie Brown, aka the Spoiler (and briefly, Robin the 4th); is alive again. According to the lady herself, she was never dead to begin with. That sure is a load off.

So: I'm reminded of a plot device as old as Scheherazade: The cliffhanger. Ms. 1,001 Tales ensured a stay of execution by keeping her captor a captive audience by ending each story in suspense. He couldn't kill her because he wanted to know what happened next. Brilliant. Thomas Hardy published a serial novel and used the same device to ensure readership stayed healthy; literally ending a chapter on a cliffside.

That's great. Suspense is a wonderful thing. But that's not what's happening in comics. They're not using cliffhangers-- they're employing cliffdroppers. That's what makes it so annoying.

How annoying, you ask? Well, I've put together a scale to determine the exact level of egregiousness-- how bad the crime against a consistent, accurate narrative really is.

With a score of 0; we have the time-honored tradition of killing someone off and have someone else take up the mantle. No laws of time and space have been broken. Happened to Captain America, Blue Beetle and Abomination; it happened to Batman (when his back was broken) and Green Lantern (when he went batshit). It's actually respectful, in a way.

Unfortunately it only goes down from there. Down, way down, to the bottom of the cliff. Splat.



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