By hrdwrkngXsoldier 5 Comments
First, I want to apologize to the readers for the delay. I have been really busy with stuff at home and the entire graduate education application process for optometry schools. I am back now and while I may not be able to continue on a weekly basis, you should see something posted at least every other week. Before my furlough I was in the process of breaking down all the different types of comic readers out there. If you are new, feel free to play catch-up and enjoy!
(Part 1) (Part 2)
Purist of the Pure: Part III Mike and Dave
The last installment was dedicated the leisure readers. Mike and Dave are special though. Marvel Mike and DC Dave have spent a good deal of their time debating and justifying their perspective choice alternative realities. I talked with a couple Mikes and a handful of Daves in order to understand them better. What I found out is no one thing sets them apart, most of their arguments are over the same issues, and they show their devotion on many different levels.
The Continuity Critics and Story Sticklers :These readers typically add fuel to the fire, in the heated debate of story vs. continuity. Mike is going to tell you of the rich history Marvel has and how they try to stay close to the roots of all the characters. They say this continuity is what actually makes the Marvel Universe work. By fleshing out every detail of every character and event, tying them all together, and finishing dangling plot threads; Marvel has created its own reality. Even these Marvel loyalists are easily upset by snafus in continuity and the occasional retroactive continuity change (or retcon for veteran comic geeks). It may seem at times these Mikes care more about consistency than characters. However, they are steadfast in defending their favorite properties from movies ignoring comic history. Mikes will take every opportunity to point out the various reset buttons DC has done, but not without Dave firing back.
Daves seem mellow in comparison. They tend to be more story sticklers than continuity critics. They are prepared for most changes ahead of time, because they know change is inevitable and part of the DC Comics’ circle of life. Their primary side of the argument is most things stay the same and the status quo changes very little with each crisis. They are willing to accept it because they believe DC readers are treated to better stories. While reset button after reset button being pushed almost anything and everything can be retconned all at once. This supposedly gives writers more creative freedom. Which, with some strange calculation; is supposed to equal greater stories. Mikes acknowledge the statement could be true, but believe with writers like Jason Aaron, Brian Michael Bendis, Ed Brubaker, Jonathan Hickman, and many more; Marvel will continue to offer great stories which tie together like a well made fishing neck.
There is no lack of sticklers and critics on the other sides of these arguments. This is only the most often presented case.
The Power-player and the Humanist : Though power-players exist on both sides of the Dave vs. Mark battle. They are most associated with DC and their favorite unbeatable
weapon. The Batman! Everybody has heard it, “nobody can beat Batman as long as he has prep time.” You see it in every versus thread out there which includes Gotham’s Dark Knight. Power-players may focus on a specific character, but they definitely believe there is little to no equal from the opposing publisher. Even though science and logic are not the foundations on which comics are built upon, power-players are willing to suspend disbelief more than average readers. They read their books and feed off of the fact their hero does not err.
To err is to be human. It is easier to relate to characters which actually have human characteristics. Many Mikes fall into the Humanist area of readership. They choose to read marvel characters for not only their victories, but also their flaws. There is no character in the Marvel Universe with a normal life and a happily ever after ending every issue. Even when awesome power is present, these readers see the one thing involved they may relate too. Humanists will argue characters from other publishers are too perfect. They believe weaknesses are just as important as powers, to a character and their story.
Again Mikes and Daves can both be counted under these categories. The argument is made both ways. It is hard to argue when everybody in your universe seems to have a power ring now. Every character has some weakness, and nobody stays dead in comics except Bucky...uh Uncle Ben.
The Utopians and the Political analysts :The Daves’ universe of choice is one based ultimately upon fantasy. Every city, every politician, and everything going on are works of fiction. They enjoy the escape from current events and reality. They are content in imagining a world similar to our own, but very different. This again may give writers more freedom, allowing stories which wouldn’t make sense many other places. The DC Utopians are also happy with the simplified universe they have after one of the many crises tied all realities in the DC mythos closer together. Not having a set timeline that includes real celebrities and personalities keeps DC’s Universe timeless.
Mike on the other hand will pick up his favorite book and enjoy picturing a real world with superheroes in it. Kick-Ass may be entirely more accurate of a portrayal, but it is easy to notice familiar buildings and pop-culture references. Marvel has never been afraid to confront major political issues in their books as well. (No matter how much Joe-Q denies it.) This take on the real world in the Marvel 616 Universe is closely tied to ours. It allows progression. Putting things into context like the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the energy crisis,
I’m not counting Vertigo or Wildstorm in this, so calm down Daves. I know that DC gets political on occasion, but they rarely leave the reality they have created. Mike just has to be a little sad as well that he will never see Steve Rogers as president, unless it is in an alternate reality.
The Diversity differentiator: These readers are amusing to me. Mike will point out how the entire Bat-family is almost the exact same character or half the DC Universe is comprised of people with power rings. They say they want diversity. The problem with this argument is Dave battling back with the lack of variety in power-sets of Marvel Characters and the lame duck excuse of being a mutant as an origin story. Making more Wolverine clones didn’t help Mike’s defense much either.
All in all Mike and Dave are interesting creatures. They are definitely two sides of the same fan-boy coin. Love or hate these purists, they often serve as the educators and experts on their perspective universes.
Next installment I will take you into the depths of one of the most well-rounded readers, All-around Al.