You're criticisms are ultimately arbitrary :P

#1 Edited by oldnightcrawler (4579 posts) - - Show Bio

alright, so, this isn't really directed at anyone specifically, but I can't help but notice a general trend of arbitrary and sometimes even hypocritical criticism in regards to topics on this forum. In the interest of addressing views that I regard as overly or arbitrarily critical, I submit these appeals to the following common opinions.

The X-men was better when..

This is an appeal to a few different arguments such as this isn't what the X-men do or are about, the book(s) or team(s) used to be better when, or criticisms of that nature. I usually just think these are funny because, in regards to X-men comics, I know very few people who have read as many or been reading for as long as I have. I don't say that to claim any authority on the subject so much as to point out how arbitrary this distinction is.

It seems like every X-men fan (myself included, I guess), has this idealized version of what the X-men really are or aren't, or should or shouldn't be, based on which stories they've read that they liked or didn't like. That's all obvious, sure, but it's when people use this as a basis for criticism that I think it's funny. These types of criticisms generally play on the assumption that one's own personal favorite stories present the true versions of the characters, and that the stories that they don't like are in some way less true or relevant because of it.

Besides the fact that most people haven't read most X-men stories, and that they shouldn't have to read them all to enjoy any one of them, these arguments assume an authority which is irrelevant over a level of overall story consistency that has virtually no historical basis. The stories of the X-men have always been a serialized, collaborative form of entertainment which has never made any claim to thematic or tonal consistency, let alone provided it. Yes, there are great X-men stories that I would count among my favorite examples of either art or literature, there are some that are less good, and there are some that don't interest me at all; but, ultimately, the best X-men stories are really only a stones throw from the worst, and I feel the distinctions are largely based on personal taste more than any substantial criteria.

Marvel doesn't care anymore

This is sort of one example of the sort of thing I was talking about above. The idea that whoever is making X-men comics now is less interested with making them good than anyone else who's ever made them. That the creators of X-men comics have sold them out or become creatively bankrupt, only interested with turning a fast buck and not creating something of lasting quality. Besides the fact that we can never really know the interests or intent of the creators, these arguments presuppose that that has any baring on the quality of the book, which is equally impossible to determine. Some examples of this would be:

They only brought the original X-men back to appeal to new readers, with no regard for continuity or long-time fans. Is this true, and does it matter? Even if we assume that the original 5 X-men are more recognized by or appealing to new fans, which I've personally seen no evidence of, surely whoever's in charge must realize that the people already buying their books are the ones most likely to buy more. This argument assumes not only that appealing to new readers is somehow negative, but that the creators would be so much more interested in making money (than being creative) that they would not care if people stopped buying the books? See how that doesn't even make sense?

Or that they've brought the O5 back instead of having to do something new, ie; with new characters or the ones most recently featured, and that doing so has made the story ridiculously convoluted. I'm not even sure where to start with this one. Any of you guys ever hear of a book called X-Factor? To get the original 5 X-men back together for that one they brought Jean Grey back from the dead, actually retroactively writing her out of her most classic role in The Dark Phoenix Saga, got Cyclops to abandon his wife and newborn child, and made all of the Beast's fur fall out (and then later grow back). I'm not sure what the fan reception would be to this these days, but as far as I know, it's gone on to become one f the classic X-men runs of the 80's, beloved by generations of fans, despite being basically the same idea (from a marketing perspective) as what All-New X-Men is criticized for.

But time travel is stupid, contrived, and messes up continuity! I can't even argue against this sort of thing, really, because it's really just a matter of personal taste. People will say that time travel is convoluted or whatever, but have no problem with interstellar travel. It happens all the time that the X-men travel to other solar systems, which even at the speed of light, should take years. They go faster than that? okay, but they still come all the way back too, and they get back a week later or something.. how is that not time travel? even if it's not, how is it any less contrived?

As for continuity, the importance seems to be pretty relative. It seems like some people think it's really important, like a new story has the power to ruin an old one or something. It really seems like there could be a whole thread on how significant continuity is to enjoying a story, but with specific regard to the X-men, I'll just point out that since the continuity has been so retroactively rewritten already, several times and in several continuities, it just seems arbitrary to use that as an argument for why something should or shouldn't happen, especially once it already is.

Anyway..

I actually had a few more examples of arguments that I find to be arbitrary, such as those based on the concept of character consistency, status quo verus change, and fan entitlement, but I feel like I've been talking too long already.

What do you guys say?

#2 Posted by Emequious_Swerve (1268 posts) - - Show Bio

Yup, everyone has an opinion. Welcome to the internet.

Calling them "arbitrary" is a bit extreme though. I suppose you are suggesting that we all just sit here and go "hey, everything is amazing, and nothing I say matters" are you the government?? lol.

Its not that hard to imagine why people thought the writing in the 80s (Claremont mainly) was better. He had a lot control of the characters and events for over a decade and he didn't have to do some important event every year that had to change a lot of things. He had time and was a good writer. Comparatively, these days, the writers are only on the book for a short amount of time and have to conform several issues to whatever crazy event Marvel is pushing. Wouldn't you think that Marvels editors telling the X-Men writers "I don't care what you have planned, you have to make it fit into AvX," not caring?? I mean they aren't really letting the writer flex his creative muscles to their extremes. Is it any coincidence that fans mostly consider the best X-Men runs are ones where the writers had a lot of control for a good amount of time and didn't have to worry about working characters into the crossovers (Claremont, Morrison, Whedon)??

#3 Edited by AgeofHurricane (7297 posts) - - Show Bio

I say you're being quite naive. In time, the scales will fall, and you'll see the corporate shenanigan Marvel Comics has truly turned into. I'll currently only speak for the lucrative detractors and say what used to be the producer and maintainer of a quality medium for all has now devolved into a greedy, ravenous and even vulturous entertainer of more-than-you-can-chew gross profit factory by any means possible. I mean, if you really can't see the lazy trade efforts, seeping through the pages of what they've fooled many into believing are the go-to's for what's what, then i think you need to read more interviews, if you haven't been doing so already.

Money is always the incentive, excuse and reason for all of what goes on in Marvel Comics these days. It's less about respecting the fans and more about making sure their wallets are over-following with the royalties. They've since lost the magic and soul that drew millions of people across the world towards them in the first place, as evidenced by the rapidly decreasing comic book market since the early 2000s (when Quesada/Axel came along, go figure) and replaced that 'soul' with the aspirate dollar sign.

These arguments you've posted are just as arbitrary as ours, if not even more. The discrepancies between prior quality and present quality are clear and cut, as are the features and nuances to retain such quality. When fans say that things were better during a certain time than they were or are during a certain time, it's cause it's plain obvious.

And i also get the impression that you actually haven't been reading more than just the product.

#4 Posted by oldnightcrawler (4579 posts) - - Show Bio

Yup, everyone has an opinion. Welcome to the internet.

Calling them "arbitrary" is a bit extreme though. I suppose you are suggesting that we all just sit here and go "hey, everything is amazing, and nothing I say matters"

ha! no, not at all!

I'm just trying to point out that some criticisms seem like they are presented as factual, or based on some logic or criteria, when, as often as not, they are just opinions and actually just based on one's own tastes. Obviously everyone has opinions, but some criticisms are based on arbitrary or inconsistent criteria, that's all I meant.

Its not that hard to imagine why people thought the writing in the 80s (Claremont mainly) was better. He had a lot control of the characters and events for over a decade and he didn't have to do some important event every year that had to change a lot of things. He had time and was a good writer.

Yeah, and I do agree with that sentiment. Personally, Claremont is still one of my favorite X-men writers, having written more of my favorite X-men stories than anyone else. But he's also one of the most stylized writers to ever write the X-men. He may have been responsible for most of what people like about the X-men, but that doesn't mean that people will necessarily like his stories. They are very dense and stylized, right? I mean, I like that, but that doesn't mean it's categorically better.

It's also, in my opinion, just as true that Claremont, given all of his creative freedom, wrote more mediocre to bad X-men comics than any other X-men writer. Besides the original Genosha story, I don't think he did anything that great after Mutant Massacre (1986). His stuff in the late 80's just never measured up, for me, his run in the 90's was completely forgettable, and don't even get me started on X-Men Forever. So, in a way, he makes just as good a case for a writer having too much creative control as not having enough. At least, for me.

Comparatively, these days, the writers are only on the book for a short amount of time and have to conform several issues to whatever crazy event Marvel is pushing. Wouldn't you think that Marvels editors telling the X-Men writers "I don't care what you have planned, you have to make it fit into AvX," not caring?

what are you actually quoting there?

I don't know; I do agree that the trend towards so many events and crossovers can be pretty off-putting as a reader, and is probably more restrictive for a writer. But then again, some writers may write better with restrictions. Some writers may only have a couple of good X-men stories to tell anyway; some my favorite X-men stories are only a few issues in a row.. or an Annual, or a mini-series; Days of Future Past is just two issues, and half of the characters were new.. I guess I just don't know that those restrictions are really that restrictive to someone who's actually got a story to tell.

I mean they aren't really letting the writer flex his creative muscles to their extremes. Is it any coincidence that fans mostly consider the best X-Men runs are ones where the writers had a lot of control for a good amount of time and didn't have to worry about working characters into the crossovers (Claremont, Morrison, Whedon)??

Well, those are the writers who had the most control, so I totally do see your point; those guys did do, in my opinion, some of the best X-men stories. I would argue that I think both Claremont and Morrison could have done with a little less control, as I'm not a fan of the later halves of either of their runs, but, as I say, that's debatable and largely based on personal taste.

It's also a bit of a self perpetuating thing, since those are the runs that most people are directed towards when they start, meaning that more people have read those ones first, and base their views of what the X-men should be like from there, while writers who have less time, or whatever, may not get read by as many people to begin with. I personally love Whedon's run, but is it actually that much better than Lobdell's or Brubaker's? And, if it is (and here's my whole point), by what criteria is it actually better?

#5 Edited by oldnightcrawler (4579 posts) - - Show Bio

I say you're being quite naive. In time, the scales will fall, and you'll see the corporate shenanigan Marvel Comics has truly turned into. I'll currently only speak for the lucrative detractors and say what used to be the producer and maintainer of a quality medium for all has now devolved into a greedy, ravenous and even vulturous entertainer of more-than-you-can-chew gross profit factory by any means possible.

I don't get what you mean by "turned into". I see that they produce comics for profit, sure, but I don't know when this golden age of Marvel being something other than that was supposed to have taken place.

. I mean, if you really can't see the lazy trade efforts, seeping through the pages of what they've fooled many into believing are the go-to's for what's what, then i think you need to read more interviews, if you haven't been doing so already.

It's true that I don't read a lot of creator interviews, but most of them just seem to be teasers and hype anyway, and that's nothing new.

Money is always the incentive, excuse and reason for all of what goes on in Marvel Comics these days.

as opposed to when?

These arguments you've posted are just as arbitrary as ours, if not even more. The discrepancies between prior quality and present quality are clear and cut, as are the features and nuances to retain such quality. When fans say that things were better during a certain time than they were or are during a certain time, it's cause it's plain obvious.

mm. "clear and cut"? so where is it that you figure they suddenly stopped being this beacon of creative integrity and became the ravenous cash whores they are today? because I don't see any difference. I can think of specific periods where I thought they were producing products of less quality than other times, but I can think of periods like that throughout their whole history. So, if I -a longtime fan of the X-men, myself- can't understand the distinction you're making, how can it be "plain obvious"?

And i also get the impression that you actually haven't been reading more than just the product.

do you mean in regards to creator interviews and whatnot? why should I have to do that? does the piece not speak for itself?

#6 Posted by Emequious_Swerve (1268 posts) - - Show Bio


ha! no, not at all!

I'm just trying to point out that some criticisms seem like they are presented as factual, or based on some logic or criteria, when, as often as not, they are just opinions and actually just based on one's own tastes. Obviously everyone has opinions, but some criticisms are based on arbitrary or inconsistent criteria, that's all I meant.

I don't think anyone presents them as fact. I will agree that people are little too negative and I never understand why if people dislike something so much, they continue to buy/read it. However, peoples opinions are their own and they are entitled to it, and I think calling anyones complaints about something arbitrary is kind of insulting. I mean anyone who is passionate about something whether it be comics, music, science is going to have criticisms and nitpicks about the subject.

what are you actually quoting there?

I don't know; I do agree that the trend towards so many events and crossovers can be pretty off-putting as a reader, and is probably more restrictive for a writer. But then again, some writers may write better with restrictions. Some writers may only have a couple of good X-men stories to tell anyway; some my favorite X-men stories are only a few issues in a row.. or an Annual, or a mini-series; Days of Future Past is just two issues, and half of the characters were new.. I guess I just don't know that those restrictions are really that restrictive to someone who's actually got a story to tell.

I am not quoting anything, I was being facetious. Its not hard to imagine that conversations that are not too far off from that though. If you go to UncannyX-Men.net and read interviews with the creators you can read about tons of dangling plot lines due to a writer having an idea and editorial, who had their instructions from higher up, came down and said "yeah, you can't do that". That is the nature of the business, and I understand that, but at the same time its Marvels higher ups, who in charge of business aspects, basically telling writers and the creative teams what to do. Personally I think that qualifies as Marvel "not caring". I mean just look at blatant examples of them trying to shove movie characters in their comics and their 20 minute toy commercials with no depth that are being animated. I understand the point of everything in life is make more money but you don't see DC doing stuff like this. Marvel just seems to put the almighty dollar above everything else like good characterization these days.

It's also a bit of a self perpetuating thing, since those are the runs that most people are directed towards when they start, meaning that more people have read those ones first, and base their views of what the X-men should be like from there, while writers who have less time, or whatever, may not get read by as many people to begin with. I personally love Whedon's run, but is it actually that much better than Lobdell's or Brubaker's? And, if it is (and here's my whole point), by what criteria is it actually better?

Its all opinion. I don't think Whedons is great at all. I could write an essay on all the things that didn't make sense. For instance Beast, who in his career as an X-Men had not only the brains, but all kinds of advanced technology to try to make a cure, and all of the sudden not only is he intrigued by the fact one exists, but is contemplating taking it. Oh, and the fact that after a lifetime of being a pacifist, decides to brutally fight Wolverine in front of the whole school, sure, that makes sense. This is all besides the point though.

My point was the fact that the fans are usually more into these stories because they can get into it without having to try to pick up all the other titles for an annual crossover, and then a character shows up because a writer wants to make them awesome, and then when the writer leaves that same character fades into obscurity. If Marvel truly cared they would have the editors be more assertive and work closely with the writers and have there be an apparent goal or idea to get to. If they are building a character, then build him. Don't just have him become relevant for like 2 years then they just become background characters.

#7 Edited by oldnightcrawler (4579 posts) - - Show Bio

However, peoples opinions are their own and they are entitled to it, and I think calling anyones complaints about something arbitrary is kind of insulting. I mean anyone who is passionate about something whether it be comics, music, science is going to have criticisms and nitpicks about the subject.

I agree that people's opinions are their own, but not that they are entitled to them. They just have them.

And I'm sorry if I'm being insulting, but some criticisms simply are arbitrary. While I can appreciate people's passion for the subject, that in no way entitles them to anything. I'm not even saying that I necessarily disagree with specific criticisms, but criticizing an X-men story for, say, being too contrived, is like criticizing an orange for being to fruity; it may not be to your taste, but that doesn't make the distinction any less arbitrary.

... That is the nature of the business, and I understand that, but at the same time its Marvels higher ups, who in charge of business aspects, basically telling writers and the creative teams what to do. Personally I think that qualifies as Marvel "not caring". I mean just look at blatant examples of them trying to shove movie characters in their comics and their 20 minute toy commercials with no depth that are being animated. I understand the point of everything in life is make more money but you don't see DC doing stuff like this. Marvel just seems to put the almighty dollar above everything else like good characterization these days.

yeah, I get what you mean. I maintain that I don't think this is anything new though. I mean, that's why they turned Magneto back into a villain in the 90's, right? so they'd have a recognized and iconic villain for the cartoon.

I'm not trying to say that they don't do that stuff, I just don't understand why people think they ever didn't do it. In my lifetime, at least, that's just always been a part of it, so responding as though it's suddenly something new just seems, well, arbitrary.

My point was the fact that the fans are usually more into these stories because they can get into it without having to try to pick up all the other titles for an annual crossover, and then a character shows up because a writer wants to make them awesome, and then when the writer leaves that same character fades into obscurity. If Marvel truly cared they would have the editors be more assertive and work closely with the writers and have there be an apparent goal or idea to get to. If they are building a character, then build him. Don't just have him become relevant for like 2 years then they just become background characters.

I basically agree with this, but you're on tricky ground to be saying that editorial should give writers more creative control and be more assertive, don't you think?

I think it's hard to place the blame of not caring in that case, though. The editors can be like, use these characters (they're popular, they sell books), hands off these ones (someone else has them), and the rest is up to you, and I think that's usually about how it goes. So then the writer has to work in that framework. You know that having the more popular characters will help sell the book, but you also know that you might not get to do what you want with them, because you're more likely to be sharing them. The less popular characters might help your story sell, but only if you can do something really cool with them. If you can, you can base the story around them, but it's only going to work if you can really make them work. Oh yeah, and you need a story that has roles for at least X-many of them. That's kind of a lot of restrictions, but it also still gives you a lot to work off of. Now, which characters do you want? Don't blow this.

#8 Posted by time (5029 posts) - - Show Bio

alright, so, this isn't really directed at anyone specifically, but I can't help but notice a general trend of arbitrary and sometimes even hypocritical criticism in regards to topics on this forum. In the interest of addressing views that I regard as overly or arbitrarily critical, I submit these appeals to the following common opinions.

The X-men was better when..

This is an appeal to a few different arguments such as this isn't what the X-men do or are about, the book(s) or team(s) used to be better when, or criticisms of that nature. I usually just think these are funny because, in regards to X-men comics, I know very few people who have read as many or been reading for as long as I have. I don't say that to claim any authority on the subject so much as to point out how arbitrary this distinction is.

It seems like every X-men fan (myself included, I guess), has this idealized version of what the X-men really are or aren't, or should or shouldn't be, based on which stories they've read that they liked or didn't like. That's all obvious, sure, but it's when people use this as a basis for criticism that I think it's funny. These types of criticisms generally play on the assumption that one's own personal favorite stories present the true versions of the characters, and that the stories that they don't like are in some way less true or relevant because of it.

Besides the fact that most people haven't read most X-men stories, and that they shouldn't have to read them all to enjoy any one of them, these arguments assume an authority which is irrelevant over a level of overall story consistency that has virtually no historical basis. The stories of the X-men have always been a serialized, collaborative form of entertainment which has never made any claim to thematic or tonal consistency, let alone provided it. Yes, there are great X-men stories that I would count among my favorite examples of either art or literature, there are some that are less good, and there are some that don't interest me at all; but, ultimately, the best X-men stories are really only a stones throw from the worst, and I feel the distinctions are largely based on personal taste more than any substantial criteria.

Marvel doesn't care anymore

This is sort of one example of the sort of thing I was talking about above. The idea that whoever is making X-men comics now is less interested with making them good than anyone else who's ever made them. That the creators of X-men comics have sold them out or become creatively bankrupt, only interested with turning a fast buck and not creating something of lasting quality. Besides the fact that we can never really know the interests or intent of the creators, these arguments presuppose that that has any baring on the quality of the book, which is equally impossible to determine. Some examples of this would be:

They only brought the original X-men back to appeal to new readers, with no regard for continuity or long-time fans. Is this true, and does it matter? Even if we assume that the original 5 X-men are more recognized by or appealing to new fans, which I've personally seen no evidence of, surely whoever's in charge must realize that the people already buying their books are the ones most likely to buy more. This argument assumes not only that appealing to new readers is somehow negative, but that the creators would be so much more interested in making money (than being creative) that they would not care if people stopped buying the books? See how that doesn't even make sense?

Or that they've brought the O5 back instead of having to do something new, ie; with new characters or the ones most recently featured, and that doing so has made the story ridiculously convoluted. I'm not even sure where to start with this one. Any of you guys ever hear of a book called X-Factor? To get the original 5 X-men back together for that one they brought Jean Grey back from the dead, actually retroactively writing her out of her most classic role in The Dark Phoenix Saga, got Cyclops to abandon his wife and newborn child, and made all of the Beast's fur fall out (and then later grow back). I'm not sure what the fan reception would be to this these days, but as far as I know, it's gone on to become one f the classic X-men runs of the 80's, beloved by generations of fans, despite being basically the same idea (from a marketing perspective) as what All-New X-Men is criticized for.

But time travel is stupid, contrived, and messes up continuity! I can't even argue against this sort of thing, really, because it's really just a matter of personal taste. People will say that time travel is convoluted or whatever, but have no problem with interstellar travel. It happens all the time that the X-men travel to other solar systems, which even at the speed of light, should take years. They go faster than that? okay, but they still come all the way back too, and they get back a week later or something.. how is that not time travel? even if it's not, how is it any less contrived?

As for continuity, the importance seems to be pretty relative. It seems like some people think it's really important, like a new story has the power to ruin an old one or something. It really seems like there could be a whole thread on how significant continuity is to enjoying a story, but with specific regard to the X-men, I'll just point out that since the continuity has been so retroactively rewritten already, several times and in several continuities, it just seems arbitrary to use that as an argument for why something should or shouldn't happen, especially once it already is.

Anyway..

I actually had a few more examples of arguments that I find to be arbitrary, such as those based on the concept of character consistency, status quo verus change, and fan entitlement, but I feel like I've been talking too long already.

What do you guys say?

Before I share my opinions on the topic. When did you start reading X-Men comics and what do you think are the best X-Men titles of all time.

#9 Edited by oldnightcrawler (4579 posts) - - Show Bio

@time said:

Before I share my opinions on the topic. When did you start reading X-Men comics and what do you think are the best X-Men titles of all time.

curious request, but alright.

I started reading X-men in 1992 with X-Men, The Uncanny X-Men, and X-Men Classic.

For what I consider some of the best X-men comics, I'd say the early 80's stuff from Claremont; say 80-86, or The Uncanny X-Men #141 - Days of Future Past to the end of the Mutant Massacre in The Uncanny X-Men #213, including Marvel Graphic Novel #5 - X-Men: God Loves, Man Kills. And maybe the original Genosha story.

I think the first half of Morison's New X-Men is especially good, and I think just about all of Whedon and Cassaday's Astonishing X-Men is really great. I also think the first few years of Peter David's X-Factor and Remender's Uncanny X-Force were really good if they count.

I have a lot of other random personal favorites like Lobdell's run running up through Uncanny X-men into Fatal Attractions, and some of Brubaker's stuff leading up to the team reforming in San Francisco (Divided We Stand era?), but the stuff I listed above is stuff I would recommend more highly I guess. I also really like some of the newer books, but it seems too early to count any of them against "the best of all time", for me.

now will you share your opinions?

#10 Posted by HAWK2916 (1770 posts) - - Show Bio

I will butt in here and say that the op makes some interesting points and that sometimes the criticism does come as overly ridiculous. However there are many that have read every issue from the beginning and to call an opinion arbitrary just because you dont share it is...... anyway some of the examples regarding the original xfactor and all were valid, however some people.. I for one.. did not like and still dobt like that original series with the whole Jean Grey thing. I thought it was really ridiculous and extremely convoluted. As for me time travel is fine but when its constantly used as a basis for new stories ithets aggravating. When I argue about continuity mostly Im talking about the 10 different incarnatiins of wolverine we have now. Each writer at the same time writing the same charactee differently is not continuity. And really in all honesty the writing recently has suffered horribly. This is just my opinion but how can anyone read Aaron and feel that the xmen franchise is not in big trouble. Bendis has a few decent concepts but sometimes the execution and the liberty taking gets a bit ridiculous. In addition I think that sometimes the powers that be are money hungry. Imo this is seen in the fact that they only approve the most popular characters for the many many books they produce i.e Wolverine and even Storm. This is to sell books only instead of developing newer or underused characters. Finally i think the lack of faith and trust in the top dogs at marvel is because of some of the actions taken and the unknown basis for them. Look at a recent question posed at nycc to Nick Lowe regarding an x-book based on the New Xmen. His answer was quite ridiculous amd didnt really line up with marvels number s as far as book sales when you consider the number of copies certian books are selling versus others. But yet he spout off nonsense hoping that people would believe it just because he said it. I dont think all criticism is warranted but some is and voicing it has changed some things in the past and i guess people are hoping that writersvwould pay some attention to this when embarking on their endeavors. I will also say that there is slim chance of that happening because every writer i have ever known...and i talk regularly with many novelist.... has a huge ego and feels they can male people see things their way and that even if a story has been told a hundred times no one can tell it better than them and if people dont like it they can go f**k themselves. Sadly unless people really start to boycott the books thus jeopardizing the whole franchise, i dont think it will change. But Marvel is part of corporate america amd for years in the corporate world its completely about making money fast and damn the consequences and its been about quantity not quality.

#11 Posted by Extremis (3350 posts) - - Show Bio

@oldnightcrawler: it's not arbitrary. They just have different opinions than you.

They have their opinions and you have yours. Just like what you like man, don't let it bother you. Sometimes we ALL say stuff when we should just keep it to ourselves, but this is the internet. People are more likely to not filter what they say. And afterall, this is a place to share opinions. So what can you really expect?

Anyway, you can't control what others say or feel, but you can keep yourself in check. IDK that's the credo I try to live by on here - not always successfully I might add...lol

#12 Posted by Dernman (15128 posts) - - Show Bio

#13 Posted by oldnightcrawler (4579 posts) - - Show Bio
#14 Edited by Robert2928 (55 posts) - - Show Bio

I agree. Criticism is good but some criticisms are just spiting hairs lol

Not every story is going to be great. In order for great stories to exist there must be bad stories. Ultimately if you don't like the product being released then just don't buy it. Don't support the writer(s) you do not like (arbitary reason or not) . For example I was a fan of Devil May Cry and didn't like the direction when Capcom made DmC:Devil May Cry so what did I do when it released? I didn't buy it. It's that simple.

No one's opinion weighs more than another. I believe what @oldnightcrawler is trying to say is if you know that you don't like a particular X-Men book/event (Battle of the Atom for example) then don't go to threads where the book/event is discussed and exclaim your distaste for it. From what I've seen the X-Men community here is pretty close knit so we know you don't like it. We are ok that you don't like it. We just don't want you to be THAT guy going to every thread about the topic saying "This book/event sucks. _'s run was way better compared to _ who is a bad writer"

Criticisms/opinions are good. Forcing people to listen to them (especially when they are negative) is bad

#15 Posted by McKlayn (1077 posts) - - Show Bio

alright, so, this isn't really directed at anyone specifically, but I can't help but notice a general trend of arbitrary and sometimes even hypocritical criticism in regards to topics on this forum. In the interest of addressing views that I regard as overly or arbitrarily critical, I submit these appeals to the following common opinions.

The X-men was better when..

This is an appeal to a few different arguments such as this isn't what the X-men do or are about, the book(s) or team(s) used to be better when, or criticisms of that nature. I usually just think these are funny because, in regards to X-men comics, I know very few people who have read as many or been reading for as long as I have. I don't say that to claim any authority on the subject so much as to point out how arbitrary this distinction is.

It seems like every X-men fan (myself included, I guess), has this idealized version of what the X-men really are or aren't, or should or shouldn't be, based on which stories they've read that they liked or didn't like. That's all obvious, sure, but it's when people use this as a basis for criticism that I think it's funny. These types of criticisms generally play on the assumption that one's own personal favorite stories present the true versions of the characters, and that the stories that they don't like are in some way less true or relevant because of it.

Besides the fact that most people haven't read most X-men stories, and that they shouldn't have to read them all to enjoy any one of them, these arguments assume an authority which is irrelevant over a level of overall story consistency that has virtually no historical basis. The stories of the X-men have always been a serialized, collaborative form of entertainment which has never made any claim to thematic or tonal consistency, let alone provided it. Yes, there are great X-men stories that I would count among my favorite examples of either art or literature, there are some that are less good, and there are some that don't interest me at all; but, ultimately, the best X-men stories are really only a stones throw from the worst, and I feel the distinctions are largely based on personal taste more than any substantial criteria.

Marvel doesn't care anymore

This is sort of one example of the sort of thing I was talking about above. The idea that whoever is making X-men comics now is less interested with making them good than anyone else who's ever made them. That the creators of X-men comics have sold them out or become creatively bankrupt, only interested with turning a fast buck and not creating something of lasting quality. Besides the fact that we can never really know the interests or intent of the creators, these arguments presuppose that that has any baring on the quality of the book, which is equally impossible to determine. Some examples of this would be:

They only brought the original X-men back to appeal to new readers, with no regard for continuity or long-time fans. Is this true, and does it matter? Even if we assume that the original 5 X-men are more recognized by or appealing to new fans, which I've personally seen no evidence of, surely whoever's in charge must realize that the people already buying their books are the ones most likely to buy more. This argument assumes not only that appealing to new readers is somehow negative, but that the creators would be so much more interested in making money (than being creative) that they would not care if people stopped buying the books? See how that doesn't even make sense?

Or that they've brought the O5 back instead of having to do something new, ie; with new characters or the ones most recently featured, and that doing so has made the story ridiculously convoluted. I'm not even sure where to start with this one. Any of you guys ever hear of a book called X-Factor? To get the original 5 X-men back together for that one they brought Jean Grey back from the dead, actually retroactively writing her out of her most classic role in The Dark Phoenix Saga, got Cyclops to abandon his wife and newborn child, and made all of the Beast's fur fall out (and then later grow back). I'm not sure what the fan reception would be to this these days, but as far as I know, it's gone on to become one f the classic X-men runs of the 80's, beloved by generations of fans, despite being basically the same idea (from a marketing perspective) as what All-New X-Men is criticized for.

But time travel is stupid, contrived, and messes up continuity! I can't even argue against this sort of thing, really, because it's really just a matter of personal taste. People will say that time travel is convoluted or whatever, but have no problem with interstellar travel. It happens all the time that the X-men travel to other solar systems, which even at the speed of light, should take years. They go faster than that? okay, but they still come all the way back too, and they get back a week later or something.. how is that not time travel? even if it's not, how is it any less contrived?

As for continuity, the importance seems to be pretty relative. It seems like some people think it's really important, like a new story has the power to ruin an old one or something. It really seems like there could be a whole thread on how significant continuity is to enjoying a story, but with specific regard to the X-men, I'll just point out that since the continuity has been so retroactively rewritten already, several times and in several continuities, it just seems arbitrary to use that as an argument for why something should or shouldn't happen, especially once it already is.

Anyway..

I actually had a few more examples of arguments that I find to be arbitrary, such as those based on the concept of character consistency, status quo verus change, and fan entitlement, but I feel like I've been talking too long already.

What do you guys say?

i say yup totally agree with ya bro, i hate all the negativity on this forum you have the right to your opinoin but when every post is soooo negative it gets wow

#16 Edited by fodigg (6146 posts) - - Show Bio

I don't think "arbitrary" is the right word. That implies they don't have reasons for holding opinions, but you offer possible reasons for those opinions even in this post. Just because something is a matter of opinion doesn't mean a fan doesn't have reasons for holding that opinion.

#17 Edited by Extremis (3350 posts) - - Show Bio

@oldnightcrawler: the title of your thread is that people's criticisms of X-Men are arbitrary. Not true. Maybe in some cases it's people causing a fuss over nothing, but you can't just assume that people have no basis for their opinion. They are allowed to have there's as much as you have your own.

You keep using the word "arbitrary" but it doesn't really make sense in the way you're using it.

#18 Posted by oldnightcrawler (4579 posts) - - Show Bio

I agree. Criticism is good but some criticisms are just spiting hairs lol

Not every story is going to be great. In order for great stories to exist there must be bad stories. Ultimately if you don't like the product being released then just don't buy it. Don't support the writer(s) you do not like (arbitary reason or not) .

Though I do agree with all of this, it wasn't really what my point was.

No one's opinion weighs more than another. I believe what @oldnightcrawler is trying to say is if you know that you don't like a particular X-Men book/event (Battle of the Atom for example) then don't go to threads where the book/event is discussed and exclaim your distaste for it. From what I've seen the X-Men community here is pretty close knit so we know you don't like it. We are ok that you don't like it. We just don't want you to be THAT guy going to every thread about the topic saying "This book/event sucks. _'s run was way better compared to _ who is a bad writer"

Criticisms/opinions are good. Forcing people to listen to them (especially when they are negative) is bad

Again, while I basically do agree with this sentiment, it wasn't exactly what my point was..

I actually enjoy hearing people's criticisms of books, and I especially enjoy when people can really tear into a book that I myself think is good, because it gives me a different way to think about it. Any fair criticism should look at the negative elements of course, I just think that some criticisms are arbitrary. I'm not even saying this necessarily invalidates the criticism, just that it's worth considering that there is a difference between the two.

@mcklayn said:

i say yup totally agree with ya bro, i hate all the negativity on this forum you have the right to your opinoin but when every post is soooo negative it gets wow

Again, not exactly my point, but I do agree. In a way, this was sort of the impetus for my point, in so far as that noticing a certain level of negativity is really what made me start to wonder how much of it was really warranted, and on what basis.

@fodigg said:

I don't think "arbitrary" is the right word. That implies they don't have reasons for holding opinions, but you offer possible reasons for those opinions even in this post. Just because something is a matter of opinion doesn't mean a fan doesn't have reasons for holding that opinion.

@extremis said:

@oldnightcrawler: the title of your thread is that people's criticisms of X-Men are arbitrary. Not true. Maybe in some cases it's people causing a fuss over nothing, but you can't just assume that people have no basis for their opinion. They are allowed to have there's as much as you have your own.

You keep using the word "arbitrary" but it doesn't really make sense in the way you're using it.

What I was trying to imply wasn't that people didn't have reasons for their opinions, it was that some of those reasons themselves may be arbitrary. as in

  1. Based on random choice or personal whim, rather than any reason or system.
  2. (of power or a ruling body) Unrestrained and autocratic in the use of authority.

And, like I say, I'm not even necessarily saying that a criticism being based on personal taste in itself invalidates the criticism, only that there is a difference between the two that may be worth considering.

#19 Posted by John Valentine (16310 posts) - - Show Bio

alright, so, this isn't really directed at anyone specifically, but I can't help but notice a general trend of arbitrary and sometimes even hypocritical criticism in regards to topics on this forum. In the interest of addressing views that I regard as overly or arbitrarily critical, I submit these appeals to the following common opinions.

The X-men was better when..

This is an appeal to a few different arguments such as this isn't what the X-men do or are about, the book(s) or team(s) used to be better when, or criticisms of that nature. I usually just think these are funny because, in regards to X-men comics, I know very few people who have read as many or been reading for as long as I have. I don't say that to claim any authority on the subject so much as to point out how arbitrary this distinction is.

It seems like every X-men fan (myself included, I guess), has this idealized version of what the X-men really are or aren't, or should or shouldn't be, based on which stories they've read that they liked or didn't like. That's all obvious, sure, but it's when people use this as a basis for criticism that I think it's funny. These types of criticisms generally play on the assumption that one's own personal favorite stories present the true versions of the characters, and that the stories that they don't like are in some way less true or relevant because of it.

Besides the fact that most people haven't read most X-men stories, and that they shouldn't have to read them all to enjoy any one of them, these arguments assume an authority which is irrelevant over a level of overall story consistency that has virtually no historical basis. The stories of the X-men have always been a serialized, collaborative form of entertainment which has never made any claim to thematic or tonal consistency, let alone provided it. Yes, there are great X-men stories that I would count among my favorite examples of either art or literature, there are some that are less good, and there are some that don't interest me at all; but, ultimately, the best X-men stories are really only a stones throw from the worst, and I feel the distinctions are largely based on personal taste more than any substantial criteria.

Marvel doesn't care anymore

This is sort of one example of the sort of thing I was talking about above. The idea that whoever is making X-men comics now is less interested with making them good than anyone else who's ever made them. That the creators of X-men comics have sold them out or become creatively bankrupt, only interested with turning a fast buck and not creating something of lasting quality. Besides the fact that we can never really know the interests or intent of the creators, these arguments presuppose that that has any baring on the quality of the book, which is equally impossible to determine. Some examples of this would be:

They only brought the original X-men back to appeal to new readers, with no regard for continuity or long-time fans. Is this true, and does it matter? Even if we assume that the original 5 X-men are more recognized by or appealing to new fans, which I've personally seen no evidence of, surely whoever's in charge must realize that the people already buying their books are the ones most likely to buy more. This argument assumes not only that appealing to new readers is somehow negative, but that the creators would be so much more interested in making money (than being creative) that they would not care if people stopped buying the books? See how that doesn't even make sense?

Or that they've brought the O5 back instead of having to do something new, ie; with new characters or the ones most recently featured, and that doing so has made the story ridiculously convoluted. I'm not even sure where to start with this one. Any of you guys ever hear of a book called X-Factor? To get the original 5 X-men back together for that one they brought Jean Grey back from the dead, actually retroactively writing her out of her most classic role in The Dark Phoenix Saga, got Cyclops to abandon his wife and newborn child, and made all of the Beast's fur fall out (and then later grow back). I'm not sure what the fan reception would be to this these days, but as far as I know, it's gone on to become one f the classic X-men runs of the 80's, beloved by generations of fans, despite being basically the same idea (from a marketing perspective) as what All-New X-Men is criticized for.

But time travel is stupid, contrived, and messes up continuity! I can't even argue against this sort of thing, really, because it's really just a matter of personal taste. People will say that time travel is convoluted or whatever, but have no problem with interstellar travel. It happens all the time that the X-men travel to other solar systems, which even at the speed of light, should take years. They go faster than that? okay, but they still come all the way back too, and they get back a week later or something.. how is that not time travel? even if it's not, how is it any less contrived?

As for continuity, the importance seems to be pretty relative. It seems like some people think it's really important, like a new story has the power to ruin an old one or something. It really seems like there could be a whole thread on how significant continuity is to enjoying a story, but with specific regard to the X-men, I'll just point out that since the continuity has been so retroactively rewritten already, several times and in several continuities, it just seems arbitrary to use that as an argument for why something should or shouldn't happen, especially once it already is.

Anyway..

I actually had a few more examples of arguments that I find to be arbitrary, such as those based on the concept of character consistency, status quo verus change, and fan entitlement, but I feel like I've been talking too long already.

What do you guys say?

I agree with pretty much everything you've said. Too many people on this forum just write about how crap they thing the X-titles are across the board without saying anything positive.

#20 Posted by AgeofHurricane (7297 posts) - - Show Bio

Cause there's not much remotely positive about the current state of things. And when positive does come, it's usually not discussed or overshadowed by an awful event.

#21 Posted by oldnightcrawler (4579 posts) - - Show Bio

I agree with pretty much everything you've said. Too many people on this forum just write about how crap they thing the X-titles are across the board without saying anything positive.

mm.. I guess I feel like when someone is constantly negative about a certain topic, be it a certain book, story line, creator, character, or what have you, without ever acknowledging that there might be something positive about it, it tends to make even the most valid criticisms seem overly biased.. as though they haven't really given that thing a fair chance.

That's a generalization, of course, but I do feel like it would be easy to ignore what might actually be a completely valid criticism just because it's coming from such a seemingly biased source; which could also be a shame..

#22 Edited by HAWK2916 (1770 posts) - - Show Bio

Sometimes I think the criticism comes from a passionate place. There are people who love the Xmen and will support the franchise so its not completely discontinued but are not happy about the actual writing or the current direction. Im like that for one. I grew up on the Xmen and love the characters and the franchise, however I dislike some of the writers and some of the storylines. I do think there are some positives but I don't close my eyes to some of the negatives that are out there.

Sometimes its the writer and sometimes its the franchise or business itself. Good writing takes time and sometimes the rush to just put something out there results in less than stellar issues and story arcs.

I can see why some (including myself) are generally disappointed with what we are getting lately, especially considering some of the stories we got for the 30th year anniversary and the 35th year compared now with the 50th year and the event we currently have, its hard not to wish for better writing or the 'good old days' or to lob criticism on what I personally feel is a redundant, mediocre and overall poorly conceptualized event.

That said, as far as a positive, I actually like some of Bendis' concepts and ideas but giving him control of the franchise is a mistake in my opinion. He is very hit or miss (like many writers) and needs a strong editor who will say "No we aren't doing that" instead of being a cheerleader for every idea that drops out of his ass. House of M while it had its flaws was not a bad concept IMO as far as what it did to mutants. Wood is on fire right now with his issues prior to having to pay homage to the current event. Aaron is garbage IMO and one of if not the worst writer of Xmen ever, I have nothing positive to say about him.

It seems everyone can just get an X-book as long as you decide to put Wolverine, Storm or Cyclops in it. And when 10 different people are writing the same characters with their own interpretations and ideas, some would call it creativity but I would call it something else.

Also I would add that when the price of books keeps going up to 4 and 5 dollars per when some of us read back in the day with the 40 and 50 cent books or even a 1.00-1.50 that were 30-40 pages each, it gets hard not understand and at least empathize with some of the criticism which I feel is warranted in many cases.

IMO this is what the purpose of a forum or message board is. To voice opinions and to get information. For someone to do just that I don't think there's anything wrong in the least bit. As far as criticism goes no one ever improved without it.

#23 Posted by oldnightcrawler (4579 posts) - - Show Bio

@hawk2916 said:

Sometimes I think the criticism comes from a passionate place. There are people who love the Xmen and will support the franchise so its not completely discontinued but are not happy about the actual writing or the current direction. Im like that for one. I grew up on the Xmen and love the characters and the franchise, however I dislike some of the writers and some of the storylines. I do think there are some positives but I don't close my eyes to some of the negatives that are out there.

Nor should you. Like I say, I'm not saying that there isn't a lot to criticize, I'm only saying that some criticisms are arbitrary. Not all of them, and even to invalidate the ones that are, but to point out that there is a difference. One's appreciation for any art form is largely a matter of personal taste, after all, and therefore certainly should be motivated by some amount of passion. But there's a difference between passion being a reason and passion being an excuse, right?

I can see why some (including myself) are generally disappointed with what we are getting lately, especially considering some of the stories we got for the 30th year anniversary and the 35th year compared now with the 50th year and the event we currently have, its hard not to wish for better writing or the 'good old days' or to lob criticism on what I personally feel is a redundant, mediocre and overall poorly conceptualized event.

Also I would add that when the price of books keeps going up to 4 and 5 dollars per when some of us read back in the day with the 40 and 50 cent books or even a 1.00-1.50 that were 30-40 pages each, it gets hard not understand and at least empathize with some of the criticism which I feel is warranted in many cases.

oh, I absolutely do empathize. Heck, Fatal Attractions was the first big crossover I read, and those were some nice, dense issues. It does often feel like these days we're paying significantly more cover price for less story, and I totally think that's why it really is worth being critical. And, why, if we really want to be sharing opinions that themselves have value with each other, a reasonable critique is worth more than an arbitrary criticism, because it informs more accurately.

As far as the current Battle of the Atom crossover, I agree that it does seem a bit silly for a big anniversary story.. it sort of reminds me more of a wacky old Excalibur story than anything. Then again, I do like those stories too.. I guess the main thing for me is that it just feels like All-New X-Men has taken over all of the books for a few months, and, while I do think ANXM's pretty fun, I was personally far more interested in both X-Men and Uncanny X-Men before the crossover started.

#24 Posted by HAWK2916 (1770 posts) - - Show Bio

@oldnightcrawler: yea im with you on that. And I guess if somebody is always crying wolf its hard to really give credence to whatever the latest criticism is. And it would be much more valid if rooted in cold hard facts versus constantly changing opinions. The Fatal Attractions crossover was awesome and should be the basis for an xmen movie. Also while many dislike the era that ran from I would say House of M to AVX, I personally thought many of the stories and concepts were good and took the xmen to another level. But I happen to like the darker less silly stuff. I realy just have trouble getting behind the current event concept and the in-fighting is a bit tiring, though a split in goals, ideals, execution and the interpretation of the xmens goals by the different factions is interesting and has huge potential. I just wish the Schism had been a better event. I always thought Avx should have been the basis forthe Schism and that Schism should have happened as part of the aftermath/consequences of avx

#25 Posted by Ryagan (909 posts) - - Show Bio

@oldnightcrawler: I completely agree with the first point you make. Because the X-Men are so complex, they're open to many different interpretations. I love seeing all the different versions of the X-Men.

#26 Edited by Dman1366 (625 posts) - - Show Bio

@ageofhurricane:Your argument seems completely biased and full of logical fallacies. Is it not possible, nay probable, that you were too young to understand to corporate regime that was the comic industry back in the 60's - 80's? Even when you go back and read them, you have psychologically conditioned yourself, with positive reinforcement (see Pavlov's experiments for contingency), to ignore obvious flaws within the story. To embrace this, I would say look at how terrible the 1990's books were. They were so bad that Marvel declared bankruptcy, the millions of variants did not help with this either. After that, the 2000's were amazing; better than the 60's or 70's, and most of the 80's. Now I may be just going to school for applied mathematics, but it is well known that everyone claims their generation was the best, so goes the definition of hubris. Don't be a victim of your own hubris. And don't be so pretentious, your arguments are just as flawed with contradiction as everyone else's (see DeMorgan's research on Boolean algebra for quantifiers, implication, and set theory), your are not tautological or infallible.

@oldnightcrawler: Take a lesson from me, the internet sucks and there is not point of arguing. Everyone on sites like these were told that they alone were child prodigies and that they alone are right. They ignore the fact that they are reading comics and arguing on message boards while 14 year olds are curing cancer and getting their Ph. D's in organic chemistry or biological engineering.

#27 Edited by AgeofHurricane (7297 posts) - - Show Bio

@dman1366 said:

@ageofhurricane:Your argument seems completely biased and full of logical fallacies. Is it not possible, nay probable, that you were too young to understand to corporate regime that was the comic industry back in the 60's - 80's? Even when you go back and read them, you have psychologically conditioned yourself, with positive reinforcement (see Pavlov's experiments for contingency), to ignore obvious flaws within the story. To embrace this, I would say look at how terrible the 1990's books were. They were so bad that Marvel declared bankruptcy, the millions of variants did not help with this either. After that, the 2000's were amazing; better than the 60's or 70's, and most of the 80's. Now I may be just going to school for applied mathematics, but it is well known that everyone claims their generation was the best, so goes the definition of hubris. Don't be a victim of your own hubris. And don't be so pretentious, your arguments are just as flawed with contradiction as everyone else's (see DeMorgan's research on Boolean algebra for quantifiers, implication, and set theory), your are not tautological or infallible.

It'd be very much appreciated if you could specifically point me to these logical fallacies of mine and statements which, to you, are emitting such bias. In my case at the very least, i don't believe age has anything to do with it. I'm well aware that the corporate hysteria isn't simply a new trend by which companies and businesses conformed to when introduced, it's sadly now become a malignant fundamental of mankind's progression and worked well in conjunction with the industrial revolution. There's evidently a lot more sinister and philosophical subtext behind the corporate mastheads but i'm not gonna get into that--compare the 60s - 80s to what we've got now. Like i said above, it's just obvious.

You'll find it's no secret that i'm not a lone in saying this: comics used to be about the characters. Writers and artists alike would collaborate with one another (albeit not always on even and friendly grounds, but they'd do it nonetheless) and brainstorm/concoct these imaginative, thought-provoking and defining scenarios and stories specific to the characters which were at the forefront of these stories because the stories revolved around them and the focus was on them; their emotions, reactions, progression and development.

Everything else, including profit and fame (from the box-office renditions and merchandise/media goods), came second.

Setting their creative taste-buds on fire, unknowingly producing a something that'd cause the reader to do more than just laugh and smile--it'd cause them to think, to delve into introspective concessions with themselves and somewhat apply these happenings/stories/emotions to their own lives, because to a lot of us, these characters are more than just mere characters--they are people. Idols, in fact. People who inspire us to transcend society's imaginary barriers and defy sociopolitical standards and stereotypes, and as fans of these characters, we expect that these characters be treated with a substantial portion of reciprocal respect, as crazy as it may sound, because we're not here for the creative team or the company--we're here for the characters. More so evident in the 60s - 80s era that you're representing as some sort of period wrought with subtle editorial interference and ignoble agenda, which no, this particular era wasn't left unscathed by what's an openly accepted norm of today, but had very much less of and at the very least they tried to keep it at a minimum. At least back then, you had fans of the characters writing the characters. You'd have clear and cut consistency between story happenings and character direction and portrayal which in contrast to what we've got today, seems to have the cerebral specifications of figuring out what the Bozon particle is.

And i've read the 90s, they weren't an era of indisputable awe and glory but they also weren't a significant advocate of stagnancy and creator confusion--since you didn't know, that's what we have now. And i'm well aware of Pavlov's theory on positive/negative reinforcement and its evaluation--theoretically, it doesn't work the way in which you proposed it to, but anywho.

I see no problem with an incessant overload of biased complaints/statements so long as the producers of these statements/complains can provide up front some credible and substantiated evidence, which mine at the very least, usually retain in abundance. No, they're not tautological nor are they infallible, but compared to your assertion that the 2000s were supposedly better than the 70s/80s, they're not, at the very least, hyperbolic.

The disdainful complaints about the current state of things will continue to roll in for as long as the internet and fiber-optics exist, you'd do well to deal with them. It's a part of life, and we're not staying here forever, anyways.

#28 Edited by Dman1366 (625 posts) - - Show Bio

@ageofhurricane: Well, that was a read to say the least. It goes against my better judgment to argue with people on the internet because it will go nowhere. I find that characters are all stagnant, for literature, to a person that is changing with them. This is the theory of related rates, reflecting on the partial differential of comic book canon character growth (reference Dr. Stewart's Essential Calculus). The change is less jutting to you because as you change in time, which is always less apparent as it is happening, the characters change as well. A great example of this is with the idea that you can read every single book, in succession, from the origin until now of a single character; in that time, you can see the character rapidly change and grow; this seems different then now, but if you look at how fast the books were in print, mainly once a month, then a character change over 12+ issues actually took a year, as opposed to the 3 days that it took you too read.

Like I said, I am not going to change your opinion; you are going to continue to think yourself as superior to the rest of us and that your opinion trumps all. I am no better because I will do the same. If it humbles you at all, think of how infinite the universe is, and how you, I, and every comic book in the world can never have an influence on anything. None of this matters.

#29 Posted by oldnightcrawler (4579 posts) - - Show Bio

@hawk2916: yeah, I do think that House of M and some of it's immediate fallout were pretty interesting. I liked Brubaker's work in and around Divided We Stand period; I don't think that that run gets enough credit, it was really natural and organic feeling for me.. albeit brief.

@ryagan said:

@oldnightcrawler: I completely agree with the first point you make. Because the X-Men are so complex, they're open to many different interpretations. I love seeing all the different versions of the X-Men.

Yeah, X-men seem pretty good at that. Even by the mid-80's they seemed like they were trying to diversify the tones and themes between books, which, i feel, has ultimately lead to all of the characters being that much more versatile.

Personally, one of the things I love most about the X-men is that you can have basically the same characters in stuff that ranges from being as socially or ethically relevant as God Loves, Man Kills, the first Uncanny X-Force, or Wood's work on Ultimate X-Men, to stories as silly and fun as Kitty's Fairy Tale Theatre, the original Excalibur, or All-New X-Men Special -and/or anything in between- and, from one way of looking at it, it kind of just ends up giving the characters more depth because they are inconsistent. The way actual people are.

@dman1366 said:

@oldnightcrawler: Take a lesson from me, the internet sucks and there is not point of arguing. Everyone on sites like these were told that they alone were child prodigies and that they alone are right. They ignore the fact that they are reading comics and arguing on message boards while 14 year olds are curing cancer and getting their Ph. D's in organic chemistry or biological engineering.

haha, yeah, I know. But I guess I'd be lying if I said that arguing wasn't at least part of the fun.

actually, in hindsight, the title of this thread now seems way more antagonistic than I had actually intended. And I do think that probably made some people take it the wrong way, but whatever. It's just for fun.

#30 Edited by oldnightcrawler (4579 posts) - - Show Bio

@dman1366 said:

I find that characters are all stagnant, for literature, to a person that is changing with them. This is the theory of related rates, reflecting on the partial differential of comic book canon character growth (reference Dr. Stewart's Essential Calculus). The change is less jutting to you because as you change in time, which is always less apparent as it is happening, the characters change as well. A great example of this is with the idea that you can read every single book, in succession, from the origin until now of a single character; in that time, you can see the character rapidly change and grow; this seems different then now, but if you look at how fast the books were in print, mainly once a month, then a character change over 12+ issues actually took a year, as opposed to the 3 days that it took you too read.

I hadn't thought about it that way, but that makes so much sense.. like how comic fans (myself included) generally tend to be far more passionate about things like character consistency the younger they are; it's like that passion is equal to the frustration of one's own inexperience as an individual, but the older you get, the more you realize how inconsistent you yourself are, so the more you tend to just chill out about it. And people say age doesn't make a difference.. actually, I feel like I've only heard kids say that, but whatever.

#31 Posted by Rabbitearsblog (5894 posts) - - Show Bio

You made some really good points about the criticisms on this franchise, so here are my thoughts on this topic:

The X-men was better when..

I definitely agree with this argument as the X-Men have been around for 50 years now and during those years, there has been a number of different writers portraying the characters as they see fit. There’s always going to be different interpretations of these characters, but what’s most important is reading the stories where you think that the characters were written perfectly no matter what era or situation they get involved in. I understand that there will be bad stories apart from the good stories, but I think distinguishing your favorite storylines from this franchise and how they made you see the characters is important. For example, I personally loved Joss Whedon’s run on “Astonishing X-Men,” but some people hated that run and that’s fine with me because everyone has their own opinions on which X-Men runs or storylines are considered good and it’s great that we are seeing more diversity with these characters rather than risk them being stagnant for many years. Sure, there are some directions being taken with these characters that I don’t really care for, but my solution to this problem is that I don’t really pick them up at all and I just read the stories that interest me the most.

Marvel doesn't care anymore

I also agree with this because Marvel is a business and their goal is to make as much money as possible. Apparently, Marvel NOW must be doing well in the sales since many fans are still buying the titles despite a couple of complaints about certain storylines in the franchise and that’s what Marvel wants. The more comics that fans buy, the more Marvel publishes and the only way I can see Marvel NOW being stopped is if the fans stop buying the comics, which would happen sometime down the line. Personally, if there was a storyline that I wasn’t enjoying in this series, then I would just write a fan fiction about how I want the stories to go and that helps take my mind off of whatever storylines I don’t care for.

But time travel is stupid, contrived, and messes up continuity!

I personally don’t mind time travelling stories, as long as the story is interesting and compelling. Sure, I’m one of the fans who thinks that they should not have brought back the O5 to the present and actually used the students they had for this particular storyline, but what’s done is done. All we could do now is wait this out and see where everything goes. It’s possible that this is all going to be ret coned anyway.

I kind of disagree with you about continuity, because I think that continuity is very important to a franchise and it can easily help a character actually develop based on the experiences they had in the past. Now, I know some people might say that you don’t need continuity to develop a character, but I think that without certain stories that actually have characters thinking about what they had done in the past, then their development wouldn’t be deep enough and have a huge impact on the character. For example, I loved what Joss Whedon did with Kitty Pryde’s character as he made her remember all the times she had when she was younger, occasionally referring to the older X-Men stories and how those experiences helped developed her into a more mature character.

#32 Posted by oldnightcrawler (4579 posts) - - Show Bio

You made some really good points about the criticisms on this franchise, so here are my thoughts on this topic:

The X-men was better when..

I definitely agree with this argument as the X-Men have been around for 50 years now and during those years, there has been a number of different writers portraying the characters as they see fit. There’s always going to be different interpretations of these characters, but what’s most important is reading the stories where you think that the characters were written perfectly no matter what era or situation they get involved in. I understand that there will be bad stories apart from the good stories, but I think distinguishing your favorite storylines from this franchise and how they made you see the characters is important.

I don't disagree with this, at all, really; I was more pointing out that any one person's reasons for liking one writer's interpretation are as likely to be based on personal taste as much (if not more) than on any quantifiable criteria.

And, like you say, there have been so many different interpretations of the characters that comparing one version to another is often basically arbitrary. I mean, no one criticizes Claremont for writing X-men stories that are completely different from the ones Stan Lee wrote; in fact, I've never even heard anyone even try to compare them. Considering what both of them contributed to the mythos, it would seem silly to say that either one of them was a more quintessential X-men writer.

I mean, I may personally feel that Claremont's work was far better or more important to what I like about the X-men, but I can't deny that that distinction is ultimately arbitrary and based on my own personal taste and experience with the characters.

Marvel doesn't care anymore

I also agree with this because Marvel is a business and their goal is to make as much money as possible. Apparently, Marvel NOW must be doing well in the sales since many fans are still buying the titles despite a couple of complaints about certain storylines in the franchise and that’s what Marvel wants. The more comics that fans buy, the more Marvel publishes and the only way I can see Marvel NOW being stopped is if the fans stop buying the comics, which would happen sometime down the line.

I agree with all of this, I was just pointing out that that's always been Marvel's approach, so to say that they don't care anymore (as in, they used to care more than they do now) is both impossible to say and, I think, ultimately irrelevant to the actual work.

To say that a specific creator cares more or less about the characters than another is also impossible to quantify, and usually seems based on the idea that they are using the characters differently than you, personally, envision the characters being. But since, like you say, everyone has their own idea of what the characters are (based on which interpretations they enjoy most), this basis for criticism is arbitrary.

In this case the work is being judged for what it isn't rather than what it is, leading to criticisms that are arguably not fair to begin with.

#33 Edited by Rabbitearsblog (5894 posts) - - Show Bio

@rabbitearsblog said:

You made some really good points about the criticisms on this franchise, so here are my thoughts on this topic:

The X-men was better when..

I definitely agree with this argument as the X-Men have been around for 50 years now and during those years, there has been a number of different writers portraying the characters as they see fit. There’s always going to be different interpretations of these characters, but what’s most important is reading the stories where you think that the characters were written perfectly no matter what era or situation they get involved in. I understand that there will be bad stories apart from the good stories, but I think distinguishing your favorite storylines from this franchise and how they made you see the characters is important.

I don't disagree with this, at all, really; I was more pointing out that any one person's reasons for liking one writer's interpretation are as likely to be based on personal taste as much (if not more) than on any quantifiable criteria.

And, like you say, there have been so many different interpretations of the characters that comparing one version to another is often basically arbitrary. I mean, no one criticizes Claremont for writing X-men stories that are completely different from the ones Stan Lee wrote; in fact, I've never even heard anyone even try to compare them. Considering what both of them contributed to the mythos, it would seem silly to say that either one of them was a more quintessential X-men writer.

I mean, I may personally feel that Claremont's work was far better or more important to what I like about the X-men, but I can't deny that that distinction is ultimately arbitrary and based on my own personal taste and experience with the characters.

Marvel doesn't care anymore

I also agree with this because Marvel is a business and their goal is to make as much money as possible. Apparently, Marvel NOW must be doing well in the sales since many fans are still buying the titles despite a couple of complaints about certain storylines in the franchise and that’s what Marvel wants. The more comics that fans buy, the more Marvel publishes and the only way I can see Marvel NOW being stopped is if the fans stop buying the comics, which would happen sometime down the line.

I agree with all of this, I was just pointing out that that's always been Marvel's approach, so to say that they don't care anymore (as in, they used to care more than they do now) is both impossible to say and, I think, ultimately irrelevant to the actual work.

To say that a specific creator cares more or less about the characters than another is also impossible to quantify, and usually seems based on the idea that they are using the characters differently than you, personally, envision the characters being. But since, like you say, everyone has their own idea of what the characters are (based on which interpretations they enjoy most), this basis for criticism is arbitrary.

In this case the work is being judged for what it isn't rather than what it is, leading to criticisms that are arguably not fair to begin with.

I agree with all of your points, but I guess criticisms are sort of unavoidable, no matter what type of work is being made. Even though there's work that's being praised, there's always going to be criticisms because not everyone is going to like the work being made. Like me for example, I'm just not interested in the current direction the X-Men is going in, so I just don't read the current comics, which is fine with me since I got other comics to read. But, I won't force other people to agree with my criticisms if they don't agree because that's not fair to the readers if they have to be force to read something they have no desire to read in the first place.

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