Thursday, October 20, 2011

Witless Dictionary #27--Year-Skip Paradox

It's amazing that I go from not doing these things for months to doing two in the same month. This is, for the uninitiated, a continuing effort to provide a working language we can all use when talking about comics and is in no way a way to spout off snarkily about comic trends that annoy me, and anyone who says different is a damn liar.

Year-Skip Paradox--Term referring to the inevitable screw-up that happens when comic creators decide to skip ahead in fictional time so they can jump right into a new status quo without all the tedious writing it through and letting the audience see it for ourselves.

Inevitably, major status quo changes are hidden in these year-skips, much as one might sweep dust bunnies under the couch. The problem is, these plot movements are typically major things that the readers then clamour to have explained, only the creators had no intention of ever explaining it--they just wanted to get to things going their way.

So typically what ends up happening is some mind-manglingly convoluted plot is then cobbled together to explain what happened during the year-skip (it may not necessarily be a year, but for the sake of our hypothetical construct) This is considered a fail state, because it negates the stated intent of skipping ahead in story time in the first place, as all the time they could have spent on new stories in the new status quo is now spent filling all the gaps and they could have avoided the whole mess just by not skipping ahead to begin with.

Alternately, then new status quo is dumped in a panic and there is much frantic scrambling about and the writers busily keep all their metaphorical plates spinning and hope everyone forgets that they every skipped ahead in time at all. This is also a fail state.

Examples include the skip-ahead after Age of Apocalypse (Hey, Sunspot's back! Only wasn't he evil just before the . . .no, shut up) DC's One Year Later post Infinite Crisis (seriously, rebooting everything was preferable to that nonsense) The skip-ahead that they did when Claremont came back to the X-Books at the turn of the century (Cable and Gambit are leading the X-Men and stuff! We don't know why, either!) and of course, the "Suddenly, One Year Later!" thing from the justifiably forgotten move BRAIN 17.


C. Elam said...

BRAIN 17 will live forever in our hearts, Kazekage.

"Call me MISTER Brain!"

Kazekage said...

"He is a spy, and his beard is a fake!"

Man, like Stunt Rock I really need to make that movie more well known.