Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Irradiated Memes 4: The Pervert Suit Problem 2

6) Consumer Confidence Crisis 2.

Problem: Weak product credibility.
Solution: Revamp revamp revamp.
Corollary: New costumes. New powers. New characters. New titles. In short, new packaging.
Extrapolation: Introduce artificial crisis point as excuse/marketing event.
Secret Wars New Coke: Cosmetic changes amount to nothing. Revert to Classic Coke.
Crisis on Infinite Earths New Pepsi: Deep structural changes introduce Bourgeois Humanism.

Creative Mythology Analysis:
Marvel cocks it up. Haywire brand redefinition loses archetypal resonance. Character is now locked into permanent recapitulation, permanent crisis. The adolescent stage fails to develop into grown-up identity, which means Marvel's characters now all display the features of personality disorder.
DC gets it right ten years late. Archetypal resonance becomes subtext as human-cultural resonance takes point; this creates cognitive dissonance which in turn leads to postmodernist investigation.

7) Fresh Blood.

Problem: Our old creatives no longer get the market; and there's competition out there from new companies.
Solution: Bring in consultants from outside the industry (i.e. steal their talent).
Corollary: Fresh perspectives revitalize the product.
Extrapolation: Beware of the law of unintended consequences.
Result 1: New companies fold. Yay! We're still number one!
Result 2: Well, sometimes the cure kills the patient.


Blogger MarkAndrew said...

Yeah, basically agree with what you're saying here.

Although I'd add that it ONLY applies to mainstream comics. I've seen an amazing explosion of talent in the Indy sector. I mean, Fred the Clown. HOLY CRAP!!!!

But, for the most part, and with a handful of exceptions, (Morrison, Gaiman, Moore) comics are just repeating the Lee/Kirby/O'Neil/Adams/Schwartz/Fox
mores overandoverandover. Berk, over on CBR, argued that there WAS a definite step towards adulthood. And I basically a gree with him. in the seventies from Engelhart, Gerber, Kirby, Moench... (The Alienation Guys) The archetypal nature of the characters was preserved, but they were adapted to work on two levels, and deal with political and spiritualistic themes while STILL working as good superhero fiction. Then, circa 1980 or so, the comics got scared and regressed back to Lee and Kirby cliches (Helllo, Roger Stern.) or endlessly "deconstucted" the awesomeness outta the heroes, as we read Alan Moore pastice # 45,670.

5/03/2005 05:15:00 PM  
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