Blast from the Past: Virtual World News

Came across myself on Long Story, Short Pier this evening, and now have a nostalgia for the days when I got to write all day and blog much more often. I can’t promise I’ll become a more frequent blogger, but I can get off my ass and import my archived back posts — I’ll do that soon. In the meantime, the least I can do is get Kip Manley the post he’s been looking for.

Originally published: Mon, 26 Sep 2005. I publish this with apologies to Geoff Johns: this conversation speaks more to a malaise my brother and I shared at the time than to his work, which I actually like a lot.

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Not just for MMOGs anymore.

Was having a conversation with my little brother a while ago, and we came upon comics writer Geoff Johns as a topic. Both of us buy a fair share of his work (he writes a lot of books). We buy them faithfully, but often do so with the lack of a familiar passion, and we found ourselves asking why.

Anyone who has bought comics regularly knows the sense of inertia that keeps one purchasing a book in which one has lost almost all interest. You hold out hope that a new creative team will improve things, or else you just aren’t proactive enough about removing comics from your subscription list. But Johns’ work doesn’t fit into that category: we choose to buy his comics, and read them with interest. I’ve actually dropped his JSA before, just to pick it up again. They’re perfectly readable comics.

But there’s a sense of aesthetics, of pleasure (or, sometimes, of provocative displeasure), that drives most of our comics purchases. A sense that the authorial voice here is a distinct signal. But this is a different experience, strangely becoming more common: engaging with a comic not for its creative voice but for its neutral voicelessness.

We noodled on this for a few minutes, until Adam said, “I don’t know, it’s kind of like reading a newspaper. It’s not like the newspaper is inspiring, but you need to read it to see what happens.”

Which is exactly it. These comics don’t introduce any noise to the signal of the DC Universe. But they transmit it faithfully. Virtual world journalism, reporting the news of the DC Universe as it evolves.

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Jason Craft

"Earth X" indicates an unreal, alternate world from our own, in vague but fantastic terms. Im Jason and this is my blog.

2 thoughts on “Blast from the Past: Virtual World News”

  1. This has been an incredibly useful critical shorthand in conversations about comics for the past few years, and now I have the original text to refer to once again! Thanks, Jason.

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