Thursday, December 8, 2011

Things I've Noticed: Sometimes backstory is overrated

Right now I’m reading the Justice Society of America comic book series, which started in 2006 under James Robinson (Starman) and David Goyer (Batman Begins, and also The Crow: City of Angels, which was the movie my wife and I saw on our first date) and after Robinson left would be written by Geoff Johns.

The thing is, the Justice Society was pretty much one of the first major super-hero teams, with stories published as far back as the 1940s, so there is a lot of continuity going on here. I’m reading the series for one of my book clubs, and before I started reading it, I read the 80 issues of James Robinson’s Starman (which I wrote about here) and was then told it might be worth my while to read the 50 issue run of Infinity Inc., as there were many crossovers and story arcs which start in the earlier series and play out in the JSA I’m currently reading.

I did end up reading Starman, as I owned the entire series and was looking for an opportunity to read them, but I decided against Infinity Inc. before starting the JSA. Mostly it came down to a lack of time – I was both finishing my first course for my Masters of Library Studies degree and was enthralled with the PS3 game Dead Space (the ending by the way – very cool!). So I figured I’d just try to read JSA on its own and see how much of it made sense.

Twenty issues in and so far I’m doing pretty good. I’m glad I read Starman before I started this, as the earliest issues were written by the same author so I recognized many characters and settings that might have slipped past me, but otherwise I’m doing pretty good. I may not necessarily know who all these heroes are, but there is enough description in the series to allow me to understand the story and invest in the characters.

A few years back I wrote about how I was nervous any time I tried a new series that I would require a lot of back story to appreciate the stuff I had access to, but you know what.

Sometimes you don’t really need that much back story, just trust that the story you’re reading will get you through.

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