So much time, money and creative effort is spent to bring comic-book superheroes to moving-picture life that it’s almost backward to contemplate how those adapted environments could be translated back into comics form. Thanks to technology, live-action and animated adaptations are finding new ways to convince viewers they’re seeing powers and abilities far beyond those of mortal men.
And yet, these adaptations only go so far. Movies trade spectacle for (relative) brevity, offering two-plus hours of adventure every two to three years. The reverse is true for television, which is more prolific but often less earth-shattering. Both have to deal with practical considerations such as running time, actor availability, and the streamlining of complicated backstories. Thus, to borrow a phrase from politics, adaptations are often exercises in “the art of the possible.” By comparison, comics have much fewer limitations.
Therefore, comics versions of those adaptations must necessarily limit themselves, even if they only choose to work within some of those real-world limitations. Sometimes this is as simple as telling stories set within the adaptation’s version of continuity. However, sometimes comics are the most practical way to “continue” a well-liked adaptation, and thereby perpetuate its visual and tonal appeal.
The first official day of Comic-Con International in San Diego was dominated by excitement over Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World, confirmation (at last) that Joss Whedon is directing The Avengers, and nerd response to the feeble Westboro Baptist Church protest. Yet still there was plenty of comics news.
• At its “Mondo Marvel” panel, the publisher revealed the October debut of a sequel to its acclaimed Strange Tales anthology, this time featuring an impressive roster of indie/alternative creators that includes Harvey Pekar, Alex Robinson, Dash Shaw, Dean Haspiel, Jaime Hernandez, Jeff Lemire, Jeffrey Brown, Jhonen Vasquez, Jillian Tamaki, Kate Beaton, Nick Gurewitch and many more.