No Longer Fleeing the End: Time’s Up!

Sometimes it’s the little things that have the biggest impact. Such was the case with Dark Horse Comics’ solicitations for August 2014, for these included their last Star Wars listings, save for a Dark Times Gallery Edition due before the end of year which will cost you! (Probably be well worth it though) I’ve been reading DHC’s Star Wars output since 1992, that’s 22 years and, unlike the books, there has not been much in the way of reduction in my buying of the comics either.

So why use that as a signal to jump off the EU completely? Why not? My being a fan of SW, however defined it may be, is not dependent on my continuing to consume SW product and, in the case of certain items over the last few years, consumption likely would have been very hazardous to it! But it’s also a recognition of the most inescapable truth of existence – all things end – and the ending is needed. You can, with a fair amount of creativity, flee the ending of your SW consuming and keep at it, running through comics, books, video games, cartoons and more until…. Well, quite some time.

Oh but the new stuff will be great! Yes, yes it may very well be, but it won’t be the same. I found that with the Clone Wars when I tried to engage with the new stuff a few years back it just…. Didn’t work, couldn’t work, it could not possibly invoke or achieve that which the Clone Wars material did first time around. This should not be all that surprising despite Hollywood’s best efforts to ignore the concept that what is a thrilling innovation first time around tends to be significantly less so on the second. This is especially so for me where franchise fiction is concerned.

One argument I’ve seen online is that where superheroes are concerned you can read them for about a decade before the cyclic nature of the stories becomes obvious. There’s a fair amount of truth to this, as there are only so many story moves that can be done. Keep reading for long enough and you will see them all, likely more than once. Once the pattern is known the choice is simple: You keep reading because the predictability, in part, is a reassuring form of stability or you depart in search of new stuff. For myself, I’ve always been inclined towards the latter option.

And then there is the blank-slate aspect. This is something I cannot be excited by. The fun of getting on board with series, be it SW or Discworld or Dresden Files is that a world is built up and added to. The gradual building up of that world, piece by piece, enhances the story greatly. You have this web of relationships, histories, politics all interlinking – when it’s done well it’s brilliant stuff. And then along comes the blank slate approach! Let’s wipe all of that away because it’s too big, unwieldy, messy – insert description of choice here – and so on. People are dumb, they can’t possibly get their head around it all so let’s restart. And when a few years later it’s again become too big? Another Death Star solution perhaps? In this respect, my disdain is far more about continuity than canon. Why should I bother to engage with the new stuff when it’s quite likely to go the way of the old stuff? The Essential Guide to Warfare has quite a reputation but due to these moves I’m unlikely to buy it now.

What if there had been a concerted effort to decisively conclude the EU that was? This is exceedingly rare, if not outright non-existent! When DC did their New 52 reboot, it practically guillotined numerous plots and left them flapping never to be resolved. Top Cow? Pretty much the same. Had SW actually had the foresight to do some succession planning, it would have really stood out because it does not happen. Alas, SW has gone down the road frequently taken.

Finally there is time, the one resource forever slipping away that we can never recoup. How much time should anyone spend reading one story? (Albeit one long story comprised of many mosaic tiles.) It’s very much an individual decision but reading those DHC solicits made it abundantly clear it was certainly time for me to bring the curtain down!

Does it follow that I will also cease talking SW? That, I think, is some way off, though may happen in time. Online discussions have much in common with the products they discuss – there are only so many topics that tend to recur. After a couple of times you know the steps and the only question is if anyone will throw in something new. Those topics in question? They tend to be ongoing, eternal controversies, though now they are legendary controversies, will they stay around? I have no idea, it’ll be interesting to see what happens in this respect.

The new films? Well, Episode VII will, like others, get bought on blu-ray, beyond that – it’s all quite, quite hazy. I know I’m not all that impressed by film companies thinking they can easily mimic and replicate Marvel’s success, but Disney will likely try it anyway.

So here we are, the End of Fleeing the End!