All well and good, of course, and, by the standards of the business, within the boundaries of fairness.
Of course, just because McDuffie was less than practical in making his observations doesn't mean those observations are lacking in weight. Let's take a look at those, shall we? Go read through them, I'll wait here.
Back? Good. Now, first, let me say that McDuffie displayed an amazing ability to adapt his plans for the greater good (as DC Editorial saw it), and that he should be commended for essentially rewriting his series from the ground up to accommodate other writers. It's a rare display of the kind of professionalism that keeps the comics industry afloat, especially in these EVENT driven times. However, the fact that he had to do that so many times in such a short span of time is quite telling, don't you think?
Here we had a flagship book handed over to a writer who, if not particularly flashy, could have created a solid foundation for future writers to build off of. Instead, he was confined to writing in what I like to call 'EVENTspace'...essentially the spaces between crossover issues. I'm surprised that recent issues of JLA have been as readable as they have, if McDuffie was jumping through the hoops he says he was. Re:
I do get frustrated, but it comes with the job. The nature of monthly comics has changed drastically over the past 20 years. JLA used to be THE place to go to see the big guns together, dealing with the gravest threats in the DCU. Now there are several big event crossovers a year, and those titles are where the huge stories happen. So I have to tell stories that feed into and come out of those events. I'd prefer if, as on Justice League Unlimited, I could tell stories that were at the center of the characters lives, but that was a very different circumstance. JLA the comic is part of a larger patchwork, and my mandate is to support the bigger story of the DCU.
I think we could do a much better job of making the comic feel more self-contained while still serving the needs of the DCU, and I'm working on ways to do that, but the truth of the matter is, every three or four months, I have to sort of drop everything and deal with a crossover or other event. In my next arc of 6 issues, there are three of these events (four if you count the Milestone guest shot). That makes JLA integral to the DCU, but it also makes us lurch around more than a bit.Of course, McDuffie obviously recognizes the bare facts of his situation. But imagine if there hadn't been multiple crossovers to contend with...would the series have, perhaps, been served better to be a part of a loose, rather than a tight, continuity? It seems so.
I feel like ranting and rolling a bit. Want to jam?
EVENT books have become all the rage with the Big Two. Secret Final War of the Civil Crisis-itis, in a sense. Everything that happens has to be BIG and LOUD and the visual equivalent of one of Michael Bay's peyote-fueled wet dreams. And, because of the fan-driven demand for continuity, every single title offered by a company must, in some way, tie in to these explosions of senseless canon.
Hmm. Perhaps it's unfair to say it's fan-driven. Rather, say, fans-cum-writers-driven. Because, at the heart of it, it's perhaps the fault of those of us who've made good, rather than, say, the ever popular target of cold-hearted corporate assassins who still call comics 'funny books' and demand everything be 'grim'n'gritty' in order to facilitate sales. After all, they may seize on the moment to suck it dry, but they don't create the moment. They wouldn't know how, after all. It's up to those who know comics in and out to do that.
Some cling to continuity, forcing everything to fit, even when it would rather not, and if it doesn't, it gets discarded in an orgiastic blood bath composed of C and D listers in a splash page crowd shot. Superboy knocking off heads as he fights to restore the Silver Age, but only until the Justice society come out of retirement yet again to show those young whippersnappers how FDR did it.
Others discard both continuity and consistency, and go for broke, writing their glorious heretofore unseen fanfiction. Characters with established personalities become ciphers for political/social/creative whims in order to lend an element of 'real' to the definably 'unreal'. Captain America is out of touch because he doesn't have a Facebook account and Iron-Man is a Fascist because he has two. And Twitter. But the Red Hulk has a Tweetdeck and Dreamwidth so he beats them all.
Still others inflict halcyon ideals upon the rest of us, by attempting to twist the dial on the dashboard of Doc Brown's DeLorean, and take comics back to a simpler (i.e. when I read them) time. Comics used to be good you see, but that changed when I grew up. Spider-Man makes a deal with the Devil to bring back Hal Jordan, but not Aquaman, because Aquaman sucked when he was a kid, and that new one was most likely a Skrull. Also, Mockingbird? Totally alive.
And all of this occurs at a high-speed frequency that leaves the reader (and some writers) staggering under the sheer amount of four color noise being put out each month. Sound and fury, signifying nothing. Cool ideas look great rolling downhill, but too many of them and you have an unending avalanche that allows no time to rebuild between thundering crescendos.
To get back to the original point (there was a point? If you look hard enough I'm sure you'll find it), what's happening to superhero comics is akin to reactor reaching critical mass...more and more and MORE of everything, building towards the next big bang and then the next, which has to be bigger than the previous one and so on and so forth and, in the process, the whole framework is becoming shaky and ill-defined.
I wonder what will happen if it falls?
Maybe we'll get more comic books about vikings. Or atomic robots. Or gorillas in luchadore masks. I could dig that.