The Marvelous mistake: why does Marvel need to be so hard to read?

This idea occured to me this morning, 8 august of 2018, when I was awake during a thunderstorm after a heatwave. It was 5:15 am and had nothing else to think about, except: should I wake up, or go back to sleep. My mind had other plans. It started thinking about this little connondrum: Why are Marvel movies so hard to follow, like the Marvel Netflix series are hard to follow and why the comic books are practically unreadable. This could have been a title for a Lemony Snickett book, but it is now one of my blogposts.

I come from a country with a rich comic book history. I come even from a part of this country that has a rich history of comic books.

You obviously know TinTin, I know him as Kuifje.  You obviously know The smurfs, I know them as De smurfen. More obscure are Willy and Wanda, or as I know them Suske en Wiske (Their names are shortened nickname for their real names: Louis and Louise. In Antwerp it is normal to shorten names or give nicknames, my nickname is jojo (given by an aunt of mine. My elder sisters nickname is Jan, my youngest sisters nickname is Mie, to give you examples. Like people in America make Dick or Rick from Richard.

The thing about Belgian comic books (I can give loads of examples), is that each comic book is one complete story. The characters establish everything in one story, so one thing happens during the whole cast of characters. It could be that certain characters don’t appear in that particular comic book, and they are not referenced at all in that comic book.

When Belgians do cross-overs, they are not canon and are not referenced in the main storyline of said comic books. They are one of pieces that don’t affect that characters after that.

One of the main differences in Comic books is Urbanus (a comic book by one of the first Belgian stand-up comics) that does reference past events, but this is more the exception than the rule.

I first started watching The punisher on Netflix and absolutely loved the show, and I knew he was also featured in the Daredevil series, so I watched those as well, but I had to wait for series three of Daredevil, so I wanted to watch the overarching series: The defenders, but for this, I also had to watch Luke Cage and Jessica Jones, to fully comprehend the stories lines. I decided not to. I will have a gap in my knowledge when series 3 hits, because it will reference parts of this, and I hope they are going to use flashbacks, but probably won’t, so I won’t comprehend certain scenes.

The same goes for the Marvel cinematic universe, the movies of the comic books. I wanted to watch Avengers: Infity war, but at a certain moment it dawned on me that I didn’t understand some parts, so I stopped watching. I haven’t researched which movies I need to watch and probably never will, so I won’t watch any of the overarching movies anymore, and probably any Marvel movie for that matter as they reference previous movies in the Marvel cinematic universe. I know fans of the comics love this, that they reference and such, but for me it is annoying as hell. I am used to one movie: one story: done. Not: Watch all these movies or you won’t understand the next one.

What if you had to watch all James Bond movies before you could watch the latest ones, for example. Let’s say we are further down the line and you are a newbie and have to hunt down 100 movies to watch the final one because something is resolved in the final one that was started in movie 25, get my point? I hope they aren’t going to start this trend in gaming either: you have to get all the games in the series to unlock the final mission. If they do this I will personally go Punisher ont them.

This is why I love graphic novels more. Graphic novels are one complete story. There may be multiple volumes, but they are one complete story.


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3 gedachten over “The Marvelous mistake: why does Marvel need to be so hard to read?

  • 13/08/2018 om 04:30

    Yes, Belgian comic books are great in that they represent one story.

    It was good to know the Antwerpen names for the characters internationals know so well.

    And the approach to cross-overs!

    I recently asked a Polish friend about the approach to comics in her country [along with newspapers and magazines].

    I’ve watched Jessica Jones and part of Luke Cage on Netflix.

  • 12/02/2019 om 16:19

    The only reason I can think of Mavel doing carry over stories is to potentially increase sales. This is assuming enough eager readers are enthalled.

    • 14/02/2019 om 22:10

      yeah, could be, but readers of belgian comics have been collecting them for ages as well, so I don’t think sales are into it that much, if you look at single story comics, that is.


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