So this morning Rob Bricken, formerly of the awesome Topless Robot now blogger extraordinaire on io9.com, ask a pretty poignant question. “Why Are Superhero Movies So Much Better Than Superhero Comics?”
The sort answer is, Continuity Baggage.
Mini Series (Crisis on Infinite Earths, Secret Wars), One Shots/Micro Series (Elseworlds, What-Ifs, Company Cross-Overs, Raphael, Etc) and cohesive story arcs (Fall of the Mutants, Hush, Etc) make the best comic book stories.
Comic book series that are older than 10 years, let alone 50 or 70 years, have more baggage than your average family. They are like hyper compressed soap operas. Different writers, editors, and artists all have their own take on which direction the title will take. One can only put up with so many alien invasions or deaths and their subsequent returns. One of the most interested Uncanny X-Men issues dealt with the team having a dinner together. Yes, a dinner. It was cool because it was different. Was it original? No. Seinfeld had already had an episode centered around waiting for a meal at a Chinese restaurant by that point and it was sort of the same idea. If you still read comics on a regular basis you need to suspend your sense of “I’ve seen this before” and just keep reading until their is an interesting plot twist.
Movies boil that baggage off and create a stand-alone story that is enjoyable (depending on who you ask) by fans and people who never cracked a comic book open as an adult.