Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Marvel 1602 by Neil Gaiman

Marvel 1602 is Neil Gaiman's first return to graphic novels after finishing the Sandman series and novels such as Neverwhere and American Gods. Much was expected of it and all said and done, it's an audience-splitter. I did not gain an appreciation for it until a second reading. In any case, the story and its characters play to Gaiman's strengths despite a questionable and hurried ending. Here are the questions:

1. In the Afterword, Gaiman points out that Marvel 1602 was divisive among critics. Why do you think this is?

2. With Marvel 1602 and The Eternals, Gaiman has now penned two alternate universe introductions that on their own are popular but these mythologies have mostly failed to continue past the first trade, mostly. Why?

3. Gaiman contends that he was trying not to write in the same style as Sandman in Marvel 1602. Would you say this is a detriment to the writing?

4. Gaiman wrote Marvel 1602 as a post 9/11 no guns, no bombs story. Does this knowledge make any aspects of the graphic novel more significant?

5. What Marvel characters didn't make the cut that you'd have liked to see?

6. Marvel 1602 included the X-Men, but not Wolverine, who even has time-appropriate old timey chops. Your thoughts on his exclusion?

7. Some criticize Marvel 1602's story for rationalizing and explaining the why of these characters being in an Elizabethan time period. Would have it been better unexplained?

8. Were there any 1602-ized characters you didn't like?

9. Gaiman is often criticized for his ability to wrap up his often complex interweaving storylines. Another tidbit to consider: he almost always needs two or more issues to wrap up what are usually proposed to be five-issue arcs. (This and The Eternals). Your thoughts?

10. Other one-shot graphic novels like Kingdom Come require an extensive knowledge of the universe or a Wikipedia page handy while you are reading it. Does Marvel 1602 suffer the same fate?

11. Did the inevitability of Otto Von Doom and Peter Parquagh's fates detract from their character arcs?

12. Where would you have taken Marvel 1602 had it continued? Would it be a better alternate reality a la the X-Men canon?

1 comment:

  1. Neil Gaiman took a pretty risky move with 1602, and to be honest I didn't know if he'd pull of sending some of our favorite heroes back in time. In the end it worked out, but the only complaint I have is that the Hulk doesn't get much page time.

    Explaining why they go back in time is pretty redundant actually - as soon as you pick up a graphic novel, it is accepted that you suspend your disbelief. Coming up with explanations like this only serves to draw you out of the comic for a minute while you think "Does that explanation make sense?". Gaiman would have been better leaving it out.