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Cronin Theory of Comics – Comics Tend to Eventually Regress to the Mean

This is one of the more obvious theories, but my pal Dan Larkin said I should write it up, so here it is! In serialized comics, given enough time, comics will eventually regress to the mean. The “mean” in this instance is defined as what the average comic book writer has identified as the classic take on that particular character.

This doesn’t mean that characters don’t grow as characters, just that their circumstances/status quos tend to eventually regress to the mean.

You can have Julia Carpenter have an extended run as Spider Woman. You can even have a brand new character like Mattie Franklin get her own book as Spider Woman. Eventually, though, Spider Woman will be Jessica Drew once again, as Jessica Drew as Spider Woman is the “mean.”

Luke Cage and Danny Rand are eventually going to become best buds again.

Hal Jordan is eventually going to become Green Lantern again.

Steve Rogers is eventually going to be Captain America again.

Superman is eventually going to cut his hair/lose the electric blue powers.

(Here’s one that hasn’t happened yet, but will, certainly – Bart Allen will eventually be Impulse/Kid Flash again).

Occasionally, there are changes to the status quo that are accepted as the “classic” take on a character, and won’t be changed. Stuff like Swamp Thing being plants with a consciousness rather than a mutated human or Dick Grayson not being Robin anymore (heck, nor will the other original Titans go back to their old identities – no reversion to Aqualad). And while Grant Morrison might have attempted to revert to the original status quo for Magneto, the “mean” for Magneto has changed to the Claremont take, so you know that is the one that would ultimately show up again (maybe not as fast as it did, but still).

Not the most controversial of theories, of course, but hey, if Dan Larkin wants you to write something up, you write something up!!

46 Comments

the Phantom-Longbox

August 23, 2008 at 5:29 am

This is explained by creators, like John Byrne’s “back to the basics” approach for when he takes on a project with an existing character.

He might make some advancing changes, bringing the character and/or his/her situation more into the “now” but the heart of the character is brought back to it’s origins.

Of course, sometimes that doesn’t work as well as it otherwise had (Spider-Man’s “year one” was an abysmal failure while his Fantastic Four – and others – were pure awesome).

——————-

Other times, it’s because creators/editorial feel that they’ve lost the core audience and want to recapture them by bringing the property back to the familiar.

And still others are because creators/editorial are devoid of any new directions that work (usually this “back to mean” takes place after many rapid changes intended to “fix” the property don’t pan out), and so it’s back to square one.

X_the_Phantom-Longbox__

the nature of commercial, serial fodder.. that is why I liked elseworlds, superman and wonderwoman having a child.. batman being outed as wayne.. good stuff.

what about that other phenomenon, comics drifting to movie?
suddenly the xmen wear leather jackets, supes has a funny belt and joker cuts his cheeks.

This has always been a given. But I always considered it a plus, not a limitation. Like a safety net of sorts: no matter what they do to Superman, I know he’ll eventually go back to being the character I liked.

Not that “the mean” for every character is to my liking, but that’s OK- it also helps me decide what characters I should follow in a sea of expensive comics.

Now, if ONLY they would restore the OTHER safety net- that Things Would Be Alright At The End, without deaths, rapes or cripplings, which DC is basically riding on for their comics these days. THEN I’d buy their comics again.

(If they want all that stuff, they can use it on Elseworlds or All-Stars- just don’t give me child murders on the “official” Superman series, please.)

This theory becomes more interesting when you have more than one “classic” take on a character. For example Lex Luthor: criminal scientist and Lex Luthor: corrupt industrialist both have a lot of currency, and the current characterisation seems to be a mean average of the two. It will be interesting to see if the same thing happens with Beast who, traditionally, was a wise-cracking adventurer but is probably now more famous as a sensitive scientist.

@edc: It could be that comics drifting to comics is an effect of this theory. After all, the hope/logic is that a movie is more mainstream and will attract more people to the comics. If the newly attracted people’s first exposure to the comics is the movies, the mean will shift.

This isn’t always the case and sometimes it’s more hope than truth, but it brings everythig tied up nice and tidy.

Thanks, Brian!

Bernard the Poet

August 23, 2008 at 9:04 am

“In serialized comics, given enough time, comics will eventually regress to the mean. The “mean” in this instance is defined as what the average comic book writer has identified as the classic take on that particular character.”

At first glance your theory seems to be obviously true. Certainly since the late ‘Sixties, writers have felt obliged to give their sagas an illusion of progression and their characters show some sort of spiritual or emotional growth. More often than not, as the writer is writing this story, he is well aware that he has no intention of permanently changing the status quo. How many times has Bruce Banner been cured, for example?

The trouble with your theory is that there are simply too many examples of characters, who have seen their status quo irrevocably changed. Anyone who read the Lee/Dikto Spiderman would have assumed that Betty Brant was and would always remain Peter’s girlfriend. Superman used to jump tall buildings in a single bound, now he just flies over them. Green Arrow had a thirty year status quo junked by Denny O’Neil and it won’t be coming back.

So a good or lucky writer can see their changes become identified as part of the mean. It just doesn’t happen very often.

I actually think it’s a function of nostalgia. Comic book artists and writers define these characters by their introduction to the genre. Kind of case in point is the Whedon run of the Astonishing X-Men. He brought Colossus back from the dead to resolve the sexual tension between Kitty and Peter that existed during his formative comic book experiences. Everything that happened after those formative experiences are not as important as when those formative experiences happen.

Comic book characters change when an artist and writer do something that draws in enough people having formative comic book experiences (and a few transformative experiences) that the preponderance of people then identify the change as being formative for them (which is what happened with Claremont’s Magento – a massive rise in the popularity of UMX meant a lot of people’s formative Magneto experience as Claremont’s visio of the character).

Bernard the Poet

August 23, 2008 at 9:27 am

Also, sometimes a change in the status quo is unavoidable. For twenty years, the Invisible Girl was a remarkably ineffectual superheroine. Often, the Thing and Human Torch would battle some immensely powerful villain, while Reed stayed behind in the laboratory trying to invent a gizmo to defeat said villain and Sue would stand at Reed’s shoulder doing precisely nothing. Obviously this had to change.

Or what about Magneto? Brian said that Claremont’s take on the character has now become the mean, but pretty soon that won’t be viable. The Second World War ended 63 years ago, if Magneto was in Auschwitz, then he was getting on a bit when he first attacked the X-Men. I know he was rejuvenated in the Defenders, but within the next ten to twenty years that won’t be enough of an explanation. They will have to change his mean again.

I would say Betty Brant is the sort of thing that sometimes comes to certain characters before their status quo have had time to “gel”. She is Peter’s first romantic interest, but she isn’t the one that became identified as the “classic” one, that would be Mary Jane and/or Gwen.

The changes John Bryne made to the Superman mythos (businessman Luthor and Clark Kent as the real persona being the main ones) are probably an unique case where the new status quo became powerful enough to partially displace the old one, but not to completely take over. So we have peculiar situations like the “Smallville” TV show being mostly Post-Crisis, while “Superman Returns” is mostly Pre-Crisis.

I’d say Wonder Woman is a little similar. Many have accepted George Perez’s more mythological take, but once in a while someone will try to to bring back the sci-fi Purple Ray, Invisible Jet, and the Diana Prince secret ID.

I thought this was going to be a post on the inevitability of anger/rage/violence in superhero comics — protagonists BECOMING mean — as the voice/environment strives to be made as ‘real-world’ as possible.

An interesting thread, the actual one, don’t get me wrong…

Bernard the Poet

August 23, 2008 at 10:42 am

I really like Chris Bradley’s ‘formative experience’ theory. Following the Adam West show, a decision was made to return Batman to his “mean”. So Robin was quickly matured and packed off to college, and Batman once again became a lone avenger.

Then in the early ‘Eighties, someone else decided that Batman’s “mean” wasn’t as a lone avenger, but as part of a dynamic duo, and Jason Todd was introduced as the new Robin. My formative experience was of Batman as a lone avenger, and I just hate the teenage sidekick angle.

The theory fits in with what Rene wrote as well. Clearly, Bryan Singer’s formative experience of Superman came from the Christopher Reeve films, and that was the character he wanted to work with.

I

I’m curious to see where Wally West will end up now that Barry Allen has returned. Will he become the Flash equivalent to Nightwing or have too many fans adjusted to the fact Wally West IS Flash making him the “mean?”

It’s all about the merchandising. These are brands, not people. Sadly.

I find it interesting just exactly that the “mean” is for given characters. And, I think it has a lot to do with both quantity of stories told during a particular period and quality of those stories.

For example, there are a lot more stories that have Mary Jane as the established true love of Peter Parker than there are Gwen Stacy stories. However, the quality of the Gwen Stacy stories means that sometimes she still comes up. (Not to say that Mary Jane didn’t have quality stories, mind you.)

The same goes for Professor X in his wheelchair, Superman’s powers and appearance, and everyone’s costumes. Sometimes small changes last, but it is more interesting to me what changes last and how. Spider-Man’s black costume still lives as Venom, but Thor’s golden armor is a thing of the past, as is Iron Man’s Go-Bot outfit.

I think that the original Teen Titans have an advantage in that their title was about establishing a new mean. They were teen sidekicks who grouped together to no longer be sidekicks anymore. So, all five of them eventually got new costumes and identities that survived as the new mean. Dick Greyson will never go back to being Robin, Garth will not go back to being Aqualad, and Roy will never again be called Speedy.

And, it isn’t just the length of time that has passed since their change. The quality and quantity of solo stories about a Nightwing Dick Greyson have been better than any solo stories about a Robin Dick Greyson.

I think that this is why Hank Pym kept changing identities and powers. He never really stayed in the reader’s view long enough to establish a mean. But, Oracle became the new mean because Bat Girl was so rarely used at that point, and the new character identity was very well written and more interesting to many people than a female Bat Character.

I was going somewhere with this. I swear. But, I lost my way. Suffice it to say that I agree and I think that the few times when a change has remained permanent is a testament to both the company’s support of the change as the new status quo and the quality of the stories involving the change in order to gain and maintain fan support.

Theno

Bernard,

I kinna like it, too, obviously. ;)

What I think is happening, now, tho’, is we might be getting to the point where different people have different formative experiences and will be writing and reading comics at the same time. The same character has one or more incompatible and separate “means” because of different formative events concerning the character. I know one of the tensions I have discussing comic book characters with people is that our “means” are different.

As a crude example, take Magneto. I came into comics during the early days of the Claremont run, so the “real” Magneto to me is the often misguided tortured soul who is trying to prevent a mutant holocaust. His means might be wrong, but his goals are good. In ten years, you’d better believe that we’re going to have the drug addicted mutant terrorist Magneto coming back, because a bunch of people’s formative experience with X-Men comics was all that Morrison stuff. They’re going to grow up and become comic writers, artists and editors – so they’ll go back to that. To THEM the “real” Magneto is a drug addicted terrorist, not a misguided tortured soul trying to save people from genocide.

Absolutely, completely the way superhero comics work. What amazes me is when creators will try to bring back aspects of the character that can be identified as a “mean”, even if they’ve long been discredited by fans as uninteresting or undesirable. They’ll try to bring them back simply because it seems these concepts should be important now because they were important at some point in the past. The best example of this I can think of is John Byrne trying to bring the Invisible Jet back in his Wonder Woman run, even though at the time the Invisible Jet had long since become the sort of thing you saw comedians making fun of in stand-up routines.

Good theory. I’ve often thought something similiar myself.

I wonder… does anyone here think the Clark Kent/Lois Lane marriage will eventually be retconned back to the mean? How about killing off Ma & Pa Kent again? Both of those significant changes have been around for 10 & 20 years, respectively.

Other means I can think of:

-The Hulk will eventually revert back to the big green alter ego of Bruce Banner.

-Steve Rogers will once again be Captain America.

-Even if they kill him off soon, Bruce Wayne will once again be Batman.

-Arthur Curry will once again be Aquaman.

-The Avengers will once again have a lineup with Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, Hawkeye, The Wasp, The Vision and the Scarlet Witch.

-The JLA will once again have a lineup with Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Flash, Green Lantern & Aquaman.

-The Legion of Super-Heroes is once again the childhood friends of Clark Kent.

-Supergirl is Superman’s teenaged cousin from Krypton.

-Donna Troy and Hawkman will be confusing.

Lynara (and John T to a lesser extent),

Exactly. The Wonder Woman Invisible Jet is precisely the sort of thing I’m talking about, how a person’s formative experiences with a character continue to identify that character long after the point where they’re even vaguely relevant. It’s been decades since WW has needed, in any meaningful capacity, an jet, invisible or not, and who really wanted the image of WW sitting down in the sky flying by? But to Byrne, that was the definitive image of WW, almost certainly rooted in his formative experiences with the character.

So, yeah, it’s inevitable that flying jets, and Superdogs, and all the rest that John Trumbill identified will keep coming back – because they form formative experiences for the people who create comics.

And it’s a strange loop. Because they bring Krypto back, now a bunch of NEW readers have formative Krypto experiences! So even if Krypto were to go away, he’d come back because in 20 years today’s readers will be in charge of the line. ;)

You know, I was one of the folks who never saw a reason for Krypto — Until I penciled a Krypto coloring book for DC’s Licensing Department a couple of years ago (tying in with the then-current Krypto cartoon). It really reminded me how much pure kid appeal the concept has. What kid WOULDN’T want to own a super-powered dog?

John,

I’m not trying to be judgmental! I mean, really, the Joker is one of those characters that was largely brought back by nostalgia – and look what people have done to him. I was just noticing the process, not attempting to critique the results.

I mean, if I was going to be judgmental I’d say it’s probably a good thing. People reinterpreting old stories with a modern gloss has created some of the best literature that’s ever existed. Shakespeare wrote almost nothing in drama that was original. Arthuriana is constantly updated and recast in modern light for the delight of new generations. I, personally, think the good far outweighs the bad and the comic book art form has generated some of the most enduring icons of the 20th century. Y’know, if a person were to ask me. I was just talking about the process. ;) (Which is also not to say that it can’t be done poorly. Oh, sure, we got the Joker, but I could really do without an invisible jet, for instance.)

I wonder if there is a “20 year” aspect to the theory?

Like, even the most long-standing changes will become endangered when you get closer to the 20 year mark? Spider-Man’s marriage and Wally West as the Flash come to mind. Supposedly 20 years is the time it takes for a former fan to become a big voice in the comic book industry, and he WILL revert it back to the way it was in his childhood.

One funny thing is that many writers that are known for being “edgy” will show themselves as being not immune to changing things around to their “formative years”. Brian Bendis constant use of certain 1970s characters comes to mind.

No offensive taken, Chris! And I agree with you — there isn’t too much reason for the Invisible Jet these days – especially since Wonder Woman can fly on her own.

The invisible jet is a cool idea, just not for Wonder Woman.

Rene,

I would guess there’s something like a 20 years aspect to it, yeah. But I think it’s more a general trend than any kind of hard-and-fast rule. I suspect it depends heavily on the individuals that create comics. There aren’t really that many of them, y’know? A persons gets into the industry early and they might get nostalgic “early” while a person that gets into it late might be nostalgic “late” and the sample size is small enough to be heavily effected by chance. But it is my apocryphal thinking that, yes, it’s about 20 years. ;)

Yeah. The Invisible Jet is a cool, unique, slightly goofy idea that is *completely* iconigraphically unique to WW. And, practically, flying + invisibility + cargo capacity certainly has potential applications.

On topic: I look at the process slightly differently than Brian. I see mainstream superhero comic writing as conflict between the progressive and regressive elements. I’m not sure I agree with the idea of the “mean,” so much as most every writer and every editor as seeing SOME specific elements of every characters background/iconography/whateva as vitally important, and SOME as hopelessly dated or non-fitting in with their specific vision.

Stop saying ‘revert BACK’, people, PLEASE. It’s just ‘revert’. ‘Revert’ means ‘turn back’.

It would be interesting to see comic characters aging and being replaced a la Gasoline Alley.

I think the common wisdom is that when a comic book reader grows up and becomes a writer, he (or, in rarer cases, she) reverts the status quo to whatever he liked when he was reading. The thing I wonder is whether it’s a cyclical thing. Which is to say: are there any characters with two disparate, alternating “means”?

The best example I can think of for what I’m talking about is Jean Grey. She went from being Marvel Girl to being Phoenix (sort of) to being not only dead, but one of the characters people listed as examples when insisting that sometimes superheroes DO stay dead (along with Bucky, Thunderbird and Mar-Vell. And eventually Barry Allen. Don’t they understand how we cling to these things?). Then she came and did it all over again, and again in the Ultimate line. How long before she does it again? How much of that is a result of writers/editors who are used to Jean being around replacing – and later being replaced by – ones that are used to her being dead?

Another example would be the intelligent Hulk vs. savage Hulk. When I started collecting comics, the Hulk was going through an intelligent stage, and all the Hulk stories I’ve liked have involved a Hulk who could at least speak coherently. But not too long after I started reading comics, he became a raging monster again. If I were to write the Hulk, I’d probably make him smart, but someone who started reading just a few years after I did would think the Hulk is supposed to be – no, NEEDS to be – an inarticulate savage. When that person eventually replaced me as writer, the Hulk would become dumb again. When they get replaced by someone who started reading when I was writing, he becomes smart again. When that person is replaced by a robot or evovled dolphin that started reading when my replacement was witing, he’s dumb again, and so on until the end of time.

For those who keep saying “Dick Greyson will never become Robin again” just ignore the post RIP “Nightwing” title (assuming Rich is right).

And what is ..gah..Red Robin, but Roy becoming Speedy again?

Rich’s rumor is that Dick becomes Batman, not Red Robin.

Jason Todd would become Red Robin.

I think the Hulk is probably one of the best examples of a character with multiple default states that change according to whomever is writing the book’s vision of the character.

I am now wondering how many of these alternate states can exist in a character. I mean, how many Magnetos can there be? How many Hulks? And does having all these alternate, mutually exclusive views – is it good or bad?

Furthermore, y’know, since deconstruction has gone through comics like a buzzsaw, it’s possible that the trend itself is breaking down. That there will, eventually, be no meaningful concept of a mean – just a number of alternate viewpoints through which to view a character. Certainly the process has accelerated since the 80s. Characters largely stayed the same – very consciously – during the Silver Age, right? In the modern age, after all the Moorean and Millerian deconstruction, part of what is sought is redefinitions of characters that are more compelling than the original (thus the massive proliferation of year ones and retcons and the rest). They want to keep the iconography of the character, but change them enough to get us to sit up and take notice. That’s a newish, starting only in the 80s and only fairly recently (as comics measure time) being widely done.

Y’know. Maybe. Or maybe I have yet to think this all the way through, myself. ;)

I think the mean will keep changing, as people point. It’ll change as cycles come and go. Maybe in 10 years, someone who grew up with Julia Carpenter as Spider-woman will become a big shot at Marvel, and decide she *has* to be Spider-woman.

It’ll keep happening due to the nature of the Big 2. The stories will never end, and you won’t and can’t have the same person doing these stories. Someone decided that he wanted Hal as GL and Barry as the Flash. In 10 or 20 years…who knows?

I think that the “mean”, in this case, is the first (or perhaps most basic) impression that most fans have of the character. So when you ask most people about the Hulk, for example, they think, “big, green, dumb, changes back and forth to Banner” because most people’s formative impressions of the Hulk come from the TV show and films. Any new interpretation has to overcome that vast myth-pool of cultural awareness of the Hulk.

Whereas for ‘Swamp Thing’, the mean for most people is the Alan Moore run, because 99.999% of Swamp Thing fans came to the character via either the Moore run or a post-Moore run that drew on him for inspiration. (Much in the same way that the mean for most Green Lantern fans is Hal, even though he’s the second Green Lantern by a considerable margin. Obscure characters with popular new interpretations generate new means.)

And the third case is things like the Super/Spider-marriages, or the Wally West Flash. They’ve got two interpretations, both of which are quite popular and culturally established, but neither one quite having dominance. For Joe Quesada, he was “imprinted” with Peter and Gwen. For me, it was Peter and MJ. The question becomes, which mean will dominate? (I’m still betting on MJ…even if they don’t return to the marriage, too many fans see MJ as Peter’s OTP.)

Like Bernard the Poet said previously, some “means” are inherently too limited, though,

Sue Storm-Richards as the helpless housewife, for instance. But I’d say dumb Hulk is another. Writers invariably make the Hulk smarter not only because they’re nostalgic for some earlier “intelligent Hulk” phase, but because it’s harder to write many stories about a superstrong giant with the mind of a 4-year old. Bill Mantlo has made him smarter, and Peter David, and Greg Pak.

I agree with Chris Bradley’s comment on the Hulk. You’d think his default would be the low-intellect brute on the run from General Ross and the army. However, we haven’t seen that take on the Hulk in decades, except for a VERY brief return to that during the end of Peter David’s run. I’ve been reading Hulk since the early 80s, and I’ve seen him shift through the following: an intelligent scientist who could change to the Hulk at will; an unintelligent monster in an interdimensional crossroads; a monster separated from the man; a legbreaker in Las Vegas; the leader of an international superteam (the Pantheon); hiding in Florida; and most recently, a gladiator on another planet. Outside the Hulk cartoon series of the 80s and 90s, I’m not sure the “default” Hulk has existed since Bill Mantlo was on the book.

I really see this as a result of sales. A concept becomes boring. Sales drop. A new/bold/exciting change is introduced. Sales increase. Novelty wears off. Return to status quo. Sales increase. Unfortunately alot of the replacement heroes end up with a following so we end up with two heroes with almost identical powers and costumes, which I think is lame.

The Titans wouldn’t return to their old identities because new heroes had adopted them. We have a new Robin, Wonder Girl, Speedy and Kid Flash (OK, so he’s currently dead).

I would love to see a retrun of the men regarding the X-Men. It’s dificult to accept them as a minorty when half the comics published by Marvel are X-related.

@BPjerusalem
good point.

Even the movie-based changes- organic webshooters, leather X-Men costumes, mutated Penguin- go away after a few years.

“You’d think his default would be the low-intellect brute on the run from General Ross and the army. However, we haven’t seen that take on the Hulk in decades, except for a VERY brief return to that during the end of Peter David’s run.”

That was pretty much the status quo for the Bruce Jones run, which lasted… what, two years? Three?

Although in the Hulk’s case, I think that’s one of those where a mass-media adaptation has changed the mean, specifically to the “Bruce Banner as the Fugitive” take on the character. That’s what Jones was writing as his “back to basics” take, even if that wasn’t necessarily the original version (which was far more Hulk-centric)

“Jason Todd would become Red Robin.”

Looks as though that’s not going to happen – at least, the most recent issue of Robin seemed to establish Jason and Red Robin as two different people. Unless there’s some multiverse BS infesting the Batbooks (unlikely… I hope….), it looks as though it’s either (a) Dick (unlikely, but DiDido’s obliviousness towards the popularity of the Nightwing character ranks up there with Quesada’s opinion of the Spider-marriage) or (b) a new character.

Something else interesting – in ten – fifteen years, Hal Jordan’s going to be erased from history by a group of now-teenagers who grew up watching Jon Stewart on Justice League, just as Hal’s cultural intertia from the Super Friends era keeps him coming back.

It’s a sad thing that the TV version of Birds of Prey didn’t take, or else we’d likely never have to worry about Barbara becoming Batgirl again. Heck, I was stunned that Lana Lang wasn’t made to look closer to an adult version of Kristen Kreuk when they had the excuse to do so post-Infinite Crisis.

I didn’t read Bruce Jones’s run, but I thought Banner was in control of the Hulk, and the Hulk wasn’t dumb?

Bruce Jones wrote the Hulk as a silent monster (a la the tv version), but gave Banner more access to the Hulk’s strength and will. I thought the Jones Banner had more control over the Hulk, making his intellect higher than his lack of speech would indicate.

Greg Pak writes an amalgamated mostly-Bannerless Hulk (a la the version PAD wrote post-Onslaught), somewhat closer to the original Lee-Kirby Hulk. That first incarnation of the Hulk (semi-intelligent, mean) was off-stage for at least 15 years (late-’60s- mid ’80s), supplanted by the child-like Hulk most familiar to comic-book readers and cartoon-viewers. The child-like Hulk, in turn, was off-stage for about ten years (excepting issues 372-377 and the occasional flashback). Of all the major super-hero comic book characters, the Hulk has been the one least-likely to follow the pattern of reverting to the mean. One could make a case for Batman, but his persona and attributes have stayed relatively consistent for the past 20 + years.

Hm. I seem to remember Jones’ Hulk being out of Banner’s control – at least at first, since there was a subplot revolving around Hulk supposedly murdering a child – but he decompressed that story so much that it turned into the X-Files by the end, with no real answers ever being given.

“One could make a case for Batman, but his persona and attributes have stayed relatively consistent for the past 20 + years.”

True, although in Batman’s case that’s always been an “all things to all people” character. You can write Batman as a alien-battling superhero and turn around and write a noir story and no one will bat an eyelid at this point. In the terms of the article, Batman’s mean is a range from absolute zero to infinity, and therefore there isn’t really anything to “reset” to.

(This, of course, assumes that the Azrael story was a planned storyline from day one. I personally believe that, but I know many people don’t and think Azrael was supposed to be the permanent replacement).

the theory of comics is good, I think the best term of the science of comics is comicology. Think about it. Thanks.

[…] Cronin of Comics Should Be Good presents the Cronin Theory of Comics – Comics Tend to Eventually Regress to the Mean. For the most part, characters will reset over time to the “standard” interpretation. […]

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