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January 21st, 2005 - Trickle of Consciousness — LiveJournal
Dave Carter at Yet Another Comics Blog, having read the reportedly painful decompression in the origin story of Araña, thinks origin stories are boring:

The origin is not the interesting story; it's background information. If the information in the origin is important to the story you're telling, then you can go back later and fill in for the reader. But don't start with an issues-long origin.


It is, perhaps, a teneble position, but his examples don't quite make the argument. Specifically, his citation that Runaways quickly skips its way through the origin falls flat for me. By way of explaining that Amazing Fantasy was all origin, he points out that Araña "doesn't even appear in her super-heroine outfit until the final page of the collection." By origin, then, I'm assuming that Dave means the events leading up to the super-heroic status quo of a character, and by that standard, Runaways is just as long an origin. The status quo isn't simply the running away. No, the Runaways are a group of children using the tools of (powers, technology, and knowledge either inherited or stolen from) their evil parents to try to undo said evil. Sure, the kids flee early on, but it takes six issues for them to amass the powers, technology, and knowledge. Molly's abilities don't show up until the sixth issue, and they haven't the "decoder ring" to unlock their parents' secrets until just after that. And while the kids never have costumes (okay, Molly does, but I'm not sure if it exactly counts), their super-heroic names likewise don't show up until the final few pages of the sixth issue.

If the Amazing Fantasy run and the opening arc of Runaways are both origins, but one meets Dave's requirements for an interesting, well-told story while the other doesn't, I daresay he's not objecting to origin stories so much as poorly told, glacially paced origins. There, I'm sure I'd agree. You can make any story interesting, or make it a formulaic bore. Origins--like all the other kind of story--require finesse to make them engaging.

I think Johanna at Cognitive Dissonance nails it: "[S]how us why we should care about this character before getting into the details of how they got their powers." Really, that's where the story is. If you're giving us engaging characters, characters who mean something to us, then you can start the story wherever the hell you want, and we'll just sit back and enjoy the ride.

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