Would he disregard what Grant has done? How would he approach the character and his history?

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Have Bruce explore what being a detective is...probably by ditching the costume and spending a 12 issue arc following a Gotham City Detective trailing petty, uninteresting crimes.
I don't know if "disregard" would be the way to describe it. He seems to go in and put his own stamp on a series from the start; I think you can safely say he isn't going to reference something that happened three issues prior to his first issue. I don't mean that as a criticism, that's just how his style strikes me - and people forget, I think, how badly that approach was needed years ago, when he started writing Amazing Spider-Man. I think he likes doing his own thing, in his own sandbox as it were, and in general is not a fan of company wide crossovers. His run on ASM, as I said, had nothing to do with Howard Mackie's previous 29 issues (which imo was a good thing), his Superman run has nothing to do with "New Krypton", his Wonder Woman has nothing to do with Gail's run. I think the attempt to try something fresh (and I'm not being critical of Gail's WW run, or even the Mon-El and Nightwing & Flamebird features) is admirable.

As far as Batman goes, my guess is that he would have Batman - and Bruce Wayne - examine the root causes of crime rather than just the regular crime fighting and fisticuffs that come with it. There have been a number of done in ones over the years where Bruce uses his money for crime prevention in some way that were usually never referenced again. There was an issue of Detective during the Alan Grant/Norm Breyfogle era about juvenile delinquents who were promised a full scholarship to the college of their choice, paid by Bruce; they just had to stay in school and iirc not get in trouble with the law. We never saw them again, we don 't know how their story turned out. I think JMS would check in on the kids from time to time, as well as keep the underlying theme going.
Alex Ross' 'War on Crime' big painted book had the same storyline about stopping the kids turning to crime.

I respect JMS' wish to tell his own stories, not service someone else's.

Marvel did him a huge disrespect by scheduling his Asgard for demolition without his co-operation when he was in the middle of the story that he was trying to tell (successfully in my view). That was really stupid. His run on Thor was suitably epic and respectful for a story about a God. Reading it in trades, I was really impressed. The whole point about it was that the Gods were trying to avoid falling into the usual superhero cycles of war and death and back to life again. It was meta, about where superhero stories are now, and how that has an analogue in old sagas, but it was well handled.

Citing Morrison's Batman run is very germane to the question of writing within continuity. The whole point of his Batman run is "where can you go with these characters who are weighed down with so much history?" I see his Batman run as answering the question "What story can we tell once all the stories are told?"

The last story is one about all the previous stories, but how do you follow that up?

I think we are in a new era of superhero storytelling, where there's just too much backstory now. As Phillip says elsewhere today: "Again? AGAIN? AGAIN?"

He has a point.
I don't believe that its every writer's duty to rebuild over another writer's work. True, the big names have so much history, continuity and excess baggage, that they teeter on the edge of collapsing under its weight. I may be wrong in thinking this but each writer of, say Batman, is the temporary custodian of the character, charged with leaving him better than he got him or, at least, in the same state as when he started.

If you don't like the Penguin, don't use him. Just ignore him. Don't change his origin, background or appearance to try to make him into something you like. Just make up a new villain.

If you feel that Batman doesn't belong in the JLA, don't bring it up! Don't do a massive crossover to justify your way of thinking!

Man-Bat not your cup of tea, that's okay! Don't turn him into a vampiric creature just because!

These are mere examples that never happened, but the principle is very much in effect. I believe that good writers can create good stories by focusing on aspects of the characters they like, disregard those they don't and don't make quick gimmicked changes for shock value!

Thank you! This has been my rant of the day!
I think those were good rules for the 70s or 80s. Back then writers/custodians still had a slight hope of still telling great stories without littering the sandbox.

Superhero stories thrive on escalation. Doctor Doom and Magneto's level of threat grew and grew each time they appeared during that period. The early writers could write stories while doing that, and they had to, as its how these stories work.

Asking modern writers not to do that, eg with Penguin or Manbat seems unfair to me.

It's not that they hate these characters, (that seems to be personalising things too much) its just that everything's been done with them as they are. Superhero stories are all about upping the ante.

Before, when a villain became to powerful or too monsterous, then you could tell a story within continuity where they are scaled back, or become good, even. But you can only do that a few times before that, too becomes stale or your fictional world is being stretched way beyond even its own internal logic.

In my heart of hearts I'm with you, Phillip. I'd love for this parallel world my heroes live in eternally to have its own internal connections and rational history, and for all the books to tie together into a seamless quilt. I don't want just the best story that a creative team can bring me. I want it to be part of the biggest story ever told, that started when my parents were born and will keep continuing forever! I sincerely understand.

But the tension is built into these worlds right at the heart: Everything has to change and grow just like real life, while at the same time, nothing must ever change and the heroes stay forever young. That's a hard circle to square.

We've gone beyond the custodian phase of superhero narratives. Of course, I much prefer the blizzard of creativity phase that preceded it, but it seems that door is long shut.

I personally think something's going to give soon enough. There'll probably just be a big shrug someday and someone will make a certain point, to which the answer will come:

"...Aren't they all?"
I'm not against change, really I'm not. It's that the constant change with each creative switch that gets annoying. Everyone seems to feel they have to answer, delete or alter anything that the previous writers did that they don't like.

They should focus on their stories, not tear down past ones. As an example, bringing back Jean Grey for X-Factor by saying Phoenix really wasn't her or saying Dick Grayson was fired as Robin instead of him maturing and evolving. We all can list newer stories that ticked us off. Gwen Stacy's children, anyone?

My point is there is enough leeway within any title's history to compose good stories without sacrificing prior great stories.
I don't think it's so much that all the stories have been told, as that many members of the audience have read a lot of Batman stories and are more likely to be excited by something different and sensational. At the same time the stories have to remain recognisably Batman stories, because they have to deliver whatever it is that readers want from Batman stories. So there's a limit to how traditional the creators can be - just doing a "standard Batman story" mightn't be enough - and a limit to how outside the box they can go.(1)

(1) Batman in Pixieland: the fairies Pepper, Paper, Pudding and Prime take Batman to Pixieland to find out who has been stealing the wrapping paper from around Prince Pie's birthday presents. Batman suspects the florist Mary Contrary, who has a grudge against the king because he married the prettiest of her pretty maids in a row without paying her any compliments. The culprit turns out to be the prince himself, in narcotic trances induced by eating ice cream.
Luke Blanchard said:
Batman in Pixieland: the fairies Pepper, Paper, Pudding and Prime take Batman to Pixieland to find out who has been stealing the wrapping paper from around Prince Pie's birthday presents. Batman suspects the florist Mary Contrary, who has a grudge against the king because he married the prettiest of her pretty maids in a row without paying her any compliments. The culprit turns out to be the prince himself, in narcotic trances induced by eating ice cream.

That'd work! I love it.

Fairy Prime sounds quite menacing though.
Yeah, that *is* pretty awesome!
Thanks, guys. This was my idea of a Batman story by George Carlson, who wrote and drew zany surreal fairytale stories for Eastern Color's Jingle Jangle Comics. Two examples can be found here. Three more can be found in the collection A Smithsonian Book of Comic Book Comics, ed. Michael Barrier and Martin Williams.

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