Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Intellectual properties work best when I don’t care about the source material

I recently got almost the complete run of IDW’s Star Trek comic books set in the 2009 movie universe, the one by J. I. Abrams. And I’ve been quite enjoying them.

Here’s the thing. I have a great appreciation for Star Trek but it’s not a franchise I’m really into. (I have been told that would change if I binged DS9) That’s particularly true for the Abrams movies, of which I’ve only seen the first one. 

I have also found comic book adaptations of intellectual properties feel ‘off’ to me. I don’t have this problem with book adaptations. I think part of it is that comic book panels create a very specific form of pacing, as discussed by Scott McCloud in Understanding Comics. I think the change in pacing just changes the way stories are told enough to feel weird to me, on top of other issues from adaptations.

So why I am enjoying these comic books so much?

Well, I think it’s because I have almost no investment in this version of Star Trek. There isn’t any is ‘the Doctor wouldn’t do that’ or ‘Applejack wouldn’t take off her hat!’ or even ‘that’s not Picard!’ So if these books aren’t true to the movies, I don’t care! For me, it’s fun science fiction comic books with familiar costumes.

So, my theory is the more divorced I am from a source material, the happier I can be with adaptations.

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